Sony Bravia KDL55EX710

The Sony Bravia KDL55EX710 is a very stylish and capable performer, but it's not our preferred option at this size.


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Ty is a journalist with 15 years experience in writing for IT and entertainment publications. He is in charge of the home theatre category for CNET Australia and is also a PC enthusiast. He likes indie music and plays several instruments. Twitter: @tpendlebury


Design

Sony's biggest contribution to TV design in 2010 has been something it calls "monolithic" and consists of a TV with a large black screen and with or without a thin black bezel. We've always taken this moniker to mean it resembles the 2001 monolith and a large screen like the 55-inch EX710 is suitably imposing in most living spaces.

This black-on-black TV is an update on the original EX700 and the main difference appears to be a slimmer design. With a new sophisticated touch, the set features a thinner brushed metal strip along the bottom edge.

Unlike its competitors with their crystal stands, Sony has chosen minimalism in its pedestal with just a short, simple stem. Unfortunately, the angled desktop stand featured with other "monolithic" TVs isn't available for this particular model.

Remote controls: seen one you've seen 'em all right? Well, the EX710's is identical to the other handsets that Sony has shipped this year, but it's quite straightforward to use.

Features

Sony's EX range is pitched at the budget-conscious, if that's possible for the typically high-brow Japanese company, and the 710 version is at the top of the pile. As a reflection of its pricing, the 55EX710 doesn't feature the bells and whistles of the NX or HX series — with the most obvious being 3D.

What the EX does have though is more important than a potentially 'niche' technology like 3D, and that's Bravia Internet Video. This allows you to stream on demand and catch-up video from over a dozen different sources including ABC iView and our favourite: Moshcam.com.

What you get in the box is a 55-inch LCD with an LED edge-lit panel — this means it uses LEDs inside the bezel of the television keeping the profile nice and slender. In addition it boasts, as most TVs do, a HD digital tuner and a 1080p resolution.

The TV comes with a number of picture processing doohickeys including the company's Bravia Engine 3 (BE3) for noise-free visuals and a 100Hz mode for reduced motion blur.

Inputs are plentiful with the provision of four HDMI (2 side, 2 rear with one ARC-capable), two components, three AV inputs, a USB, VGA port, Ethernet and an optical digital. Wireless connectivity is available as an option.

Performance

Manufacturers have recently expressed concern about overly glossy screens. Even though they improve the illusion of deep blacks, they can be hard to watch due to their high reflectivity. The EX710 doesn't suffer from this as much, but it is noticeably more reflective than the Panasonic VT20.

Despite this, the screen still works better in well-lit rooms than dark rooms. When the EX710 is viewed in a dark room, traditional LCD problems like poor viewing angles and low contrast levels begin to appear. Due to the screen's sheer size, we found it was impossible to get consistent blacks across the screen even when viewed from dead centre, and this is why we still recommend plasma instead in larger sizes. It doesn't have these "sweet spot" issues.

When subjected to video material we found the Sony performed very well. The television demonstrates the company's strengths such as high detail levels, smooth motion and pleasing colours. In our synthetic tests, we found the BE3 system effective at banishing most types of noise and providing smooth pans. That said, we found that the EX wasn't quite as impressive as its stablemates such as the HX800 in reducing jaggies and moire on moving images.

Switching to Blu-ray material, we found that the EX710 could provide an impressive picture for the money. This TV can do well with the expansive vistas of Batman Begins rendered a visual feast. But the TV can also portray intimate scenes well, with its ability with both facial detail and shadow detail creating an absorbing picture.

Using scene 11 (the "bridge attack") of Mission Impossible III we found that it took a second or two for the TV to "range in" to the 24 fps source, but once it did the results were impressively smooth. The bridge railing as the camera flies overhead showed a lack of distracting moire noise as well. There was a slight tendency for grain in the image, but no more than most other LCDs — plasmas tend to be more forgiving with this source material.

With a DVD such as King Kong in the tray we discovered the Sony was able to deliver pictures with a natural palette, but without the oomph of better-specked models. As before, noise wasn't an issue and the movie's tendency for blockiness was dealt with effectively.

Sound was a bitter-sweet experience. While spoken word had plenty of clarity, anything with a bit of bass in it — such as the sonorous voice of Stephen Fry — tended to chuff a bit and even distort. At higher volumes the dynamic range of movies was reigned in — in an attempt to counteract this problem, we concluded — and a dedicated sound system would suit this style of content much better. Heck, just get a sound system anyway.

Turning to other forms of content, the interactive component was as impressive as ever with ABC's iView giving clear, stutter-free access to programs such as QI. The onboard tuner was also capable.

Conclusion

While prices have crashed in the past 12 months, we're still not convinced that large LCDs are able to deliver the best picture for the money. Sony is currently at the top of the pack when it comes to delivering impressive visuals to LCD, but just a smidge off the pace at sizes over 50.

Nevertheless, the Sony 55EX710 is an elegant television which will no doubt grace many a living space. It's a true all-rounder, but obviously not at the pinnacle of performance for the size.

