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Sony KDL-40NX723 Expert Review

Sony KDL-40NX723

Rating: ★★★★½

Sony’s vast 2011 range of Bravia LCD TVs contains something for everyone, from affordable no-frills sets all the way up to premium screens with more fancy functionality than you’ll probably ever use.

This model, the KDL-40NX723, sits firmly in the latter camp and forms part of Sony’s Internet TV range. That means it not only supports Sony’s Bravia Internet Video portal, it also enables you to stream your content from connected devices around the home.

There are three sizes of NX723 TVs – this 40-inch KDL-40NX723, the 46-inch KDL-46NX723 and the 55-inch KDL-55NX723.

You’ll also find a couple of cheaper NX713 sets in Sony’s range – the 40-inch KDL-40NX713 and 46-inch KDL-46NX713. These have a more basic specification list but are significantly cheaper – there’s a whopping £600 difference between the KDL-40NX723 and the KDL-40NX713.

So the 40NX723 isn’t cheap, then, but when you clap eyes on it the price starts to make sense.

It uses Sony’s gloriously chic Monolithic design, which means there’s a flush screen surface and no bezel, plus if you invest in one of Sony’s special Monolithic stands (with a built-in subwoofer) you can place the set on low furniture with an upwards tilt of six degrees, which will look particularly stunning in one of those modern, Ikea-styled rooms.

The set itself is amazingly slim, thanks to the OptiContrast edge LED panel inside, giving it a depth of just 27mm.

The flush frame around the screen is a lovely deep gloss black, while the supplied stand sports an alluring brushed metal finish. That’s the icing on a very appetising cake, and ensures that your living room has a good-looking new focal point.

It’s not just eye candy, though. This set is also equipped to meet all of today’s connectivity needs. The rear panel isn’t the most practical to access due to the screen’s slimness, which means connections are all downwards or sideways-facing and require adapter cables for the component and Scart inputs.

But it covers most bases, including four HDMI inputs (two on the side and two on the bottom, one of which supports Audio Return Channel), optical digital output, PC input (mini D-sub 15-pin), stereo audio/headphone minijack output and an Ethernet port.

You’ll also find two USB ports, one of which is designated for use with an external HDD, enabling you to make recordings from the built-in tuner. The other one can be used to play digital media from other storage devices.

Completing the lineup is a CAM slot for pay TV.


The Sony KDL-40NX723 grants you access to Sony’s Bravia Internet Video portal, and with built-in Wi-Fi on board it’s easier than ever to get online.

Bravia Internet Video offers a fantastic range of sites to choose from. These include catch-up TV services such as BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, Sky News and Eurosport, video on-demand such as YouTube, LoveFilm, Qriocity and Dailymotion, plus a range of lesser-known European and specialist sites, a channel dedicated to 3D clips and Sony Entertainment TV.

Sony kdl-40nx723That’s still the best range of content found on any connected TV.

But there’s more than just videos to keep you entertained. You get a Music Unlimited service courtesy of Qriocity, plus apps for Facebook and Twitter that enable you to keep on top of your social networking without the need to fire up a laptop.

The built-in Skype functionality enables you to make free video calls from the comfort of your armchair, provided you fork out around £80 for the CMU-BR100 voice control camera and microphone.

You can also look up details about the content you’re listening to or watching, thanks to the Track ID feature.

And to top it all off there’s an Opera internet browser that enables you to visit any website you like. You’re at the mercy of the remote, however, which makes it a time-consuming process, while the lack of support for embedded video is a big limitation.

These extensive web features are backed up by DLNA media streaming, which allows you to access content stored on PCs, phones and other devices.

Thanks to the Wi-Fi Direct support you can hook up the TV to other devices without getting any routers or cables involved. And with the relevant free app installed on your smartphone, you can use your mobile phone as a TV remote control or as a second screen for online video – plus it can act as a keyboard when browsing the web.

But let’s not forget that this is a TV we’re talking about, so let’s turn our attention to the picture tech.

It’s powered by Sony’s X-Reality processing engine (new for 2011) and features MotionFlow XR200 processing, which confusingly isn’t 200Hz but 100Hz, inserting new transitional frames between the existing 50Hz image to improve the smoothness of movement.

The smart TV set also features a whole host of image optimisation tools that you could spend all day playing with. Sensibly, Sony has separated the more basic tweaks such as colour, contrast and brightness into the first page, with a separate Advanced Menu at the bottom.

Here you’ll find Black Corrector, Gamma, Live Colour and Advanced Contrast Enhancer, Clear White, White Balance, Edge and Detail Enhancers and more. Picture pedants will definitely get their money’s worth.

Naturally at this price, the Sony KDL-40NX723 is also 3D-compatible with a built-in IR emitter. But you don’t get any glasses in the box, and at around £60 a pop that’ll soon add up if you want to kit the whole family out. There’s a simulated 3D mode on board though, so you can give any 2D content you’re watching a 3D effect.

Freeview functionality is excellent. As well as picking up HD channels, it offers a comprehensive electronic programme guide (EPG). And if you connect an external HDD with 32GB-2TB capacity to one of the USB ports, you can even record TV programmes.

