Sony bravia kdl-55nx813

Sound

It's impossible for flat TVs of this screen size to achieve sound of a similar scale. Speakers this small simply don't have the volume, especially when they're tucked away like Sony's 'invisible' speakers. Apparently, they're positioned for optimum elevation and powered by Sony's digital S-Master amplifiers, but they still lack sufficient projection to match the TV.

The sound is clear enough, but it lacks any bass warmth, so it sounds thin and stretched when you turn it up.

This is where Sony's optional SU-B550S soundbar stand comes in. The long aluminium plinth that gives the Monolithic Design TVs their characteristic 6° lean has just been redesigned to incorporate 2.1 powered speakers with a combined output of 40W, so it's the ideal partner for this set if you have the extra £349 to spare.

Value

The NX813 is almost in the top tier of Sony's extensive TV range, with only the HX903 being more expensive. The Sony brand name still commands a premium too, so at £3,000, this TV isn't exactly cheap.

Thanks to keen competition, though, you do get a lot for your money. This is a stylish set with a smart glass stand for starters and it crams a lot into its narrow frame. Luxuries like Wi-Fi are built in, and the dynamic edge LED backlighting add to the cost.

Given the price, however, it still seems off-putting that the 3D transmitter isn't built into the set as with the HX903, or at least bundled with the TV. Because of this, 3D fans will be able to find better value for money over at Samsung and Panasonic.

Ease of use

Sony's Bravia TVs tend to score highly in the ease-of-use stakes, thanks to the brilliant Xross Media Bar (XMB) menu system that has moved from the PS3 to just about every Sony product with an onscreen interface. With the two axis offering up all of your options without insisting you scroll through menu pages, you can access all of the features in no time. Even the channel names for the analogue and digital tuners now appear on the XMB.

There's also a very clear eight-day electronic programme guide (EPG), which makes planning your viewing especially easy on this larger-than-life screen.

As for the remote control, Sony has simply decided to supersize one of its regular handsets. The current concave remote with the addition power button on the flip side is very intuitive and could only be improved by perhaps making it a bit more ergonomic. Scaling it up to this size doesn't seem to bring any important new buttons, but it does mean you're less likely to lose track of it.

In addition to the eight preset picture modes, you can tweak the brightness, colour temperature etc yourself. Other brands offer more in the way of test patterns and other calibration tools to help you fine tune the picture, but ease of use, rather than flexibility, is the name of the game here.