The mid-range can be a dark and dreary place for any product, let alone a TV.

Without the bells and whistles of a flagship or an attention-grabbingly affordable price tag, how are you going to generate excitement?

If you’re the Sony KD-65XF9005 (sweet name, bro), you generate excitement by bringing flagship features within the reach of those of us who don’t have a property portfolio. Features such as a direct LED backlight similar to that of the vastly more expensive Samsung Q9FN.

Or the X1 Extreme engine that was previously only available on Sony’s top-end models and brings with it fancy processing features such as the 4K X-Reality Pro upscaling engine and new X-Motion Clarity motion handling.

Translated into English, what we’ve got here is a TV that offers many of Sony’s most advanced features at a cut-down price. We’re not saying £2300 is chump change but, as you’re about to find out, in the case of the XF9005 it is exceptionally good value.

Design and sound: looks smart, sounds smart

We’ve been putting it off until now but the moment has come to tackle the question on everyone’s lips: just what is going on with those ridiculous feet? Odd, aren’t they? The splayed feet of a penguin with a preposterously wide, George Osborne-like stance (look it up if you can’t remember).

There is, thankfully, a reason for the design: the angle and distance between the feet are designed to accommodate Sony’s new HT-FX9000 soundbar, the addition of which presumably makes the whole thing look a lot less daft, but that doesn’t seem reason enough for one of the most awkward TV designs of recent memory.

The feet do at least feature simple but effective channels for your cables, and the TV’s bezel is stylishly slim and on-trend with its brushed aluminium finish. The TV itself isn’t super-slim, especially in comparison to a recent OLED, but it’s equally not thick enough to be at all off-putting.

Make no mistake - this is a good-looking set. It sounds pretty good, too, particularly given the lack of visible speakers. It’s rather bass-light, which is a problem for action movies and the like, but the audio is otherwise direct, clear and detailed, particularly where voices are concerned.

Of course, the quality of the picture really needs audio to match, and you’ll want to add at least a soundbar to get that. We can’t vouch for the aforementioned Sony model as we haven’t yet reviewed it, but in the meantime we’d recommend the Yamaha YAS-207 as a starting point.

Features: all the apps in a disappointing package

Sony has decided to stick with Android TV as its operating system for another year, and that’s both a good and bad thing.

On the positive side, the depth and breadth of apps on board is superb. Netflix and Amazon in 4K HDR, every major UK catch-up service, Google Play Movies & TV, PlayStation Video and Rakuten for pay-as-you-go blockbusters, and Deezer and Spotify for music - you’re certainly not going to run out of things to do with your new TV.

On the negative side, Android TV can be a real pig to use. At times it’s almost unbearably slow, responding to your commands only after you’ve lost patience and issued another, resulting in the TV finally responding to everything at once and doing something far different to what was intended.

That fancy X1 Extreme processor appears to be no match for the poorly optimised operating system. Perhaps the upgrade from Android 7.0 to 8.0 will help - Sony’s promised it’s coming but not given a date.

Sony KD-65XF9005 verdict

But the performance of the Sony and this price makes it worth putting up with Android TV’s irritations. For the money it’s an exceptional TV, giving you a fairly flagship experience with a hefty discount.

If you want a piece of what the stunning Samsung Q9FN offers but can’t stomach the nearly four grand price tag, this Sony is the telly to get.

Stuff says... 

Sony KD-65XF9005 review

At this price, the XF9005 is an absolutely stunning TV with flagship touches
Good Stuff 
Really bright and punchy
Great detail, particularly in the brightest and darkest areas
Vibrant but natural colours
Apps, apps and more apps
Clear sound
Bad Stuff 
Bass-light audio
Android TV is still pretty horrible to use