Last Updated: November 2, 2013
2010 Sony LED TV Product Guide - Part 3/1
2D LED TVs: NX800, NX700, EX700, and EX600
We continue this Sony LED TV product guide by looking at the full 2D LED LCD TV lineup for 2010.
As highlighted in Part 1 of this Sony LED HDTV guide, Sony's 2010 LED TV line comprises four 2D LED TV series covering thirteen different models, from feature-rich 240Hz NX800 series LED TVs to entry-level 60Hz EX600 HDTVs.
All are characterized by a relatively affordable price for LED TVs and excellent power efficiency. But what's more on offer, and how do these perform?
A no ordinary HDTV capable of improved color accuracy thanks to the new Triluminous Quantum Dots backlight technology
Introducing Sony's 2D LED TV Series
Top in Sony's 2D TV line-up for 2010 is the KDL-NX800 240Hz LED TV series. This is Sony's premium 2D TV proposal and enjoys Sony's latest monolithic design. Next down in line is the KDL-NX700 series - a 120Hz version of the premium series. In fact, apart from the 120Hz refresh rate, NX800 and NX700 LED HDTVs share practically the same features.
Further down the line is the KDL-EX700 mid-range series - a 120Hz line of Sony LED TVs that in our opinion represents the best bang for your buck. It misses out on Sony's stylish monolithic design among others, but in return you get a few other extras - including a presence sensor similar to that found on the LX900 flagship series except that the EX700 version comes with reduced functionality.
At the entry-level, we find the KDL-EX600 series - a 60Hz Sony LED TV line that misses on most of the bells and whistles found on the other series. But you would still get a solid Sony BRAVIA 1080p LED TV with extensive HD inputs. Perfectionists looking for the best picture might be disappointed in that as with all edge-lit LED TVs, these Sony LED TVs have their own picture uniformity issues as well. But there is a lot to like about Sony's 2D LED TV line for 2010, including a great design, natural looking colors, enhanced features, and superb energy efficiency - an area in which these sets really excel.
Screen sizes range from the massive 60-inch Sony LED TVs of the NX800 and the EX700 series, to the entry-level 32-inch class HDTV of the EX600 line.
Manufacture suggested retail price (MSRP) range from $3,500 for the 60-inch KDL-60NX800 to $900 for the 32-inch KDL-32EX600; upgrading from one series to the next for a TV with the same screen size would cost an extra $400; the exception being the upgrade from EX600 to the EX700, in which case the difference based on the MSRP tag is just $100.
Editor's note: We covered most of the feature descriptions referred to in this part of this 2010 Sony LED TV product guide in our Sony 3D TV write-up. This means that for those who have already been through our 3D Sony LED TV review, some of the info in this article may be repeated content.
2D edge-lit Sony LED TV Line - 2010 Product Review Index:
The KDL-NX800 Sony LED TV series is Sony's premium 1080p 240Hz HDTV line with edge-lit LED backlight technology. It is the only 2D TV series within the Sony lineup that comes with 240Hz refresh rate; the rest of the series are either 120Hz or 60Hz.
As usual, Sony reserves its best design for its premium line HDTVs and the NX800 is no exception. The NX800 features Sony's latest stylish monolithic design which as expressed under part 2 of this article, is characterized by a single sheet of glass that extends to the very edge of the TV and that covers the otherwise thick black frame underneath; a thin metal edge surrounds the glass panel.
One peculiar feature of the new monolithic design is its 6° upward tilt for a more natural viewing angle with low TV placements - which placement is further enhanced by the optional low profile table stand for 52 and 46 inch sets.
Side view showing the optional low-profile table stand.
These TVs can still be placed in the standard zero backward tilt for normal straight-on viewing. Furthermore, the new design adds a swivel stand - a first for Sony in that Sony has never provided a swivel feature on its LCD TVs.
Front controls come as subtle concealed touch sensors instead of the traditional buttons while the ultra-slim design afforded by edge-LED lighting - thinning to an inch at the screen edge from 2 5/8 inches at its widest point, further enhances the NX800 extremely elegant design.
Directly related with these sets monolithic design is the new glossy screen which under ideal lighting leads to better perceived contrast and blacks for a picture with more 'pop' overall. To help reduce glare and minimize reflections from the shiny screen surface, Sony introduced the 'Opticontrast' filter to the glass panel.
But it still remains a shiny screen - prone to reflections although Cnet in a review of the KDL-46NX800 states that the new shiny screen on these Sony TVs is capable of attenuating reflections better than that on the competition. At the same time, Cnet adds that the shiny screen on the 2009 Samsung UNB7000 series does a little bit better than the NX800 Sony LED TV screen when it comes to preserving black levels under bright lighting.
These Sony LED TVs incorporate the most advanced and innovative features you will ever find on any TV. You would not get the intelligent presence sensor of the Sony LX900 flagship 3D LED TV, nor 3D TV support, but otherwise you get practically all the features of the flagship line with just one minor exception. This is Sony's MotionFlow 240Hz which on the NX800 is the standard MotionFlow instead of the MotionFlow PRO of the Sony 3D TV LED series; Sony did not divulge any details as to the difference between the two. Engaging Sony's MotionFlow 240Hz and 120Hz feature on Sony 2D LED TV series presents the user with two strengths - standard and high. There is no separate control for motion blur reduction (for improved motion resolution) and judder setting (for a smoother action) in a similar manner to what one finds on Samsung HDTVs.
