Sony Bravia KDL40LX903 review

Can Sony's pricey new 40-inch 3DTV compete at the high-end?

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Sony 40lx903

The depth in the opening street scenes of Monster House on Blu-ray is fantastic, though immediately there's a problem; falling autumn leaves are lifted from the background, for sure, but fall too fast for the panel. The 3D effect is accompanied by disorientating flicker and double images of each leaf.

Aside from causing a slight flicker to the picture at all times, the shutter glasses remove a chunk of brightness (though not nearly as much as a 3D plasma) and add a slight green tinge to images.

Brightness might be the first casualty of the glasses, but they do appear to add some extra perceived contrast.

Some crosstalk (a slight echo of each left and right image to either side of a 3D object) is also discernible, particularly so with a PlayStation3. On WipEout HD there's plenty of depth effects and backgrounds are deep, detailed and impressively smooth as they whizz by.

The craft itself however, proves to be a vessel for a noticeable amount of crosstalk. It's not that the 3D image is destroyed, but you won't be able to miss an echo of the craft on each side (although if you're lucky, you may only see one echo). It's fainter than the actual craft itself, but not by much.

Does it hamper the 3D effect completely? Not quite, but it's a problem that only affects LCD TVs, LED-backlit or not, thereby ceding a significant advantage to plasma where 3D is concerned.

WipEout HD's in-game graphics plonk the positional indicator, lap counter and timer as fixed 2D elements at the front of the screen, which helps add an immediate sense of depth.

Gran Turismo 5 doesn't play in 3D unless you go into 'options', 'hardware', then '3DTV', and turn 3DTV mode on. Why it doesn't activate automatically is anyone's guess. It adds depth, but it's a mild effect that adds surprisingly little to the enjoyment of the game. Choose to play in 3D and the quality goes down to 720p, which does create the odd jagged edge, though there's an almost constant slight jerkiness to the picture.

Without the 3D glasses, the 40LX903's 2D image is first rate. Best of all, it is imbued with excellent contrast. Loads of shadow details are apparent in a 2D Blu-ray test disc of 2012, though the LEDs in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen on our review sample were noticeably brighter than the others. This kind of light leakage is noticeable on most Edge LED-lit LCD TVs, but that doesn't excuse it.

There's an extraordinary colour range on show in 2012 as Los Angeles collapses, with hundreds of elements each treated to varying hues and pin-sharp saturations.

The effect of the MotionFlow 200Hz feature is a more fluid image that's not blighted by any serious amount of blur or loss of resolution. Used on its highest setting 2012 looks even more laden with special effects than it really is, though it's worth experimenting with, since it does lose the judder from Blu-ray discs that some find irritating.

More enticing is the 40LX903's reasonable efforts at upscaling standard-definition sources; DVDs in particular, and most Freeview channels, are highly watchable.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4), DVB-C (MPEG4)
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports4
Number of SCART Interfaces1
Product FamilyBRAVIA LX903
3D Type3D
Brand NameSony
Screen Size101.6 cm (40")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Wireless LANYes
Analog TunerPAL, SECAM, NTSC
Weight with Stand (Approximate)23.70 kg
Backlight TechnologyEdge LED
VESA Mount Standard300 x 300
Operating Power Consumption145 W
Standby Power Consumption200 mW
RMS Output Power20 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand686 mm
Width with Stand994 mm
Depth with Stand290 mm
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
3D TechnologyShutter
PC StreamingYes
Internet AccessYes
Media PlayerYes
3D Glasses RequiredYes
Enhanced Refresh Rate200 Hz
Height652 mm
Width994 mm
Depth64 mm
Comb Filter3D Y/C
Sound SystemSurround Sound, Dolby Digital Plus
Product SeriesLX903
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
FeaturesPicture in Picture, Teletext, Auto Program, Channel Labeling, Favorite Channel Selection, Sleep Timer, Picture and Picture (PAP)
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelKDL-40LX903
Product LineBRAVIA
Manufacturer Part NumberKDL40LX903U
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Switch on the LX903 and you no longer simply watch TV: you're drawn into an exciting new world of Full HD 3D entertainment. With a beautiful, minimalist Monolithic Design, access to online content and intelligent features, the LX903 will redefine your viewing experience.

Package Contents
  • AC Cable
  • Operating Instructions
  • Remote Commander
  • 2 x 3D Glasses
Limited Warranty5 Year
Weight (Approximate)20.30 kg