Review of LCD LED TV Sony Bravia KDL-46EX700
Translation from CNET.com
This is the second Sony model tested this year with side LED backlighting. If you compare everything written below with a review of the Sony KDL-NX800, you will find in these two series more similarities than differences. But with the 46-inch NX800 for an extra $ 400 you get: an improved design, a wireless Wi-Fi port, and several other less significant improvements. But for some reason there is no “presence sensor” that allows you to automatically turn off the TV when everyone leaves the room. This really reduces energy consumption if you constantly forget to turn off the TV. But even without this feature enabled, the EX700’s power consumption is just as low as the rest of the TVs we tested. It is hoped that other models tested this year with LED backlighting will show similar results.
Attentive and curious buyers, comparing these two Sony models, will be surprised to learn that they have almost the same image quality. The main difference is that the EX700 screen is made of frosted glass, and the glossy screen corresponds to the monolithic style of the NX800. But in brightly lit rooms, the matt option is much preferable. Appearance EX700 will not delight a buyer who needs the central part of the home theater. This model will be preferred by those for whom a high-quality image with access to video services on the Internet and economical energy consumption are important.
Based on the test results, this review evaluates the 46-inch Sony KDL-46EX700, but all of the above applies to other sizes: KDL-32EX700 (32 inches), KDL-40EX700 (40 inches), KDL-52EX700 (52 inches) and KDL-60EX700 (60 inches). All EX700 series televisions have similar parameters, so they should provide the same picture quality.
Note: much of the design and features described in the KDL-NX800 series is also true, so those who read the review of this series may notice a clear similarity.
When designing the designs of the EX700 and the more expensive NX800, Sony took the standard approach of an advanced model. If the EX700 looks more traditional, then the NX800 received the so-called “monolithic” image: a solid appearance with an absolutely smooth surface of the screen along the entire front plane and a narrow gap between the stand and the display. On EX700 series televisions, the bezel around the screen clearly stands out, the top and sides of the screen are limited by glossy plastic, and the bottom is polished with a dark gray strip. We liked the design of the NX800 more, but the EX700 also looks great.
The strip under the screen clearly stands out, but the EX700 remains very elegant, especially if you remove the Energy Star sticker. The EX700 series is equipped with a black glossy swivel stand, but they do not have the ability to adjust the tilt of the display, like the NX800. The rear panel of the TV is matte and with open connectors, unlike the glossy rear panel of the NX800 with a cover to cover the connectors. Both series are distinguished by the same thin, smoothed profile with a maximum body width of about 7 cm.
I liked the EX700 remote control, although not as much as the more streamlined remote for the NX800. The NX800 has nice illuminated plastic buttons, while the EX700 has standard rubber buttons without backlighting and you cannot control other video equipment connected to the TV. But the thoughtful arrangement of buttons, the original form, along with the unusual power button on the back and the sliding battery cover make the remote control very convenient.
Sony has not changed the system menu in the EX700 series, which is good. The intuitive interface, like on Sony game consoles, is perfect for choosing a variety of Internet options, inputs and many additional TV functions, arranging everything in a logical order. At the same time, it would be nice to have more user settings and less piling up of functions (for example, hide unnecessary interactive services or even completely sections, such as TV channels, unnecessary for cable TV viewers). But instant navigation (as in the PS3) is the best of all that we saw in the television menus, and this compensates for certain shortcomings.
Another feature of the navigation system. the ability to directly access individual sections, bypassing a long menu sequence. Through the quick access buttons on the remote control, you can enter directly into the “Favorites” section, while frequently used inputs are remembered. You can also add items manually, for example, Netflix. to the context-sensitive “Options” section with quick access to scene modes, MotionFlow parameters and Netflix options.
Like many modern LCD TVs, the EX700 uses the side backlight of the screen matrix. Two main advantages of this technology in comparison with traditional backlighting: a small thickness of the case and reduced power consumption of TVs. The use of local dimming backlights in Sony’s top-end series allows some improvement in image quality.
