Another lesser problem with the 52W4500 is that just occasionally it takes its quest for sharpness a touch too far, leaving one or two moments where even a really pristine HD transfer can look a touch grainy, to an extent that doesn’t seem to be totally just a reflection of any grain that might be inherent to an HD transfer.
I should stress that MotionFlow 100Hz can cause smearing and edge glitches at is highest settings too, and finally I wasn’t completely blown away by the 52W4500’s standard definition pictures. The Bravia Engine 2 processing engine copes great if a standard def source is of a good innate quality, such as a high-level DVD transfer. But if you’re watching one of the many rather grubby looking Freeview broadcasts, the 52W4500 can slightly exaggerate any noise inherent to the source.
First impressions of the 52W4500’s audio are a touch underwhelming, chiefly thanks to a surprising (given the TV’s size) lack of bass. But after playing around in the audio menus, a combination of choosing the Standard (rather than Dynamic) preset, deactivating the slightly disconcerting pseudo surround processing and setting a ‘Sound Booster’ to low, raised the set’s audio game to a much more satisfying level. Bass increases exponentially, for instance, yet it never overwhelms the set’s scintillating treble imaging and rich, clear, distortion-free vocal range.
The 52W4500 gets mighty close to being a bona fide big-screen superstar, it really does. And it’s not even all that expensive considering its combination of a huge size and Sony badging. But in the end those damn pools of grey light cropped up just often enough to turn a potential love affair into a case of ‘just good friends’.