Review Price £354.00
Sony Bravia KDL-32EX403 - Your Wallet's New Best Friend
When the resolution loss connection with motion isnâ€™t in play, the 32EX403â€™s pictures actually look surprisingly sharp for its money. HD footage enjoys good detailing and clarity, and thanks to the set carrying Bravia Engine 3 processing - another impressive discovery on such a cheap TV - standard definition sources are upscaled to the screenâ€™s full HD resolution surprisingly effectively. Which is to say they look sharper than they would in their normal resolution while simultaneously having any noise they might contain carefully and astutely suppressed.
Another strength of the 32EX403â€™s pictures is their colour. Images look surprisingly rich, vibrant and dynamic, and even better, they enjoy generally highly credible tones. This is a far cry from the usually over-egged colour palettes routinely found on budget TVs, which often look like theyâ€™ve been optimised more for PC than video use.
The combination of rich colours and a decently high brightness output initially creates a sense of some good black levels from the 32EX403. Push the screen harder with some predominantly dark footage from your typical Hollywood movie, however, and the black level situation becomes a little less satisfying. Mid dark areas occasionally take on a curious silvery tone, and very dark parts of the image look a touch short of shadow detail.
We werenâ€™t troubled by any patches of backlight inconsistency, though, at least with contrast and backlight levels set sensibly. In fact, while spending more could get you superior black levels, we canâ€™t actually think of any other similarly priced 32in TV that even gets close to the black levels the 32EX403 can achieve.
Maybe the 32EX403â€™s sound quality falls squarely into budget disaster territory? Actually no. Perhaps benefiting from the large chassis, its speakers prove quite sensitive to subtle details in even quite dense audio mixes, and thereâ€™s enough breathing room in the power handling to allow the set to produce at least a sense of the changing scales of soundstage used throughout a typical Hollywood film. Though inevitably thereâ€™s a limit to the volume and sound density the set can handle before starting to sound cluttered and muddy.
At its original price level of Â£550-Â£600, the 32EX403 might have appeared a likeable if unremarkable all-rounder chiefly notable for its Bravia Internet Video capabilities.
Now that you can get it for just Â£354, though, itâ€™s frankly a bargain of almost unbelievable proportions, giving you a TV capable of doing main living room duties for a price that would normally be attached to some bit of TV tat only good for casual second- or third-room use.