Sony KDL-32BX330 review: Sony KDL-32BX330

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MSRP: $399.00
2.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The Sony KDL-32BX330 is a decent telly for the money with plenty of shadow detail and good off-axis response. Sony has a reputation for being expensive, but the BX300 is sensibly priced. Though styling is usually a problem for cheap TVs, the Sony looks quite attractive.

The Bad Color is a little off, with reds and greens a little unnatural. Blacks are fairly light and tend to be discolored. The feature count is minimal with only a 720p resolution, but its competitors at this price share a similar issue.

The Bottom Line If you're looking for a Sony for minimal cost, then the KDL-32BX330 is where it's at. But even at this budget price, there are better options.

5.8 Overall
  • Design 5.0
  • Features 5.0
  • Performance 5.0
  • Value 7.0

To some people, a 32-inch TV is a commodity like a toaster oven or a vacuum cleaner. You just wander into your electronics retailer and buy whatever's on sale. But not all budget TVs are created equal, and while the Sony KDL-32BX330 isn't the best TV at at this price, it's still worth your attention.

Designwise, it's not an attention grabber, but it won't look out of place in any living space. It doesn't have any extra features to speak of, but if you're looking to use this as an accompaniment to a gaming console, you'll get all the features you need.

Picture quality was OK for the money, with only the Samsung EH4000 giving a standout performance at this price. Shadow detail and off-axis viewing are the set's best qualities, with color and black levels a little bit "off." I wouldn't feel disappointed if I dropped money on this TV, not like I would if I had chosen the LG 32CS460, but the Samsung is definitely the better TV.

Design
The Sony BX330 isn't particularly special in the design department, but it's serviceable. The TV features a thick, piano-black bezel and a bolt-on stand, and since it's edge-lit, the back is a little slimmer than most. One interesting aside is that it's the lightest TV I tested in our roundup, so if you're looking for a TV you can easily move from room to room, this would be it.

The TV comes with a remote that's pretty basic, but if all you want to do is change channels, it does that as well as any other.

View full gallery (9 Photos)
The remote handset is basic but functional. Sarah Tew/CNET

The Sony misses out on the Xross Media Bar menu design of the company's other TVs, but what it does include is easy enough to navigate.

View full gallery (9 Photos)
The BX330 misses out on the Xross Media Bar (XMB) of most Sony TVs. Sarah Tew/CNET

Key TV features
Display technology LCD LED backlight N/A
Screen finish Matte Remote Standard
Smart TV No Internet connection No
3D technology No 3D glasses included No
Refresh rate(s) 60Hz Dejudder (smooth) processing No
DLNA-compliant No USB Photo/Music/Video
Other: 1,366x768-pixel (720p) resolution; compatible with 1080i and 1080p sources

Features
If you hearken back to the wisdoms of CRT -- from the days when the only "feature" a TV had was a remote control -- then the lack of bullet points on the Sony spec sheet should please you. It uses a traditional fluorescent backlight, not a newfangled LED system. Yes, it has a digital tuner and a USB port for playing back digital media, but so does every other TV these days. As a budget model, the Sony is limited in resolution to 720 lines (1,366x768 pixels), but it will play back 1080p content. At this screen size, you won't notice the lower resolution unless you're sitting right in front of the TV.

The only other two features the Sony site lists are a Digital Noise Reduction circuit and four "HD" inputs as I'll outline below.

Picture settings: While some fancy-pants TVs include 20-point grayscale adjustments and Color Management Systems offering accurate calibration, the Sony offers none of these. It doesn't even have the Scene mode we like so much from other Sony TVs, as it offers almost pitch-perfect color. No, this TV just includes the basic Brightness and Color settings

View full gallery (9 Photos)
The compact inputs section also includes a PC connection. Sarah Tew/CNET

Connectivity: The four HD inputs Sony cites are two HDMI, a component port, and a PC input. If you're looking for a large TV that doubles as a monitor then the Sony could be your best bet; be aware that the resolution tops out at the native resolution of 1,366x768 pixels.

Comparison models (details)
TCL L40FHDF12TA 40-inch LCD
Samsung LN46D630 46-inch LCD
Samsung UN32EH4000 32-inch LCD
LG 32CS460 32-inch LCD
Panasonic TC-P65VT50 (reference) 65-inch plasma

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