Sony BRAVIA KDL-52NX800 LED TV
This high-end Sony LED TV has a fashionable design and good (but not great) image quality
The Sony BRAVIA KDL-52NX800 is a 52in, Full HD LED television with a 200Hz image smoothing mode, Internet connectivity through Wi-Fi and a striking design. It doesn't have the excellent black levels and super-high contrast ratio of a premium plasma television, but image quality is still good and the display panel is very sharp.
- Striking design with optional tilting display stand, plenty of Internet features, great internal tuner, good 200Hz implementation
- Distracting glossy screen, backlight bleeding visible at high brightness, some white crush in high contrast scenes
Sony's 52in BRAVIA KDL-52NX800 LED television has an excellent design and a swathe of Internet features that cut out the need for a media centre PC. Image quality is good for an LED television, but a few flaws stop it from beating rival plasmas.
Price$ 4,999.00 (AUD)
When we unpacked the Sony BRAVIA KDL-52NX800 we were immediately struck by the excellent build quality of the television's chassis. We had the chance to team up the TV with its optional display stand, which runs along the entire lower bezel of the LED television. As a package, the television and stand look very well designed — the single pane of glass making up the television's fascia means there's no clunky plastic bezel visible. Apart from the unnecessarily glossy screen — which causses distracting reflections even in a dim viewing environment — we were very impressed with the design of the TV. There's plenty of digital and analog connectivity, with four HDMI ports shared between the side and rear plates and composite, VGA and component video connectors in abundance.
Picture quality is good but not the best we've seen. Utilising edge-mounted LED lighting like the Samsung Series 8, Sony has opted for form over function — edge-lit LED televisions generally don't have the same dynamic contrast abilities as backlit LED TVs like the Sharp LC40LB700X or plasmas like the Samsung PS50B850.
When it comes to fine image detail the Sony panel shines — in a 1080p frame from Cars we were consistently impressed by the screen's ability to display texture, while Casino Royale displayed excellent skin tones and skin detail on close-ups. Colour accuracy from the Sony BRAVIA KDL-52NX800 was also good, with no obvious bias and a wide range of adjustability on offer; for the most part we opted to keep the panel in its Cinema preset. There is a small amount of backlight cloudiness — where some areas of the screen are brighter than others — at maximum brightness.
Image contrast and black levels are good but not a patch on high-end plasma televisions such as the Panasonic TH-P54Z1A. We noticed that blacks tended to be very light, even heading towards grey once the panel's brightness was knocked up a few notches — if you've got the option we'd recommend lowering the panel's brightness significantly and watching in a dark environment to ensure the best black levels. Sony's Auto Contrast feature automatically dims the screen lighting in dark scenes to optimise contrast but we found it didn't extend brightness far enough, leaving bright scenes occasionally feeling dull and lacking vibrancy.
Motion control is handled with Sony's 200Hz MotionFlow system. While it doesn't have the incremental adjustability of other systems we've used — you can't individually set judder and motion compensation, for example — the Standard and Smooth settings both do a good job of reining in flickering and presenting fast on-screen motion without any tearing or obvious interpolation.
Sony's BRAVIA KDL-52NX800 also includes the most Internet connectivity we've seen on a television to date. It doesn't have the Skype calling feature of Samsung's new TVs, but it does offer BRAVIA Internet Video. We thought the Internet Video functionality was excellent — with access to iView, Yahoo!7 video-on-demand and YouTube (along with several other services) allowing you to use the television directly for on-demand viewing rather than relying on a media-centre PC or Internet-connected Blu-ray disc player. A range of BRAVIA Internet widgets for viewing weather, stock and other information is also easily accessible. We used the BRAVIA KDL-52NX800's Wi-Fi to connect to our network, but an Ethernet port is also available for wired networks.
Sony's BRAVIA KDL-52NX800 is a television that's packed with features. Its Internet Video and Internet widgets are excellent for when there's nothing on free-to-air and you've run out of Blu-rays. Image quality is good, albeit with a few flaws that stop it being great. Apart from these flaws it's an excellent example of a well-rounded television.
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