Sony Bravia KDL-32NX503 - More Performance Ups & Downs

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At least, though, the post-calibration black level response really is quite impressive. With the set’s brightness settings reined in, the 32NX503 can produce a genuinely deep, natural, largely grey-free black colour that helps dark scenes look more convincing than is common on 32in LCD TVs. It’s a relief to note, too, that dark scenes aren’t ruined by pools of backlight inconsistency in the way numerous models from Sony’s previous TV range were.


Now we’ve started to think more positively, while colours struggle for richness, their tones are rendered with really impressive and engaging subtlety when it comes to blends, ensuring there’s no colour ‘striping’ or ‘patchworking’ on show anywhere.


The Bravia Engine 3 processing also does a typically good job of translating standard definition pictures to the screen’s Full HD pixel count, adding detail without exaggerating source noise or adding extra noise of its own.


The upscaling process can’t get round the screen’s innate small issues with motion resolution loss and colour vibrancy, but that doesn’t stop its standard def pictures from being easy on the eye overall.


Sadly, though, we have to wrap up this review with a couple more negatives. First, we found the Monolithic design made the 32NX503’s screen look unusually reflective of ambient light and objects in our test room. Strangely – perhaps because of the smaller screen size – we found ourselves more troubled by this issue on the 32NX503 than we did on the larger (40in), also Monolithically designed 40HX703 we reviewed recently.


Our final disappointment with the 32NX503 is, more predictably, its audio. For while the set’s ability to portray small details in carefully crafted soundstages is notably good, it’s dragged back into distinctly average territory overall by its difficulties with producing any significant quantities of bass. This can leave high-octane audio sequences sounding harsh and tiring.

Verdict


The 32NX503 is certainly not a bad TV, thanks to its appealing looks and extensive multimedia functionality. But nor is it the small-screen hero we’d hoped for, providing more unwanted proof that Sony’s 2010 range is shaping up to be almost as inconsistent as last year’s. Here’s hoping the brand’s upcoming 3D TVs fall on the impressive side of the unpredictable Sony line.