It's a relief, too, after our disappointing recent experience with Sony's entry-level Bravia KDL-37S5500, to see that the KDL-46W5500's impressive sharpness isn't badly affected by motion blur. The 100Hz engine does a very respectable job of reducing judder, too, bolstering the image's sharpness even further.
With Bravia Engine 3 also doing a tidy job of upscaling standard-definition material to the screen's 1080p pixel count, the KDL-46W5500 really is a terrific picture performer.
The picture quality isn't quite perfect, though. Firstly, really dark scenes occasionally show up some very slight backlight-level inconsistencies. Also, the 100Hz system sporadically spits out an unwanted side effect, such as flicker or edge twitch. But that's about it for the bad stuff, and it really isn't very bad at all.
The KDL-46W5500's sound isn't quite as excellent as its pictures, but it's powerful enough to always sound clear and free of distortion, even during action scenes. Also, vocals sound natural and there's no shortage of treble details. All that's missing is more rumble depth at the low end of the audio spectrum.
Sony's Z5500 and X4500 ranges are undoubtedly talented, but they're also rather expensive -- intimidatingly so in the case of the X4500 series. It's a relief, then, that the relatively affordable Bravia KDL-46W5500 is both an excellent performer and full of genuinely useful features. Really, the only weak link is Sony's AppliCast online system, but there's always the potential for that to be improved in the coming weeks and months.
Edited by Charles Kloet