Sony has developed a habit in recent years of launching interim TVs; sort of 'v1.5' models tucked in between the main courses of its headline annual TV range launches.
The 40in KDL-40NX713 is one of these v1.5 TVs, turning up to inject some new life into Sony’s current LCD range while we tick off the months before the launch of the brand’s true next generation models.
With this in mind, we didn’t really expect many surprises from the 46NX713. But maybe because of our relatively low expectations, the set has actually ended up impressing us - and it’s even introduced a surprise or two along the way.
The 40NX713’s design gets things off to a great start. For it’s immediately apparent that the 40NX713 is twice as slim (at just 32mm) round the back as the original 40NX703. Couple this new-found slimness with a single-layer, glass-fronted black-edged fascia, and you’ve got a seriously stylish TV that delivers much more satisfyingly on the 'Monolithic' name Sony has attached to its latest TV fashion. You can also slot the set into Sony’s optional, ultra-stylish SU-B400S silver bar, within which you can tilt the TV back up to six degrees if you wish.
We haven’t tested one of these stands yet, though, and we’ve heard unconfirmed reports that the bar-style stands can muffle the sound produced by the speakers in the TV’s bottom edge. If anyone has experienced this - or, indeed, has had the opposite experience - please add your thoughts to the comments section.
With the 40NX713 set up on its standard, chunkier but still not unattractive 'standard' desktop mount, it also strikes us that the 40NX713’s bezel is much narrower than that of the 46NX703. Part of us actually liked the almost scary, indomitable presence of the larger Monolithic models, but with our sensible head on, the new, trimmer fascia is both sleeker and more practical, given the limited space of your typical UK living room.
Obviously, given the 40NX713’s slimness, wall-hanging is an attractive option. With this in mind, it’s nice to find that Sony has arranged the set’s connections so that you can access them from the TV’s sides, rather than from the rear.
The already very positive feelings raised by the 40NX713’s improved design increase as we tally up its connections. Its four HDMIs should keep pace with the demands of all but the most excessively ambitious home cinema fans, while multimedia duties are catered for by a USB port, a D-Sub PC port and a LAN socket.
The USB can play back video, photo or music files, as can the LAN socket from DLNA-enabled devices. Even better, the set carries built-in Wi-Fi, rather than forcing you to cough up for an optional external USB dongle. Actually, given the presence of just one USB port, it’s probably just as well that the Wi-Fi is built in.
The LAN port and Wi-Fi connections also provide support for future interactive services associated with an in-built Freeview HD tuner, and enable you to access Sony’s Bravia Internet Video (BIV) platform.
We’ll come back to BIV in a moment, but first there’s one more rather important connection to note: a 3D Sync terminal. This is there because the 40NX713 offers active shutter 3D playback as an optional upgrade.