When setting up the Soyo for critical viewing, we noticed that its initial color temperature in the Warm preset came relatively close to the standard, and even after adjusting the manual controls, we didn't get it much closer. The consistency of the grayscale did vary with light output; the image became bluer as it got brighter, although in its favor, the Soyo didn't become nearly as blue as some LCDs we've tested. Unfortunately, the darkest areas became severely discolored, again toward blue, if we decreased contrast below 40 percent or so. We left it turned up, which made the image too bright for comfortable viewing in a dark room.
As expected, the Soyo was severely challenged by a lot of the darker scenes we chose. During the beginning of The Fifth Element, when the ship fires upon the planet-size malevolence, the dark areas of the picture, such as the letterbox bars and the depth of space, appeared noticeably lighter than they did on the ViewSonic N3260W, for example. In its favor, the Soyo delivered better-looking skin tones than the ViewSonic, thanks to its more accurate color temperature. In the classic Leeloo reconstruction sequence, her fair skin appeared significantly more natural and warmer.
Next, we checked out some standard-def video, and the results were less impressive. The Soyo DYLT032D has two component-video inputs, and while the 480i-only jack evinced proper 2:3 pull-down detection, the other did not, resulting in moving, jagged lines and other artifacts in film-based sources. Other sources, such as the waving American flag from the HQV test disc, produced more jagged edges, which the Soyo was incapable of smoothing out. We also found the need to increase the brightness control into the 70 percent range to avoid turning skin tones and other sensitive areas too red. Doing so washed out all of the colors, making them seem less vivid, and black areas appeared even lighter.
The Soyo DYLT032D also did something we'd never seen before. Seemingly at random, it would clip detail in bright areas, which resulted in lots of flat white fields where there should've been some darker zones and details. Oddly, the set didn't always do this, and we saw it on only the HD-capable component-video input with standard-def 480i material. When we switched our DVD player from 480p and back to 480i, the clipping went away for some reason, and the TV's menu settings didn't change.
When we tested the Soyo with high-def resolutions, we noticed that both 1080i and 720p, via component video and DVI, measured an impressive 0 percent overscan. In other words, the picture was reproduced all the way out to its edge. In contrast, most TVs crop the outer edges a percentage point or three so that you don't see any of the interference that's often visible at the extremes of the picture. Thanks to the Soyo's zoom, we were able to crop out as much of the picture as we wanted to remove any such interference.
Via HDMI, the Soyo exaggerated the edges of objects, so the jackets of the hosts on SportsCenter, for example, were surrounded by fine white borders against the black background. Normally, such edge enhancement can be reduced using the sharpness control, but for whatever reason, the DVI input doesn't allow control over sharpness. Overall, details with high-def sources appeared solid with 720p sources, although 1080i sources looked softer than on the ViewSonic via DVI. Since the Soyo didn't lose much--if any--detail when fed 720p HD sources via component video, we recommend you connect your HD source to this set via component video, which has a sharpness control that can be turned all the way down to reduce (but not eliminate) edge enhancement.
In sum, the Soyo DYLT032D won't blow anybody away with its image quality, even when compared to other inexpensive LCDs, such as the aforementioned ViewSonic and Westinghouse. It also offers fewer features than either one, and its wide cabinet will be a turnoff for a lot of people. On the other hand, if you want to zoom in on the smallest parts of the picture, the Soyo DYLT032D is the best game in town. If not, go for another budget set.
|Before color temp (20/80)||6,197/7,199K||Average|
|After color temp||6,436/7,000K||Average|
|Before grayscale variation||+/- 615K||Average|
|After grayscale variation||+/- 549K||Poor|
|Color of red (x/y)||0.643/0.330||Good|
|Color of green||0.267/0.590||Average|
|Color of blue||0.146/0.059||Good|
|Black-level retention||All patterns stable||Good|
|2:3 pull-down, 24fps||Y*||Good|
|Defeatable edge enhancement||N||Poor|