Finally – and perhaps most cleverly – the 40-inch TV has a built-in camera sensor with face recognition software, which activates certain functions automatically depending on your position in the room. The Presence Sensor will darken or turn off the picture if it can’t detect anyone in the room, while the Distance Sensor aims to stop kids getting square eyes by sounding an alarm if they get within 1m of the screen.

Meanwhile, Position Control registers where people are sitting and adjusts the volume balance between the left and right speakers, as well as optimising the picture.

All of these modes can be activated in the set-up menu, and when doing so it shows you what the camera sees – complete with white squares clamped around the detected faces – and a grid indicating your position.

With all this smart technology inside, the Sony KDL-40NX723 makes you feel more and more like you’re in Back To The Future Part 2 – next year expect hover boards and holograms.

Ease of use

Setting up the Sony KDL-40NX723 is blissfully simple. On-screen wizards make light work of network set up, guiding you through the sometimes tricky access point search, while picture and sound tweaking, Freeview channel tuning and other installation essentials are easy to complete thanks to Sony’s logical sub-menu structure.

What’s more, Sony’s knack for slick, intuitive interface design is evident once again on the KDL-40NX723. The main ‘Home’ menu uses a mutated form of the previous Xross Media Bar menu, this time lining up the icons along the bottom of the screen with the corresponding options shooting up the right-hand side.

Sony kdl-40nx723While navigating you don’t have to miss your TV programme, because the menu is wrapped around a live TV screen.

The menu offers loads of icons to scroll through, but thankfully it glides along quickly and it’s split up into familiar groups, making it a breeze to find stuff such as internet content, your media or the set-up menu.

There’s even a Favourites/History section, which shows recently viewed channels and selected inputs.

The other screens have also been designed for maximum user friendliness. The EPG boasts a clean and uncluttered layout, despite cramming in an eight-channel grid, a live TV screen and the programme or movie synopsis.

On the networking side, it’s much easier to search internet content than the previous incarnation of Xross Media Bar, because it arranges the icons into a grid on a separate screen, rather than making you scroll down a long vertical axis.

The connected TV also provides logical and attractive screens for playing back media content. We streamed a variety of songs in WAV, MP3, WMA and AAC formats and had no trouble navigating the folder-based menu system. But with over 16,000 songs in our library, the TV understandably took a while to populate the list.

On the video side, the Sony KDL-40NX723 does an OK job, tentatively playing most of the file types we threw at it – including DivX, which isn’t supported by some of Sony’s Blu-ray players. It also streamed AVCHD, AVI, XviD and WMV, although they all stuttered considerably during playback – it was much smoother when played back from a USB flash drive.

Using the remote to browse the internet at large is long-winded to the point of being a complete waste of time. We tried signing in to SoundCloud but entering email addresses and passwords took forever – despite the best efforts of the alphanumeric text entry system – and it went dead after pressing ‘Log in’.

Add the lack of Flash support to this and you’ve got a fairly useless feature. Widgets and ring-fenced content are definitely the way forward for connected TVs; leave the rest of the internet to your laptop.

The inclusion of i-Manual is a bonus, though, because it describes all of the set’s features in detail on the screen without you having to thumb through a thick paper pamphlet.

And the Sony Bravia KDL-40NX723 is supplied with a useful remote that features clearly labelled buttons and a multi-direction control pad surrounded by all the regularly used buttons. Dedicated keys for i-manual, Internet Video and picture presets are a helpful touch, while the Options button is an ever-present friend, offering constant access to the most-used functions no matter what source you’re watching.

Picture quality

Feed it a 2D 1080p Blu-ray movie and the Sony KDL-40NX723 is in its element. It instantly gets to grips with The Dark Knight‘s abundance of fine detail, particularly during the stunning IMAX scenes such as the opening bank robbery.

Faces are rendered with a realistically pockmarked texture, the grubby detail on the clown masks is gloriously clear and you can make out the fibres on the Joker’s jacket. This makes for a crisp, dazzling image at all times. Later, the mesmerising aerial shots of Hong Kong are so sharp they’ll have someone’s eye out.

Sony kdl-40nx723These twinkly pictures are helped no end by the TV’s terrific brightness level, which brings an irresistible vibrancy and deep, cinematic contrast to proceedings.

Objects look three-dimensional without a pair of 3D glasses in sight, thanks to the profundity of the blacks and the effortlessly clear shadow detail within them. The suit jackets worn by the various commissioners and policemen aren’t black blobs – they’re fully realised, textured objects.

The colour palette is beautifully judged, too. Bruce Wayne’s bevy of beauties on the yacht looks as natural as possible, with convincingly bronzed skin tones juxtaposed nicely with the deep blue sea around them. Christian Bale’s skin has a natural peachy hue without any signs of redness.

MotionFlow comes in a variety of flavours – Smooth, Standard, Clear and Clear Plus – and to our eye the Clear and Clear Plus settings are the most beneficial, because you get brighter pictures and more realistic movement, not that digital video camera-style smoothness afforded by the Smooth mode.

