Pros Pros: It sounds great
Pretty easy to use
It has a lot of inputs
Network connectivity is solid
Detects and switches formats quickly
Cons Cons: No smartphone control for this receiver
No on-screen volume display on my receiver (when not in the GUI)
Summary I am not going to cover all the inputs or specs here; you can look all that up and decide if they meet your needs or not. I want to talk more about my experience using the receiver.
In the past I have had Yamaha and Onkyo receivers. My Yamaha HTR-5280 receiver was from before receivers had HDMI. I have kept the same Aperion Audio 5.1 speaker setup in use ever since. Up until now the Yamaha was the receiver that produced the best sound in my opinion. None of my Onkyo (TX-SR705, HT-RC260, and TX-NR709) receivers have sounded as good, they didn't sound bad, they just didn't have the same sound to me. This Sony receiver has me really impressed with how it sounds and I think it sounds as good as or possibly better than my Yamaha. I like it a lot.
I have used auto calibration on all my Onkyo receivers using Audessey and they go through a lot of steps to calibrate. The Sony was quick and used some nicer sounding tones to auto calibrate. For all the steps that the Onkyo receivers made me go through I think the Sony sounds better with its quicker calibration. All my Onkyo receivers needed a boost in the center to hear voices well. This wasn't the case with the Sony.
All of the sources that I use now are HDMI. One thing that I didn't like about the Onkyo receivers was the slow startup and detection of HDMI sources. This receiver is much quicker. When the format from a source changes you will see the screen on the receiver show what it detected and is playing now.
I have a Marantz receiver that I am also reviewing right now and it, like all the other receivers that I have had do not have very good GUI interfaces. This Sony receiver is miles ahead of the others. It feels much quicker to respond, the layout is better, things are easier to see and read, just all over better. I am not saying it is perfect but after suffering through the others it is nice. There is still room for improvement though. I think the receiver's network app interfaces could use some brushing up as they aren't the best but they do work. When you are in the receiver's main menus and settings they display on the TV. However I don't see any overlay on the current picture when adjusting settings or volume. I am not sure if this was a decision to preserve picture quality or something else but be aware if that if you have the receiver someplace where you can't see it.
When it came to network and phone connectivity I didn't have any problems connecting a MHL cable or using Bluetooth on my Galaxy Nexus. The receiver has Wi-Fi and I used it. I had no problems connecting to my router and I haven't had any random network disconnects. So far it seems pretty solid. I have a Sony Music Unlimited Premium subscription and was able to use it with the app on the receiver. The receiver was able to find my Plex server and play music from it. I was also able to control the receiver using my phone with the Sony TV SideView app. A tip for registering the device and app together is to hit Home Network on the remote then the Options button and then scroll to find and select device registration. It took me a few minutes to figure that out. I also updated the firmware without a problem. It takes a little while but didn't seem to take as long as my Onkyo receivers did; they all take a long time to update.
Overall I think this receiver is great. There isn't anything about it that really annoys me. I think it sounds great. There are a lot of ways to get music content to it. It is pretty easy to use. It has a lot of inputs. The network connectivity is solid. It detects and switches formats quickly. Just about everything seems to come together and work well with this receiver and I think that it is going to have a home here for quite some time.
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Hope it helps, good luck!
Pros The standout feature is definitely the networking aspect - BlueTooth, AirPlay, and WiFi makes this thing so convenient to use with ALL of my devices that it is simply heaven. The 8 HDMI inputs, MHL, and USB are just frosting on the top of the cake.
Cons Only one issue so far and that is the sometimes jarring noise it makes when starting up - sounds as if it is trying to suck up all the electricity in the house. Well, that is a bit of an overstatement, but it is surprising.
Summary Previously I've had a high end Yamaha, high end Sony, and a mid-market Onkyo - the Yamaha and Sony were impressive, but the Onkyo began to fail after only 2.5 years of use, so it is nice to return to Sony at a lower price point, but seemingly with no loss of quality.
The tight integration with my mobile devices and PC makes this receiver perfect for me and my networked family and the sound is definitely worth it. I love being able to turn it on (or off) and control it from anywhere around the house and anyone in the household can immediately stream their own music to it easily.
Add in the 4K upscaling, 4K/3D pass-through, and other features and you would be hard pressed to find a better buy.
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