The longer 2012 has gone on, the more we’ve come to realise just how influential Sony’s HX853 TV series is. Ever since we tested the first HX853 model, the 46-inch Sony KDL-46HX853, it’s become an undeniable fact that this range’s outstanding picture quality has coloured our view of every other TV that’s come our way.
In other words, TVs that would probably have bagged Recommended badges from us before the HX853’s arrival are suddenly only securing scores of 8 or less, simply because they don’t live up to the standards set by Sony’s game changer.
This fact has actually made us feel a bit nervous recently, making us wonder if the passage of time since our May review of the 46HX853 has got us looking back at it through rose-tinted glasses. So we figured it was time to remind ourselves of just how good the HX853s are by looking at the only model in the series we haven’t seen yet: the Sony KDL-40HX853.
Prepping ourselves for this review immediately revealed a slightly odd aberration regarding the 40HX853’s price. For the best deal we managed to find on this 40in TV was £969 - only £100 less than the best price we’ve managed to find for its 46in sibling, when we might have expected a much larger price gap for such a significant size difference.
We guess this doesn’t really matter in some ways; if you want a 40in TV and nothing else, then £969 still isn’t a remotely crazy price for what’s hopefully going to prove a brilliant TV. But we’d certainly be tempted to step up to the 46in model if space allows. Plus it means the 40HX853 isn’t quite such brilliant value when compared to its peers as Sony’s biggest screen sizes.
Aesthetically, though, the 40in size suits Sony’s latest Monolithic design. The combination of a sheer glass front, black frame and shiny metallic silver outer trim looks supremely elegant - and that’s even before you’ve slotted the TV into its unusual ‘bar’-style metallic stand. This stand contains extra speakers too, which we recommend that you use for reasons discussed later.
Connectivity on the 40HX853 is pretty strong, as four HDMIs are joined by two USBs, a LAN port, a D-Sub PC port, and built-in Wi-Fi. In an ideal world Sony might have run to a third USB, but otherwise there’s nothing to complain about.
The USBs can play back a solid if not exhaustive selection of video, photo and music file formats, while the network connections can be used to access similar file types on either PC or Mac computers (via Sony’s free-to-download Homestream software). Or you can go online with the new Sony Entertainment Network.