Sony BRAVIA KDL-40EX720
Great picture quality and colour representation; snappy looks
No built-in Wi-Fi; troubling browser interface
Sony’s days at the top of the TV food chain may, for the moment, be behind it thanks to vicious competition from the likes of Samsung, but the company’s still in the business of making top-notch tellies.
Like many of the latest generation of TVs, the BRAVIA KDL-40EX720 hangs its reputation on being a ‘smart’ device, with a built-in web browser, Sony Internet TV and social media integration for Facebook, Skype and Twitter. It also offers access to Qriocity, Gracenote and great free-to-air catch-up services from ABC, SBS and Yahoo 7.
While online content has redefined the way we consume entertainment, connected TVs have been a little slower to catch up.
Sure, the ability to browse the web or access online content is a welcome one, but the BRAVIA’s interface – namely, the numeric remote control – makes the experience a slow, painful one.
Another barrier to a truly connected television is the fact the KDL-40EX720 won’t connect to the net out of the box. Unlike many other Sony products, the BRAVIA requires either a wireless dongle or an unsightly Ethernet cable to get online.
Its lack of built-in Wi-Fi is a shame, particularly considering the Sony offers fairly comprehensive coverage for its wired options: four HDMI ports; two USB 2.0 ports; an Ethernet connection; and composite video, component and HD15 PC inputs.
The Full-HD 1080p screen is powered by an Edge LED backlight that, unlike last year’s NX models, doesn’t seem to suffer from backlight bleeds or weird spotting. The picture’s sharp and bright, with no observable motion lag or ghosting.
I always admire Sony’s approach to colour, too, which seems to value accurate tones over eye- bleeding saturation. The 3D viewing capabilities have been included in this model, which you’re free to use if you can find anything to watch.
Perhaps most pleasing is the TV’s understated design – it’s a slender panel, executed with minimal fuss. It’s the kind of spare black plinth that’s just as appealing turned off as it is on – an important function now LCD screens are dwarfing the houses we live in.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice
This more affordable entry in Sony’s BRAVIA line-up can rightly claim top picture quality, smart looks and broad connectivity, but its online offerings leave a little to be desired.