In other words, with Sony's MotionFlow 120Hz/240Hz technology as employed on the NX800, NX700 and EX700 Sony LED TV series, you cannot enjoy the improvement in motion resolution resulting from the TV higher refresh rate without the extra smoothness associated with de-judder implementation.
Other features on the Sony NX800 series include an improved XMB menu interface that lends itself extremely well to access and control the added functionality and features found on the latest HDTVs - providing the necessary menu complexity while maintaining ease of navigation; the new Bravia Engine 3 video processing helps reduce noise, enhances detail and optimizes contrast; a built-in Wi-Fi makes home network integration a snap; Bravia Internet Video and widget online service provide access to internet accessible content from Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, YouTube, NPR, Sony Pictures, Sony Music, instant access to the latest news, weather, sports scores, stock quotes, and an Internet powered TV Guide; a light sensor automatically adjusts the brightness level of the TV backlight based on your room lighting conditions.
You can control other Bravia Sync equipped devices connected via an HDMI link through Sony's Bravia Sync for an integrated home entertainment experience. These sets also feature DLNA compliance for easier access to multimedia content across a home network.
Connectivity is among the most complete, featuring a total of seven HD inputs. You get four HDMI inputs, one component input, one composite input, one component/composite selectable input, and a PC input (HD15) with PC/TV picture-in-picture.
Performance: In their review of the KDL-46NX800 Sony LED TV, Cnet commented that performance wise, the Sony NX800 is in line with the Samsung UNB7000 series released last year, adding that the new Sony will not impress those looking for the perfect home theater picture.
Main issues with Sony's premium LED TV line include lighter black levels, darker areas that shift towards blue, some uneven brightness uniformity across the full screen area, a glossy screen that fails to sufficiently attenuate reflections of bright objects, and a dejudder processing that unlike Samsung's implementation, is not user adjustable - a desirable feature for a premium HDTV.
Otherwise, these Sony LED TVs excel in all other areas - from color accuracy, design aesthetics that make these TVs look good even when switched off, functional menu navigation, extensive features, solid internet connectivity, energy efficiency, etc. And all this is available at a relatively affordable price.
Overall: Their picture quality may not be up to what videophiles will be looking for. But definitely, NX800 series Sony LED TVs represent an excellent option for those looking for solid overall performance, extensive features, and a minimalistic design that would surely provide a unique touch to any room decor.
The NX700 edge-lit HDTV Series represents Sony's second 2D edge-lit LED TV series with the latest monolithic design; models include the 46-inch KDL-46NX700 and 40-inch KDL-40NX700.
As expressed earlier on, feature-wise, the Sony NX700 LED LCD TV series is the 120Hz equivalent of Sony's NX800 240Hz LED TV series. In fact, apart from the 240Hz refresh rate, all other features are basically the same. This means you would still enjoy the BRAVIA Engine 3, built-in Wi-Fi, BRAVIA internet video and widgets, DLNA certification, and the same extensive HD connectivity options found on the more expensive NX800 series HDTVs. In other words, if you are not after 240Hz technology, and a 46 or 40-inch screen size would suffice for your needs, then you can literally save approximately $300 by opting for an NX700 Sony LED TV over an NX800 equivalent.
OK, most sales rep would tell you 240Hz is better but... While it is true that a 240Hz refresh rate delivers a higher motion resolution, in reality you will not be able to perceive the resultant improvement in motion resolution between a 120Hz and a 240Hz HDTV.
As detailed in our article on LCD Response Time, while the increased refresh rate increases the effective motion resolution for improved blur-free motion, and while it is possible for the eye to detect the improved motion resolution resulting from 120Hz processing as against 60Hz systems, yet it is not the same with 240Hz technology over 120Hz. This explains the use of test patterns in commercials by TV makers to help push 240Hz LCD HDTVs.
Performance: Picture quality is basically in line with that of NX800 Sony LED TVs - with the real difference between the two series being a slightly lower motion resolution in comparison to 240Hz series and which as stated earlier on is hard to perceive.
Otherwise, both series enjoy the same strengths and suffer from the same weakness. In their review of the 46-inch NX700 Sony LED TV, FlatpanelsHD.com stated that the NX700 exhibited excellent internet video support, good color accuracy, excellent design, and good overall HD image quality. But then added that SD quality is mediocre, black levels are good but not great, and reflections from the new glossy screen can be issue in bright lighting.
Once again, the Flatpanelshd.com review confirms that an edge-LED backlight 'per se' does not really add anything to a TV overall picture quality - apart from a deeper shade of black when engaging the Advanced Contrast Enhancer feature. The latter works by dimming the backlight when displaying predominantly dark content. However, small white areas displayed over a dark background would often appear unnaturally dim.
Many equates LED TVs with a better image quality than CCFL LCD TVs - possibly because of the more expensive price of LED TVs. Yet this is wrong; not all LEDs are created equal. There is significant difference in picture quality between a full array LED backlight with local dimming and an edge-lit LED backlight as used on Sony's 2D LED LCD TV series. The real advantage of an edge-lit LED backlight is a slimmer design and improved power efficiency.
Overall: Like the NX800, the Sony KDL-NX700 is an extremely elegant TV that surely stands out in any room. Picture quality is relatively very good but pro reviews appearing elsewhere states that this is nothing extraordinary if that's what you are after. Rather, you can get the same picture quality with the less expensive Sony EX700 series.
...continue: EX700 and the EX600 LED TV Series