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Sony Bravia KDL40ZX1 review: Sony Bravia KDL40ZX1

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The Good Beautiful design. Slim. Decent black levels. Detailed pictures.

The Bad Smearing when using wireless. Expensive. Off-axis and backlight clouding issues.

The Bottom Line The Sony Bravia KDL40ZX1 is a beautiful looking television, and while picture quality is generally good it's restrained by a first-gen wireless technology.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.9 Overall

Review Sections

Open any electronics catalogue and there's a plethora of features leaping out of starry blobs at you — 100Hz! LED! Eco! — but there's one feature that hasn't really cracked the popular consciousness yet: wireless. One of the first TVs on the market that featured a wireless connection was the Sony ZX1. It's been on the market about six months now, and has since seen a significant price drop. Is it time to splurge on a wireless TV?

Design

While Samsung and LG are pretenders to the throne, Sony has been king of the design hill for some time now. We'd have to think long and hard before we came up with something "ugly" that the company had produced — impractical maybe — but virtually never in the league of "plumber's crack disgusting". (Feel free to comment below if you disagree). But with that lovely image fresh in our minds, we bring you the Sony ZX1.

As far as effortless sophistication goes, the Sony has it. It shares the premium look and feel of another luxury TV (and the only OLED on the market), the Sony XEL-1. You get a gloriously understated bezel underpinned by a chrome stand. And thin! The ZX1 is only 9.9mm at its thinnest point. Of course, like the glass in ancient cathedrals it's much thicker at the bottom — at 28mm. This makes it almost as thick as the Samsung UA40B7100 http://www.cnet.com.au/samsung-ua40b7100-339296054.htm, which has the added "disadvantage" of having the tuner on-board. You see, the Sony comes with an external media box, which is itself fairly unobtrusive but does come with a flip down lid for added incognisance.

As the TV is wireless it makes sense that the remote is also, it's RF and essentially a black version of the model that shipped with the EX1.

Features

The ZX1's main selling point is its wireless capability. While third-party wireless HDMI solutions have been struggling, on-board wireless is making a better fist of it. Interesting;y, the ZX1 uses the same 5Ghz Amimon wireless technology featured inside Belkin's abandoned FlyWire product.. However, unlike other wireless products that we'll see this year, the Sony can only transmit at 1080i — 1080p signals are downscaled and then loaded up the pipe. While the TV will accept a 1080p native signal via the HDMI port on the unit itself, this does make the wireless seem obsolete.

When it comes down to it, the Sony ZX1 is essentially a Samsung "LED" TV in a different box. You see, both TVs are made at the same plant and both feature the same white LED "edge-lighting". Of course, both the design and electronics are different but they are very similar TVs.

In terms of picture processing, the ZX1 uses the MotionFlow 100Hz engine for judder removal and the older Bravia Engine 2 (now up to version three). This is in concert with a smattering of connectivity options including three HDMI (in addition to the one on the TV) on the media box, a component input, a USB port for viewing photos, and a composite input. While there is an on-board HD tuner there is no optical output to connect the sound from the tuner to an external amplifier.

Performance

To be truthful, we were a little disappointed by the performance of the premium ZX1 set. While most content was replayed without question there were some niggles that appear to stem from the wireless technology. The most obvious problem: blurring.

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