As we would expect given the 22E5300’s design and level of functionality, it’s fully equipped with Sony’s neat Picture Frame functionality, which reduces the TV’s power consumption and allows you to use the screen – at reduced power – as a virtual photo or painting frame when you’re not actually watching TV on it.
A more startling and hugely welcome string to the 22E5300’s bow is its Bravia Engine 3 (BE3) picture processing. BE3 is the very latest generation of Sony’s dependable Bravia Engine system, and is the same system sported, to excellent effect, by Sony’s latest big-screen W5500 and V5500 TVs.
More good news finds the 22E5300 claiming a contrast ratio of 80,000:1, which is simply vast by the standards of the small-screen market, while its native resolution is an HD Ready 1,366 x 768. We guess this might seem slightly disappointing given that we’ve recently seen a £400 22in TV from LG, the 22LU5000, that delivers a Full HD resolution. But visible differences between a very good HD Ready 22in TV and a decent Full HD 22in TV are likely to be minimal at most.
Even the 22E5300’s audio promises to be in a different world to the relentlessly puny efforts of many sub-26in TVs (including LG’s 22LU5000), thanks to a claimed 2 x 10W of power.
In starting to assess the 22E5300’s pictures, I might as well say right from the off that it produces the finest pictures I’ve ever seen from such a small TV. By a country mile. For a start, they’re extremely dynamic and punchy, sidestepping the tendency towards dullness common with small screens, yet also delivering brightness without compromising contrast.
In fact, the set’s contrast is a revelation, thanks largely to black levels that look richer, deeper and just more natural than those of any other small TV to date. The night sky as Clint’s neighbour tries to steal his Gran Torino car in, well, ”Gran Torino”, suffers scarcely any trace of the greyness or blueness that would spoil the scene to some extent on any other small screen. There’s not even any obvious sign of the minor backlight inconsistencies noted with some of Sony’s current big-screen models.
As I’ve pointed out many times before, good black levels are usually accompanied by good colours, and the E5300 doesn’t let me down. For its palette is expansive, full of subtlety when it comes to blends and tonal shifts, and finally and most winningly, remarkably natural in tone – even when showing notoriously tough sequences like the one in the rebel army hut in Uganda near the start of ”Casino Royale”.