In some ways the 42W705B sounds better than your average super-skinny TV. There’s a more rounded feeling to vocals, especially male ones, than we usually hear, and the set can deliver some pretty strong volume levels without the TV chassis starting to phut and vibrate.
More extreme audio mixes of the sort carried by your average Hollywood film reveal some muddiness at the bass end of the spectrum and less detail at the treble end than the best speaker systems manage. But we’d say it’s at the very least an adequate performance for a TV of its type. Plus, in keeping with most of Sony’s new TVs, the 42W705B supports the addition of an external wireless subwoofer.
We didn’t test this with the 42W705B, but we’ve heard the subs in action and they’re surprisingly good – as well as being clever enough to adjust the way they perform to suit the individual model they’re attached to. So while the £250 asking price for this external sub is perhaps a bit steep within the context of a TV that only costs £600, it might be worth adding at some point to get the sort of sound quality pictures as good as those of the 42W705B deserve.
If you’re a gamer, the 42W705B is a brilliant monitor for your consoles and PCs. This is because our tests revealed an input lag figure of just 12ms – one of the lowest the TV world has produced. The only downside to this is that every single time you get shot in the face on Battlefield 4, the only thing you can blame is yourself…
If you live by yourself, meanwhile, you might also enjoy the 42W705B’s ‘Social View’ features. These allow you to view three scrolling tiers of twitter feeds aggregated around keywords of your choosing or associated with what you’re watching, and they also – with the addition of an external USB camera – let you hold Skype calls with friends and relatives while you continue to watch TV.
It seems to us that such personal features belong more on a second screen device like a tablet computer than a TV – especially as there’s no foul language filter on the Twitter feed! But we guess there are a few die-hard bachelors out there who might fancy watching the footie with a few fellow-bachelor mates ‘virtually’ in the same room.
There are precious few reasons for not very seriously considering buying a 42W705B. Especially if £600 is the upper limit of your available budget.
Its pictures are excellent for its level of the market, its design is very cool and well built in a minimalist kind of way, and it’s well equipped from a multimedia point of view.
You could consider saving a few quid by going for the Sony 40W605 instead if you don’t mind sacrificing a couple of inches of picture size and can live with its much flimsier build quality – or if you’re just a natural fan of that model’s direct LED lighting rather than the 42W705B’s edge lighting. But this is just a choice, not a reason not to recommend the larger model featured here.
The 42W705B links arms with its 40W605 and 50W829 siblings to present a united front of startlingly affordable TV quality that should have Sony’s rivals quaking in their boots.