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Sony KDL-40HX753 review

 Review: November 2012  
 

Rating: 3 stars

In a nutshell: This 40 inch TV from Sony looks the part, but suffers from unimpressive picture and sound quality.



 

Design & looks

One step down (and about £300) from Sony's HX853 flagship TV sits the 40 inch HX753.

The 40HX753 has a dramatic minimalist design with a glossy black frame and seamless edges. The flat expanse of screen with a chrome edging gives the TV a nice, contemporary look. The screen is reasonably slimline, measuring 46mm, and the adjustable easel stand lends the TV a light, spacious feel. It looks and feels like a quality product.

Picture quality

As we mentioned, the 40HX753 retails for about £300 less than the 40HX853, and unfortunately several of the cost savings are to be found in the display quality.

This is a Motionflow XR 400 Hz display, instead of the 800Hz display used in the flagship model. It also uses Sony's X-Reality processing engine instead of the PRO version although we couldn't see any difference in the way the two TVs process video, nor could we spot any signs of motion blur.

However, there are definitely problems with this TV. The big problem is that Sony's Dynamic Edge LED backlighting technology that does a great job of managing lighting levels in the HX853 series is missing, to be replaced by basic edge lighting plus a feature called "frame dimming". Dynamic Edge lighting varies the lighting levels locally in hundreds of zones around the screen, whereas with frame dimming the whole screen has the same intensity of lighting. What this means is that areas of the scene that should be black aren't. Contrast ratios nosedive and dark, dramatic scenes become cloudy and murky.

But it gets worse. The HX853's lovely OptiContrast panel has gone missing too, to be replaced by a cheap LCD panel with tight viewing angles. If you move just a few feet away from directly in front of the screen, whites and greys begin to turn grey, other colours change hue and very quickly the whole image is fading quite noticeably. It isn't what you'd expect from a TV at this price.

3D

Having said all that, 3D performance isn't at all bad. Or at least, 3D images are not worse than 2D. The TV uses active 3D technology, preserving full 1080p HD, and is free of any significant "ghosting" that sometimes spoils the 3D effect on cheaper TVs.

Our only criticism is that no glasses are included with the TV, and kitting out a family of four could easily add £100 to the overall cost.

Audio quality

As you might expect, having read this far, audio quality is also not on a par with the higher-end Sony models. "Average" is how we would rate this set, with vocals clear enough, but very little bass present, even with the S-Force surround effect turned on. In fact, this can have the effect of muffling voices rather than enhancing them. If you're serious about sound and enjoy watching movies, you should consider adding a sound bar or a home cinema system to best enjoy this TV. Of course, if you do that, you might as well spend more and buy the 40HX853.

Smart TV

Sony's Smart TV offering lets you connect to the internet so you can browse the web, catch up with facebook and twitter and stream movies and music to your TV.

You can add an optional camera and microphone if you'd like to use your TV for Skype calls over the internet.

Connectivity

There's nothing wrong with this TV when it comes to connectivity. It has the same range of options as the more expensive Sony TVs, with Wi-Fi, ethernet, 4 HDMIs, USB and plenty of other connections too.

A Freesat HD tuner is also included. The only thing missing is Freesat.

Conclusion - not the best

Shaving £300 off the cost of the flagship 40 inch TV sounds great on paper, but the reality is disappointing. The cost savings have gone too far, dragging picture quality too low. Whilst the TV certainly looks the part, and comes with Smart TV features and excellent connectivity, it fails the most important test - picture quality.

While we've certainly seen worse than this, we've seen better too. The Samsung UE40ES6710 for instance has equally good looks, significantly better picture quality and costs slightly less. No competition, really.


Sony KDL-40HX753 features include:

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