Other key connections on the 26EX320 aside from the Wi-fi/LAN and single USB already noted comprise a pair of HDMIs, a D-Sub PC input, and an optical digital audio output.
Another nice touch of the 26EX320 is its presence sensor. As its name suggests, this uses a sensor in the TV to ‘see’ if anyone is in the room, so that it can turn off the screen to save energy (and thus money) if nobody’s around.
The last feature of the 26EX320 that warrants more attention is its Bravia Internet Video service. We’ve repeatedly said this year that for us BIV’s focus on video streaming services rather than just throwing hundreds of second-rate apps at you and hoping a few of them stick really works in its favour – especially when the sort of video services on offer include LoveFilm, Sony’s Qriocity library of films and songs, the BBC iPlayer, the Demand 5 catch up service, YouTube, Sky News, and EuroSport. We still don’t get why the PS3 can have 4OD while Sony’s TVs can’t, but hopefully this odd situation will get sorted one day soon.
It will also be nice if Sony can deliver a new interface for its 2012 BIV iteration, as the one used now is starting to feel clunky and long winded. And finally, while the 26EX320 carries a built-in Web browser, it’s more or less unusable in its current form thanks to its text just being too small to be legible.
The first thing that strikes us about the 26EX320’s performance is that it really isn’t very bright – especially by the usual standards of edge LED technology. Even using the provided Vivid picture preset – not something we’d actually normally recommend – the picture lacks ‘pop’, despite our test room having pretty low natural light levels.
This obviously dents the TV’s potential as an option for a bright room like a kitchen or conservatory – though it’s not necessarily a deal breaker if you’re looking for something for a bedroom or study.
Having started in a negative vein, we might as well get a couple of other – much more minor – niggles off our chest. The first of these finds very slight shimmering noise over areas of fine detail like people’s hair and finely checked suits – especially during HD viewing.
Another issue is that pictures suffer a little with motion blur. This is especially true with standard definition feeds, but it’s visible with HD too – especially HD broadcasts from our Sky HD receiver. To be fair, though, the extent of this resolution loss when showing motion isn’t really bad by small TV standards, and is only to be expected from a cheap 50Hz TV.
Finally in the negative column, the screen’s viewing angle is quite limited, with contrast dropping off markedly when you get past around a 30-degree viewing angle.
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Turning now to the 26EX320’s strengths, the most obvious one is the accuracy of its colour response. Tones across the spectrum look impressively natural and also very well balanced – a result, we suspect, of Sony’s Live Colour and X-Reality processing systems. Also, colour blends are superbly done, with no sign of the striping or blotching that you can see if a TV doesn’t have the ability to render a really wide range of tones. We’d been worried that the lack of pixels versus a full HD screen might cause a few problems in this regard, but not so.