Most of the time these days when you go shopping for a television, the adage “bigger is better” probably comes to mind a lot. A big TV is great for a big room, but in a smaller room or space, you might need a mid-size television. In this case, you are still going to want great picture quality, lots of options for watching your favorite shows and movies, and good sound quality. This article provides a review of the Sony Bravia 40” KDL40R510C to see if it can hit the high marks you are looking for in a great mid-size television. We provide a general overview of the product, break down its specifications, compare it to a couple of similar TVs, give you its pros and cons, and report our final verdict on it.

Kids watching sports on a Sony Television

What is the Sony Television?

Forty inches of high-definition picture delivered on an LED LCD screen, this Sony TV has great color accuracy and is a good choice for many viewing settings. A slim model at only 2.6” thick, it can fit in seamlessly to your room while giving you many options for connecting outside of it with built-in Wi-Fi. You can access all of the popular TV and movie services, like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and Amazon Prime, through the built-in apps and stream directly to the TV with no added cords. The lack of extra required cords means that this set is also easy to mount to the wall, it is relatively lightweight at 24 pounds, and the power plug can either be fed through the wall or masked with tape or a cord channel designed for that purpose. It also comes with a removable stand if you prefer to use it sitting on a flat surface.

Sony KDL40R510C 40-Inch 1080p Smart LED TV (2015 Model)
  • Refresh Rate: 60Hz (Native); Motionflow XR 120 (Effective)
  • Backlight: LED (Edge-Lit)
  • Smart Functionality: Yes
Good Mid-Size Television Product-Specifications
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    Screen size: 40 in.
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    TV Resolution: HDTV, 1920 x 1080
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    Display type: LCD (LED)
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    Image Aspect Ratio: 16:9
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    Video Refresh Rate: 120 Hz
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    Wi-Fi Protocol: 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n
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    Series: BRAVIA R550C Series
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    ENERGY STAR Certified: Yes

X-Reality PRO Engine

This internal image processor helps to upscale images and videos to make even lower-quality images look like higher quality ones on a big screen. Most current movies and shows will already be filmed in HD, so you will not notice much of a difference there, but for photo sharing, YouTube videos, and any older movies or shows you watch, this image upscaling can really make a big positive difference.

Photo Sharing

Share your photo memories and short video clips with everyone in the room by sending them to the bigger screen of the television. Photos and videos can be sent wirelessly to the TV by up to 10 people at a time. A dedicated network connection allows you to maintain your Wi-Fi security while allowing guests to participate in the live photo album.

Viewing Angle

The Sony TV has an average viewing angle, which means if you are at the outside edges of the viewing area you may have trouble seeing what’s on the screen clearly. The image will still be visible from side angles, but darker scenes may be harder to make out.

Connections

Two HDMI inputs, two USB ports, an Ethernet port, and an optical digital audio out are included on the set. One thing to note: the connections are perpendicular to the back of the set, so if you do plug in an HDMI cable, you would need to make a hole in the wall in order to mount the set flush.

Screen Mirroring

If you find content you want to watch on your smartphone, you can watch the image on your TV with screen mirroring. This can be handy if you were already watching something on your phone and want to throw it up to the TV, but also if you have a favorite YouTube video bookmarked on your phone, instead of searching for it on the TV you can pull it up on the phone and mirror the video to the TV to share with the room.

Sound

The overall sound quality works where needed, but it does have deficits that are noticeable under certain conditions. Dialog in movies is somewhat lower than background noises and music, which can make it hard to hear.

Pricing

At the time of this article, the Sony KDL40R510C is available at several big retailers’ websites, including Amazon and Walmart, and the average price is around $330. This model is a little older though, so while overall prices may go down in the future, it may be harder to find this exact model. For many TVs, a newer model often has many of the same basic features and the same advantages and disadvantages of the older model, so if you do find that a newer version of this TV is the only one available when you are shopping, expect that many parts of this review can still be applied to the new one.

How Does It Stack Up to the Competition?

