Sony KDL-40CX523 - Final thoughts

Score

Sections

Perhaps the most irritating flaw with the

40CX523’s pictures, though, is the appearance in the screen’s corners,

especially the upper corners, of some noticeable backlight bleeding. To be

fair, this is subtle enough to only be visible during predominantly dark scenes

that have some bright elements in them, or over the black bars if you’re

watching a 2.35:1-ratio film. But the bleeding light does occasionally

momentarily distract you from what you’re watching.

Sony KDL-40CX523 3

Before all this negativity starts to make you

feel too despondent, though, the 40CX523 has plenty of good things to counter

the problems. For a start, while there are issues with the 40CX523’s black

level response, the set is actually capable of getting pretty dark when it

needs to. In fact, the level of blackness the TV can achieve post calibration

rivals some of the best edge LED TVs, despite the fact that the 40CX523 is

illuminated by standard CCFL lighting.

Also notable about the 40CX523’s pictures is how

rich and bold their colours are. This helps images look dynamic and punchy, and

although some red and orange tones can look a bit ‘shouty’ in the TV’s

out-of-the-box state, most imbalances can be smoothed out by some

fairly minor adjustment of the TV’s basic colour tools.

HD sources look impressively sharp for such a

cheap TV, aside from when there’s a lot of motion going on, and perhaps most

pleasingly of all, the image looks engagingly direct, avoiding the processed

look we sometimes see with more expensive TVs that pack heavy duty video

processing systems.

Sony KDL-40CX523 4

The relatively straightforward route the pictures take from source to screen, especially using the TV’s Game preset, is probably responsible for the 40CX523’s good input lag performance, which we measured at a very respectable 35ms.

Keeping the good times rolling is the 40CX523’s

audio. For this is much more potent than we usually hear with entry level TVs,

with a pleasantly open tone, a modicum of bass, and amounts of treble detail

that are usually only heard on premium TVs. Push volume levels too high and the

TV’s plasticky bodywork starts to infect the audio with a slightly brittle

tone. But the fact that this is all we’ve got to complain about on a sub £650

40in TV speaks for itself.

Verdict

There are things about the 40CX523 that do their

best to irritate us – most notably its motion blur and slightly inconsistent

backlight. But overall, given its price, it’s the TV’s AV strengths and,

especially, its superb multimedia and online talents that linger most in the

mind.

Score in detail

  • Features 8
  • Value 8
  • Image Quality 8
  • Design 8
  • Sound Quality 7

Features

Size (Inch) 40in
Display Type LCD
Max. Resolution 1920 x 1080
Full HD 1080p Yes
Digital Tuner Yes
Freeview HD Yes
Freesat HD No
3D Ready No
Contrast Ratio 'High'
Refresh Rate (Hertz) 50Hz

Connectivity

HDMI 4
Component 1
Composite 1
Scart 1 (RGB)
Digital Audio Out 1 (optical)
Headphone 1
Charging/Computer Connection 2 (2.0)
Ethernet 1
WiFi Optional via USB dongle

Physical Specifications

Height (Millimeter) 606mm
Width (Millimeter) 991mm
Depth (Millimeter) 71mm
Weight (Gram) 12.9g
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