Sony kdl-40nx723

Feed it a 2D 1080p Blu-ray movie and the Sony KDL-40NX723 is in its element. It instantly gets to grips with The Dark Knight's abundance of fine detail, particularly during the stunning IMAX scenes such as the opening bank robbery.

Faces are rendered with a realistically pockmarked texture, the grubby detail on the clown masks is gloriously clear and you can make out the fibres on the Joker's jacket. This makes for a crisp, dazzling image at all times. Later, the mesmerising aerial shots of Hong Kong are so sharp they'll have someone's eye out.

These twinkly pictures are helped no end by the TV's terrific brightness level, which brings an irresistible vibrancy and deep, cinematic contrast to proceedings.

Objects look three-dimensional without a pair of 3D glasses in sight, thanks to the profundity of the blacks and the effortlessly clear shadow detail within them. The suit jackets worn by the various commissioners and policemen aren't black blobs – they're fully realised, textured objects.

The colour palette is beautifully judged, too. Bruce Wayne's bevy of beauties on the yacht looks as natural as possible, with convincingly bronzed skin tones juxtaposed nicely with the deep blue sea around them. Christian Bale's skin has a natural peachy hue without any signs of redness.

MotionFlow comes in a variety of flavours – Smooth, Standard, Clear and Clear Plus – and to our eye the Clear and Clear Plus settings are the most beneficial, because you get brighter pictures and more realistic movement, not that digital video camera-style smoothness afforded by the Smooth mode.

Noise is also more visible using the Smooth mode, with Clear Plus and Clear modes displaying a darker picture that masks it more effectively. That said, the Smooth mode certainly lives up to its name, rendering camera pans without any judder.

Skipping to the frantic vehicle chase through Gotham, the bikes and trucks zip around for the most part with smooth motion and very little motion blur, if any.

We investigated further with test patterns on Samsung's HD Reference Evaluation Blu-ray disc, and the Sony KDL-40NX723 was able to reproduce its fast camera pans down the side of buildings and rostrum camera sweeps over a map without much smearing or judder.

All of this smooth, powerful processing pays dividends when watching a 3D picture. The lack of motion blur, deep, composed layering and meticulously realised detail combine to deliver pictures that suck you right into the screen.

There's very little ghosting crosstalk to sully the picture (just a faint trace on the notorious Monsters vs Aliens Golden Gate Bridge scene), and despite the dimmed 3D glasses, the set's natural brightness still manages to make the picture shine.

Freeview pictures are excellent, thanks to the Sony KDL-40NX723's ability to effectively mask the usual nasties associated with digital TV broadcasts. It's still a little rough round the edges, but much better than many of its 40-inch TV rivals.

All in all, the Sony KDL-40NX723 is a very impressive performer with both 3D and 2D images, but at a price reaching over £1,000, we'd expect nothing less.