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The W50A12U also boasts Sony’s ‘Wega Engine’, a picture processing system that, among other things, works to reduce video noise, increase the perception of detail, and scale incoming sources to the panel’s native resolution entirely digitally.
If like us you ran up some horrendous electricity bills over the past, freezing cold winter, you might also appreciate the W50A12U’s unusual power saving mode, whereby the picture’s brightness is reduced to preserve power and, potentially, extend the plasma panel’s life. We only say you ‘might’ appreciate it though, since for our money, the reduction in brightness the power saving mode causes goes too far for comfort.
Perhaps the last truly interesting feature of the W50A12U concerns its sound, as unusually for a flat-panel TV it sports a built-in subwoofer for - hopefully - providing the sort of bass levels so typically missing from flat-panel speakers.
Put to work on every type of source we could get our hands on, the W50A12U occasionally delivers quite stunning results. But it also occasionally looks pretty average…
Its most consistent strength is its colour response. The sheer range and vitality of the colour hues on offer is outstanding, and really reaffirms one of plasma technologies key advantages over LCD. That said, it will be interesting to see if the new ‘wide colour gamut’ technology Sony is introducing to its upcoming LCD TV range redresses the balance – keep checking this site for reviews of those LCDs soon.
Colours as good as those of the W50A12U are usually accompanied by a wide-reaching contrast range, and so it proves here. Particularly convincing is the TV’s rendition of black, which avoids almost completely the flattening greyness that besmirches dark picture areas on many rival flat panel TVs – especially LCD ones. Even better, dark picture areas don’t look empty or over-dominant thanks to the appearance of uncommonly subtle shadow details and colour gradations.