Sony's Bravia KDL-40NX713 is sort of a halfway house between the company's older line-up of 2D TVs and its new range of 3D models, due to launch soon. It's sold primarily as a 2D set, but it can be upgraded by purchasing an infrared transmitter and some 3D glasses.
This 40-inch, 1080p, LED-illuminated LCD TV is available for around £800, with the 3D transmitter costing an extra £50 and each pair of glasses setting you back about £100 each.
Big black box
There's little to fault when it comes to this TV's design. Thanks to its LED backlight, it's super-slim, measuring a mere 32mm deep, but it's the seamless layer of glass on the front of the TV that really impresses. It gives the set a sleek and modern appearance.
Sony has evenly split the arrangement of the four HDMI ports between the rear and one side of the set. Alongside these, you'll find the usual VGA, component and Scart sockets. The Scart connection requires you to use a small adaptor cable -- something that's becoming increasingly common on today's slim-line TVs.
Unusually, as well as a USB port and Ethernet socket, the TV has Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can connect it to your home network without the need to run any cables to the set.
The KDL-40NX713 can play back a range of different media formats, including JPEGs, MP3s and DviX files. We found it wouldn't play ball with MKV files, though, which is annoying, as this format is now supported on many other sets.
Along with the media-playback features, the TV also includes a pretty comprehensive line-up of Internet services, including BBC iPlayer, LoveFilm, Demand Five and Sony's own Qriocity movie- and music-subscription services. There are widgets for services like Twitter and Picasa too, so the set's Internet line-up is among the best you'll find on the current generation of TVs.
As you'd expect from a set in this price range, the TV has a Freeview HD tuner, giving you access to the various hi-def channels from the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV. The electronic programme guide is also one of the better ones around -- it's well laid out and includes a thumbnail view of the currently selected channel in the top left-hand corner.
Not half bright
The LED-backlit panel relies on Sony's Bravia Engine and Motionflow 100Hz systems for picture processing. As with most LED sets, the KDL-40NX713's screen is very bright, which helps to make its pictures look really dynamic. The backlight is also impressively consistent across the display, so you don't get the blotchiness you see on some LED models.
The TV's black levels are very impressive too. Combined with the set's ability to show plenty of detail, this helps its pictures to achieve real finesse, especially when you're watching movies on Blu-ray.
The TV's no slouch when it comes to standard-definition channels or DVDs, either. It manages to upscale these sources without making them look smeary or over-processed.
If you want to watch 3D content, you'll need to plug the infrared transmitter into the back of the set, and then either perch it on top of the TV or between the stand and the bottom of the panel. We're not big fans of these external infrared transmitters -- they always look rather messy. It's much better to have them built into the chassis.
The KDL-40NX713's 3D performance is below-par, anyway. There's a fair amount of crosstalk in its 3D images, which manifests itself as ghosting or double edges on objects. This occurs in the middle, as well as far, distance, so it can be quite distracting over the course of a movie. The glasses are also heavy and bulky.
On the plus side, 3D images remain relatively bright and punchy, despite the dimming effect of the glasses. Still, if 3D's important to you, there are much more capable TVs out there for a similar price.
The Sony Bravia KDL-40NX713 is being sold primarily as a 2D TV. Judged on that front, it's a good option. Its pictures have a quality to them that you don't come across all that often, and its Internet features are class-leading too. Just don't buy it for its 3D capability.
Edited by Charles Kloet