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.