The specs for a particular TV may look good on their own, but whether that TV really is a good deal depends on what else is on the market. We took a look at two other 40” sets from different brands to compare them to the Sony. We chose the Roku TV TCL S305 and the Samsung UN40M5300A because they were the same size, had similar price points, and were also from brands that consumers trust for televisions.


TCL 32S305 32-Inch 720p Roku Smart LED TV (2017 Model)
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): TV without stand: 28.9 x 17.1 x 3.2 inches , TV with stand: 28.9...
  • Smart functionality offers access to over 4,000 streaming channels featuring more than...
  • 720p HD resolution for a crisp picture. 120V to 60Hz 50W

While Roku is primarily known for its streaming boxes and sticks, it has recently delved into the world of televisions. Unsurprisingly, their TVs come with the Roku software built-in, and the remote is the same one you receive with one of the streaming boxes. Their software offers some of the best streaming options on the market with easy searching, plenty of in-demand apps to choose from and even options to use your phone as the remote. All of this makes this set easy to use and set-up. Reviewers did have a few complaints regarding this TVs reliability and warranty. Several customers reported being very happy with their warranty if the defect showed up right away, such as damage when being shipped, but others mentioned being disappointed that their TVs broke right after the one-year warranty was up.


Ratings

Ease of Use

Set-Up

Reliability

Warranty

Quality

Usability

Support

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Samsung Electronics UN40M5300A 40-Inch Class 1080P Smart LED HD TV
  • Enjoy a viewing experience that is 2x the clarity of standard HD TVs.
  • Access your favorite program choices, live TV, video on demand, apps, and social media in...
  • Enjoy a Fluid browsing experience and faster control - switching between apps, streaming...

Samsung has been a trusted brand in electronics, and specifically televisions, for many years. This 40” TV is fairly easy to use, but its integrated apps do not include Hulu, which means you would have to use a separate streaming device, like a Roku or AppleTV, to use the app with this set. As such, most users would have an additional step to get themselves ready to watch their favorite shows. Several people who have purchased this TV mentioned in reviews that it either came damaged in shipping or started to come apart shortly after receiving it. Samsung’s customer service and warranty were often not helpful in resolving the problems to the point that some people gave up and bought another brand.


Ratings

Ease of Use

Set-Up

Reliability

Warranty

Quality

Usability

Support

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Good Mid-Size Television pros-and-cons

Pros and Cons

When compared to the Roku and Samsung TVs we gave snapshots of above, this Sony Bravia 40” TV has some definite high points and low points. To decide whether it is the right set for your needs, you need to evaluate which features are most important to you.

Pros

  • Picture Quality: Has crisp picture quality. It displays fine detail and has decent color accuracy. It also has a good brightness level and excellent black levels that were very deep and dark.
  • Integrated Software: Very easy to use and allows for some more flexibility in choosing how to navigate because you are not locked into the system. 
  • Reliability: The final big plus for this Sony TV is its overall reliability. Both this particular model and Sony overall have very low breakage rates.

Cons

  • Sound Quality: The first negative of this Sony TV is its sound quality. It can be hard to distinguish dialog from background or music, 
  • Motion Blur: The Sony rated negatively in this category. On a smaller set, this may not be that big a deal, as you are not likely using it to recreate a movie-like experience, but it is something to keep in mind when considering this TV.
  • Price: May be a bit pricey for other customers
Good Mid-Size Television conclusion

Conclusion

The Sony Bravia 40” KDL40R510C is not the best TV out there at this size or price, but it is certainly not the worst set either. It delivers excellent picture quality, good usability, and reliability in a well-made set that is currently at the higher end of price points for this type of TV. Different brands of TVs have different looks, both of the set box itself and of the picture. Even if you cannot see this exact TV in a store, it is a good idea to visit a brick-and-mortar store and look at the pictures on different brands’ TVs. If you love the look of a Sony, and many people do, then it may certainly be worth the extra $100 over the Roku TCL set. If you just need a TV that works, but it needs to be a certain size because of the space it is going, then you might save the extra dough and go with a cheaper, but still serviceable, set.

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