Sony KDL-40W905A review

Who wants voice control when you can have NFC and gorgeous images?

TODO alt text

Technically superb, Sony's KDL-40W905A won't disappoint anyone after great picture quality, but does it do enough elsewhere to earn its high price tag?

We liked

On this, one of the most capable 40-inch TVs around, we loved its local dimming, its smooth motion, clean, nicely upscaled digital TV and DVD pictures, and its above average audio.

Its new user interface looks great, while the chance to pair a smartphone with the Sony KDL-40W905A just by touching it to the NFC remote makes us look forward to the 'internet of things' with great confidence. We're also glad that there's no gimicky voice control options, which never seem to work.

We disliked

Where's the dual TV tuners? As well as creating a real-time 'what's on the other channel?' feature, dual tuners really bring alive USB recording and would liven up Sony's SideView app for smartphones and tablets. We also mourn the lack of a touch-sensitive dimension to the secondary remote, despite us liking its NFC feature, while a third USB slot would have been nice, too.

Fast Zapping, though handy in theory, in reality acts like a navigational black hole. Finally, SEN needs both extra apps and the chance to customise it - it's all very neat, but will feel a tad too corporate for some.

Final verdict

Although we love its local dimming, its NFC linking and its clean interface, we can't help but think Sony is slightly behind the curve with its W9 Series KDL-40W905A. Although we totally agree with its firm focus on picture quality over everything else, we feel a bit short-changed by its rather dreary selection of apps and its single TV tuners.

OK, so NFC is a glimpse into the future and does make smartphone pairing exceptionally simple, but shouldn't Sony's flagship TV have just a little more? It should, and we're therefore not convinced about its high price, but that doesn't stop the Sony KDL-40W905A from being technically the top performing 40-inch TV of 2013 so far.

Also consider

If you're in the market for a flagship TV from a major manufacturer, it would be remiss of you not to check out the other top-ranking TVs. Samsung's F8000 Series of LED TVs and F8500 Series of plasmas are both high quality - and both have more apps, as well as voice and gesture control.

Panasonic's DT65 LED TVs and both the Panasonic ZT65 and Panasonic VT65 plasma TVs, which arguably boast 2013's best smart TV features, are also worth checking out. Crucially, all of these rivals have multiple TV tuners.