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RobA1 Facebook
1
Rating
 

"Worst company EVER"

RobA1 posted a review   

The Good:None

The Bad:Everything

I HOPE SOMEONE IMPORTANT WITH SONY READS THIS!!!!!!! I have had the worst customer service experience of my life!. I purchased a BRAND NEW Sony Televison (Expensive Unit). The Television had a manufacturer defect which wouldn't let the TV connect to the internet. So..... I called went through there process for over a month dealing with master techs replacing parts (Main boards for TV). Finally after months of waiting and not being able to use the features of the EXPENSIVE unit I paid FULL PRICE for they decided to replace the television. My first thought was GREAT! Then one of the customer service reps said,"refurbished unit" after the unit was shipped for delivery. I immediately said that I was not going to accept a "USED" television as a replacement when I paid full price for the "BRAND NEW" sealed box unit. The rep proceeded to tell me that if I wanted a new replacement I was going to have to pay more MONEY! I was at a loss for words. My immediate thought was WOW, one of the largest corporations on the planet wanted me to pay more money for a unit that probably cost them $200 to make in China. Its really sad that a company that showed an 87 billion dollar profit for the fiscal year of 2010, can't take care of a single customer that has repeatedly purchased Sony products over the course of my adulthood! Its an easy and obvious solution. Sincerely, UPSET CUSTOMER!

RobA1 Facebook
1
Rating
 

"Worst company EVER"

RobA1 posted a review   

The Good:Nothing

The Bad:Everything about Sony's policies and customer relations

I HOPE SOMEONE IMPORTANT WITH SONY READS THIS!!!!!!! I have had the worst customer service experience of my life!. I purchased a BRAND NEW Sony Televison (Expensive Unit). The Television had a manufacturer defect which wouldn't let the TV connect to the internet. So..... I called went through there process for over a month dealing with master techs replacing parts (Main boards for TV). Finally after months of waiting and not being able to use the features of the EXPENSIVE unit I paid FULL PRICE for they decided to replace the television. My first thought was GREAT! Then one of the customer service reps said,"refurbished unit" after the unit was shipped for delivery. I immediately said that I was not going to accept a "USED" television as a replacement when I paid full price for the "BRAND NEW" sealed box unit. The rep proceeded to tell me that if I wanted a new replacement I was going to have to pay more MONEY! I was at a loss for words. My immediate thought was WOW, one of the largest corporations on the planet wanted me to pay more money for a unit that probably cost them $200 to make in China. Its really sad that a company that showed an 87 billion dollar profit for the fiscal year of 2010, can't take care of a single customer that has repeatedly purchased Sony products over the course of my adulthood! Its an easy and obvious solution. Sincerely, UPSET CUSTOMER!

 

ps391033 posted a comment   
United States

The title of the article says it not their preferred model in the 55" size but doesn't say what their preferred model IS. So what is it?

Vonger
6
Rating
 

Vonger posted a review   

The Good:size, remote

The Bad:brightness, viewing angles, and motion

I had a 40inch samsung 40A630, that I bought in 2009. it had 120 HZ and 1080P. i was very happy with the TV but decided to upgrade because I "needed" a bigger TV for the Super Bowl. Well let's just say I'm ok with the upgrade but would not have made the upgrade to this TV. The TV just isn't as bright or clear as the Samsung. If you are going to upgrade in size make sure you do your homework because this TV isn't doing it for me in the house.

snowgirlsungirl
1
Rating
 

snowgirlsungirl posted a review   

The Good:NOTHING

The Bad:won't turn on right out of the box!

They gave the wrong screws so we had to split the screws from the base to attach it to the set, and then when we plug it in to turn it on, it's 5 blinks of the red light and it won't turn on at all! Sony customer support is closed and I can't find out what the 5 blinks mean online. Worst $1600 ever spent.

 

Jurren posted a comment   

The Good:Menu's, Remote, Picture quality

The Bad:Slow channel switching

Too bad the bezel is nog piano black all around, but it looks nicer than I thought when it arrived 2 weeks ago. Internet TV is a nice gimmick, but very limited. Better connect a notebook or PC. Now trying DLNA with Mezzmo and it works, but I think I need to buy a Popcorn Hour because DLNA is not what it could be regarding user friendlyness and control accuracy. Quality over 100mbit is very nice though, 1080p with dolby digital sound.

 

Dirk posted a comment   

The Good:color and clarity

The Bad:motion blur

I have a sony KDL 40 inch 120Hz and it has far less blur thn this 55 inch ex701

Why?

 

jonathon posted a comment   

cnet why would the 55 inch of this model sony not handle blacks as good as it should? lcd led i know the blacks are not as good when it comes to showing blacks as a plasma. Is 55 inches to big for a lcd led?

 

Michael posted a comment   

It has been noted that for the 55 inch, this TV is not necessarily the best choice. But, in the Sony range, it is the highest spec for the 32 inch. How does the KDL32EX710 compare to others? Thanks.




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User Reviews / Comments  Sony Bravia KDL55EX710

  • RobA1

    RobA1

    Rating1

    "I HOPE SOMEONE IMPORTANT WITH SONY READS THIS!!!!!!! I have had the worst customer service experience of my life!. I purchased a BRAND NEW Sony Televison (Expensive Unit). The Television had a manu..."

  • RobA1

    RobA1

    Rating1

    "I HOPE SOMEONE IMPORTANT WITH SONY READS THIS!!!!!!! I have had the worst customer service experience of my life!. I purchased a BRAND NEW Sony Televison (Expensive Unit). The Television had a manu..."

  • ps391033

    ps391033

    "The title of the article says it not their preferred model in the 55" size but doesn't say what their preferred model IS. So what is it?"

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