The main reason for the slightly dated feel of the pictures is the KDL-52EX1's contrast performance. While it can handle light colours well, parts of the picture that should look more or less black instead tend to look rather grey.
The KDL-52EX1's pictures also don't deliver quite such extreme crispness as we'd usually expect to see on a Sony TV, especially with high-definition material. This is despite the Motionflow 100Hz system doing a fair job of keeping excessive judder and motion blur out of the picture.
It has to be said, too, that the 100Hz engine doesn't look as sophisticated as the system found in Sony TVs with Bravia Engine 3. It can throw up noticeable processing side effects, particularly if you attempt to use it beyond its lowest setting.
Two other issues we have with KDL-52EX1's pictures are that they're not particularly bright once you've calibrated them to deliver a good black-level response, and colours don't look quite as vibrant as we'd normally expect on a Sony TV.
There's no doubt that the Sony Bravia KDL-52EX1 makes a bold statement. But Sony is capable of delivering better picture quality, and this fact ultimately makes for an over-priced, rather than premium, TV.
Edited by Charles Kloet