With the whole “who are they?” factor rapidly starting to diminish, we can now get right into it and let you know that the Nexus NX4203 home theater LCD TV comes at you with full high-def, 1080P (1920 x 1080 resolution) power, offering you so many input connections, that it practically dares you to see if you can use all of them. Specs are great, but performance is even better, and in this regard, Nexus delivers on the ambitious promise of its hardware, offering up one of the better home theater, LCD-viewing experiences.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS - Nexus HD LCD TV
Style & Appearance
Many of Nexus’ prior incarnations of their home theater LCD televisions featured matte black finishes, but perhaps giving in to the majority of current consumer buying trends, their newer line of LCDs – like the NX4203 – come in the glossy, black piano finish. While entirely subjective, I myself tend to prefer the way matte finishes blend into the background better, but on a first glance, pure style-value basis, there’s no denying how great those glossy piano finishes look.
In terms of weight and size, the NX4203 tips the scales at 57.2 pounds (26 kgs.), with dimensions measuring in at (WxDxH): 40.5 x 12.25 x 30.3 inches or 102.9 x 31.1 x 76.96 centimeters. The frame bezels around the TV are approximately two inches wide (5.1 cm), which just so happens to be a nice, modest size that doesn’t take away from the actual viewing screen.
While prior Nexus LCD TV models featured removable table-top stands that swiveled, and some that even swiveled and tilted (hello, NX3202), with the NX4203 and their other newer series of LCDs, you’ll simply need to make do with a sturdy and removable table-top stand that neither swivels nor swirls nor tilts. While the tilt is more of a feature than an actual benefit, the left/right, right/left swivel is definitely a handy feature and benefit which can aid in situating the TV when you need to make those subtle little adjustments and don’t feel like moving the entire TV stand or entertainment center. Alas though, as we’re about to find out in the next section just down below, what Nexus taketh away, they also giveth back in a big way.
You always hear about this, that, or other offering "superior connectivity," but when it comes the NX4203 HD LCD TV, this is the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me god. Assuming you’re looking at the television straight ahead, the left-hand side of the NX4203 is what you might call the HD inputs. There you’ll find a whopping three (1.3 series) HDMI inputs, two Component inputs, and even a VGA input.
What about other inputs such as Composite and S-Video you ask? No worries on that front: shifting the input proceedings to the TV’s rear, it’s there that you’ll find all the rest of the familiar inputs which include two Composite, one S-Video, plus an always useful Optical audio input. A nice touch which more and more manufacturers are starting to implement: as opposed to having the rear inputs connect flush against the back panel, the NX4203 rear inputs connect going upwards so as to eliminate unsightly and annoying cable bulge.
PERFORMANCE - Nexus HD LCD TV
An important thing that should never be neglected when it comes to your television is where you plan on placing it in relation to the seating arrangement of your room. With LCD televisions in particular, you always want to make sure the TV is situated as square and head-on to viewing eyes as possible. While LCD technology has improved by leaps and bounds with regards to viewing angles, you still want to make sure that none of the seats are at too sharp of an angle to the TV display. This allows for maximum viewing pleasure while avoiding edge image fading.
Another key point to consider during the setup is distance – as in how far or how close you should be to the television. In this regard, there’s a handy formula available (if you’ve read my other TV reviews you’ll already be familiar with this god-sent guiding principle) which eliminates arbitrary choice and offers a more concrete method for determining ideal distances. Based on the horizontal viewing size of your TV, the glorious “5 to 2” principle refers to the “5” being how far you should be and the “2” (it’s really 1.54) being how close you should be. The ideal distances are arrived at when multiplying both numbers individually by the horizontal screen size. A quick bit of math tells us that in respect to the NX4203 and a proper viewing distance, the closest you should be is 57 inches (4.75 feet), and the furthest is 185 inches (15.4 feet). These are by no means absolute and finite numbers, but they’re definitely a very good basis from which to draw upon.
Having taken care of all the “physical” labor aspects of the setup, the next step is to get familiar with all of the user menus for the NX4203 LCD TV. The NX4203 offers four menus: Video, Audio, Setup, and Parental, with the more commonly used menus being Video and Audio. The Video menu allows you to adjust for Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Sharpness, Color Temperature (which offers Cool, Standard, and Warm), as well as Picture Mode which provides you with four selectable presets that include Standard, Movie, User, and Vivid. There’s also an Advanced Video menu that allows you to access from options such as DNR (Dynamic Noise Reduction), Black Level Extender, White Peak Limiter, and Flesh Tone.
The Audio menu offers adjustments for Balance, Surround Sound, and a surprisingly comprehensive Equalizer feature not very common amongst most home theater televisions that allows you to adjust for up to five different sound ranges, between decibel levels that vary from 10 to -10.
