The Sony KDL-EX700 is the second edge-lit LED-based we've tested from Sony this year, and readers of the review of the first, the KDL-NX800, will notice more similarities than differences. The price disparity--of $400 between the two series' 46-inch members--gets you improved styling, Wi-Fi networking, and a couple of other minor niceties on the NX800, but for some reason loses you the innovative "presence sensor." That feature turns the EX700's picture off automatically when you leave the room, and can really save power use if you're prone to leaving the on. Even ignoring the sensor, the EX700 sips as little power as any we've tested--although we expect other LED models to follow suit this year.
Careful comparison shoppers might be surprised to learn the two Sonys have nearly the same picture quality. The major performance-related difference is that the EX700 has a matte screen whereas the Monolithic exterior of the NX800 apparently calls for gloss--and in a bright room, we preferred the matte, as usual. The EX700's picture won't wow anybody looking for a home theater centerpiece, but thisearns the practicality nod over its more-expensive brother for buyers who still want Internet video and superb energy efficiency.