Top positive review
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Excellent, but NOT without flaws - Read here
on December 26, 2010
First off, I'm not a biased reviewer. Everything I review, I do it for the sake of truthness.
By the way, I own the 40 inch of this model.
I have owned and do own SEVERAL TVs, ranging from brands and types. I am a HUGE audio/video phile, and I always have been since the introduction of high definiton teleivision. I'm going to break this review down into a few parts.
SETUP + BUILD QUALITY
- Pretty straight forward. Easy to assemble, but the back semi circular black piece doesn't like to stay in place and doesn't feel super high quality. The stand however feels sturdy especially once the TV is screwed into it. This is an easy part, it's four screws which is nothing difficult. Now, onto the TV. Compared to other Sony models I've owned or do own (S5100, XBR4, SXRD XBR2, Trinitron 34 inch CRT, EX 46 inch), this TV feels VERY high quality. The bezel feels very well made and produced, unlike a few Sonys I've seen before. The screen also feels very high quality, and is not super reflective, unless there's a lot of light. Then, it gets interesting. The remote is set up decently, but may be a little confusing to some. Again, straightforward. Upon turning on the TV you'll enter a setup screen etc, you know the rundown. You will be prompted to set up an internet connection, and when you do you'll have tons of interesting aps to keep you busy for a while. Netflix and the Golf channel are to name a few. The menu system is also similar to that of the Playstation 3, and is VERY easy to navigate. Good rating here Sony.
FEATURES + INPUTS
Pretty short category. FOUR HDMI ports! That's pretty decent. You'll have standard Component, Composite, Tuner, and PC inputs. All put very well on the back or side of the TV. 3D TV, and it can simulate 3D for ANY video, so it isn't just 3D capable, it's 3D ready. In addition it also has the internet aps I briefly spoke about and has all the basic features and inputs you want from a TV. Menu is very easy to use.
Okay, the big category now! Before I begin speaking about this, I ALWAYS let my TVs burn in for 80+ hours of use, and then I have them professionaly calibrated, NOT BY BEST BUY. Best Buy calibration is total garbage - I speak from experience. I pay a seasoned professional who does a fantastic job with all the latest ISF gadgetry. Out of the box, SD picture is decent. It's not as good as say a top CRT, but the SD is comparable to other TVs in this category of Edge Lit LED. It's good, but not fantastic. Some channels look better than others. Out of the box the HD picture is where this set shines. It gives some very deep blacks and showcases a vast array of detail. It's sharp, and there is VERY little motion blur. The CineMotion setting I set to off. Detail is equally impressive in light/dark scenes, and all HD sources look very, very good. I use the Playstation 3 as a Blu Ray player and I play all sorts of console games such as God of War 3, Mass Effect 2 (360), Call of Duty, etc. I also watch a massive amount of blu rays from comedies to action, and the picture never fails. I compared this to a LX9 XBR (Brand new), and I thought the picture quality was VERY similar. I forced the guys at the Sony Style store to move these two sts side by side with the exact same inputs. The XBR 9 only had VERY SLIGHTLY better detail in darker scenes (splitting hairs), but that may have been due to other reasons. Overall, quality is wonderful. Again, motion blur even in dark scenes is not evident. I like to test a certain scene in the game "Resistance 2", to showcase any motion blur, and even when only 120Hz is turned on there is very little or no blur. By testing the Bravia 3 engine, my calibrator found the engine was powerful and moving images where showcased very well. We were suprised, because most of my Sony sets in the past failed during this test.
However, I DO NOT like an out of the box picture, personally. It's over bright, the colors are torqued up and are innacurate, and these other features such as "advanced contrast control" or "LED control" are garbage. Turn them off completely. Get this TV calibrated - and even then, it isn't 100% perfect. My calibrator worked hours to get the gray scale as accurate as possible. He came very very close, and the TV calibrated very nicely. We have it on the "Custom setting", which Warm 2 as the color option, and brightness set to 51, Picture to 75, and color to 52. We have ALL SETTING OFF except Live Color set to low. Back light is on 6, because I like it a tiny bit brighter. Sharpness needs to be set to 0, it ruins a picture. If I get enough likes on this review I will post my gray scale calibrations.
This all may be true, but the picture is NOT without flaw. Due to being edge lit, you do have a little bit of cloudiness. I have both the 40 inch and the 55 inch model, and it's MUCH lower on the 40 inch. It's only seen slightly at the edges in very dark scenes, but still there. The 55 inch was worse, but still not very evident unless in a dark scene. And even then these sets aren't as bad as others. It's not noticable really on the 40 inch. This however, is the only flaw I see. I am very, very picky when it comes to my TVs and this one delivered.
The 3D is very nice - especially on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and also Dispicable Me. I also like Deep Sea 3D, but at a few scenes it gets blurry. Overall I really like 3D and at first was not a believer. I tested the LG LED and the Samsung as well, and the Sony was my favorite. I also LOVE Samsungs because of it's 10 point gray scale adjustability, but this TV had better picture quality.
Overall, in this catgeory it gets a 9.5.
Ugh. The sound on these speakers are very tinny. They don't produce bass well at all, and to me are garbage. I use a Samsung 3D receiever with two Pioneer towers up front with a Polk Center channel and Polk rears with a 10 inch 250 watt Polk Sub. I refuse to listen to a TV's speaker, as they sound horrific. I noticed even with HDMI voices tend to sound muffled.
Overall, a wonderful set. The only problem is the fact that the backlight at very dark scenes can get annoyingly cloudy, but that's edge lit LED. Picture quality is very detailed, and the gray scale gets 95% accurate when calibrated. Out of the box decent SD settings, but wonerful HD settings. The 3D capabilities on this set are done nicely, and Sony's 3D glasses are among my favorite or comfort. Sound is terrible though - but that was expected.
Enough "helpful" buttons pressed, and I'll post my full calibration settings. (Wont look 100% on your set because each TV is different, but will be closer).