24th May 2008 | 11:00
Powerful pictures and strong audio, an all-round triumph from Sony
The Sony KDL-40D3500 doesn't get off to the best start, offering only a duo of HDMIs.
At least these are capable of receiving 1080p/24fps feeds from Blu-ray players.
With this 1080p/24fps capability in mind, it's nice to find that the 40D3500 sports a full HD resolution, complete with a 1:1 pixel mode for perfect mapping of 1,080-line sources to its screen.
Sony's powerful picture processing
Another promising spec of the TV is its claimed contrast ratio of 16,000:1. This is an exceptionally high figure by LCD standards and promises profound black levels.
Also potentially a boon for picture quality is the TV's Bravia Engine picture processing, with its proven track record for improving colour tones, fine detailing and noise levels.
Plus the set sports something called Live Colour Creation, which combines image processing with a wide colour gamut backlight system to deliver a more expansive and thus natural colour palette.
The colour reproduction really is outstanding, combining eminently natural tones for the vast majority of the time with some of the most vibrant saturations we've seen.
Colours this dynamic wouldn't likely be possible without a decent black level response to counterbalance them, and the 40D3500 produces some of the richest, deepest blacks in the LCD business.
What's more, these impressive black levels don't seem at all forced, since dark areas also retain plenty of the shadow detail that makes them appear three-dimensional and natural.
Outstanding HD images
Also able to render striking amounts of fine detail when showing relatively static HD footage, at their best the 40D3500's pictures are outstandingly good.
However, the key words back there were 'relatively static'. For unfortunately, whenever it's faced with any significant amounts of motion, the 40D3500 falls down, suffering far more smearing and resolution loss over moving objects than we're comfortable with.
Sonically this Sony is solid enough. There's enough raw, distortion-free power to prove satisfying when watching even a pretty intense action movie - especially as voices remain clear no matter how loud everything else is.
But as with many LCD TVs, bass feels a little 'poppy' and thin.