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Sony Bravia KDL-32E5500 32in LCD TV - Sony Bravia KDL-32E5500

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


I guess the access to those online stills - and a few pre-installed ones - does kind of bolster the 32E5500's multimedia credentials. Especially as the set also sports Sony's Picture Frame Mode, where the TV optimises its settings for economical long-term playback of digital still photos or artworks, effectively letting you turn your TV into a painting or genuine photo frame when you're not watching it.

But all these multimedia features are, as I've said, available on the 32W5500 as well, and just putting them within a more self-consciously photo/painting-like design doesn't magically stop AppliCast feeling a little outgunned by rival online systems. You're probably starting to wonder at this point why it really matters all that much if the 32E5500 is effectively ‘just' a fancier-looking version of the 32W5500. So I'll tell you: the cheapest price I could find on the 32E5500 at the time of writing was £945. Whereas the 32W5500 was available for just £609. That's a huge difference of more than £300. Or to put it another way, the 32E5500 costs 50 per cent more than its similarly specified but less well-dressed sibling.

Unless the 32E5500 magically manages to use its identical specs to deliver a picture quality beyond what we would expect to see from the 32W5500, therefore, I'm struggling to find the fancy picture frame justification enough for spending £300 that could instead be spent on a very healthy collection of Blu-rays.

To be fair, the 32E5500 does produce some terrific pictures. Its black levels, for instance, are streets ahead of those produced by most 32in LCD TVs, leaving the claimed 80,000:1 contrast ratio looking at least a fraction less fanciful than the hilariously optimistic figures quoted by rival brands.I should add, too, that I saw scarcely the faintest trace of the inconsistent backlight level problem that blighted Sony's previous LCD generation.

The 32E5500 also excels with its colours. The Bravia Engine 3 system in conjunction with Sony's Live Colour processing works wonders when it comes to combining vivid, full-on saturations with natural, believable, and subtly blended tones - and the screen furthermore has the innate brightness to ensure that the excellent colour palette is really driven out.

For all their flaws in previous generations, Sony's LCD TVs have at least generally delivered HD pictures with excellent levels of sharpness and noise-free clarity. And that strength remains emphatically in place with the 32E5500, as a selection of Blu-rays and HD games all look full of texture and detail. So long, at least, as you ensure that all the TV's noise reduction circuitry is deactivated.


June 23, 2009, 7:40 am

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


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?


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!


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)


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.


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



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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