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Sony KDL-26EX320 review

John Archer



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Sony KDL-26EX320
  • Sony KDL-26EX320
  • Sony KDL-26EX320
  • Sony KDL-26EX320
  • Sony KDL-26EX320
  • Sony KDL-26EX320
  • Sony KDL-26EX320


Our Score:



  • Excellent online services
  • Good multimedia support
  • Good black level response


  • Pictures not very bright
  • Onscreen menus are complicated
  • Sound quality uninspiring

Key Features

  • 26in LCD TV with edge LED lighting
  • Bravia Internet Video support
  • Freeview tuner built in
  • DLNA network support
  • Built-in Wi-fi
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Review Price: £299.95

Sony definitely seems to be savvier than most at figuring out what multimedia features are really useful on a TV. With its Bravia Internet Video service, for instance, Sony has twigged that what most people really want from an online TV service is streamed video and audio, not loads of half-baked games and infotainment widgets.

And recently Sony has also also realised relatively quickly that many modern households really want a second-room TV to be able to access their own or Internet-sourced multimedia content easily.

The 26in KDL-26EX320 delivers on both these fronts, boasting a full iteration of Sony’s Bravia Internet Video service as well as built-in Wi-Fi and full DLNA PC compatibility. What’s more, it does so for under £300, a potentially seriously attractive price when you consider that the Panasonic L24E3B we tested recently - which offered no online features at all and is 2in smaller - costs more.

Sony 26EX320

To underline its value proposition, the 26EX320 also joins the Panasonic L24E3B in using edge LED lighting to illuminate its screen rather than the ‘basic’ CCFL engine we might have expected.

However, surprise surprise, the 26EX320’s focus on multimedia has led to compromises in other areas of its specification. First and most surprisingly, the screen is only ‘HD Ready’ rather than full HD, meaning it’s got a native pixel count of 1,366x768 rather than 1,920x1,080. So most HD material you watch on it will have to be downscaled to the screen’s resolution.

The other major compromise finds the 26EX320 not sporting a Freeview HD tuner. Instead you just get a standard definition one. This is perhaps more understandable than the screen not having a full HD resolution given the context of the TV’s low price. But it might still upset a few ‘enthusiast’ punters, and it would to our minds certainly preclude the 26EX320 from being a main living room TV.

It’s worth adding that the 26EX320 only has a standard 50Hz refresh rate; there’s no 100Hz or higher engine to potentially reduce motion blur and judder.

Sony 26EX320

This is not to say that the TV is a total video processing wash out, though. For it benefits from Sony’s new X-Reality system, which adds enhanced noise reduction and colour processing benefits over and above the previous Bravia Engine system. Please note, though, that the 26EX320 gets the standard X-Reality system, not the X-Reality Pro system with its advanced processing for ‘souping up’ video streamed from the Internet.

Delving still deeper into the 26EX320’s feature list, the TV can play back video, photo and music files from a USB storage device via its single USB slot (so you’re not ‘restricted’ to streaming files from a DLNA PC or the Internet). You can also record from the built-in tuner to a connected USB HDD - though with this in mind, it’s a pity that the set only has one USB rather than two.


November 16, 2011, 8:57 pm

>> This obviously dents the TV's potential as an option for a bright room like a kitchen

I saw this comment somewhere else before buying this TV for our Kitchen, so I was a little worried. But after using it in our Kitchen, and even on bright days it's been fine.


December 1, 2011, 2:03 pm

I would just like to let Trusted Reviews and potential customers know that there is a simple solution to cure the rather dark and dim standard image.
Press home menu on the remote, select settings, then system settings, finaly select eco and turn off the light sensor.
Once complete you will probably have to go into the normal options and turn down both backlight and brightness.


January 18, 2013, 4:42 pm

I suspect the same applies to this set as with the other Sony which has the brightness issue. My sony KDL-24EX320 full HD 24", Had the exact same problem with dull images in standard mode - even when turning the backlight to maximum and gamma to +3. Then I discovered in the System Menu the ability to switch off ECO Mode which is 'On' by default. Suddenly there's a dramatic increase in picture bridghtness, contrast and punch to the point where backlight needs to be turned back to 5 and gamma can be set at 0. It's a shame Sony don't put the ECO Mode setting in the main menu where it's easily accessible and have it switched OFF by default.

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