Hey everyone. We've been looking at this TV to replace our three year old KDL-40EX500. We popped on this sucker this Saturday. We called ahead to the store to check their stock on the 60". The woman who answered said there weren't any there new in its box, but there was a truck that was just pulling in and she felt it likely there would be exactly one on it. She told me she would call back in a couple of hours to confirm availability, but when she didn't, we boxed up the Samsung F5500 we'd bought there the weekend prior anyway, and headed out.
Despite not getting the callback, the TV was on the truck, and we made the exchange. We were honestly amazed at how thin the box was, versus the Samsung plasma we were returning. It was nearly a quarter of the depth, really impressive, although lacking the splashy full color wrapping the Samsung and our 2010 Bravia had. The set does weigh 20ish pounds less though, and I found myself spontaneously shrieking the tagline printed massively along the sides, "Feel the Beauty," and feel it I did. It was much easier to carry up a flight of stairs, I have to say.
So, quick review: The setup was very easy, with six screws at this size, and at no point were we asked or required to lay the TV face down (where as the Samsung instructions asked that we did... but we didn't). Gravity is employed at every step, and one could do it alone as long as they can lift the 60 pounds.
The set stands perfectly vertical. The stand is a solid-feeling band (bar, really) of real metal, which is impressive when I come to think of the competition. I think the stand is not only sturdy but attractive. It has a stark, minimal, dramatic quality that I really enjoy looking at. I know a lot of people don't like it. Some don't think it's sturdy enough, which I disagree with. Some think it's ugly, and I disagree with them also. It has a luxurious look and feel, as our old set did, but far more so in this case. It's an avant-garde design that I am actually really glad to be able to enjoy from Sony on a 60" at $1,500. I also happen to like a lot of LG's stands, but I don't think they will be nearly as timeless as the design of this set. It's just more like furniture, I guess.
I do want to remark that, in our living room, the mirrored bar along the bottom bezel is not a problem. The TV is on a black surface, and all it ever reflects is that surface. The chrome stand, however, does reflect the image on the screen. This is a lot more apparent when viewing in the dark. I doesn't bother us, but it may bother some.
Anyway, the image. When adjusted, it looks great. As everyone knows, the Eco settings make the picture super dim, yikes. If you think the TV just will not get bright enough, the Eco settings are the culprit. Also, someone else commented a zillion posts back that they though Neutral looked too cool and Warm too warm. I have to agree, although in the end, Neutral is quite livable... but there are definitely moments where I feel the whites are looking sort of Xenon-headlight-white... just a little too blue. I may mess with it some more later.
One problem the F5500 had was displaying a pure white or light grey field. It would tinge the center portition green, and the left and right pink. This TV displays it perfectly from edge to edge.
Another issue the F5500 had was plasma flicker. This TV is not plasma and does not flicker.
The blacks are the same... I don't think the F5500 had better blacks. These blacks are just spectacular during most scenes. I need more time with the TV to say more at this point. I can tell you that during the day, the black levels are just unbelievable. When a scene fades to black, the TV looks like its off. It's really excellent looking.
The final, and worst issue of the F5500 was its PenTile display. The screen was effectively interlaced to my perception, and seeing the mesh of tiny black dots over everything drove me crazy. This TV has what I suppose to be an ordinary IPS pixel structure, which looks normal. I do wish the dot pitch were a little better. At seven feet there is a slight screen door effect that is sometimes noticeable to me. I do wear contacts, however, so my vision is super sharp at that distance.
As an earlier post of mine indicated, viewing angles were my main concern. My specific concern were angles between 20 and 45 degrees. Now that I can see it for myself, at 20 degrees, I think the image is still pretty good. At 45 degrees, the blacks get a tad pale, and the colors loose their vibrancy. I found the Netflix interface to great show this well. The grey background of the interface is quite deep head on, but lightens by nearly half at 45 degrees. For casual TV viewing it's quite acceptable, I say it drops the quality of the image from splendid to bland and ordinary... the pop is just gone. I personally would not be able to really savor, i.e. enjoy a gorgeous film at this angle.
KDL-60R550A Head On:
KDL-60R550A at ~45 degrees:
One very interesting thing to note is the color green (as on a baseball field) does tend to wash out a bit towards the end of the TV opposite my end of the couch. I am centered before the right-most third of the set. I am sitting at a 10 degree angle to the screen. It is only the green field the washes out just
a bit, all of the other colors appear fine, and I have only noticed it so far on baseball.
