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Sony KDL-40R473A review

 Review: November 2013  
 

Last updated December 2013

Rating: 2 stars

In a nutshell: The entry-level Sony KDL-40R473A is a stylish 40 inch LED TV at a very attractive price. But the poor picture quality, audio quality and connectivity make it a poor choice.



 

Design & looks

The entire range of Sony TVs for 2013 uses the same "Sense of Quartz" design language, so even this base model in the range looks high-end, sharing many of the stylistic features that make the W6 and W9 models so attractive.

The look is smart and understated, with a narrow black bezel surrounding the screen. The aluminium stand is not the circular design used for the more expensive models, but apart from that, when viewed from the front the R473 looks very much like a premium product.

View it from the side though and you'll see that unlike the razor-thin expensive models, the R473 is really quite thick, with the lower half protruding quite significantly. It's an odd look and could be a problem if you plan to hang this screen on the wall.

Overall we like the way the R473 looks, although we miss the circular rotating stand of the W8/W9 models. It certainly doesn't look like a budget model.

Picture quality

The reason for the bulge at the back is that the R473A uses direct LED backlighting, as opposed to the edge lighting used in the more expensive models. One advantage of the direct backlighting is that screen uniformity is very high, unlike edgelit screens that sometimes show noticeable lighting variations across the screen.

Black levels are quite reasonable for such an inexpensive TV, thanks to the use of a PVA panel. However, the dynamic contrast is poor, with a lack of shadow detail. Colour reproduction is also poor, and with few menu settings available to modify the picture, nothing can be done about this.

Viewing angles can often be poor in PVA screens, with the colours fading as you move your head a few feet off-centre, but this is no worse for this TV than in other LED TVs with PVA panels, like most Samsungs, for example.

Motion resolution is another problem. The TV is rated at 100Hz, which is the norm for sub-£400 TVs, but here the input lag is high when gaming and motion blur is more visible than it should be.

Overall, the picture quality is poor.

Audio quality

Audio quality of the TV is also below average. The spec of the sound system has been cut right back, so the speakers have a maximum power output of 8W instead of 10W in the more expensive models, and the surround sound feature is missing too.

The result is flat audio, with little bass and not much sparkle in the higher frequencies either. If all you watch is soaps and reality shows, you might not notice, but for anything more exciting, the lack of punch from the speakers will disappoint.

You can remedy the situation by buying a soundbar, but that will of course push the total cost up.

Connectivity

Connectivity is very limited in this model. There's no Smart TV and therefore no ethernet or Wi-Fi connection. You get just 2 HDMI ports (quickly used up by a set-top box and DVD/Blu-Ray player, leaving no option to connect a games console.) There are SCART and component connections for connecting to older equipment and an optical digital audio output for hooking up to a speaker system. You also get a single USB port.

The TV is supplied with a standard remote control.

Conclusion

The price is attractive, at around £400, making this one of the cheapest 40 inch TVs on the market, but have there been just too many cuts? We think the answer is yes.

While the TV has fantastic looks, everything starts to go wrong as soon as you switch it on. Picture quality is compromised in many ways, and audio quality is equally unsatisfying. The connectivity is also limited to the point where it can become a read headache. Frankly, if it weren't for the designer looks of the R473, we'd have given it just 2 stars.

At this budget price point, compromise is inevitable, and this is one of the cheapest 40 inch televisions available. But the questions you should ask yourself are - should I instead opt for a 32 inch screen with better performance, like the excellent Panasonic TX-L32E6B, or instead spend another £100 on the far superior Sony KDL-42W653A?


Sony KDL-40R473A features include:

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Average rating from 6 reviews:

Reviewed by Tom McKey from UK on 7th Aug 2015
I wished I could have read these reviews before I bought this thing- though I thought I got a good deal from Tesco- the TV with a playstation 3 for 400.
Picture is not bad in HD but all SD channels from VirginMedia are almost unwatchable and just as bad with the freeview channels on a roof arial
As others have stated any motion/panning and the picture pixilates and looks blocky.
Really I'm VERY dissapointed , I mean this is 2015 and picture is worse than 1969 on analogue - what is going on ? Sony should be sued for producing this.

PS Great site btw.
Rating:

Reviewed by smab from united kingdom on 6th Feb 2015
Had my Kdl40 over a year now and purchased it for 399.00 Picture quality is ok better than most on the market for the same price. Sound is decent. Only problem I have with it is connectivity. and forget plugging a USB HDD into it to watch DivX, MKV etc...........otherwise got what I paid for at the time, should have chucked a couple more coin on it and got a better one with NFC.
Rating:

Reviewed by Adil from Kazakhstan on 28th Dec 2014
Quality of picture is still way better than Samsung's 3D mid-range TV-sets for double price.
Rating:

Reviewed by Norman from Ireland on 29th Oct 2014
I have my sony 8mounths now and think it s great shop tuend in my television and away I went happy ever after 40r473a.
Rating:

Reviewed by Stanley from Slovakia on 26th Oct 2014
This TV has very good picture in HD, contrast, backlight and colors are stunning, however SD picture quality in older movies and dark scenes is horrible - big squares all over!!. I returned it back to seller. I do not recommend.
Rating:

Reviewed by Robbie Emerson from gb on 5th May 2014
V disappointed with this sony which I always have been a fan off.picture aweful and sound to match...sorry I bought it. Forever playing with the brightness and contrast and now given in ...have to admit sony gets no points for this miserable effort....
Rating:


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