Sony Bravia 46HX923 review
For this review we tested the 46in model in the HX923 range, but it's also available in a 65in screen size (65HX923). That model has identical specifications except for its dimensions and power usage. We're confident that image quality will be practically identical across the range.
Sony has yet to update its flagship LCD TV for 2012, but the good news is that last year’s top-end model is still on sale. The 46HX923 uses a direct-lit LED panel with local dimming technology to create deep blacks and vibrant colours. This means it can still keep up with the best TVs from other manufacturers.
The HX923 has a minimalist brushed metal stand that complements its thin black bezel perfectly, and the single sheet of glass that covers the entire panel is a nice touch. When it’s switched off, the set looks like a sheet of glistening slate.
When you turn it on, the direct LED system comes in to full effect. It dims the backlight to create much deeper blacks than those seen on edge-lit TVs. This gives dark scenes plenty of punch. We noticed a slight halo effect during certain scenes because the limited LED quadrants were too large to illuminate small details accurately, but for the most part it was unobtrusive. We also spotted some slight backlight inconsistencies at the far edges of the screen, which wouldn't go away even after we adjusted the picture settings.
Its colours are incredibly vibrant, and even standard definition footage is handled well with Sony's X Reality Pro image engine. Turning the image processing down to the "low" settings produced the best results, but there are plenty of options to customise the display to suit personal tastes.
Its connectivity is excellent, despite its incredibly thin chassis. There are four HDMI ports, one VGA port and two adaptor ports for SCART, component and composite video inputs. It also has one analogue and one optical digital audio output, and a 3.5mm input. You can use one of its USB ports to play media and use the other to record programmes.
It has an Ethernet port and built-in Wi-Fi, so you can jump online right away, and you’ll definitely want to because of its DLNA media streaming and access to Sony’s entertainment portal. The Sony Entertainment Network replaces Bravia Internet Video on Sony’s 2012 TVs, but all the features still work perfectly here, including BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, YouTube, LoveFilm and Sony's own Bravia 3D experience channel. Sadly, we couldn’t get our DivX files to play, but we could play our other test files.
Two sets of 3D glasses are bundled with the TV, along with a USB webcam, but you’ll have to buy extra pairs (£49 each from shop.sony.co.uk) if more than two people want to watch 3D content at once. Our 3D test footage looked surprisingly bright and vibrant for an active system, but we did notice signs of crosstalk. Sony struggled to eliminate crosstalk across the board in 2011, putting the HX923 at a disadvantage compared to 2012 models from other manufacturers.
Although it’s technically last year’s model, the HX923 is still a very well-equipped TV. Its image quality is superb for an LCD panel and it has all the internet features we expect to see, but it isn’t without its faults. 3D playback is troublesome due to crosstalk and the price hasn’t dropped in light of newer models from other manufacturers. If you want excellent black response from a bright and vibrant LCD TV, the local dimming used here is your best bet. However, a plasma such as thePanasonic Viera TX-P42ST50B is a better bet overall for image quality.
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