Review Price £299.95
Sony KDL-26EX320 - More Picture Quality and Verdict
We’d also been worried that the 26EX320’s non-full HD resolution might compromise the sharpness of its pictures. But while there’s a fraction less texture in really detailed HD images than you get with a high quality full HD screen, it’s only a fairly minor difference - maybe one you won’t even notice at all from much of a viewing distance.
The lower resolution of the 26EX320’s screen also perhaps delivers a benefit. For the set upscales standard definition material exceptionally well for a TV of its size and affordability, possibly because the upscaling process isn’t having to ‘stretch’ as far as it would with a 1,920x1,080 screen. Doubtless the latest scaling algorithms of the new X-Reality system play a part here too.
The image looks stable for a 50Hz affair too, and finally it’s above par when it comes to contrast - at least to the extent that dark parts of the picture look at least somewhat black, with less greying over than might have been expected. It’s also great to report that there’s seemingly no backlight inconsistency at all during dark scenes
It’s a pity, perhaps, that to get the best black levels you need to reduce the backlight output to its six or maybe even five setting, reducing the image’s brightness even further and causing a little shadow detail to get ‘lost in translation’. But then we’ve already pointed out that the 26EX320’s inherent lack of brightness means it’s not a great option for a bright viewing environment.
Small, slim TVs find it notoriously difficult to sound half decent due to the simple lack of space available for speakers. And while the 26EX320 is certainly far from the worst sounding small TV we’ve tested it’s certainly no better than average, tending to over-emphasise trebles, make male voices sound a bit ‘thick’, and sound one-dimensional due to a lack of bass.
Any 26in screen has the potential to be a gaming monitor, of course. But the 26EX320 doesn’t particularly excel in this regard, as it delivers a slightly below average input lag of around 48ms (sometimes this nudges up to 60ms, sometimes it dips below 40ms), and doesn’t deliver as much impact with bright, colourful games as some rival screens.
If you’re after a second room screen that can unlock multimedia from your PC pretty much effortlessly as well as giving you access to a good amount of on-demand video content, then the 26EX320 is almost uniquely qualified for the job - unless you spend significantly more, any way. However, that impressive multimedia functionality comes with strings attached in the form of a non-full HD resolution, no Freeview HD tuner and rather muted pictures.
Scores In Detail
- Image Quality
- Sound Quality