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Sony KDL-40HX853 review

 Review: November 2012  

Rating: 5 stars

In a nutshell: A stunning design, excellent picture quality and sound, outstanding 3D performance and smart functionality makes this one of the very best 40 inch TVs available.


Design & looks

Sony understands that a modern flatscreen TV is a piece of furniture as well as an entertainment system. The flagship HX853 is the kind of furniture any home would be proud to have. A minimalist design with a flat expanse of protective Gorilla Glass is the first thing you see. Then you notice the solid integrated base and soundbar. Study it more closely and you'll appreciate the high-quality finish with brushed aluminium trim. And finally you'll marvel at the thinness of the thing.

It may not be quite the thinnest TV on the market, but it's probably the one with most presence. Even before you switch it on, you can reassure yourself that you've spent your money wisely.

Picture quality

It's quite possible that this TV also has the best picture quality of any 40 inch TV currently available.

Sony's Dynamic Edge LED backlighting technology does an excellent job of mimicking full-array LED backlighting, so it has control over local dimming of the backlighting. Hence, whites stay white and blacks stay dark, with little sign of the cloudiness that befuddles less capable LED televisions. It's not 100% perfect, but it's a match for anything that the likes of Samsung can throw at it.

The OptiContrast panel is a revelation too, delivering contrast ratios and viewing angles that are very respectable for an LCD-based screen, so even if you sit a few feet off-centre you won't notice any significant deterioration in colours - a problem for Samsung's Series 8 TV.

Motion is extremely fluid, thanks to the Sony X-Reality PRO processing engine combined with the very fast 200Hz response rate of the panel. Sony rates the overall effective response rate at 800Hz, which is phenomenal for LED technology. You shouldn't ever see any kind of motion blurring on this TV, whatever you watch.


3D performance is at least as impressive as 2D picture quality. The TV uses active shutter glasses, which guarantee that you get full 1080p HD resolution. The 3D image is one of the cleanest we've seen, thanks mainly to the ultra-fast Motionflow XR 800 Hz response.

Audio quality

With a flagship TV you expect superior audio quality, and the 40HX853 doesn't disappoint. While most rival TVs rely on slimline speakers embedded in the flatscreen itself, here the speakers are placed in the integrated stand/soundbar. With 50% more power available and the optional S-Force surround effect, this is a system that sounds much bigger than rival televisions, with superior performance across low- and mid-frequencies.

Sound effects in movies are much more vivid, and dialogue is crisp and clear. You'd still benefit from hooking up a full 5.1 sound system if you enjoy watching a lot of action films, but for normal viewing, this is a perfectly adequate sound system. Top marks!

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 is an oft-overlooked factor when choosing a TV, but get this wrong and you'll end up struggling to connect your devices and feeling more than a little foolish. Fortunately, you should have no problems here. Both Wi-Fi and ethernet are available for connecting to the internet. Sony have very generously provided a total of 4 HDMI connections, so you can link up practically any device you could think of. There are also SCART, component, composite and an array of audio connections too. A USB port completes the package.

A Freesat HD tuner is built in. The only thing missing is Freesat.

Conclusion - a stunner

It looks like Sony is still top of its game when it comes to flatscreen LED technology. This is quite possibly the best 40 inch TV you can currently buy, especially since there are no plasmas in this size.

For starters, the design is quite special, with a combination of looks and quality that makes it stand out from the crowd. And the picture quality is a match, with ultra-rapid responses, good contrast and a respectable viewing angle. 3D performance is exemplary.

The icing on the cake is the superior audio quality, and Sony hasn't missed any tricks when it comes to Smart TV and connectivity either. In short, this is one of the best performing 40 inch TVs in every category, and we have no hesitation in recommending it.

Sony KDL-40HX853 features include:

User questions

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Being a bit hard of hearing, is there a sound bar or accessory that will improve the audio?

Asked by A G from UK on 24th Aug 2017
e.g. sometimnes difficult to hear verbal in films etc, so using sub-titles whenever posssible. Worse if the producer's 'added' background sound blocks the words of actors.

Reply by S21 from UK on 24th Aug 2017
Most soundbars should be compatible with this TV and will improve the audio experience. You'll just need to check whether you can use a HDMI cable with Audio Return Channel (ARC), or an optical audio output. A retailer should be able to advise you.

Sony KDL-40HX853 user reviews

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Reviewed by Linda from United Kingdom on 23rd Sep 2013
I have always purchased Sony televisions. The Hx853 does not disappoint. Everything about it is impressive great picture, design and the 3d feature

I have had this television since March 2013 and constantly glued to it. Looks impressive off as well as on . Much nicer design than the W series

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