The Sony Bravia KDL-52Z5100 and the Sony Bravia KDL-52XBR9 are two of Sony's top models for 2009, which is why you might want to consider taking home one of them to be the new centerpiece of your living room. Both models seem identical, though, so which one is the better model?
To answer this question, let's start with comparing their designs. At first glance, the two may appear alike but take a closer look and you will find some small yet noticeable differences. To be specific, while both have stylish, thin frames, the frame of the KDL-52XBR9 is the same width on all sides, while the frame of the KDL-52Z5100 is slightly thicker at the bottom, where you will see a glimpse of its dual speakers. On the other hand, the (four) speakers of the KDL-52XBR9 are invisible, making it look more attractive.
There is also a difference in the lighting used by both models, although this is not discernible to most. While both use fluorescent lighting and not the LED lighting that many look for in LCD HDTVs, the KDL-52XBR9 uses WCG-CCFL as opposed to the plain CCFL used by the KDL-52Z5100, which means it has a slightly wider color gamut. The KDL-52XBR9 is equipped with the Sony's Live Color Creation technology, too, which produces deeper red and green shades and more accurate and vibrant colors overall, resulting in images that burst to life on your screen.
Apart from these and the fact that the KDL-52XBR9 has a dynamic contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 compared to the 100,000:1 ratio of the KDL-52Z5100, the picture quality offered by the KDL-52Z5100 and the KDL-52XBR9 are basically the same. In fact, everything else is. They both produce excellent images, though not necessarily awesome, and are equipped with the Sony Motionflow 240Hz technology to prevent blurring during fast-action sequences.
Both also share the same interactive features, namely Yahoo widgets to keep you posted on the latest weather, news and stock market updates, built-in video streaming capability, which means you can watch your favorite online videos from Amazon on Demand or YouTube and other providers without having to buy the Bravia Internet Video Link, and enhanced DLNA compliance, allowing you to stream picture, music and video files stored on the other computers in your network.
Even in terms of energy consumption, both the Sony Bravia KDL-52Z5100 and the KDL-52XBR9 are at par, exceeding Energy Star 3.0 standards with an option to cut down energy consumption by limiting the peak brightness of the screen with just two steps, a room-lighting sensor to adjust screen brightness, a mode that lets you turn off the screen when listening to music and a mode that automatically turns of the TV when not in use.
The connectivity suite of each model is impressive, too, with three HDMI inputs on the side panel for easy access, along with the USB port and VGA input, and another one at the rear, with the component video connections and most of the audio connections for both analog and digital devices.
So which one should you get? If you want to have a more stylish HDTV with deeper blacks and slightly better picture quality, the KDL-52XBR9 is the obvious choice, but keep in mind that the Sony Bravia KDL-52Z5100 is just as good in most aspects and yet not as expensive.