The final two menus as mentioned are Setup and Parental, In Setup, you can select your screen mode (Normal, Wide, Cinema, Zoom), and adjust for things like menu language, time, and caption displays. The Parental menu allows you set a password and block any channel you like from those underage and curious eyes. Let’s now move on and see how the NX4203 LCD TV performs right out of the box.
Whether it’s home theater televisions or projectors, you’re usually prepared to deal with an out-of-box picture that’s less than the sum of its parts. Having taken the NX4203 for a proverbial “test drive,” I was immediately shaken out of this factory default complacency by an image that impressed on many levels. To begin, I used a PS3 for HD, Blu-ray playback, via a 1080P HDMI connection, and BBC’s super-stellar Planet Earth as my disc du jour. During the variety of scenes that played out, a few things immediately stood out. The first was the sheer vitality of the colors (this included the reds, blues, yellows, and greens) as everything seemed to pop in rich, vivid detail. The second thing was the quality of the whites. Not only did they look lush and pristine, but the subtle details of their various shades were rendered with fine distinction. The third thing was the quality of the contrast – particularly in the brighter, daytime segments. In addition to that, black levels were quite good, and only during a couple of particularly darker scenes did I notice an image that was somewhat lacking in being able to show some of the more nuanced image details. This is quite common amongst many televisions utilizing only factory default settings. For an out of the box performance though, this was definitely looking like a very promising start.
As always, I then made some slight adjustments by eye and settled on the following below:
In the Advanced section of the Video menu I adjusted the default settings as follows: DNR (Off), Black Level Extender (Off), White Peak Limiter (Off), and Flesh Tone (Off). With the above changes in place, I re-watched some of the same scenes to see what, if any, effect they had. Highlights included colors that were slightly more subdued (i.e., realistic) and accurate to the intended purposes of the source images. This may have also been a contributing factor to the slightly more improved levels of contrast that were also on display, as even the darker scenes started to show some of the finer details that previously looked awash in a uniform wave of blackness. It was now time for some calibration.
As mentioned earlier, I was quite impressed with the out-of-box picture quality for the NX4203. These initial good vibrations were only confirmed during the calibration were the adjusted numbers for the user menu video options where practically identical to the ones done solely by eye. White balance was mostly easy, though for the novice, curious types, I would recommend staying away from making any adjustments within the service menus as they are quite complex and involved and should only be ventured into by a professional calibrator. The higher IRE range of 70-plus necessitated a slight red and blue boost, as did the lower color offsets in the sub-20 IRE range. In both instances, the colors temperatures hovered quite nicely in and around the magical 6500K mark.
Fresh off the calibration, I once again revisited Planet Earth. For my eyes, post-calibration image quality was further enhanced and solidified by an already impressive out-of-box image. Nexus is using a new video processing chipset in their current line of LCD models, and frankly, whatever engineering went into this has paid off in spades. Black levels were deep, color gamut and saturation were stellar, images were bright and vivid when and where they needed to be, and contrast detail was well above the happy norm. If you’re the kind of person that needs to make a good thing even better, then there are benefits in having the NX4203 LCD TV professionally calibrated. On the whole though, with an impressive out-of-box picture, combined with a nice helping of user menu options to tinker with, you’ll by no means be shortchanging your viewing experience should you decide to leave things status quo.
As per Nexus tradition, the speakers for the NX4203 run across the bottom of the television. For those content just to enjoy the sound from their television, thereby bypassing the added expense and cabling of digital audio receivers, the Nexus NX4203 provides some of the better audio quality that I’ve heard out of a home theater TV. As touched on briefly above in the Set-up section, the NX4203 features some of the familiar options in its Audio menu such as Balance, Surround Sound, and the ability to choose from PCM or Dolby Digital, but it also offers a fairly involved Equalizer that allows you to further tailor your audio. So rather than just increasing the volume or enabling Surround Sound, you can also manipulate five audio frequency ranges from a minus 10 to a plus 10 decibel level rating. With just a few simple tweaks of the Equalizer, I was able to get top-notch, TV-quality sound that was able to properly balance volume with clarity, delivering above-average audio that nicely punctuated the superb images.
FINAL THOUGHTS - Nexus HD LCD TV
For those of you looking for a superior LCD TV that won’t cost a king’s ransom, the Nexus NX4203 is just what the doctor ordered with a street price of just under $1,500.00 dollars US. So whether it’s superior image quality via full high-def, 1920 x 1080 resolution, unbeatable connectivity care of three HDMI 1.3 and two Component inputs, or an attractive design highlighted by a glossy black piano finish, the NX4203 LCD television brings everything to the table beautifully, making for an unbeatable home theater experience.
DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS - Nexus NX4203 HD LCD TV
Manufacturer Homepage: www.nexuselectronics.com
Ridley Acoustics EVIO852B
Sinclair Cube System
RF Link AVS-5811