Sony KDL40EX720 Review
Description: 40" LED backlit LCD TV with 3D Capability, 240Hz, Internet Options
Power Consumption: 122W
This review also applies to models: EX723 and EX729
Reviewer: Robert Wiley
- Good 3D performance
- Aesthetic Design Appeal
- 1.62" Deep
- Deep Black Levels
- Included WiFi
- Full Internet Browser for Search
- Clean detailed image edges
- 120Hz Motionflow
- Strong Input selection
- Internet options
- Cinemotion removes natural background blur
- Bravia 3 Video processor testing not positive
- Side Angle viewing limited
- Irregular screen uniformity introduced by LED backlighting
- Motion judder and blur in fast motion and panning scenes
- Poor Audio quality and volume
- Remote Control not backlit
- No Picture Menu adjustment for Internet Programming
Black levels are strong, even with 480i source material.
Picture Quality Rating (HD): 7/10
It's difficult to under perform with an HD picture signal these days. The Sony EX720 series is not exceptional in HD picture quality. The screen is hazy as there is an overlay or built in anti glare technology that seems to film over everything viewed. It hearkens back to older LCD TV screens we've seen in the past and displays many of the same weaknesses. For instance, when there is a light source from anywhere in the background, detail in dark areas of the picture are all but lost. As we commented on the excellent power consumption of the TV, we wondered if perhaps Sony would do better to ramp up light throughput more to better saturate color and improve shadow detail. Turning Brightness up to improve shadow detail only produces even more of a hazy effect on the picture. Black levels can appear inky, but they dont seem to make much difference in the contrast due to the nature of the screen filter. Though there is inherent anti glare screen technology built in, any light in the background produced a lot of glare – especially in darker scenes.
Overall, we were underwhelmed by the HD picture although it will look very nice in a darkly lit controlled light environment. That's the environment for which we recommend this TV. Otherwise, you may need to go to the Standard or Vivid picture settings and thus introduce false edges and untrue color. If you do end up using Standard or Vivid settings, be sure to turn off the Motionflow and Cinemotion features which deplete natural motion blur and give a soap opera type appearance to images. Color in HD is not oversaturated and is realistic which we like. Viewing angle contrast degradation is a left over problem from last year as noted below. The clear coat screens that are prevalently being produced for both LED and plasma technology are not only better overall, but come with less negative attributes.
Picture Quality Rating (Non-HD): 7/10
Features Rating: 8.5/10
The Bravia Internet Video home page.
Internet Options: Sony's Internet options are progressing, though they are not as user friendly as some we've tested. One must download the Internet content upon setup. The EX720 contains Netflix, Crackle, Qriocity, Pandora, Hulu Plus, among many others. We would rate the Internet Suite on the EX720 as average.
Aesthetic Considerations: I'm a big fan of the appearance of this TV. It has a piano black satin finish rather than high gloss which looks refined and expensive. The framing bezel is only an inch thick and the bottom of the panel remains minimalistic and does not have the gray strip from last year. The EX720 is only 1.68" deep and that includes a small flange that sticks out from the back bottom. 95% of the TV is only 1" in depth. The accompanying table stand is heavy, solid and well constructed and requires some light but easy assembly. This stand swivels to 20 degrees side to side and also allows for slight angle adjustment of 6 degrees. Sony gets great marks in this category.
Value Rating: 8/10
The Sony KDL-40EX720 produces lots of interesting questions regarding value. Certainly the $999 price tag is reasonable for a 40 inch, 3D Compatible TV with 240Hz rate, a good Internet Suite, and exceptional good looks. The 3D glasses are not included. The 3D Starter kit from Sony which includes 2 sets of active shutter glasses, an unneeded 3D transmitter, and the 3D Blu Ray of Alice in Wonderland costs around $399. And dont forget the 3D Blu Ray player which will run you another $179. Even if you choose to forgo 3D for the time being, this TV future proofs you for it. I like that option at this price. The picture quality leaves something to be desired in both HD and Standard definition. That said, this is not Sony's premium TV with the highest end processing and picture quality performance. Sound performance also disappointed. Competition is from Samsung's UN40D6400 and UN40D6500 as well as upcoming LG and Sharp models yet to arrive.
Overall Rating: 7.8/10