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Sony Bravia KDL-40NX803 review

John Archer



  • Recommended by TR
Sony Bravia KDL-40NX803


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Review Price £869.00

Is it just us, or is Sony’s TV model numbering system this year unbelievably confusing? We’ve actually had the brand’s 40in KDL-40NX803 sat in our stock room for two or three weeks now, but haven’t looked at it before because we thought we’d already tested it!

Only when we started thinking about sending it back to Sony did we cross-check our records and find that while we’d looked at the 40HX703, the 40HX803, the 40EX503 and the 46NX703 (!), we hadn’t actually got stuck into the 40NX803. So here we are.

So where exactly does the 40NX803 sit in Sony’s range, then? Well, the N part of its name shows that it sits within the Network section - which is roughly in the middle of Sony’s range as a whole. So there’s no 3D playback. But there is a startlingly full suite of multimedia options (which we’ll come back to in a moment), as well as Sony’s appealing monolithic design.

This finds the set sporting a single-layer, ultra-glossy fascia, with a glinting black bezel and luminous Sony logo. It can also be used in Sony’s seriously stylish but sadly optional extra silver bar-style stand, complete with integrated speakers and the ability to tilt the TV back by six degrees if it suits your viewing circumstances.

Another key spec of the 40NX803 is that it uses edge LED lighting rather than a CCFL lamp. This allows the screen to be impressively slim at its edges, boosting the Monolithic appearance - though there’s a section along the bottom of the rear side that sticks out considerably further than edge LED sets we’ve seen recently from Samsung and LG.

The cheaper 40NX703 model also offers all the features we’ve just discussed, though. The key area where the 40NX803 sets itself apart from its cheaper NX703 sibling is with its motion processing. For the 40NX803 carries 200Hz while the 40NX703 only musters 100Hz.

This might not sound like much of a justification for the 40NX803’s higher price, but we have no hesitation in saying that if a 200Hz engine works well, it can deliver comfortably enough extra picture quality to make the higher spend worthwhile if you can afford it.

There is actually one further, less obvious difference between the 40NX803 and the cheaper 40NX703 - and it’s not necessarily in the more expensive model’s favour. For the rated power consumption for the 40NX703 in a home environment is 81W versus 104W for the 40NX803. This slightly higher energy consumption on the more expensive model is presumably caused by the 200Hz engine.

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August 10, 2010, 12:24 pm

Totally agree with you on Sony's model numbering.

Nice review, but no info on the cost of the optional stand or the performance of its integrated speakers?

Why get THX endorsement and pay that greedy parasite George Lucas a licensing fee. Like you say.....

'Not that you have to spend an age fiddling with the 40NX803’s pictures to get some generally very impressive results'


August 10, 2010, 2:25 pm

@John archer

"and the recently added BBC iPlayer."

When did the iplayer go live on bravia TV's?? thought it was just Sony Blu-ray players that had it so far, great news if it has

David Horn

August 10, 2010, 4:43 pm

Never seen the point in 200Hz processing, except possibly for sport. Blu-ray comes out in 24p, and other sources look exceptionally strange and almost nausea inducing with the processing turned on.

Recommend instead the el-cheapo 40EX403, which still has Bravia 3, 4 HDMIs, a panel that tests almost perfectly by HD Test, and all the Bravia Internet Video features of this one. Except without iPlayer. Does this really have iPlayer, or did you just count your chickens before they were hatched? ;-)

I do like the silver stand, though I think at that price it should be included!


August 10, 2010, 6:34 pm

". . .the 40NX803 is easily one of the best edge LED picture performers we’ve seen yet - especially when it comes to producing a convincing black level."

In general terms, are these black levels approaching, or even surpassing, the black levels delivered by Panasonic's plasma TVs? I'm thinking of replacing my Panasonic and I'd like to go LED, but not if it means a significant reduction in contrast.



August 11, 2010, 2:16 pm

hmmm looked at three different bravia's last night and NO iplayer so this make me think the reviewer just didn't bother testing these features on the 40NX803 and just maide assumptions based on his previous experiences with Sonys platform on a blu-ray player, so what els dose the review do this on say the 200Hz or the picture quality

you can imagine it "oh yea i remember the last sony i look at had a good picture and this one is the model up so it must be slightly better" 9/10 for you then.

is anybody els not worried by this a reviewer not actually testing what he is reviewing.

dose he realize that people might actually buy a product from his good review. think the lesson here is look elsewhere for your "trusted" reviews.

I love the site but again I would ask it to pull its socks up.

evan fotis

August 11, 2010, 4:09 pm

which panasonic plasma do you own?

generally speaking even if an lcd with led backlight in theory surpasses a plasma black levels, that will happen only when viewing head on and within a small range, yet the plasma will offer better overall image quality and deeper black levels from all angles in real world circumstances, and at a better price.

John Archer

August 11, 2010, 6:29 pm

Hi all

Couple of things to add in response to your comments here.

First, regarding the iPlayer, I was told at a recent Sony event that the iPlayer was launching onto Sony's TVs before my review of the 40NX803 went 'live'. But it turns out after chatting to Sony today (August 11) that while the iPlayer is, as HeyZuze points out, already available on Sony's Blu-ray players, it's been delayed on TVs for a couple of months. All Sony will commit to date wise now is 'the 4th quarter'. But it is definitely coming!

As for DrMaustus' comment concerning Panasonic black levels, no, not even this impressive edge LED set can better Panasonic's plasmas - provided, that is, that you go for one of Panasonic's latest NeoPDP models, which start from the G20 series up.

Frank 7

September 8, 2010, 2:14 pm

Hi. I have read all the latest reviews of Sony televisions, I find it very difficult choosing wich one to go for. Im not interested in 3D or network connections, just a very good 46 inch TV. I have digital TV signals, if that matters. Good motion is important.

A screen without to many refletions would be great, but I understand that its difficult to find that.


Dan Bernard

November 19, 2010, 9:34 pm

John, thanks for a very useful review. One question - are your comments re. the sound quality on the TV with or without the optional silver stand with its built-in supplementary speakers?

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