Last Updated: November 2, 2013
Picking the Best Sony LED TV Sets
for 2011 at the different budget categories
2011 Sony LED TVs Product Evaluation - Part 4
As we have seen in this Sony HDTV review article, this year line of Sony LED TVs is one of the most extensive—with 25 different models to choose from. These range from relatively cheap LED TVs that are not really so cheap with respect to the competition but that come with a full Internet TV suite, to some of the most advanced LED HDTVs with built-in Web browser, 3D, refined styling, and advanced backlight technology.
With such an extensive line of LED TVs that appeal to many in the market for a solid HDTV from a major brand, it is only logical for would-be buyers to ask which Sony LED TVs represent the best overall value at the different price brackets.
Help is on the way! We select those that in our opinion are the best Sony HDTVs for 2011 for overall features, performance and price at different budget categories; in the process, we also explain why the selected models represent the best Sony LED TV choice at the respective price range.
Note: You may join our discussion by filling the submission form at the end of this article.
Which are the Best Sony LED HDTVs?
A no ordinary HDTV capable of improved color accuracy thanks to the new Triluminous Quantum Dots backlight technology
As we stated elsewhere in this TV review, Sony's main problematic performance areas are 3D—with Sony's 3D LED TVs being less tolerant to head tilt, and the expensive price of the flagship even though the XBR-55HX929 Sony LED HDTV is selling online at a price that is surely more within reach of the average home theater budget than the extremely expensive LG 55LW9800 equivalent.
In our opinion, the present reduced pricing should render th3 55-inch Sony flagship an extremely attractive choice for demanding home theater enthusiast and videophiles looking for the latest advanced features and superior picture. The XBR-55HX929 is among the best premium 55-inch LED HDTVs irrespective of brand; main reason behind its superior picture performance is the use of a full LED array with local dimming backlight technology. In terms of picture quality, it competes well with the latest high-end plasma TVs. And at its present price, this top Sony LED TV is not much more expensive that corresponding high-end plasma TVs from Panasonic and Samsung.
What if you are after a less expensive Sony LED TV?
XBR-HX929 HDTVs are without doubt the best LED TVs Sony ever made during these last years; but irrespective of the present reduced online pricing, these high-end Sony HDTVs still remain too expensive for many home theater enthusiasts looking for solid picture and the latest advanced TV features.
Cheaper Sony alternative options that come with an almost identical feature set except for the use of a more affordable LED backlight technology include the Sony 55-inch BRAVIA KDL-55HX820 and the 55-inch KDL-55NX720.
Both HDTVs support excellent picture quality; however, of particular interest here is the NX720 series. In particular, the NX720 55-inch Sony LED HDTV is selling at more than $1,000 cheaper than the Sony flagship. Yet this affordable premium Sony HDTV is still capable of a solid picture—one that is too close to that of the HX929 series even for demanding home theater enthusiasts to justify the extra expense of the flagship.
Like the HX820 and the more expensive flagship, NX720 HDTVs come with the same stylish Monolithic design; they also make use of the same Sony's Dynamic Edge LED backlight as found on HX820 HDTVs to deliver excellent blacks in comparison to standard edge-lit LED backlight HDTVs.
Many would tend to equate the lower price of the NX720 with its lower 120Hz panel refresh rate in comparison to the 240Hz panel refresh rate of the HX820 and HX929 HDTVs. But as we have stated in many of our TV reviews, the difference in picture performance between 120Hz and 240Hz HDTVs is difficult to perceive with the unaided eye in the case of 2D content. And in the case of 3D, this would be noticeable with 3D movie content only in view that the way 3D TV works implies each eye would see half the TV refresh rate.
If style is not important but you still want to have a 240Hz LED TV, the 55-inch KDL-55HX729 Sony LED HDTV is selling at practically the same price as the 55-inch NX720 - that's some $200 less than the 55-inch HX820 LED TV.
The 55-inch KDL-55HX729 delivers exactly the same features and picture quality performance of the more expensive HX820 series but then lacks the more refinanced Monolithic styling of the more expensive premium series.
Sony KDL-55HX729 3D 240Hz premium HDTV with Internet Video, built-in Wi-Fi, and Web browser
Sony's Budget-Category LED HDTVs
As one moves down the feature-list scale, one enters the EX-range of Sony LED TVs. Despite the lower price, these still come with extensive features and all include Sony's solid Internet TV suite with its numerous video streaming services, the EX720 HDTV series adds 3D, 120Hz panel refresh rate, and a built-in Web browser to the comprehensive feature list of entry-level Sony LED TVs.
Apart from Sony's Monolithic design, what is missing at the entry-level category is the use of advanced LED backlight technology. These use standard edge-LED backlight instead of the dynamic edge-LED technology of the more expensive series. The latter means that you would not enjoy the same deep blacks of the more expensive Sony HDTV series.
Models worth considering at the budget-class category include the 40-inch KDL-40EX720 and the 46-inch KDL-46EX720, which at approximately $830 and $1,050 respectively are among the cheapest Sony LED TVs for 2011.
What about some really cheap Sony LED HDTVs?
Well, as long as you would accept that with a lower price comes a smaller TV, there is a Sony LED TV for you as well even though Sony's cheapest LED TVs are not really that cheap with respect to the competition. The main reason is that even the least expensive Sony LED TVs come with a rather superior feature set to that of the competition.
Sony 32-inch KDL-32EX523 with Internet Video and built-in Wi-Fi
Best cheap LED TV option is represented by the 32-inch KDL-32EX523; this Sony LED TV is selling online at just under $600.
At anything larger than 40-inch, online pricing starts to favor the EX720 series—with the 46-inch EX523 selling at just under $100 less than the feature-rich EX720 equivalent.
Mind you, EX523 HDTVs enjoy almost the same feature set of the EX720 series but lacks 3D, the built-in Web browser, and the higher panel refresh rate.
Neither 3D nor the built-in Web browser represent features one would normally be looking for at the cheap TV category. Rather more important is the presence of available TV entertainment options. In this respect, Sony's least expensive LED TVs come with the Bravia Internet Video suite; the latter makes it possible for viewers to enjoy numerous video streaming services as further detailed under part 1 of this Sony TV review.
Back to... Sony LED TV Review: Part 1
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What do you think about Sony's new line of LED TVs and the latest expensive flagship series? What about Sony's 3D picture? Have you had any issues with 2011 Sony LED HDTVs and what about Sony customer support?
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