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Sony Bravia KDL-52W4500 52in LCDTV - Sony Bravia KDL-52W4500

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Having established the 52W4500 as a thoroughly dedicated follower of the latest multimedia fashion, it's time to return to the duo of image processing technologies mentioned right at the start of the review. For while the ability to provide a nice big venue for your favourite photos and tunes might be all well and good, the 52W4500 still needs to deliver the goods with its picture quality if it's truly going to impress us.

Bravia Engine 2 is, as its name suggests, a refinement - a considerable one, based on past experience - of Sony's original Bravia Engine, with its algorithms focused on improving colours, motion presentation, noise reduction, contrast and fine detailing.

As for Motionflow 100Hz, this both doubles the usual PAL frame rate to reduce LCD's problems with motion blur, and adds in completely new frames of image data designed to ‘fill in the gaps' between real frames. This should make motion look more fluid as well as crisper and clearer - provided it manages to achieve its benefits without throwing up lots of unpleasant side effects.

There are quite a few other picture features worth a quick mention too, including MPEG and standard noise reduction routines, a contrast enhancer, ‘Live' colour enhancement, and a Game/Text mode tweaks the image processing to better suit those types of source.

It's worth mentioning that all these latter features - and quite a few more besides - are uncovered via Sony's twin-axis Xrossmedia Bar onscreen menu design. This design definitely makes it possible to sort through many features at a lickety split pace. But its effectiveness is reduced by some rather unhelpful menu divisions, such as the way some useful picture adjustments are tucked not within the main Picture sub-menu, but within a separate Set-up sub-menu. Plus there's a separate ‘Features' sub-menu that again seems to simply add an extra, unnecessary layer of complication to proceedings.

Having been very impressed with the previous Sony TV to come our way, the KDL-40W4000, I had very high hopes for the 52W4500. And at first it looked as if all those hopes were going to be fulfilled. With knobs on.

The picture is spectacularly bright, for a start, blazing off the screen with an intensity that reminds us in no uncertain terms of LCD's traditional advantage over plasma in this department.

Colours are extremely vivid too, with rich saturations and bold tones. Yet a combination of fine blends and a wide colour palette ensures that for the majority of the time all this vividness does not result in unnatural, over-aggressive tones.

More good news concerns the 52W4500's fine detail presentation. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the pristine HD image of No Country For Old Men on Blu-ray has never looked sharper on a big-screen TV except, possibly, for Philips' latest Perfect Pixel sets.

Seriously, the precision with which the set portrays the very finest of details in a picture, such as stubble, facial pores, strands of hair and even the weave in clothing is nothing short of mesmerising. If for some reason you're not convinced by the whole HD thing yet, watch a good Blu-ray on the 52W4500 and you'll wonder how you ever lived without HD for so long.

vinceth

October 14, 2008, 6:51 pm

Snif! I was really planning to buy this TV as the 55X4500 is far too expensive... As the W4000 was a really good one and as the W4500 came with 100Hz (the only bad point of the W4000), I was really expecting a lot from it... It was close from perfection... Why? Why? Why???? :'(

961

October 14, 2008, 8:11 pm

After waiting for the review of the 4500 for some time, I'm disappointed that you seem to have got yourself a panel with backlight leakage. (I'd be interested to know what setting you had the backlight on when you tested)





Nevertheless your comments about the pin point hd quality and the BLACK of the blacks are spot on. A stunning picture. My 46" 4500 makes my old w2000 look simply out of it but of course I seem to have managed to get a panel without either backlight bleed or clouding.





The other thing I would agree with is that if you feed a good quality sd signal to these, you'll get good pictures. If your aerial is poor, or if the transmitter is sending low signals waiting for analogue switchoff, you may be less satisfied





The only other gripe I have is that, wheras with the W2000 I could adjust the separate headphone volume control to enable me to listen at a different volume to the speakers on the set, the 4500 headphone socket simply switches the set speakers off altogether. A backward step

mudwiggle

October 15, 2008, 1:40 am

Rats! I was hoping to buy the 46' version at Christmas, but once again we are delivered a less than ideal product. Are we being strung along on purpose? Why can't manufacturers (especially the likes of Sony with their considerable resources) just deliver products that have such basic flaws sorted out? ....I'll have to cross this one off my list now and look elsewhere.

vinceth

October 15, 2008, 12:51 pm

Must I hope that this problem is not present on all W4500?


If not, is it possible that Sony will correct the problem before January?


I think that the best thing to do is to still wait a lil bit... It's difficult but it's also a lot of money so... Wait & see...

nws56

October 15, 2008, 9:13 pm

Very wary of backlighting problems since my Samsung plasma (!!!!) had white patch in corner of screen. So imagine my trepidation as the new 52 W4000 was fired up for the first time... and were there pools of light on dark scenes ? I thought so, but after a few hours I wasn't so sure. After a few weeks I can't see any unevenness, but the viewing angle remains very limited, greying over rather quickly.


So , I don't know what to make of John Archer's experience....

moonyman

October 15, 2008, 10:48 pm

I have the 40 inch version of this TV and have no backlight bleed at all. I have the Sony Blu Ray S550 player connected and the picture quality is stunning with no blurring or smearing of any sort. A classy looking TV also which is leagues ahead of my previous LCD. I live in Germany and the nice chap in a massive TV shop lined up all the screens I was interested in and ran a HD signal through them all so I could compare and this TV showed more vivid colours(not overly) bright whites and the best blacks easily out of all of them. I am surprised to hear of some of these problems, I think perhaps it might only affect the bigger screen sizes, just a thought.

John Whitehead

October 18, 2008, 12:02 am

I have had one of these for a week or so now and it is simply great. None of the issues in the review have reared their head yet and the picture quality with my Sky HD is just as it should be - crisp, clear and detailed. Recommended.

philip7b4

November 1, 2008, 1:49 am

Had 2 of this sets and both had bad clouding on them,got a refund in the end

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