That starts with six HDMI inputs on the back panel, which matches the most you'll find short of stepping up to Sony's STR-DN1040, which includes eight. There's no MHL-compatibility, like you'll find on some competitors (such as the Onkyo TX-NR626, , Pioneer VSX-823-K), but that's not much of a loss unless you were planning to use . The STR-DN840 has a fair assortment of legacy connections, including three digital audio inputs (two optical, one coaxial) and four analog audio inputs. There aren't any component video connections at all, but that's fine by us now that most devices use HDMI.
The STR-DN840's remote is better than the ones that come with most AV receivers, although it's still a bit of a cluttered mess. The bright white input buttons are distinct and easy to read, and the directional pad nicely falls right under your thumb. On the other hand, there are still just way too many unneeded buttons, not to mention secondary functions written in pink above some buttons, only adding to the confusion. There are also two rockers at the bottom that look like volume controls; one of them actually cycles through the available "sound fields," which is a dubious feature that certainly doesn't deserve dual-billing with the all-important volume rocker. If you're investing this much in your home theater system, you'd be wise to invest in a universal remote.
What's most impressive is the STR-DN840's wireless capabilities. There's built-in Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and Bluetooth, which makes it a truly standout for receivers under $600. It's a potent combination, particularly the flexibility to wirelessly stream audio from nearly any smartphone or tablet. Bluetooth and AirPlay work with any app on your mobile devices, so you can easy load up, say, Spotify, stream right to your receiver, and maintain playback control on your phone.
Design: Big, but minimal
The Sony STR-DN840 basically looks like a traditional AV receiver: it's a big, black metal box. Still, it manages to look slightly better than most, with some of Sony's design talents clearly showing through on its tastefully minimal front panel. The STR-DN840 doesn't have nearly the refinement of the Marantz NR1403, but it won't look too bad in your home theater cabinet, either.