Sony KDL-70R520A Review (KDL70R520A)
70 inch, 120Hz, Edge-Lit LED-LCD
by Jack Burden, Senior Editor
What does the KDL-70R550A have that the KDL-70R520A does not? Though the model numbers are almost identical the answer is passive 3D capability in the 550A. This is the only difference other than some minor cosmetic variances. The KDL70R520A 70 inch LED TV has Wifi, Smart TV options with Sony's Entertainment Network, Motionflow 240 from the 120Hz panel, USB ports and playback, Screen mirroring via Wifi (for Smart phone use NFC compatible devices), and DirectTV DVR direct service without additional receivers.
This LED edge lit TV has the matte-type screen finish, but yet you get good black levels in the top and bottom bars of the screen (16:9 content) but not as much with images on screen. There is a bit of glare (not reflection but light glare) off the matte screen from in-room light but colors are realistic and enjoyable. Light throughput is not as brilliant as it is on some clear coat LED panels.
On the positive side Sony's processing is excellent so image edges are very clear partly due to the clear resolution enhancer technology built in the KDL70R520A. Edges are crisp and sharp.
On the less positive side, off center viewing is not as good as some of the clear coat panels out there and certainly not plasma TVs. Dark shadow detail is not great either. This LED edge lit LCD will do well in rooms with controlled lighting, and possibly less so in rooms with lots of lighting in the room.
Pictrure Mode Settings
Vivid: Juices the picture with too much blue, image enhancement and all kinds of false features.
Standard: Still too much blue push but definitely a saturated picture and OK for bright rooms if you turn off the other settings which interfere with picture quality (see Picture Settings).
Custom: Comes set near D6500 for a cinematic, film like picture.
Smart TV Options
The Sony Entertainment Network includes premium Apps such as Netflix®, Pandora®, HuluPlus™, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube™, Slacker® Internet Radio, Crackle and social networking through Facebook and Twitter as well as others. Sony claims Yahoo! Broadcast Interactivity Widgets as well.
Here are a few of the included Apps that we have viewed and rated:
Yahoo!: Widgets Internet Apps Button on remote takes you there.
Blinkx: quirky videos, funny shorts videos rating 2.5 out of 5.
Dr. Oz: Short tips on better health. One minute videos. Rating 3 out of 5.
Crackle: Has 220 free movies (with ads) but some pretty good choices 4 out of 5.
Slacker: Personal radio with lots of music choice. It gives some commentary on the tunes and you can set it to a genre and just let it roll – providing background music if you want 4.5 out of 5.
Sony Digital Concert Series: A limited selection of 7 live concert recordings from Creed, ThirdEyeBlind, and Chickenfoot – at least that's all they have at the time of this writing. Recording quality is average and is of the whole concert. Rating 3 out of 5.
Sony Video Unlimited: Paid movie service $5.99 for HD Movies.
Bilabong: Poor quality Surfing and island clips. Rating 2 out of 5.
Apps can be slow loading. When I tried to load the NHL Vault App, the menu prompts me to go online from a computer to register for the service.
Value and Price
Value of viewing size per square is the name of the game with this huge 70 inch Sony KDL-70R520A. Leaving off passive 3D, Sony's best panel, and it's best video engine, leaves this model ready for a pricing battle with the likes of Sharp's LC-70LE657U, Samsung's UN75F6400, and Panasonics TC-P65S60 plasma. There's still not too much competition in the 70 inch size range.
|Jack Burden joined the review staff of CEAG Inc. in May 2003 after finishing his graduate work at Harvard University. He has been reporting on consumer electronics and conducting product reviews for more than seven years... Read more about Jack|