In general, the EX700 and NX800 have the same Internet access capabilities, but the EX700 TVs, unlike the NX800 models, do not have Yahoo widgets and a built-in Wi-Fi port. 2009 Sony TVs provided access to the largest number of video services. Now Netflix is also added to the former. However, in 2010, nothing fundamentally new was added in comparison with the appearance of Skype on Panasonic and LG TVs or the “Apps” platform advertised by Samsung and Vizio. And yet, as opposed to competitors, Sony will soon introduce an online movie service called “QRIOCITY” (similar to English curiosity, curiosity) for watching movies online.
Netflix is the new addition to the EX700. But our tests showed that the quality of the received video is much worse in comparison with that of other televisions of a comparable class with the Netflix function. We compared footage from Lost. one of the highest-quality series in the Netflix library. On both Sony TVs, the picture was noticeable grain and artifacts, more blurry than with the Roku player or on the LG 47LH50, which we used for comparison. It could be assumed that Sony TVs accept streaming video from Netflix at a lower bit rate. Although we cannot say this, since the Sony interface does not provide information about the quality of the received video stream, unlike many other devices with Netflix functionality.
There were no problems with video quality when viewing video services such as YouTube and Amazon Video. The EX700 has the ability to access a variety of secondary services, including Sports Illustrated (but without showing major sporting events when we watched only clips with swimsuit models), Blip.tv, Style.com, Howcast.com, and numerous video podcasts. The video quality on most of these online channels is pretty mediocre, like YouTube’s standard resolution. Probably the reason is that most of the video content was created primarily for the web Internet. Most often you can get a messy mix of clips and rarely whole films.
It’s great that Sony has added the ability to search by keyword in some services, but it would be much better if the search covered all video services, including YouTube, Amazon and Netflix. Free video offered by CBS. higher quality, but do not expect anything similar to that received from TV.com (the official network TV portal). (Note: CNET Reviews. Division of CBS Interactive).
As for music, Sony lacks the support for the Pandora service, which is on TVs equipped with the Vudu application (for example, the Mitsubishi LT-249 series). Sony TVs offer Slacker and also select content from NPR, albeit without streaming radio.
Connection to a computer. The last component of a set of interactive functions. Although we have not tested it for this review, we can say that EX700 TVs can display videos and photos, receive music files from network computers that use DLNA-compatible software, such as Windows Media Player 11.
Although this Sony TV does not have the built-in Wi-Fi interface that the more expensive models are equipped with for wireless Internet connection, an additional wireless module (UWA-BR100 for 80) can be connected to the USB port. Of course, you can use any other wireless connection via an Ethernet port, for example, a wireless bridge.
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Compared to the NX800, the Sony EX700’s screen refresh rate is 120 Hz instead of 240 Hz. But we do not think that you will clearly feel the absence of these additional hertz. importantly, unlike the Samsung and Toshiba implementations, the reduction in blur (which is really extremely difficult to see) is performed simultaneously with video processing to smooth out the movement of moving objects. This Sony technology is called MotionFlow, it has two modes. “Standart” and “High” and, fortunately, you can also turn it off.
The EX700 series has the long-awaited opportunity to apply the settings made only for the current input or for everyone. over, in any of the three main image modes: “Custom”, “Vivid” and “Standard”, so there are three different sets of image parameters for each input. There are seven separate Scene modes, such as “Game”, “Cinema”, “PC”, and which, unfortunately, cannot be accessed through the main menu. The settings in each of them can also be set for the current input or for all. All of these many settings are rather confusing, even though they are arranged in order. It would be interesting to see how several people would mess with individual settings for each input or situation. To simplify matters, by pressing the “Theater” button on the remote control, the “Cinema” mode is selected.
The EX700 series is equipped with an Ambient Sensor, which the NX800 does not have. Using this sensor, the color and brightness of the picture are automatically adjusted in accordance with the surrounding lighting. During testing, we turned off this sensor, those who wish can evaluate the capabilities of the Ambient Sensor function on their own.
The EX700 has advanced image settings, with the ability to return to the initial settings (“Reset”) separately for standard and advanced settings. The menu includes four color temperature options, white balance controls for further adjustment, two noise reduction options with three levels each, the CineMotion option operating in the 2: 3 pull-down format, a seven-step gamma regulator, and a set of additional options, most of which are for receiving images of optimal quality are still better off.
