Sony Bravia KDL-60R520A LED TV Review
Whopping size for a whipped price
Behind the Screens
The 60R520A is a staunch performer in most core areas. Its contrast ratio is wide, thanks to a deep black level and very bright peak white. Its color production is quite good, too, although it struggles to match the international standard with as much accuracy as we prefer. Like most LCDs, this big Sony produces a narrow viewing angle, but otherwise its picture quality is commendable.
Yin and Yang
Contrast ratio is the measure of a TV's maximum light output, divided by its minimum luminance level. The resulting number—the larger the better—gives us a good idea of how immersive and realistic the TV will look, regardless of content. The Sony R520A tested with both a deep black level (for an LCD) and an impressive peak white.
We tested a laudable peak white of 370.70 cd/m2 against a rich black level of 0.065 cd/m2, giving the 60R520A a contrast ratio of 5703:1, which is very good for its tech type. Expect brilliant snowflakes and fathomless cave mouths, if you're into that kind of thing.
When we test color performance, we check three key areas: Color accuracy against international standards; color and grayscale transition; and color temperature consistency. The R520A performed well in all three areas, though it was not without flaw.
The R520A's color gamut could use some tweaking. Against the Rec. 709 standard, it matches ideal green and white almost perfectly. Those are the most important points to match, because we see them the best. Its peak red is undersaturated, however, and tends towards orange—not good. Blue has a similar problem: too saturated, and tending towards magenta.
Despite its gamut problems, the R520A handles grayscale and color curve transitions admirably. Smooth, even curves mean a well-balanced color palette on screen, and a seamless transition means no color-banding during content. This is a great result.
Finally, the R520A's adherence to a single color temperature across its grayscale is iffy, but completely palatable. Darkening from peak white down to black, it tends to grow slightly warmer, from about 6800K towards the 6500K ideal—which is a good thing. It bottoms out during peak black production, but this is not visible to human eyes. Robots, don't buy this TV.
Like the eye of a needle
Horizontal viewing angle is an especially important test category for big TVs like this one. LCD panels typically don't look great during off-angle viewing, suffering from either contrast degradation or color shifting. The R520A is not the best choice for wall-mounting therefore—buyer beware.
We tested a total viewing angle of 39°, or ±19.50° from center to either side. This could be a problem if you're a family looking to stretch out around this big 60-inch display, but shouldn't be smaller parties of two or three people.
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