Sony kdl-40ex724

Sound

The KDL-40EX724 tries its best when it comes to audio fidelity, but doesn't have an awful lot to play with. There's no subwoofer and consequently there's a predictable absence of mid to low bass. The overall volume is loud enough – driving the downward facing speakers is a 2 x 10w S-Force digital amplifier, but the stereo spread is polite at best.

There's the choice of the usual Dynamic, Standard and Clear Voice modes as well as faux-surround with four DSP settings. Take the latter with a pinch of salt.

Value

Taken at face value, this 40-incher would seem a reasonable bet. It's fashionably swish even though it's built to a price, offers access to a superior selection of IPTV channels when you take it online and can deliver highly credible 2D hi-def images.

Sony's Motionflow XR200 picture processing is demonstrably beneficial to the clarity of its images; its inclusion here warrants the price hike from cheaper EX iterations which lack the technology.

For telly addicts stepping up to Freeview HD and net connectivity for the first time, the KDL-40EX724 would seem well worth investigation.

What should cause pause for thought is its inexplicably poor 3D performance. This TV behaves completely differently once you don those Active Shutter glasses. 3D on this set is the visual equivalent of sticking your head in washing machine full of multicoloured smalls – and then activating the Fast Spin cycle.

Ease of use

Sony has totally overhauled the user interface on its 2011 TV models. The old XrossMediaBar, which spread like a virus through the previous Sony hardware fleet, has been pensioned off, giving way to a new system that enables you to navigate while live TV plays in a minimised window. It's an intuitive and attractive upgrade.

This digital paint job extends to the brand's online service, too. Whereas before, channels within the Bravia Internet Video portal tumbled in an interminable list from the main menu, they now appear in an ordered grid.

The KDL-40EX724 does stumble a little in some apparently forgotten areas of the UI, though. Call up the 3D menu and you'll be given an opportunity to adjust the severity of the 'outy-ness' of its 3D presentation. Unfortunately this menu obscures 50 per cent of the screen. Trying to adjust 3D depth when you can only make out half the picture will defeat most users.

The remote appears the same as the 2010 vintage, complete with perplexing secondary power button on the flip side of the controller. Once you get used to its main, circular Home/Options/Return buttons though, it's a simple enough handset to use.