Sony's midrange edge-lit LED-based LCD is nothing special from an image quality standpoint, but its Internet video and eco-friendliness will attract a lot of buyers.
Sony KDL-EX700 series overview
The Sony KDL-EX700 is the second edge-lit LED-based LCD we've tested from Sony this year. If you read the KDL-NX800's review, you will notice more similarities than differences between the two. The price disparity--of $400 between the two series' 46-inch models--gets you improved styling, Wi-Fi networking, and a couple of other minor niceties on the NX800; however, for some reason you lose the innovative "presence sensor." That feature turns the EX700's picture off automatically when you leave the room, and it can really lower power use if you're prone to leaving the TV on. Even without the sensor, the EX700 sips as little power as any TV we've tested--although we expect other LED models we review this year to post similar results.
Careful comparison shoppers might be surprised to learn the two Sonys have nearly the same picture quality. The major performance-related difference is that the EX700 has a matte screen, while the monolithic exterior of the NX800 apparently calls for gloss-- in a bright room, we preferred the matte finish. The EX700's picture won't wow anyone looking for a home theater centerpiece, but the TV earns the practicality nod over its more-expensive brother for buyers who still want Internet video and superb energy efficiency.
We also liked the EX700's remote control, albeit not quite as much as the NX800's slicker clicker. The EX700's remote loses the nice, flush plastic keys that the NX800 has in favor of the standard raised rubber variety; it also losing the backlighting feature, and you can't command other gear with it via infrared. However, the remotes excellent button arrangement and nice concave shape stay intact, as does that weird power button on the back of the remote and the stealthy sliding battery compartment (yes, we just praised a battery compartment).
The two 2010 Sony edge-lit LED-based LCDs we've tested, the EX700 and the NX800, deliver very similar picture quality. Both are characterized by average-for-an-LCD black level performance and solid color accuracy, with the exception of dark areas being tinged bluish--more so on the EX700 than on the HX800. The differences, namely the EX700's superior uniformity and bright room performance, and the NX800's better shadow detail and motion resolution result, aren't enough to cause any difference in the rating for this category; both scored a 6.