Sony Bravia KDL-55NX813 (KDL55NX813) review

Sony adds a slick, 3D ready TV to its chic NX line

Sony Bravia KDL-55NX813 (KDL55NX813)
This TV produces top flight 2D pictures but you will need to buy the 3D kit for the added dimension in viewing

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Sony bravia kdl-55nx813

The NX prefix indicates Sony's lifestyle-oriented 'network' models, which means Wi-Fi is built in. Joining your home network is very easy and it gives you the keys to Sony's ever-growing list of web apps. Nearly all of the big-ticket TVs have web access these days, but Sony is leading the way with genuinely useful content like BBC's iPlayer, Lovefilm clips in HD and its latest pay-per-view venture, Qriocity.

All too often TV widgets are frustratingly slow to open and disappointing when they do, but things have changed. One thing that's different with Bravia Internet Video, as the suite of online content is called, is the way the on-screen menu enables you to see which apps are available without having to load new menu pages each time. YouTube opens quite quickly and although the compressed picture quality looks horrible on a 1080p panel of this scale, it means you'll never be stuck for something to watch.

Given the premium price tag, it's surprising and a little disappointing to find that full HD 3D isn't built in. Instead, you'll need to buy an IR emitter to perch on top of the TV, thus ruining the sleek looks. The idea is that only those people interested in 3D then need to shell out for the extra kit, while regular 2D viewers are reassured with the option to upgrade at any point. The good news is that even this somewhat cobbled together arrangement works just as well as Sony's built-in option and creates an image that's more convincing than many of the other brands.

The other key feature is the Freeview HD tuner, bringing four free-to-air hi-def channels including BBC One HD and Channel 4 HD straight to your screen in crisp 1080i resolution.

Then there is a long list of added features that you may or may not use. The USB Media Player gives you speedy access to digital media stored on an external hard drive, while DLNA compliance means you can also stream wirelessly from a PC. PhotoMap is a new trick that displays your photos on a map, using their embedded GPS data (if they have any) to place them.

The screen itself features a less reflective surface than usual, which is said to minimise glare and improve perceived contrast. Sony calls this an OptiContrast Panel and it is noticeably less mirrored than other sets lower down the model range, and the contrast is indeed impressive.

Jim Hill

Jim is a seasoned expert when it comes to testing tech. From playing a prototype PlayStation One to meeting a man called Steve about a new kind of phone in 2007, he’s always hunting the next big thing at the bleeding edge of the electronics industry. After editing the tech section of Wired UK magazine, he is currently specialising in IT and voyaging in his VW camper van.