As its 'Essentials' moniker suggests, Sony has put just enough tech on this 46in LCD TV for it to compete on both price and performance.

You won't find cutting-edge direct or edge-mounted LED backlighting behind its LCD panel (both remain relatively high-end features in shorter supply than marketing suggests), but it hosts almost all other technology we consider imperative at this size and a few extras to boot.

It's a risky strategy by Sony in some respects, because while a smaller TV's features can be added and removed to hit particular price points, once you get to this huge size every potentially fatal picture foible is visible.

Happily, it gets past this barrier by being built around one of the most impressive LCD panels around. Imbued with excellent contrast, colour and cleanness, this monster screen proves an excellent option for those after a good value pound-per-inch deal without making too many compromises.

Before we examine it in detail, it's worth knowing that other screen sizes available include 32 inch, 37 inch, 40 inch and 52 inch models, while either side of this model are cheaper EX403 (minus 100Hz) and pricier EX703 (plus edge LED backlighting) models.

Sony also produces a host of very pricey models that build in both LED and 3D, such as the KDL-52HX903.

Steeped in the 'reassuringly expensive' philosophy, Sony would argue that the extra beans spent on the KDL-46EX503 gets you one of the most stylish sets around. We're not so sure about that. While its unusual design, which features a brushed metallic panel under the screen, is certainly striking, that initial impression is interrupted by an otherwise drab gloss black frame and an overall build quality that doesn't set it apart from other brands. Nor does its bulky frame, which leaves the depth of the TV at a shade over 10cm.

Sony's website is currently offering a £1,700.23 bundle that adds the brand's BDV-E370 Blu-ray home cinema, though – confusingly – it supports 3D Blu-ray discs, which can't be displayed on the KDL-46EX503's non-3D panel. The BDV-E370 is available for £500 as a standalone purchase; this 'deal' doesn't add-up in more ways than one.