Noise is also more visible using the Smooth mode, with Clear Plus and Clear modes displaying a darker picture that masks it more effectively. That said, the Smooth mode certainly lives up to its name, rendering camera pans without any judder.

Skipping to the frantic vehicle chase through Gotham, the bikes and trucks zip around for the most part with smooth motion and very little motion blur, if any.

We investigated further with test patterns on Samsung’s HD Reference Evaluation Blu-ray disc, and the Sony KDL-40NX723 was able to reproduce its fast camera pans down the side of buildings and rostrum camera sweeps over a map without much smearing or judder.

All of this smooth, powerful processing pays dividends when watching a 3D picture. The lack of motion blur, deep, composed layering and meticulously realised detail combine to deliver pictures that suck you right into the screen.

There’s very little ghosting crosstalk to sully the picture (just a faint trace on the notorious Monsters vs Aliens Golden Gate Bridge scene), and despite the dimmed 3D glasses, the set’s natural brightness still manages to make the picture shine.

Freeview pictures are excellent, thanks to the Sony KDL-40NX723‘s ability to effectively mask the usual nasties associated with digital TV broadcasts. It’s still a little rough round the edges, but much better than many of its 40-inch TV rivals.

All in all, the Sony KDL-40NX723 is a very impressive performer with both 3D and 2D images, but at a price reaching over £1,000, we’d expect nothing less.

Sound and value

It never ceases to amaze us how TV sets this slim manage to make a sound at all. But the Sony KDL-40NX723′s four 10W ìInvisibleî speakers deliver a passable audio performance with TV material. They make speech sound clear and prominent at normal listening levels and handed the crying and shouting on EastEnders very nicely indeed.

Sony kdl-40nx723It’s only when you test its limits with a rip-roaring Blu-ray movie or start playing MP3s from USB flash drives that you realise how thin and strained the sound is. That’s pretty much par for the course with flatscreen TVs, though.

If you want to boost bass output, the tilted Monolithic stand comes with a built-in subwoofer. The TV also boasts a range of sound modes tailored to different types of material, as well as S-Force Front Surround 3D, S Master, Dolby Digital Plus compatibility and automatic volume control.


Let’s get this straight: Sony’s asking price of £1,400 for the KDL-40NX723 is expensive for a 40-inch TV set. Even if you shop around online it only dips down to around the £1,100 mark. And that’s before you’ve even thought about buying the 3D glasses or the Skype camera.

Thankfully, Sony can’t be accused of short-changing you, thanks to this marvellous TV’s extensive feature list. All the cutting-edge mod cons you could ever need are included, so you don’t need to worry about getting your money’s worth.

Final Thoughts

The KDL-40NX723 isn’t the most advanced TV Sony has to offer (the KDL-40HX723 offers MotionFlow 400) but there’s a definite premium vibe about the 40-inch connected TV in everything from its super-slim Monolithic design to its extensive feature list.

The inclusion of built-in Wi-Fi, 3D support, DLNA media streaming, Bravia Internet Video and some clever automation tricks makes the TV’s specs list what you expect to see for this sort of money. The veritable banquet of picture processing modes and adjustments makes it a great choice for those who care about picture quality.

We Liked

There’s a wealth of features on board including built-in Wi-Fi, which makes it possible to access the extensive networking features with ease.

And what superb features they are, particularly Bravia Internet Video, which for our money still delivers the best range of connected TV content.

The set also delivers superb picture quality from 2D and 3D Blu-ray discs, and a vast array of picture adjustments and enhancements on board enable you to achieve your perfect picture.

The excellent operating system and i-Manual make the TV a doddle to use, too.

We Disliked

Even though the Sony KDL-40NX723 comes with a hefty price tag of well over £1,000, you don’t get any 3D glasses in the box. And if you want Skype that’ll be another £80 please.

Streaming videos over a home network proved to be a little stuttery and frustrating, plus the internet browser is a waste of time (although you can use your smartphone as a keyboard).

Some of the MotionFlow modes introduce artefacts into the picture, and the usual flatscreen TV caveat about weedy sound applies yet again.

Sony KDL-40NX723


  • Excellent 2D and 3D pictures
  • Extensive connected content
  • Intuitive operating system
  • Detailed picture tweaks
  • Excellent 2D and 3D pictures
  • Extensive connected content
  • Intuitive operating system
  • Detailed picture tweaks


  • Extra cost for glasses and Skype camera
  • Frustrating internet browser
  • MotionFlow picture artefacts
  • Relatively expensive
  • Frustrating internet browser
  • MotionFlow picture artefacts
  • Relatively expensive



There’s no denying that the Sony KDL-40NX723 is an expensive TV, but what that money gets you is a feature-packed, cutting-edge set that delivers excellent pictures from a variety of sources.

It’s an accomplished 3D performer, and with an extensive range of picture adjustments on board you can tweak away to your heart’s content.

Some minor aspects gall, but on the whole it’s a mountain of pros against a molehill of cons, which means it’s money well spent if you can afford it.


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