For well over a grand we expect more from Sony. The first gripe is a lack of built-in WiFi, which means trailing a cable from a broadband router – or taking the plunge and buying a UWA-BR100 Wi-Fi adaptor from Sony.
The second, and by far the most serious, complaint is the KDL-55EX723's lack of 3D spectacles. Although we were supplied with a pair for the review, it's verging on a scandal that there are none in the box as standard. We imagine most 3DTVs are sold to families, who then have to invest in a few additional pairs – so surely one pair should be included. How does Sony think the nation is going to catch the 3D bug if no one gets to watch it in the first place?
For some, the lack of 3D gubbins won't matter – and given it's actual 3D performance, that's perhaps almost all users.
Being able to spec-up a TV, or indulge in a little plug 'n' play future-proofing as and when it's affordable lends expensive items like the KDL-55EX723 a modular feel that we like, in theory, but it's just not fitted with the necessary hardware for that to happen.
If you spec-up the KDL-55EX723, its two USB ports start to look a little scant. The Sony-made CMU-BR100 webcam and mic kit for Skype attaches via USB, 3D glasses are rechargeable via USB, a hard disk to record from Freeview HD uses USB (a specific one, no less), and that Wi-Fi adaptor … you guessed it. At least the KDL-55EX723 does have a 3D transmitter inside, unlike last year's Bravias, saving a possible fifth USB-connected add-on.
Accessories aside, the KDL-55EX723's ins and outs are on the money, although the rear's connection panel itself isn't recessed enough to make us 100% confident that wall-hanging won't cause some inconvenience. Back there is the Ethernet LAN port, an RF input for the Freeview HD tuner, an RGB Scart, component video, a digital optical audio output (for hooking-up the KDL-55EX723 to a AV receiver), and three HDMI inputs (one of which is Audio Return Channel compatible).
Very close-by, but recessed into the KDL-55EX723's slim side are two USB slots, a Common Interface module, a fourth HDMI, a headphones slot and, oddly placed – but in a good way – a 15-pin D-sub connection for a PC.
We'll delve into Sony's smart TV hub, Bravia Internet Video, in the next section, but for now, know that it's one of the best around – largely thanks to the appearance of BBC iPlayer, Sky News, LoveFilm and Eurosport. Surfing the net on the TV is an option, as is the streaming of digital files from both USB sticks and computers on the same home network.
Picture-wise, the KDL-55EX723's X-Reality picture processing suite includes various strength settings for MotionFlow XR 200 (an anti-blur feature that consists of a 100Hz refresh rate and a scanning backlight), some digital noise reduction options (primarily for Freeview) and calibration-friendly tweaks to both gamma and individual colours.