Usability

Sony has changed a lot of things for the better on its new Bravias, but the remote control has taken a step backwards.

Sony KDL-40HX753 Review

Although we like the appearance of an SEN button in the centre of the remote that takes us straight to the online apps, the remote feels flimsier in the hand than former incarnations and the onscreen menus sometimes take a second too long to respond.

SEN is fine as an idea, but perhaps it would have been better to just increase the scope of the Xcross Media Bar to host more apps instead of introducing another layer of interface-ness.

Still, its design is decent enough; live TV plays in the corner while three grids of apps and film cover art are displayed on the rest of the screen.

Sony KDL-40HX753 Review

Our only complaint it that most of it is taken up by Sony's own content – it's basically a shop window for Sony content.

So although it does have the likes of Netflix and Lovefilm, Sony gives pride of place to its own VideoUnlimited.

Content-wise, it's just as good, and has arguably more must-see, newer titles than any of the embryonic online movie services can muster – and that's despite being Sony-made films only.

In our test we spotted The Woman In Black, A Dangerous Method (both in SD only, £3.49 to rent) and Safe House (SD/HD £3.59/£4.59).

Just as nicely integrated into the TV's core GUI, and similarly stuffed, is MusicUnlimited, though that requires a monthly subscription.

Sony KDL-40HX753 Review

TrackID is an interesting hangover from previous Bravias, and we're pleased it's still included; simply press the dedicated button on the remote while a song plays on a TV programme and the KDL-40HX753 consults the online Gracenote database before displaying a pop-up message with the song title and artist.

We tried it with Radio 2 playing from the KDL-40HX753's digital TV tuner, and it correctly identified All Along The Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix.

Meanwhile, the Freeview HD electronic programme guide is class-leading, with details over two hours for eight channels on one page, with a thumbnail of live TV in the top-left corner.

Sony KDL-40HX753 Review

Sound

Decent for dialogue but hugely underwhelming for movies, it's the same old story when it comes to audio.

Thankfully it's equipped with an optical digital audio output for taking everything to a home cinema, and we suggest you do; despite some basic audio settings we were impressed only by the clarity of dialogue.

There's no distortion at high volumes, but music sounds tinny and there's not enough stereo separation or power for anything other that flat sounding movie soundtracks.

Value

This is a good all-rounder that does impress in certain areas – especially its smart dimension.

However, there are better, more affordable options around, and we can identify better value sets in that range of all of Sony's major competitors.

Some have more 'together' user interfaces, others better picture quality, and others still can stream and network more efficiently. Crucially, they all do that while charging less than what Sony commands for the KDL-40HX753.