The Bravia KDL-55NX813 is Sony's flagship TV and features the company's flagship price tag too. Initially available for about £3,000, we're glad to see that this 55-inch, 1080p, LED-edge-lit LCD TV can now be obtained for a slightly more reasonable, but still insane, price of £2,500.
Among its key features are a design that makes it look like the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey, a Freeview HD tuner, and 3D capability. It's also worth mentioning now that this set is not only huge but also incredibly heavy. Make sure your TV stand is up to the job of supporting this beast.
It's a looker
Although the decision to include a large panel of glass on the front of this TV is slightly daft -- the job could have been done by plastic, surely -- we still like the resulting appearance. When the TV is off, the glass panel makes for an impressive, eye-catching piece of technology. When it's on, the panel helps to improve contrast, albeit at the cost of reflections on the screen from light sources in your room.
Putting this TV together is slightly harder than usual. Instead of a screwdriver, you'll need to use a small Allen-style key with the KDL-55NX813. We find Allen keys incredibly frustrating to use.
Like all of Sony's current Blu-ray players and TVs, the KDL-55NX813 is endowed with one of the best online portals we've ever seen. It gives you access to video-on-demand services from the likes of the BBC and Channel 5, and lets you stream movies from LoveFilm. There are the usual options from YouTube and its ilk too, giving you unlimited access to amusing videos of cats.
Sony has also slapped its Qriocity service on the TV. Despite having one of the most irksome names in the entire universe, it's actually a very promising idea. Much like Spotify, it will let you stream music from a library of 6 million songs and you can watch both high-definition and standard-definition movies too. It's all very cool. The basic Qriocity music plan costs £3.99 per month, while the premium plan costs £9.99 per month. Movies are priced individually.
To help make accessing these online services easier, the KDL-55NX813 comes with built-in Wi-Fi, which we're pretty pleased with. It works well and, like all other Sony devices with wireless connectivity, it walks you through the configuration process. As long as you aren't using a non-standard wireless network, you'll be up and running in no time at all.
We didn't have high expectations for the 3D picture on this TV. Sony has, in the past, fallen foul of the cross-talk, or ghosting, problem that plagues 3D material on LCD TVs. The relatively slow response time of LCD panels -- compared to plasma technology, for instance -- means you'll often notice outlines around images with hard edges when viewing 3D.
But, surprisingly, this TV produces a largely ghost-free 3D image. In fact, it delivers a good overall 3D picture, with a decent amount of depth. Sony's glasses are also some of the best for avoiding reduced light and colour output. They're heavier than Samsung's glasses, but still comfortable.
It's not all good news, though. We noticed some flickering when watching the TV through these glasses. It's quite subtle and some people may not notice it at all, but we found it annoying and we doubt we'd be able to get through a whole film without the glasses irritating us in this way.