Sony Bravia KDL-32CX523 review

Tom Morgan
26 Jun 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

Picture quality good rather than great, but Sony’s CX523 has so many other features, it's a great budget TV



32in, Freeview HD, analogue, 1,920x1,080 resolution, 3D: no, 4x HDMI

For this review we tested the 32in model in the CX523 range, but it's also available in a 40in screen size (KDL-40CX523). That model has identical specifications except for its dimensions and power usage. We're confident that image quality will be practically identical across the range.

A plasma screen TV that supports 3D video is almost certain to improve your home cinema setup, assuming you’ve got both the budget and the space for it, but there are plenty of smaller, cheaper models that have equally impressive features. Sony’s CX523 is a great example: this 32in LCD TV includes Freeview HD and a wealth of web TV options.

Sony 32-CX523

The 32in screen won't dominate a room and it still has a 1,920x1,080 resolution plus plenty of options to tweak image quality. Sony hasn't used the XMB interface made famous by the PlayStation 3 - instead there's a new interface that’s designed to make it easy to access internet TV and multimedia streaming features. Unlike many other TVs, the interface is accessible even when watching streaming video, so you can change picture and audio settings without having to stop playback and return to the main menu. Picture-in-picture will even let you have online content side-by-side with live TV. You also get both a video window, plus audio when browsing the EPG.

Sony 32-CX523 Ports

We weren’t overly impressed with image quality at the default settings, but there was a noticeable improvement after a quick trip into the menus. Freeview broadcasts looked fine in standard definition, with reasonable amounts of detail preserved on the lower-quality channels. Higher-quality programmes looked much better, but high definition footage was noticeably better.

Watching Casino Royale on Blu-ray, we could pick out plenty of detail in slow moving scenes. With no frame creation for motion smoothing, fast-action scenes were rather jerky unless the True Cinema (24p) setting was enabled. Colours were largely accurate, although nowhere near as pronounced as on a plasma set. We had to lower the brightness significantly to eliminate bleed from the backlight and to make blacks look less grey, but we were still impressed with the overall picture considering the low price.

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