Sony bravia kdl-52hx903 side 2

Sony certainly can't be accused of being half-hearted with its 3D debut. The 52HX903 is stuffed to bursting point with features, all classily integrated within one of the most stylish TVs the brand has produced for years.

Its online features are arguably the best around at the moment, and the picture quality produced by the direct LED backlighting system is also comfortably ahead of any of the other Sony LCD TVs we've seen to date, and thus by default the finest picture quality Sony has ever achieved with an LCD TV. In fact, it's one of the best pictures we've seen from any flatscreen so far.

Or at least that's the case with its 2D pictures. For while its 3D pictures are the second best we've seen, with impressive clarity, rich colours and a good (adjustable) sense of depth, they still suffer noticeably with the crosstalk ghosting issue that's blighted 3D playback on all non-plasma TVs we've seen to date.

It's also a shame that Sony hasn't been able to make the 52HX903's audio meatier, and perhaps the TV feels rather expensive for a set that has to have its 3D compatibility added separately at extra cost.

We liked:

Its design is superbly regal, it is extremely well stocked with connections and has an impressive features list.

Its picture quality is what really wins us over, though, as Sony's second generation of direct LED backlighting technology is used to fantastic effect to produce one of the most dynamic, natural and colourful pictures we've seen.

We disliked:

Although the 52HX903 is pretty much beyond reproach with 2D material, it does suffer at times with crosstalk noise when showing 3D, in keeping with other LCD TVs we've seen.

Its viewing angle is rather restricted too, and there is minor haloing around very bright objects when they appear against very dark backgrounds.

Finally, it lacks full colour management tools, and its sound is surprisingly bland and thin for such a substantial and pricey TV.

Verdict:

As with the recent review of LG's 55LX9900, Sony's 52HX903 presents us with a conundrum. For while it's a technological and design marvel capable of delivering outstanding multimedia talents and producing terrific 2D pictures, its 3D talents are slightly scarred by their susceptibility to crosstalk noise. Its audio is nothing to write home about either.

These latter issues inevitably bring the set's £3k price into play and not in a good way. It's impossible to ignore the fact that Panasonic's 50in P50VT20 TV does better with 3D and is still an excellent 2D performer with a good multimedia feature count, all for £950 less once you've taken the cost of the Sony's extra 3D kit into account.

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