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Sony Bravia KDL-32E5500 32in LCD TV review

John Archer

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Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score

6/10

User Score

Review Price free/subscription

It looks like Sony isn't just out to take on the mighty Apple with its latest portable music players. For Sony's new 32E5500 TV, with its glossy white finish and angular lines, has a distinctly Apple-esque look about it. And so predictably, for the most part it's very nice if you like that kind of thing. The only controversial element, so far as I'm concerned, is the thick black outer frame that sits around - and forward from - the main white bezel.

For me the contrast here is too strident for comfort. Though to be fair to Sony - and you know me, I always like to be fair… - the little black ‘frame' does serve a kind of philosophical purpose. For it illustrates the main story with the E5500: that it's pitched as a ‘Picture Frame TV', aimed at folk wanting a ‘designer' TV that also provides an easy way to watch their multimedia gubbins. Hence the decision to make the TV look like some kind of freakish photo frame - right down to the way the TV rests slightly back on its neckless stand.

Sony's obsession with design on the 32E5500 extends so far that you can choose the colour and material of the outer-most frame to suit your décor, with aluminium and even wood alternatives to the black plasticky affair found on our test model.

In looking for other reasons beyond its design that make the 32E5500 stand out from the rest of Sony's current, generally excellent range, though, things start to get a little confused. For so far as I can tell, the 32E5500's operating specification is exactly the same as that of Sony's 32W5500.

To some extent this similarity isn't a bad thing, of course, for the W series sits quite high up Sony's current TV range, and is equipped with features galore. For instance, it's a full HD screen despite its relatively small 32in size, and it carries both Sony's latest Bravia Engine 3 video engine and MotionFlow 100Hz system. Even more pertinently for the E5500's multimedia-friendly positioning, it joins the W series in sporting a USB port capable of playing photo, MP3 and video files, as well as a LAN port you can use to access files stored on a DLNA-certified PC.

The LAN port additionally allows you to access Sony's AppliCast online system - though as we've repeatedly noted, this service is currently rather limited, with just a calculator, RSS newsfeed access, a clock, a calendar and access to a few attractive online stills based on nature, architecture and art themes.

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Ahlan

June 23, 2009, 7:40 am

At least this bravia TV looks better and its cheaper then this Philips TV





http://www.trustedreviews.com/...








i don't understand why you gave this TV a 4/10 for the Value








and the over Priced Philips 32PFL9604 a 8/10 for the value?

Ripsnorter

June 23, 2009, 4:00 pm

Having seen this set up close and personally, it looks so tacky. I'm sure the build quality is up to Sony's usual standards but file it under niche and forget it!

rowdypop

June 23, 2009, 8:40 pm

this vs the Philips 9604,





any anti-philips or sony fanboy will never understand. but anyone whos neutral and have a chance to see these 2 tvs side by side will agree with the ratings given (to a certain extent)

rowdypop

June 23, 2009, 9:16 pm

The Philips 32pfl9604 is a top of the range LCD tv and its direct competitor should be the Z series from Sony, both with 200hz processing. not the 100hz W series.





i would give the 9604 vs W550 a higher rating based on these reasons, and Yes, i did see them side by side.





1. Class leading SD performance. it is that much better than Sony. in fact this is their biggest niche. (if im shopping for a tv and watching SD most of the time, i will give this tv 10/10)





2. outstanding HD performance. comparing these 2 tvs side by side, the philips definitely has got that extra punch, detailing etc.





3. best audio performance in its class.





4. best net features. namely the net-tv functions etc. the interface is the best ive used. next to come close are the panasonics. btw, this tv is wi-fi certified. u can access wi-fi out of box. not like samsung who needs you to add a wireless dongle. sony needs to be wired.





5. ambilight is exclusive to philips. to someone who likes it, is 10/10,to someone who dislikes it, is 0/10.





6. design. again, really relative to whoever is looking at it. the sony may really appeal to someone who wans a White bezel thou.





7. 200hz vs 100hz processing. hugely debatable.





8. only area where sony is better is user-customability. You do get to tweak the pict in more ways than is available on the philips. definitely the better tv if you have the equipment to calibrate it to industrial standards.





Value of 4 for the E550 and value of 8 for the W550. if considering all things similar except for design, maybe $300 diff is clearly too much to pay.





Value of 4 for the E550 and value of 9 for the philips. considering all what ive said, it really is justifiable. and yes, im a ambilight fan.

Ahlan

June 23, 2009, 10:59 pm

You think your the only one that saw those tvs side by side? hey buddy let me tell you there are Electronic stores, hypermarkets, where you test those TV's side by side.





i saw the Philips 32PFL9604 side by side with a bravia W550 (i tested them for hours)











1. The SD performance is slightly better on the Philips, but its barely noticeable.








2. outstanding HD performance? wrong, for it price the Philips 32PFL9604 has some issues with the noise, alot of dark blue areas you can notice some noise (tiny dots) same problem with Philips 32PFL9613D, also i noticed some gradient issues





example


http://img269.imageshack.us/im...








as for the 32W5500 it didn't have the noise problem, looked pretty smooth.








3. 32PFL9604 audio was impressive, just like the S-Force Front Surround.





4. as for the net feature and the ambilight, do not inters me.








In my opinion, there is not much deference between Philips 32PFL9613D and Philips 32PFL9604. minor difference is just the net feature and the sound, as for the picture quality (the most important part) they are the same, same noise problems.





and paying 200 euros more, not worth it.








5. both Philips 32PFL9604 and Sony 32E5500 are over priced TV's, in my opinion.








Have a nice day.

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