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Sony Bravia KDL-40NX713 - A Mostly Strong Performance
Achieving the best settings for black level response on the 40NX713 does cause a little greyscale subtlety and shadow detail to slip into the blackness, but not so badly to really cause alarm. Rather more aggravating is the speed with which the image loses contrast once you move beyond a viewing angle of 30 degrees - though of course, the 40NX713 is hardly alone in this respect.
Some people might find the 40NX713’s picture a touch muted post calibration. But actually, once we’d grown accustomed to it, this struck us rather as a strength than a weakness. For while many edge LED screens mistake gaudiness for attractiveness, the 40NX713 seems built with a rather more cinematic sensibility. We’ve already seen how the relatively 'reined in' picture helps produce good black levels, but it also helps colours enjoy a naturalism of tone and subtle richness that makes long-term viewing soothing and immersive.
Another benefit of the 40NX713’s relatively gentle approach can be seen with standard definition pictures. They are upscaled cleanly, without forcing detail too much, and without losing colour tone credibility. The clean look to standard definition also makes us suddenly realise that the screen has a very respectable native response time. What residual blur and judder remains can generally be removed with the MotionFlow processing, though this can generate minor unwanted side effects, so only use it with caution.
Turning next to the 40NX713’s optional 3D capabilities, they’re good rather than great. On the plus side, full HD 3D images from Blu-ray look superbly detailed and crisp, as well as benefiting from an excellent contrast by LCD standards. Colours look quite natural too, and retain this naturalism even during dark scenes - something even Panasonic’s otherwise excellent 3D plasmas can struggle with.
However, the 40NX713’s 3D images are also prone to our old nemesis, crosstalk. There is definite evidence of double ghosting around some elements of most 3D scenes, which can become seriously distracting once you start to notice it.
The 40NX713 certainly isn’t the worst offender in this regard, but nor is it the best. Another lesser issue concerns the quite substantial hit the 3D image’s brightness takes when you don Sony’s active shutter glasses - a slightly negative result of the otherwise likeable sedate quality of the set’s general picture tone.
Overall, the 40NX713’s pictures class as excellent with 2D provided you’re after a fairly cinematic picture rather than a particularly in-your-face one. With 3D it rates as fair to good.
The sound accompanying these generally pleasing pictures is pretty good too. Certainly there’s more depth, openness and clarity to the soundstage than we commonly find with sub-50mm TVs, even if bass levels are hardly going to shake your foundations.
Considered first and foremost as a 2D TV - which is, after all, how it sells in its 'native' state - the 40NX713 is a really fine option for a relatively discerning viewer. The price of under £700 we’ve found online makes it great value too.
Crosstalk issues make it a more compromised 3D performer if you decide you want to upgrade it. It’s still not a bad effort, but if 3D is really important to you, you might be better waiting for Sony’s true next-generation 3D panels to start coming through in a couple of months.