This LCD TV is being launched right now in Delhi, as I’m writing this. Thanks to my super Labs Manager Rajesh D’Souza for getting us the 40 inch size demo product so early, for the review. It’s the latest LCD by the HDTV stalwart Sony, so without wasting any more time let’s get to it.
Design and features
The bezel is a gloss monster, also with a highly reflective panel. This is actually due to the fact that the bezel itself has a flat glass panel married to its surface across the width, edge to edge. The stand is a monolithic rectangular base, with a similar gloss black finish. So fingerprints will make their way onto this part for sure – make sure you have a soft cloth handy at all times. Also the high reflectivity of the panel is a no-no for darker scenes: your own face can be distracting during Silence of the Lambs.
The design looks good for sure; in fact that is one of the USPs of this new line. It’s quite sleek and sexy. The connections available are 4 HDMIs (1 Side/ 3 Rear), 1 component, 3 composite video and one VGA in. There is one USB 2.0 in, with full capabilities of MP3s, JPEGs and MPEG1, MPEG2 TS and PS for video. Notice no MPEG4, thus DivX/XviD won’t play.
The TV comes with the usual array of Bravia features like the Bravia Engine 3, 24p film mode, ambient light sensor and Live Color. The native res is Full HD 1920 x 1080, and the funny thing is no ratings for brightness, contrast or response time is given. We will have to gauge this subjectively for now, in the performance section.
We plugged the TV in via HDMI, and slid in the calibration patterns. First, we check grayscale or “how good the blacks and whites are”. In this case we have a deep black level, but it’s a little too dense, as exposed by Displaymate low grey bars, which merge a bit. The brightness of the backlight is healthy though, and at highest levels we did not see any ugly blooming or clipping of whites. This is a good thing.
The next and equally important step is Colors, and for this we loaded the color pluges, to find out that overall colors are bit oversat, and need to be adjusted down to about 50 in the menu. Absolute neutrality wise the grey bars did not show any coloration, this again is an attractive point.
After tests we got down to brass tacks, and slid in our brand new Blu-ray of Final Fantasy Advent Children. The colors were vibrant and almost dazzling. The reflectivity of the screen is the issue here, it does pose an issue in dark scenes. Thus here is the case of compromise in performance for design attributes. Motion wise we gauged the TV to be quite good, in our Crysis Warhead gameplay.
There was very little motion blur artifacts. In standard def DivX movies there was obviously a little more of moiring and edge distortion, but that is not something that’s easily avoidable, in any TV model. Static detail wise the TV excelled. I wrote this review and browsed on it, using it as a monitor to our HTPC. Fonts were clear and images were clearer. The sharpness needs to be reduced a bit in the menu, to get rid of a little halo around edges that come in factory mode.
The price of Rs. 68,900 is slightly above the average these days but since it's a new model there is some premium warranted. Of course it is backed by a good performance. The looks of this TV are splendid and very sleek. The panel has good contrast, mainly due to a powerful backlight, and also colors are quite awesome. Detail is again almost flawless. The one and only thing is that the panel reflectivity is one major downer, but prolonged usage may make the user get used to it. It’s a new model by Sony with very less frills, just good looks and a respectable performance.
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