My Sony KDL46HX853 review
Hello all i thought i would post an honest opinion on my new Sony KDL46HX853 so here goes:
Out of the box it has to be said that is one good looking, stylish TV and when switched off it has that picture frame look due to the slim profile and mainly due to the Gorilla glass finish on the panel which makes it look like the TV is just one pane of black glass with no bezel...very nice.
The styling has taken some cues from last years Panasonic VT30 plasma range with some Sony additions such as the silver metal trim running around the outside of the TV and the curved edges of the TV, it's also worth noting that the back panel is metal which is unusual with LCD/LED TVs and adds to the pride of ownership factor and overall feeling of a quality build and finish.
Straight out of the box and hung on the wall the Home settings are predictably overblown but after calibration the TV settles into a really watchable picture, it's worth noting that calibration can be bit of a pain as there is no option to copy settings over to different sources like there was on my GT30...oh and no ISF modes are on this tv.
More concerning is the complete lack of any colour calibration modes, Sony still seems to be resistant to anyone messing with the factory colour settings for some reason so you are left with just colour and hue for adjustment and although the colour is not far out atall from the box just a few adjustments would make it far more accurate which leaves me slightly perplexed...surely the consumer should be free to adjust the colour more freely?
Anyway once calibrated the image displayed is pretty special with particular highlights being the clean, crisp whites which are displayed next to inky blacks and the way in which the TV handles motion, it's just effortless in action with no signs of judder or artificial processing such as halo effects etc. The detail levels from a HD source such as my Panasonic BDT500 blu ray player are exceptional with every ounce of detail revealed, the opening sequence of Star Wars episode 3 Return of the Sith on bluray is simply stunning and colours are bold without being overblown and skin tones are completely natural.
As mentioned earlier its motion that's handled so nicely with this tv with panning shots of any speed dealt with confidently and free from noise, judder and halo effects or shimmering and it rates amongst the most confident presentation i have ever seen in this respect. The blacks lose a tiny amount of detail level when compared to my previous GT30 plasma but it really is a tiny amount we are talking about and as near as i've seen to a plasma from an LED/LCD TV which is very impressive and just adds to the cinematic image the TV produces.
So it can't all be positive can it?? No, is the short answer. Throw any SD content at the tv such as SD Freeview and the TV simply doesn't like it, you get a slightly soft image that's a bit noisy and although it's far from a disaster performance with SD was better on my GT30. Detail levels seem to drop off the face of the planet which is pretty normal these days and although you can all but eliminate the noise with the myriad of features on the tv they just make a slightly blurry picture far to blurry to be enjoyable and the same is true of upscaling dvds except they suffer from far less blurring, my BDT500 bluray player was a far better upscaler than the tv.
There is a weird backlight issue present on the TV which is only visible when viewing the TVs menus, using the Game mode or when using the apps on the tv and it shows itself as two distinct patches of light eminating from the bottom corners of the screen with the left hand side by far the worse although it's only visible in low light conditions. I'm not entirely sure what's going on here but my guess is that the TV is boosting the backlight levels here because a properly calibrated picture setting shows no sign of the issue.
Unfortunatley you can't change the picture setting all the time to eliminate it so you are stuck with it but once you go to iPlayer for example and start playing something you can then change the picture setting to a calibrated preset and hey presto it's gone! Just a shame that it can't be eliminated entirely, i've now set a completely different mode up for gaming to eliminate the problem here as no matter what you do the problem is still there in either of the game modes on offer. But it must be said that it's a minor issue and doesn't affect movie or tv viewing in any way.
This is a hugely impressive TV that displays a simply excellent image with HD but doesn't much care for SD, it has a good tuner (although Freeview HD was a bit crisper on my GT30) and an excellent selection of apps on offer including iPlayer, Nexflix, 5OD, Lovefilm, BBC Sport, Youtube and of course Sonys own Entertainment Network which has it's own button on the remote. It has simply bucket loads of picture options and enough options for the tweakers out there like myself but the menus are a little awkward with some options hidden away in unusual places but the main thing is it's all there if you look hard enough and there is an i-Manual built into the tv if you get lost or can't find an option which is nice.
The TV carries a web browser although it's unfortunately Opera based and tends to throw it's toys out of the pram far too often as it struggles to cope with sites with lots of content and advertising but it's a handy tool for a quick google search for example.
3D performance with the standard BR250 IR glasses is another positive and although the glasses are quite bulky and not too comfortable over extended periods they do block out peripharal vision nicely and don't darken the image like most glasses do and the image on offer from the Avatar 3D disc is lovely. It's rich in detail and offers simply stunning depth of image that quite comfortably beats my old GT30s 3D performance, the colours remain nicely judged and black levels remain every bit as impressive as before with crosstalk a rare occurance, if it wasn't for the galsses this would be a 3D image you could quite easily watch for prolonged preiods of time. New Sony titanium 3D glasses have now arrived which should solve the issue.
To sum up then this is a highly specified TV with modern looks and brilliant build quality and contains every extra you would expect from a 2012 TV apart from the rather gimmicky voice and body controls seen on Samsung and LG TVs which isn't a bad thing imo, it's fully equiped and the performance is simply stunning in HD with the most cinematic image i've seen from an LED tv but if you live on a diet of SD content you may be better off looking elsewhere but for everyone else this is a fabulous TV despite the very slight backlight issue and i'm very happy with it.
The 46HX853 comes very highly recommended by me and is definately worth auditioning if you are after a 46inch TV this year, i can see just why it's going to be hard to beat this year in What Hi Fi and i'm proud to show it off whenever i get the chance which tells you all you need to know really. To quote Dumb and Dumber....i like it ALOT