Summary

Our Score

8/10

User Score

Pros

  • Decent picture quality for the money
  • Excellent online functionality
  • Improved operating system

Cons

  • Motion blur
  • Flimsy build quality
  • Shortage of shadow detail

Review Price £569.99

Key Features: 40in CCFL LCD TV; Bravia Internet Video online functionality; USB Multimedia playback support; X-Reality Video Processing; Freeview HD Tuner

Manufacturer: Sony

Sony’s 2011 TV range hasn’t exactly got off to the best of starts. For a couple of weeks ago we were startled by the extremely disappointing 3D performance of the brand’s 2011 debut set, the 32EX723.

Hopefully time will prove this set to be just an anomaly rather than something that’s going to be symptomatic of Sony’s 3D range as a whole. But while we await Sony’s higher-end 3D TVs with interest, in the meantime we’ve got something potentially much ‘safer’ to tide us over: Sony’s KDL-40CX523.

This is Sony’s entry-level 40in TV, and as such doesn’t have any 3D capabilities. But as we’ll discover, it’s certainly not the totally stripped down model you might expect of a 40in TV we’ve found selling for just £619.

Sony KDL-40CX523 1

Sony has clearly had to compromise its aesthetic standards to hit the 40CX523’s price point, though. For while its fascia isn’t entirely ugly, the chunky size of its bezel is striking after the amount of narrow-framed models we’ve seen recently, and the extent to which its rear end protrudes is almost shocking. The build quality is disappointingly flimsy as well - just a mountain of lightweight plastic.

The unusual size of the rear end initially makes it look like there aren’t that many connections on the 40CX523 either. But closer examination reveals a decent set of jacks, headlined by four v1.3 HDMIs (rather than the three we might have expected for this point in the market), two USB 2.0 inputs, a component video input, a D-Sub PC input, and even an Ethernet port.

This latter jack is particularly interesting because it turns out that it’s not just there to provide mandatory support for the set’s built-in Freeview HD tuner. It also supports playback of video, music and photo files stored on a networked DLNA computer, and lets you jack in to Sony’s Bravia Internet Video (BIV) service. We’re not talking about a stripped down BIV, either: you can access exactly the same welter of video streaming services noted when reviewing the mid-range 32EX723. Furthermore, add an optional USB wi-fi dongle and you can even enjoy these services wirelessly.

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