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.
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.
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.