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Sony Bravia KDL-37EX403 - Picture quality and Verdict

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


First impressions of the 37EX403’s pictures, though, are rather mixed. For instance, while the set is certainly capable of producing enjoyable levels of detail and crispness from HD sources, especially Blu-rays, this sharpness reduces during action scenes on account of clear signs of the motion blur we’d worried about in the previous paragraph.

To be clear, this blur isn’t really excessive; there are certainly other budget sets out there that suffer from it more. But we’ve seen better, and when it’s at its worst (particularly for the first few minutes after you turn the TV on from cold), it can certainly be distracting.

A couple of other disappointments find the 37EX403 losing contrast and colour saturation very obviously if you have to watch it from any real angle, expanses of colour occasionally looking rather over-smooth and short of subtlety, and peak whites occasionally looking bleached. These latter two issues are as a result, we would guess, of the 37EX403 not being able to reproduce as wide a range of colours as some rival screens, and some crushing at the brightest end of the spectrum.

The 37EX403 performs decently at the dark end of the spectrum too, producing a deeper and more convincing black colour than many of its budget CCFL LCD peers. It’s certainly not perfect; there’s a gentle grey wash over dark scenes, and shadow detailing is sometimes in short supply. But dark scenes don’t highlight significant backlight inconsistencies and are always watchable and credible. And that’s an achievement in itself on a sub-£500 LCD TV, despite the fact that Samsung’s similarly specified LCD sets get a few notches deeper still with their black levels.

The 37EX403’s sound rates – like its pictures, overall – as above average without being exciting. There’s just enough bass around to stop action scenes sounding unbalanced, and just enough headroom in the general mid-range and power handling to stop movies sounding too compressed and thin. Though the fact that the 37EX403’s audio performance can be classed as above average frankly says less about its own talents than it does about the generally dire state of audio on slim TVs.


There’s nothing particularly special about the 37EX403’s performance. Once it’s warmed up it’s above average, maybe even nudging good in places. But what makes it a potentially successful TV is its combination of a very aggressive price for a Sony compared with some class-leading multimedia features, particularly where online functionality is concerned. Assuming multimedia and online features don’t leave you cold, of course!


December 21, 2010, 2:28 pm

I wasn't previously aware that UK buyers did buy smaller TVs on average than our US cousins, however it doesn't surprise me. I'd be interested to know why people think this might be, although my first suspicion is simply because we have smaller homes.


December 21, 2010, 3:16 pm

@MSIC: Smaller homes not built from balsa wood! :op

Seriously though it may bethat we here in the UK are aware that "bigger" does not always equal "better" and viewing distance is an important consdideration.


December 21, 2010, 4:28 pm

Given that one of the reasons for buying a smaller tv is likely to be space - why on earth do the manufacturers put huge bezels on these models - especially at the sides - fail.


December 21, 2010, 8:02 pm

@ Epic I agree. Although I don't think this is any worse re: bezel than most current TVs, I don't have space to go from 32in to 37, 40 or 42in until bezels virtually disappear. Personally I will wait for an OLED to increase size, perhaps from LG or Samsung in 5-10 yrs. Perhaps also with >1080p so it can do 1080p passive 3d!


December 21, 2010, 10:19 pm

@MSIC: I'd be interested to know why people think this might be

I'd say we have an above average sized living room, but I'd say 37" TV is the max size we would go for without the TV taking over the living room & looking out of place, currently using 32" & I'd say it complements the room rather than dominating it. But this doesn't stop most the people on council estate's buying 50"+ Tv's.

For large screen action I'm using a PJ.


December 22, 2010, 3:10 pm

I'm surprised at the ignorance of thinking people bu small TVs to be cheap actually exists. Especially in a review on this website.

I was looking to buy a 37" or 40" TV this month but when I went in the shop I realsied for my living room it would be a little big and so went with the 32" (32KDL703) which it plenty big enough really.

I don't think it's people in the UK being cheap I think it's people in the UK being realistic that we don't want massive screens domination the living space, we just want a good quality picture at a size that suits or needs and available space.

I guess in America electronics are cheaper (no VAT for sure!), so perhaps that tempts folk into buying bigger screens. That and the size of their living space are probably the two biggest factors.


December 30, 2010, 6:48 pm

As this set got a 9 for value, you might be interested to know that the 40" version is now being sold by several retailers for even less! I chose one over an equally priced Samsung LE40C30 as the Sony included Freeview HD and the design (IMO) and build were nicer - the compromise being that the picture is not quite as impressive as on the Samsung. Anyway whatever your preferences, right now is a very good time to pick up a TV on the cheap (relatively speaking).


March 9, 2013, 8:59 pm

OMG people going on about size of TV, the point is not that buying a small TV is "cheap", it;s that a 1080p tv at this sive in a normal living room where you sit more than 5 feet away from TV is a complete waste, might as well buy a lesser resolution.

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