The KDL-46NX713 features 'invisible' speakers hidden within the TV's design that help maintain the super-slim profile that LED sets are famed for, but sadly that leaves audio sounding similarly thin.
Play Avatar through these speakers and its breathtaking sound design is reduced to a cacophony of hissy effects and damp-squibs, with little bass punch to speak of. The digital amplifier musters 2 x 8W of power with 10W from the built in subwoofer, but the bass deficiency makes us wonder if the sub is pulling a sickie. Therefore a separate surround sound system is essential, but that applies to most flatpanel TVs.
What's more, the S-Force Front Surround tech inside is supposed to mimic a surround effect but didn't seem particularly expansive. On the plus side, dialogue comes though clearly and for TV viewing it's fine. You also get a range of sound presets (Cinema, Music, Live Sports and Game) which might come in handy.
Given the amount of features on board, coupled with the outstanding 2D Blu-ray and TV picture quality, you certainly won't feel short-changed after splashing out this sort of money on the KDL-46NX713.
With built-in Wi-Fi, media streaming, web access, a comprehensive range of sockets and some nifty picture processing, it's seriously well-specced, plus the ultra-slim and sexy design up the value factor even further.
That said, if you and your family are planning on taking advantage of the set's 3D compatibility, get ready for that price tag to skyrocket, as a single pair of glasses will set you back around £100. But to be honest, the spectre of 3D crosstalk hangs so heavily over this set's head that it's probably not worth the investment. Best stick to 2D hi-def from Blu-ray and Freeview HD, which this set handles with considerable aplomb.
Ease of use
Installing the set takes no time at all – it's just a case of inserting the metal cylinder and screwing the screen onto the supplied rectangular stand. Once rigged up you can make your way to the main menu, which is the familiar Xross Media Bar. It's not hard to see why Sony has stuck with this for so long, as it's a slick, intuitive interface that makes it easy to navigate through the wealth of content at your disposal.
The cross axis system skims from option to option with a smooth motion, and thanks to the use of pretty icons and clear, legible fonts, it's never unclear what you're looking at. That said, if Sony keeps adding new features and web services, the menu runs the risk of getting more and more congested – indeed, it already takes ages to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the Video menu.
Scoot all the way over to the left of the menu and you'll find plenty to play with in the Setup section, including a fairly detailed array of picture tweaks and a range of picture presets, plus you can turn the various processing modes on and off – Live Colour, MotionFlow, Cinema mode and so forth.
Away from the Xross Media Bar the menus are excellent – an Options menu provides quick access to key functions, the Freeview onscreen displays are clear and informative and the Electronic Programme Guide lays out the programmes in an easily digestible grid and plays live TV in a box.
There's also a Favourites screen that slides up from the bottom and provides easy access to inputs and functions. And there's an onscreen i-Manual that might come in handy if the dog eats the real one.
Although we're used to Sony's particular brand of remote, it's still not the most user-friendly zapper we've encountered. The small, clicky buttons and over zealous use of labels towards the top makes it seem a bit cluttered, although the ring of direction controls, surrounded by the most-used menu functions, is thoughtfully arranged.