We do have a couple of bright blobs in the center as some others have reported. They are medium sized compared to others I have seen here. The left blob is very faint. The right blob is a bit larger and brighter. During very bright scenes it can distract me. I may attempt to massage it into submission, and I'll let everyone know if I have success at this should I attempt it.
We love the 3D, and we enjoy it much, much more than the active 3D on the Samsung. While we can see the scanlines at our viewing distance, they aren't bad. There is no flickering, which the Samsung had, at that's awesome. The passive system also doesn't make my eyes feel "weird," which I really like. We rented Jurassic Park in 3D, so we'll see what two hour viewings are like, but we imagine it will be comfortable. No syncing, no batteries, the scene doesn't get darker, the glasses are larger, lighter, and less expensive. It came with four pairs, and they are foldable, which is great.
Gaming so far is good, but I still need more time to judge. We don't notice lag in SoulCalibur V.
I know a lot of people are concerned with ghosting. I notice it during sports and movies, but I don't notice it during games. I can attempt to film it if anyone really wants to see it. In the future I will pay more attention to this and report on anything meaningful.
Gaming in 3D has been so-so so far. So everyone knows, the PS3 was newly configured to recognize that the TV is 3D, and the games are set to run in 3D. I don't want anyone to think that I have set the TV to simulated 3D, thinking that it's "real" 3D, when that is not the case. That said, Zen Pinball 2 in 3D became so laggy we couldn't play it. Shutting off all of the image and motion enhancers helped signifigantly, but not enough to keep playing in 3D. Hot Shots Golf was also very laggy in 3D, when it hadn't been on the Samsung, and that was disapointing. Super Stardust HD, however, seemed just as responsive in 3D as 2D. The same goes for Gran Turismo 5, and that's huge, although I need more time with this game. In a nutshell, we had zero issues with 3D lag on the Samsung, but have had two out of four games have issues on the R550 so far. We'll keep messing with it and see if something has been overlooked in the meantime.
One thing that was a little disappointing was the strength of the 3D effect on Gran Turismo 5 and Ridge Racer 7. Both games really popped and really benefited from the third dimension on the Samsung. On this TV, the effect is way more subtle, almost to the point where I might not bother in the future. I'm going to adjust the TV itself and see if that helps, and let everyone know if it does. I want to give ICO/SotC and Uncharted 3 a go and see how they are... perhaps Resistance 3 as well.
One thing I do not like is that this TV does not support DTS. I do own a few movies where DTS is the only surround audio option, so this is a little annoying. It's another cable to putz with in a tight space with too few jacks and it actually kind of pisses me off.
I'll finish with the remote and the Smart features. This is our second Smart set after the Samsung we just returned. The Samsung had a lot of content, it was mostly fluid, and while I think Samsung placed style just a bit over substance, overall I thought it was pretty slick. The touchpad remote made it fun to use, and it's the only thing I miss about the Samsung (other than the viewing angles, of course). Sony's system is boring but functional when it comes to streaming media, with multiple categories presented at once. I like that whatever you were watching or doing is still presented in the window to the left. You can continue watching (or doing) what you're watching (or doing) while you make your choice. It's really great when you have a group assembled; any potentially-awkward silence while you nudge around menus is avoided and everyone is still kept entertained. We are used to going through our PS3 for a lot of the services present, but so far the built-in apps seem capable.
The biggest complaint is that the system is slow to load. The Samsung system gave me the impression that it was always running in the background, where my hitting the button brought it right up. On the Sony, hitting SEN brings a long silent wait of many seconds, and once it's up, it's sloooow to navigate. The browser is also very clunky, and not optimized for the remote, with a lot of websites being basically unusable. Just as on PS3, the browser is tacked onto the TV because leaving it out would be embarrassing, I suppose. Overall, the Smart stuff is not sexy and definitely a weak spot as far as I am concerned. My position is to either leave the "Smart" stuff out and shave $100 or so off the price, or do it right. Maybe they'd rather everyone buy PS3s (or PS4s) for this kind of stuff, but I still think this system could use some basic improvements.
The remote is comfortable, but hey, the settings should be under Options, not Home, and of course there is no slick track pad. It's a nice evolution of the EX500's remote, smaller and more comfortable however, with much friendlier plastics yet very solid with a nice weight. It still has a design that lets you lay it on its face (I always know which remote is for the TV), but it ditches the weird/cool power button on the back and the sleek one-piece rear shell.
Anyway, all that said, we are very happy with the TV. We are excited to put it through its paces.
Edit: I just wanted to thank everyone that's posted on here, especially the regulars. Your info has been really helpful in making the decision to purchase this TV and any issues we should be aware of beforehand. Cheers!