We should probably note before getting into how the 46S2010 performs that it doesn’t sport Sony’s Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) technology for expanding the range of colour the TV can produce. If you want WCG you’ll need to step up to Sony’s V or X series models.
We have to say that the lack of WCG becomes pretty quickly apparent as we settle down to watch the 46S2010 in action. Colour-rich content such as Viva Pinata from the Xbox 360 just doesn’t look quite as exuberantly vibrant as on Sony’s WCG models, and films tend to look a touch less naturally toned, especially during darker scenes.
Still, while it’s right to illustrate the case for stepping up to one of Sony’s higher-grade TVs, it would be wrong if we left you with the impression that the 46S2010’s colours are actually bad. In fact they’re really quite good within the TV’s ‘46in screen for under £1400’ context.
Completely excellent by any price standards, meanwhile, is the image’s sharpness when handling high definition sources. Sure, things don’t look quite as defined and noiseless as they did on the Full HD X Series Bravia we tested, but nonetheless every HD source we threw at the 46S2010 – King Kong on HD DVD, The Revenge of the Sith on Sky HD, Gears of War on the Xbox 360 – never failed to look anything less than sensationally sharp. And noiseless with it.
Black levels, meanwhile, although not outstanding are certainly solid enough to give pictures generally plenty of snap, and dark scenes specifically a fair sense of scale and naturalism. As for Sony’s once rather excessive problems with handling motion on an LCD TV, even the frenetic action on show during the huge opening space battle of The Revenge of the Sith seldom suffers with any significant blur.
A couple of points stop the 46S2010 from quite winning us completely over to its cause, though. First, though black levels are decent, other brands – Philips, Sharp and Panasonic to name three – are now going even deeper with their blacks.
Far more troubling, though, is the Sony’s performance with standard definition pictures. The extent to which the picture looks more noisy, loses some of its colour naturalism and suddenly suffers with smearing over motion occasionally becomes really quite aggravating. Though to be fair, these moments of actual annoyance only occur where a source image is itself of a particularly low quality.
The 46S2010’s sonics are entirely acceptable given its price. They don’t rival the almost hi-fi delights of the very best-sounding TVs out there, but they certainly achieve enough soundstage scale, dynamism and frequency response to at least do the scale of the 46in pictures proud.
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The 46S2010 is ultimately a good rather than spectacular performer made much more desirable than it otherwise would be by a new, lower price that must have Sony’s accountants’ eyes watering