Sony KDL-40EX524 review

You'll get top-notch 2D from this great-value Sony KDL-40EX524 Tested at £750

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Solid performance at a decent price – but you don’t have to look far to get more


  • +

    Internet TV and Qriocity service

  • +

    natural colours

  • +

    clean images

  • +

    excellent HD tuner


  • -

    No 3D

  • -

    motion could be better

  • -

    off-axis viewing isn’t perfect

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

Too much choice can be paralysing: it can be hard to take the plunge and hand over a hefty bundle of notes. But we think being able to pay anything between £300 and £3000 for a 40in TV is a good thing, as it tends to mean decent value.

This Sony is a case in point, offering everything that you could want in a TV except 3D. (Or everything you could want in a TV, as some wiseacres might say.)

A Freeview HD tuner, bags of internet TV content (including Sony’s Qriocity service), four HDMIs, USB, DLNA media streaming, Full HD… Sony has ticked plenty of boxes.

Too many options can be confusing
This edge-lit LED set is 4.2cm deep, and easy on the eye. The interface is a hybrid of the old and new, giving you endless icons and options – again, too much choice – which could surely be more easily arranged.

Nevertheless, we’re soon watching the thing, and are wowed by the excellent Freeview HD images. The level of detail and sense of depth on offer are better than most, while edges are sharply drawn.

Sound is sadly average, though. Thick and unclear, we found ourselves cranking the volume in an effort to improve matters.

The Blu-ray of Se7en tests the 40EX524’s ability with dark blacks. It can certainly go dark but better – and more expensive – sets retain more detail. Hints of backlight unevenness can be seen in the corners at times when the screen is blank, but it doesn’t distract when watching content.

Upscales standard definition well
Edges remain sharp, detail recovery is good, and a switch to DVD reveals that this TV is also very capable when it comes to upscaling standard-def content.

One thing that does catch our eye is a touch of motion blurring: Sony is normally so strong in this area but this 50Hz set does struggle with particularly testing scenes. Ideally, we’d like it brighter, too.

Try as we might, we found it impossible to get a killer combo of inky blacks and bright whites; no deal-breaker, but a mild concern.

So, it is possible to pick holes in the performance of the Sony KDL-40EX524: no 3D, black levels could be better, and there are some issues with motion. But it still represents good performance and value.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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