Screen mirroring works very well with the latest Miracast-compatible smartphones Image Credit: Supplied

A common critique hurled at the plethora of high-end televisions is about the relative paucity of content — in this region, at least — that can actually take advantage of a dizzying array of features rolled off the tongues of aggressive salesmen at electronics stores throughout the UAE. As the grumbling have grown louder by the year, TV manufacturers have changed tack. This was surely one of the primary reasons behind Sony’s development of its XReality Pro engine.
While unconfirmed recent reports suggest Sony is moving away from OLED technology development, the new processing engine found in the Japanese brand’s latest W85 series, upscales the picture quality for a variety of different sources, from games to analogue satellite receivers — and yes, even VCRs (Video Cassette Recorders, for those born post-1995). While the improvement does not feel quite as dramatic as the manufacturer suggests, the colours in the ten-year-old Finding Nemo DVD played on the W85 do seem richer compared to last year’s model.
Sony’s Wedge design matters. The traditional single-piece support has been ditched to bring in four legs for the TV to stand on, which leaves a smaller footprint on your display unit or table despite the screen being significantly thicker at its base than on top.
More important than the space-saving aspect is what the new shape allows for — a better speaker system. This is one area where Sony has stolen a definitive march on rival manufacturers, who openly encourage customers to use a separate speaker system. While the Long Duct speaker could never beat the richness of a 7.1 DTS home theatre system, it delivers noticeably deeper bass and cleaner treble than other high-end LEDs. The ClearAudio+ feature fine-tunes audio for a more “emotionally enriching” experience, according to the Sony website.
When playing Rocksmith 2014, even this reviewer’s leaden-fingered notes sounded great.
The screen mirroring function is a charm to set up, and while a half-second lag can be seen when flicking between apps, the sharpness of picture ensured that the AK47 the rogue marine is clutching in Modern Combat 4 — perhaps the greatest smartphone FPS game out there — was matched by the stern scar on the visage of Bryan Cranston’s award-winning chemistry teacher-turned-crystal-meth-kingpin on Breaking Bad.
Gaming in 3D is immersive. You will feel the confusion of Nathan Drake when wandering through the unending desert of Uncharted 3. In 2D, the colours of Columbia are enhanced in BioShock Infinite, as are the tigers of FarCry 3.
Smart features embedded in this set include the standard array of social media apps, but the standout here is the Twitter ticker, which displays a moving stream of tweets on a single, un-obstructive feed at the bottom of your screen, broadcast news style. This would probably work better with Sony’s touchpad control, which offers “one-flick” entertainment and allows for significantly easier switching between apps. Sadly, this device is sold separately.
The included remote has a Football button, which adjusts the picture and audio settings to optimise the fast movement, crowd noise and commentator excitement that are all crucial elements for watching the beautiful game. Watching last Saturday’s Champions League Final, it felt as though the screen would explode when Real Madrid scored a last-gasp header to equalise in normal time against the unfortunate city rivals Athletico. There was a downside, however, when Cristiano Ronaldo scored Real’s fourth goal 30 minutes later. A blurrier image may have helped mask the Portugal captain’s bulging obliques after he ripped his shirt off in a slightly gratuitous celebration.