Sony KDL-40W5810 review

If Freesat takes your fancy, this is the best TV with it built-in Tested at £950

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

If Freesat takes your fancy, this is the best TV with it built-in


  • +

    Adds Freesat to the 'W5500's substantial spec

  • +

    brilliant contrast, colours and motion

  • +

    solid upscaling

  • +

    loads of detail for the money


  • -

    A little sibilance to sound

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After 18 months of fence-sitting, Sony has joined the Freesat following.

Other than the Freesat tuner, this is identical to its stablemate, the KDL-40W5500: Full HD LCD with 100Hz Motionflow, four HDMIs, and a DLNA-compatible ethernet socket.

The usual Sony qualities shine through as soon as you play a Blu-ray. First, there's contrast: few sets go as black as this, but even in the darkest scenes it will find and reproduce any light with pure, punchy clarity.

Motionflow works well
The vibrant yet natural colours are another success, and Sony's Motionflow technology produces rock-solid, smooth and natural movement.

Switch to DVD and you can add clean and stable deinterlacing and upscaling to the positives. Sound is clear and direct, if a bit more sibilant than the very best.

There's very little between Freeview and Freesat in standard definition. Both have lots of detail and vibrant, punchy colours, but a touch more noise than the best.

Switch to Life on BBC HD, though, and Freesat suddenly makes sense. The Sony produces sharp, insightful, solid images.

Even backlight is bang on
This is usually the point in a Sony TV review where dodgy backlighting ruins everything, but our sample was impressive in this regard, too. In fact, its only problem is Philips' 42PFL9664, which is so detailed it manages to make the Sony look a touch soft.

That Philips is £500 more expensive, though. Next to its price rivals this Sony is a leader in the detail department. This is the best Freesat model we've seen.

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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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