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Sony Bravia KDL-32W5500 32in LCD TV review

John Archer

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Reviewed:

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Sony Bravia KDL-32W5500 32in LCD TV
  • Sony Bravia KDL-32W5500 32in LCD TV
  • Sony Bravia KDL-32W5500 32in LCD TV
  • Sony Bravia KDL-32W5500 32in LCD TV
  • Sony Bravia KDL-32W5500 32in LCD TV
  • Sony Bravia KDL-32W5500 32in LCD TV
  • Sony Bravia KDL-32W5500 32in LCD TV
  • BRAVIA KDL-32W5500 81 cm 32" LCD TV (DVB-T - NTSC, PAL, SECAM178° / 178° - 16:9 - 1920 x 1080 - 1080p - Surround, Dolby - 100 Hz)

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

We recently had a bit of a pop at Sony's KDL-32E5500 for offering basically the same specification as the brand's 32W5500 while costing almost twice as much. So we thought it would probably be a good idea to back this argument up as soon as possible by actually taking a look at the 32W5500.

The first thing that has to be said about the 32W5500, out of fairness to the 32E5500, is that it's nowhere near as striking to look at. Essentially, it just follows the same severe lines and fairly slender black bezel blueprint found throughout Sony's S, V and W5500 ranges. Though actually I suspect some people will prefer the 32W5500's relatively laid back approach to the 32E5500's glossy white with starkly contrasting outer frame look.

The 32W5500's connectivity is excellent. Four HDMIs gets things off on the right foot, but there's sterling support too from a USB port able to handle all manner of video, music and photo files, and an Ethernet jack with which you can jack into either files stored on a DLNA PC, or Sony's online Applicast service.

We've covered Applicast numerous times before, so I won't dwell on it for too long here. Suffice it to say that aside from allowing you to access RSS newsfeeds, Sony currently only offers its own little widgets and applications, such as a world clock, a calculator, Sony news stories, and a handful of digital stills you can use as screen savers. The lack of third party content from the likes of YouTube means that although it's prettily presented and easy to navigate, Applicast ultimately falls damagingly short on content compared with the online systems offered by rivals.

Turning to what I believe are much more important features of the 32W5500, its video processing includes both the latest generation of Sony's reliable Bravia Engine system, and MotionFlow 100Hz, which doubles the usual PAL refresh rate for extra motion clarity by adding in newly calculated frames of image data.

A trawl through the 32W5500's well-presented if not always completely logical onscreen menus uncovers a few more bits and bobs of interest too, including a white level booster; Sony's Live Colour Creation system for enhancing colour saturation and tone; separate gamma and black level adjustments; and two types of noise reduction, including one aimed at smoothing away the blocking noise that frequently besmirches Freeview broadcasts.

Ahlan

July 14, 2009, 5:46 am

Pros





Black level and contrast are superior to many other LCD TVs


Design is fairly pleasing


Greyscale is shockingly accurate out of the box using "Theatre" mode


And in this case, could be improved further with the calibration options


Standard def video processing is very good


Extensive networking and connectivity options


Game mode allows input lag to be lessened (but not totally eradicated)


100hz Motionflow system can be disabled








Cons





Colour accuracy (although an improvement on older Sonys) could still be improved


LCD panel has response time issues with black, and viewing angle is still an issue


OSD is slightly unresponsive








http://www.avforums.com/review...











Enough said.

Greg17b

July 14, 2009, 5:59 am

"Design is fairly pleasing"





Are you kidding? This TV would fit in perfectly back in 2004.

Pbryanw

July 14, 2009, 7:07 am

@Ahlan - Interesting, but I don't expect a TrustedReview review to go into the same depth as one from AVForums. They're aimed at two different audiences, and both are just as valid. Actually, I prefer the TR article, as I'm not interested in greyscale or colour accuracy, but how Movies and Freeview look on it.





I suppose it comes down to personal preference at the end of the day, but I don't feel one review invalidates (or is better then) the other.

Hamish Campbell

July 14, 2009, 12:39 pm

@Athlan, Couldn't you just have said you agree with the review?

ChrisC

July 14, 2009, 2:55 pm

@Greg - I think the design is functional & inoffensive. At this price point, I want all my money going into the best picture (and sound) performance as possible.

Xamph

July 14, 2009, 3:14 pm

Does not play MKV files from a USB stick which the Samsung B650 does. I've not turned on my Popcorn Hour in yonks!

scatface

July 29, 2009, 9:17 pm

this is a great tv, reals shows what a 32" LCD can do, my PS3 games and blu ray discs

digitalsavage

August 3, 2009, 9:43 pm

Can anyone tell me: is the KDL32W5500 (with Motion Flow) worth £100 more than the KDL32V5500u (without)? Please advise....

Donny Boy

October 15, 2009, 3:38 am

Any chance of a review of the 32V5500?

Howdy Doody

January 3, 2010, 8:47 pm

Well I have kept my eye on SONY's North American 32XBR line for about 5 years, A few weeks ago I jumped in on the deep discounts for an 32XBR9 -- at what I assumed will be about 1/2 the price of the new E series. Note that this TV lacks USB video, audio jack, Bravia Engine 3, ethernet, and perhaps more ! -- "international product content games here" !





Anyway. I have digital cable service , but few HD channels.





* The set is quite beautiful at its best.


* But black challenges were evidient in the Dr Who "marathon" where dark skins tones were off-grey ... the kind of thing that you get when you try to recover an underexposed image with Photoshop.


* The glare-free screen is an unexpected bonus as my aging eyes were just starting to feel the distraction of lamp glare from our OLD SD set.





On close, it is a very fine set. The selection of 'screen fill modes" is extensive. The full-screen presentation of my best 1920 x 1080 "cropped" photos are really outstanding. Even so, I am left wondering what forces were behind this move to 16 x 9 et al. I am tempted to say that this "revolution" may have been too much , too soon. I love technology, but as a photographer, I am less sure that we had to spend trillions around the world on this technology. Well OK .. I will take some time to check out the story on wiki!





Happy New Year to All

the near side

May 21, 2010, 5:18 pm

I know this model has been superceded, and bought one with 5 year guarrantee from M&S for £399 (after £100 trade-in for a ;portable lcd handhelfd tv that I bought for £15. I hope I like it when it arrives.

the near side

May 21, 2010, 9:42 pm

Sorry, meant to say I bought the 5810 with freesat.

andy100hz

June 27, 2010, 4:43 pm

I have just bought 2 kdl-32w5500 as my old tv has finally given up the ghost. I am no expert in lcd, plasma or led technology so have relied on the reviews posted by so many none biased opinions for which I am truly grateful. I bought these TV's from Argos for £399.99 each which I beleive is a good price.





However, I am confused and would like some help if at all possible. After reading reviews on lcd, plasma etc I wanted to buy a 100hz TV so as not to get the shadowing effect as described by many reviews. After checking the spec of this TV it definately appears to be 100hz yet the signage on the back of the TV clearly shows this as being 50hz only. I have rung Sony Centre to check and they say the label on the reverse is for the power supply and has nothing to do with the resolution of the TV. I am not technically minded but this doesn't make any sense. I have an appointment with Sony to prove this but does anyone have any knowledge out there regarding this issue.





Thanks in advance.

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