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Sony Bravia KDL-37W5810 review

Barry de la Rosa
22 Feb 2010
Sony Bravia KDL-37W5810
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
746
inc VAT

Excellent picture quality, integrated Freesat HD and media streaming are the KDL-37W5810's strong points, but the price is uncompetitive.

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Specifications

37in, Freesat, Freeview, analogue, 1,920x1,080 resolution, 3D: , 4x HDMI

Sony's KDL-37W5810 might seem overpriced compared to other 37in TVs, but you get an integrated Freesat HD tuner and a network port. Sony has also included a media streaming client, allowing you to access movies, photos and music on your home network.

Sony's Applicast service means you can add internet-based widgets for weather, calendar or news feeds. This is a bit of a gimmick and the TV image's size is dramatically reduced with the widgets enabled.

As usual, there's the Xross Media Bar user interface, as found on the PlayStation 3. While it's easy to use for those who've used it previously, it's not the most intuitive TV menu system. Horizontally, you flick through a series of menu items, such as inputs, digital or analogue TV, Movies, Music and Photos, and then you scroll vertically to choose an item in one of these categories.

Like many TVs, the KDL-37W5810 saves image settings based on the source you're currently using, but makes this process more obvious and easier. For watching films, for example, you can choose between Vivid, Standard or user-defined presets. Cleverly, if you plug a PC into the same HDMI input, you don't get presets and the aspect ratio switches to Full Pixel so you get 1:1 pixel mapping, ensuring the Windows desktop is displayed at the TV's native 1,920x1,080 resolution.

We found colours slightly washed out, but more natural than other TVs in side-by-side tests. Basic contrast was good, with lots of detail visible in dark and bright areas. The image presets proved unusable, with Standard too dark and Vivid too grainy. We turned sharpening off and increased the colour setting. The advanced settings give you access to more controls for black and white level, contrast enhancement and Live Colour, a small dose of which helped to increase vibrancy.

Sony's MotionFlow makes low-framerate video smoother by adding frames in between the original frames. It's as good as Philips' HD Natural Motion technology, but you might find you prefer it turned off as it can make Hollywood movies appear like an episode of Brookside. This is because the characteristically jerky movement is turned into smooth, almost unreal movement.

The EPG doesn't use the XMB menu and is rather simple with eight channels on display. However its video thumbnail can either show a preview of the current channel or follow your cursor, displaying the channel you've highlighted. Add genre filtering, eight days' worth of programming and a reminder system, it has all the tools you'll need.

Performance in all our tests - DVD and Blu-ray playback, PC connection and TV - showed the KDL-37W5810 to have the most natural image quality. It also has a comprehensive range of image controls so you can tweak the picture to your liking. Sound was clear with reasonable bass and, at 50 per cent, the volume was just enough to fill our labs. The S-Force virtual surround sound gives the impression of space, but also adds an unwanted hollowness. Voice Zoom is handy though, as it makes voices louder while keeping the rest of the soundtrack the same.

Despite the inclusion of Freesat HD, media streaming and its excellent picture quality, the KDL-37W5810 suffers from being too expensive compared to other 37in HD TVs. LG's 37LF7700, at under £500, is much better value. However, if you value image quality above all, the KDL-37W5810 won't disappoint.

Basic Specifications

Rating***

Physical

Viewable size37in
Native resolution1,920x1,080
1080p supportYes
Aspect ratio16:9
HD readyyes
Contrast ratioNot disclosed (50,000:1 dynamic)
Brightness450cd/m²
Speakers2x 10W
Bezel (top/side/bottom)46mm/47mm/89mm
Screen depth82mm
Screen elevation136mm
Stand size (WxD)450x300mm

Connections

DVI inputs0
D-sub inputs1
HDMI inputs4
Component inputs1
SCART1
S-Video input0
Composite inputs1
Audio outputsoptical S/PDIF out, 1x stereo phono
Otherheadphone output, 3.5mm minijack audio input, CI slot, USB port, RJ-45 network port

Tuner

Tuner typeFreesat, Freeview, analogue
EPG8 day

Environmental

Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption on176W

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return
Price£746
Supplierhttp://www.directtvs.co.uk
Detailswww.sony.co.uk

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