Sony offers four options for frame format for video from HD sources, and the “Full Pixel” option for reproducing full HD images without scaling or cropping around the edges (overscan.) We recommend using this setting if there is no interference from the side at the edges of the screen due to errors in the TV channel or service, and not in the TV itself. You can also use your frame format settings for the current input or for all.
Another big difference between the EX700 and NX800 is the presence sensor on the EX700 series, which is also available in the KDL-VE5 series. It temporarily turns off the image when you leave the room, thereby providing noticeable energy savings. If the sensor does not detect movement within a specified period of time (from 5 to 60 minutes with an interval of 5 minutes plus 5 seconds), then only the sound is turned on when the screen is dark, and the power consumption drops to about 26 watts (this is less than a third ordinary consumption). Then, if the sensor detects movement within 30 minutes, the TV turns on again, and if not, it turns off completely, reducing power consumption to almost zero.
In our tests, the auto-shutdown system worked as stated. Conveniently, before disconnecting, the message “TV is about to turn off” is displayed (the TV is about to turn off), and after a slight movement of the hand or head, the timer restarts and the image remains (in fact, motion control). Not once in a week of testing did the EX700 shut down while watching, even at the smallest five-minute interval.
There are other standard methods for reducing energy consumption. The two-position function in the Eco menu limits the maximum brightness and actually reduces energy consumption. There is also the possibility of manually blanking the screen when the sound is on and automatically turning off the TV when neither the built-in nor the remote control is working.
The 2010 TVs used two more new items. The first is to completely turn off the TV with a button with a physical break in the power circuit. True, from the point of view of economy, this switch can be considered useless; in standby mode, power consumption is already minimal. The second novelty is the ability to automatically download updates from the Internet when the TV is not used, but it is left in standby mode. Admittedly, the EX700 has the most efficient power-saving features of all the TVs we tested.
I would like to note an excellent new on-screen user guide, which facilitates the study of the functions of the TV. The necessary chapters and sections are easy to find, and examples are provided when needed. There is also a useful web support section through the manufacturer’s website. To simplify the service procedure, there are phone numbers, the serial number of the TV and the version of the software installed on it. The ability to automatically update even when the TV is turned off may also be useful.
The EX700 has excellent interface capabilities, but the ports are non-standard. Four HDMI inputs are divided into two groups: two ports on the rear panel and two on the side, which provides a good balance for temporary and permanent connections. The side panel also has a USB port for receiving music, photos and videos from a computer, as well as an AV input with composite video. On the rear panel there is an analog input for connecting a computer, two component video inputs (one can handle composite video), an RF input for connecting to an antenna or cable TV network, an Ethernet port and several analog audio connectors.
Two 2010 Sony TVs tested with side LED backlight. The EX700 and NX800 had many similar features in image quality. Both are characterized by average black level reproduction capabilities and accurate color reproduction, with the exception of dark areas painted in a bluish tint, more noticeable on the EX700 than on the NX800. Thus, the EX700 is characterized by better uniformity of the screen illumination, it has auto brightness control of the picture depending on the light. The NX800 stands out for better detail in shadowy scenes and higher dynamic resolution. But in general, both series deserve the same rating.
Both the NX800 and EX700 had the most accurate settings before calibration in Cinema mode, although a bit bright for a shaded room (67 lamberts per square foot), and the gamma was too high (2.97). Later, in the user mode (“Custom”), using the controls available in the menu, we set the optimal readings (40 and 2.2, respectively), but could not do anything with a bluish tint in the darkest areas of the gray scale.
For comparison with EX700 and NX800, Samsung UN46B7000 and LG 42SL90 (all models with side LED backlighting), Samsung UN55B8500 and LG 47LH90 (models with dynamic LED backlighting and local dimming), as well as Sony KDL-52XBR9 with standard back-lit and plasma display Pioneer PRO-111FD. A Ninja Assassin Blu-ray Disc was selected for viewing.
