|DESIGN||SPECIFICATIONS||PICTURE QUALITY||SOUND QUALITY||SMART FEATURES|
The Sony XBR55A1E Smart Features runs Android TV, which is a bit more difficult to navigate than other smart platforms but also has access to the Google Play Store, which has more apps than many other platforms.
The ‘Action Menu’ button on the remote helps to relieve the navigation problem by providing a quick list of common settings so the user doesn’t have to navigate to the main settings app. The remote also has a microphone for voice search so content can be brought up directly, again without needing to navigate the interface.
- Ease of Use : Average
- Smoothness : Not Smooth
- Time Taken to Select YouTube : 4 s
- Time Taken to Change Backlight : 7 s
- Advanced Options : Many
There are no ads in the TV’s main interface, though third party apps can still have ads. There is an option to opt out of personalized advertising for these ads.
The first row of the home screen is filled with suggested content. It is possible to disable all sources of suggested content until all that remains is a line saying “No recommendations available at this time”. However after the TV is restarted some previously unlisted suggested content sources may appear, so the process of disabling sources must be repeated multiple times.
- Ads : No
- Opt-out : N/A
- Suggested Content in Home : Yes
- Opt-out of Suggested Content : Yes
Apps and Features
Most of the popular apps come preinstalled, such as Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Video. Many more apps can be downloaded from the included Google Play Store.
The remote is rather large with a dizzying array of buttons. Fortunately most commonly used buttons are clustered around the central navigation pad so they are within easy reach, except the input and power buttons which are at the top. Also at the top is the microphone button for voice search, which uses the microphone built into the remote.
Update 12/11/2017: Google Assistant has now been added to Android TV on Sony TVs, and it brings a lot of new features to the voice control: commands like ‘open Netflix’, ‘switch to HDMI 1’, ‘pause video’, ‘how’s the weather’ and ‘turn off TV’ all work well, though commands to change picture settings like ‘set the brightness to 20’ and ‘switch to Game mode’ don’t work. The remote score has been increased to reflect the new fuctionality.