Looking past the contrast issues and/or using the Sony 32HX753 with its optimum settings in play, you really can appreciate its image strengths. There's a reasonable if not exactly forensic amount of detail to be seen with good HD feeds, for instance, especially as the set's relatively subdued approach to colours lets you appreciate lots of subtle nuances that can 'flare out’ with more punchy TVs.
Motion is handled well too. There's a touch more judder and resolution loss over moving objects than you get with the exemplary HX853 models, but it's not a big deal and is actually good by the standards of the 32HX753's mid-range level.
Once you've secured a pair of Sony's 3D glasses (none, sadly, are included as standard) the 32HX753 proves a surprising hit with 3D too - at least to the extent that it suffers vastly less from crosstalk than some of Sony's mid-level 2011 TVs. In fact, it felt to us as if the 32HX753 suffered less with crosstalk's ghosting noise than the HX853s.
Inevitably the set's subdued nature means that 3D pictures don't enjoy the same sort of vibrancy and brightness as those of the HX853s, and they also look a bit softer, as there's no X-Reality Pro available to give them a sharpness boost. But they still look HD, despite the relatively small dimensions of the screen.
These dimensions again do the Sony 32HX753 no favours, though. For so far as we're concerned 3D only really makes sense on pretty big TVs, where the image can dominate your field of vision. On 32in TVs, unless you are sat very close, 3D tends to feel a bit odd - like you're watching a separate 3D hole ripped within the already 3D view you have of your living room.
The TV's 3D capabilities are probably best suited to gamers, who might well have a set like the 32HX753 set up in a bedroom or small study. But with this in mind it's a pity that, rather inexplicably, the 32HX753 recorded an input lag figure of around 80ms during our tests. This is roughly double the input lag we'd usually expect to find on a Sony TV, and certainly has the potential to diminish your gaming performance.
Wrapping things up with the 32HX753's audio, we find its speakers serving up a fair to middling performance. The mid-range is more open and less prone to distortion than that of many 32in TVs, but at the same time the set doesn't escape the all-too-common complaint of lacking bass, which leaves action movie soundtracks a bit thin and some male voices sounding slightly emasculated.
After the bounty of pleasures afforded by Sony's HX853 series, the 32HX753 proves surprisingly difficult to really like. Get it set up absolutely right and it can produce an impressively balanced and laudably subtle picture performance. But this 'sweet spot' is too narrow for comfort, and too restrictive on the sort of room environments the TV can really work in - hardly ideal given the increasingly utilitarian way in which 32in TVs tend to be treated these days.
It's possible - though far from certain - that larger sizes of the HX753 series might be able to counter some of our arguments against the 32HX753. But so far as this 32in model is concerned, it represents a bigger step down from Sony’s flagship HX853s than we'd - perhaps unreasonably - been hoping for.