The reproduced EX700 gradations of black were relatively light. The TV was more or less inferior to other TVs, except for LG SL90, which looked clearly worse than others. Compared to the XBR9 and B7000, the EX700 showed only a little lighter, and in comparison with other displays it looked clearly lighter. At times, the EX700 gave a slightly deeper black color than the NX800, which is especially noticeable in the lower black strip of widescreen films, but in the remaining zones both models provide almost the same black level.
The differences were most noticeable in the dark scenes. Such as a rainy night, where the image of black umbrellas and black ninja clothes and Lord Ozunu on the EX700 was mediocre and typical of a conventional LCD TV. Details in the shadows were slightly worse than on the NX800 and other displays other than the XBR9. Areas like the edges of umbrellas and folds of clothing seemed a little more fuzzy on the EX700.
On the EX700, the bluish tint of black is more noticeable than on the NX800 or other comparable models. Black stripes and black raincoats look clearly bluish. On the other hand, the EX700 reproduces bright areas in this film with much greater detail than dark tones. For example, Ben and Naomi’s skin tones looked natural in comparison to model images, and in this regard, the EX700 surpassed the B7000 and XBR9. The fidelity of the primary and secondary colors is pretty good, but the red looked a little worse than I would like to see. All this, together with excessively light shades of black, made some details of the image less saturated, for example, Naomi lipstick.
Sony KDL-EX700 does not have a large selection of modes for smoothing, MotionFlow function has only two options: standard and improved processing. As we immediately suggested, most Blu-ray movies look better when MotionFlow is disabled. Otherwise, the content of the films looks a little blurry and similar to the video. However, in comparison with similar technologies from Samsung and LG, the standard MotionFlow mode looks preferable.
For example, a camera follows Raizo in training. The picture on LG and Samsung TVs in this case looked too sleek with a lesser sense of natural movement of the camera, while the Sony TV retained the impression of shooting. Of course, Samsung TVs have very advanced features for manual video processing and allow you to set the smoothness of movement, as you like.
As usual, we saw artifacts in High mode. For example, when the camera watched the flight of Ozunu, we noted the halo effect around its profile. Artifacts were clearly less noticeable in Standard mode. Judging by the test results, the dynamic resolution of EX700 series televisions is similar to other models with a frame scan of 120 Hz. After turning on any MotionFlow mode, the screen has from 500 to 600 lines (in dynamic mode), after turning off MotionFlow, 300 to 400 lines remain.
The deinterlacing of the material in the 1080i format was normally performed, the EX700 correctly processed both the cinema and the video material shot in interlaced format. Although, when passing the test, it was necessary to turn on the “CineMotion Auto 1” mode. As usual, it is difficult to notice these features in ordinary material, in comparison with test tables.
Differences in the brightness of the backlight of the EX700 are not as noticeable as the NX800, there are no areas with increased brightness in the corners, like the XBR9. But uniformity still leaves much to be desired. The edges of the screen seem a little brighter than the center, and the top edge is the brightest. Although almost all the differences, in general, are clearly invisible. The EX700 also did not have an increased brightness in the middle of the screen, like the NX800. When viewed at an angle, the image on both TVs loses brightness and clarity about the same in comparison with other models, the shades of red and blue also change.
View in bright light
In this test, the EX700 matte screen showed itself in all its glory, becoming one of the best in terms of image uniformity in bright light. Compared to Samsung and NX800 glossy displays, the EX700 has less reflections and glare. Under these conditions, the EX700 provided better black transmission than the plasma Pioneer.
The image on the EX700’s screen received from sources of standard resolution looked rather mediocre. Although the EX700 did pretty well with the DVD format, the details of the picture were a bit more blurry than on the Samsung UNB7000. The EX700 smoothed out irregularities in diagonal lines worse than Samsung or LG SL90.
The noise reduction system worked well, removing noise and other signal artifacts from a low-quality source, the TV correctly detected a 2: 3 pull-down movie format, although a little slower than the other compared models.
The image received from the computer via the analog RGB input looked excellent on the Sony screen. Only a slight flicker could be seen on the high-frequency elements of the test pattern in comparison with the picture via HDMI, which was ideal, like any LCD TV displaying a signal in 1920×1080 format.
Main features of Sony Bravia KDL-60EX700: