Sony BRAVIA KDL-55NX810 Review
55" Edge-lit LED 3D HDTV, $3499
If you are in the market for a Sony TV in the 55" or over size, then until the 2011 models enter the market later this spring, the BRAVIA NX810 series shares the top of the line with the LX900.
In the 60" size, the two models are similar in features, with the LX900 costing a little more. Currently, with sales promotions, the 55" NX810 hits a great sweet spot at what is becoming my new favorite size. (Sony does not make a 55" LX900.)
When it comes to display technologies, the better comparison is the NX810 against the HX909 that I reviewed in November. The HX909 is a direct-lit, (or full array), LED LCD TV. The NX810 is an edge-lit LED.
From my experience, direct-lit LED TVs tend to produce deeper blacks than edge-lits, which translates into better picture quality. And this is what I found with the HX909 over the NX810.
With that said, at the time of this writing, the Sony Style store online was selling the 55" KDL-55NX810 for $2300, (down from an MSRP of $3500). The 52" XBR-52HX909 was discounted to $3200, (from an MSRP of $3600).
With a three inch larger screen and $900 in my pocket, those edge-lit blacks might seem a little deeper than before.
Now, before you start reaching for your credit card, there is one other major consideration, 3D. Both the NX810 and HX909 are capable of playing back 3D content using active shutter 3D glasses.
I rate the 3D performance of the HX909 higher than that of the NX810. If 3D is important to you, then I would lean towards the direct-lit HX909.
Also, over the holidays, Sony was offering a 3D starter kit as a promotion. If you cannot find such a deal, there will be added costs involved to become 3D ready.
Neither TV comes packaged with a 3D emitter, (sold separately for $49), which is the device that communicates with the 3D glasses that you need to wear. And you will need to purchase the 3D glasses separately, ($150 each).
Of course, if you are not interested in 3D, those expenses are not necessary, and the 55NX810 is a very well performing 2D HDTV. (Just to be clear, when I say 2D TV, I am talking about the regular TVs that we have been watching for years.)
Sony has also bundled in all the high-end features that you would desire in a lovely 55" TV, including a 240Hz frame rate, built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and a passel of Internet content providers.
(Editor's Note: Sony makes three sizes of the BRAVIA NX810 series, 46", 55" and 60". All three siblings have similar specifications and this review of the KDL-55NX810 can apply to the whole family.)
Our Star Ratings
Rating the Sony KDL-55NX810 is a tale of two TVs. When playing back 2D content, the Picture Quality from this edge-lit LED TV is very good, but its 3D performance is no better than average. If you are mostly watching 2D material, rate it a 4. If you are a voracious 3D viewer, then the score is closer to 3. Audio performance from the integrated speakers is quite respectable.
This HDTV definitely supplies many of the high-end features including built-in Wi-Fi and an accompanying wide range of streaming content providers. But I would expect a 3D TV to include the 3D transmitter in the package. The NX810 series does not. Unless a 3D starter kit is part of a promotion, you will need to purchase the transmitter separately as well as the rather pricey 3D active shutter glasses.
Ease of Use: 4.5
Setting up the NX810 for basic broadcast TV and Blu-ray viewing requires a simple five minute procedure. Even connecting it to your home network can be fairly easy. But plan to take an evening to familiarize yourself with all the features and to register with some of the streaming video providers.
At the time of this review, the SonyStyle site had the KDL-55NX810 on sale for about $2300 and I'm finding it elsewhere online for even less. If you are in the market for a high performance 2D edge-lit LED TV, then this 55" screen at this price range would rate a 4.5.
But if you also are planning to watch 3D content, then this price does not include the necessary 3D transmitter nor any 3D glasses. Considering the glasses sell for over $100 each, the cost of entering the 3D world escalates quickly, especially if you have a lot of family and friends.
Star Ratings Description
Ratings are relative to when the review was written. The obvious example is Value, what you could purchase for $2000 two years ago or even two months ago would seem like a bad value for that price now. We have given only a precious few 5 Star ratings, which we reserve for truly outstanding accomplishment.