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Sony Bravia KDL-32EX523 review

Tom Morgan
2 Jul 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
580
inc VAT

Packed with features and very good image quality, but the excellent CX523 is better value

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Specifications

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

For this review we tested the 32in model in the EX523 range, but it's also available in a 40in screen size (KDL-40EX523). 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.

Sony has set the bar quite high with its budget TV line-up this year, so it’s difficult to see how it can persuade shoppers to part with their cash for a mid-range model. To make sure the EX523 stands above the cheaper Bravia CX523 range, it’s been fitted with an edge-lit LED backlight instead of traditional CCFL.

Sony 32-EX523 face on

This proved a genuine step up from CCFL: colours were much more vibrant and there was very little light bleed around the screen edges. Brightness and contrast were both respectable, although we still had to turn the backlight down to get the deep blacks that make Blu-ray movies come to life.

Sony 32-EX523 Ports 2

Even before we switched the set on, it was immediately obvious that the EX523 is a step up from the slightly more basic CX523. The screen bezel is much thinner and has a stylish brushed aluminium effect finish. It’s also slightly thinner in profile, so would sit tighter to a wall if you chose to hang it. In other respects the two sets have a lot in common. Around the back, there are four HDMI ports, composite video, digital optical audio, a single Scart socket and a VGA input, as well as two USB ports and a Common Interface slot for pay TV.

Sony 32-EX523 Back

Click on this image to enlarge it

Free-to-air television also looked great; high definition channels were suitably detailed, with minimal noise and very few visible artefacts. High-bitrate standard definition channels also looked good, with Sony’s X-reality motion smoothing system retaining lots of detail. Lower-bitrate channels weren’t quite so impressive, with BBC News lacking defined lines and facial definition.

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