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Sony Bravia KDL-32BX300 review: Sony Bravia KDL-32BX300

Sony Bravia KDL-32BX300

David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials
  • Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
David Katzmaier
7 min read

Photo gallery:
Sony KDL-BX300 series


Sony Bravia KDL-32BX300

The Good

Accurate color in bright areas; uniform backlight; matte screen works well in bright lighting; handles 1080p/24 sources properly; solid picture adjustment options; nice design with hidden speakers.

The Bad

Dark areas tinged somewhat blue; lighter black levels; no USB media option.

The Bottom Line

Although a few bucks more than off-brand entry-level LCDs, Sony's KDL-BX300 series is still a great value.

If you're considering a smaller TV we believe there's little reason to get one with an LED backlight or 1080p resolution. Sony's KDL-BX300 series is the company's least expensive for 2010, and it offers neither feature. It also lacks the USB port of the Samsung LN32C350 we compared it with, but otherwise their feature sets and picture quality are nearly a match--although we believe the Sony has a slight edge in the latter category. We can't tell you whether the BX300 is substantially better than even cheaper off-brand sets, but if you're looking for a solid name-brand bedroom TV, the BX300 qualifies.

Series information: We performed a hands-on evaluation of the 32-inch KDL-32BX300, but this review also applies to the smaller 22-inch KDL-22BX300. The two have identical specs and should provide very similar picture quality.

Models in series (details)
Sony KDL-22BX30022 inches
Sony KDL-32BX300 (reviewed)32 inches


The Sony's understated look features hidden speakers.

Design highlights
Panel depth3.7 inches
Bezel width2 inches
Single-plane faceNo
Swivel standNo

Sony's little KDL-BX300 TV is one of the more stylish, albeit understated, lower-end LCDs you'll see. It has a basic, squared-off look with little adornment to the glossy black frame, which sits relatively low atop the matching stand. Sony hid the speakers, making the panel relatively thick.

The panel sits low atop the non-swivel stand.

Remote control and menus
Remote size (LxW)8.7x2 inches
Remote screenN/A
Total keys41
Backlit keys0
Other IR devices controlledNo
RF control of TVNo
Shortcut menuYes
Onscreen explanationsNo

Again the BX300 goes a cut above most entry-level models, this time with its solid remote. The medium-size clicker can control other HDMI-CEC-compatible gear, but not via infrared. Its ergonomics are excellent, centered around the big thumbpad, and the overall feel is a cut above the Samsung LNC350 series.

Sony's menus aren't quite as extensive as Samsung's, but very good for a basic TV. You have to scroll a lot in the main picture menu, but on the other hand we liked that the full-screen menu makes many functions visible at once. A convenient Tools menu provides some shortcuts, but it's nearly as long as the main menu. We liked the ability to mark certain inputs as favorites, and, if you have an antenna or direct cable connection, to also mark favorite channels.

The menu system places a lot of choices on the screen at once.


Key TV features
Display technologyLCD
LED backlightN/A
3D compatibleNo
3D glasses includedN/A
Screen finishMatte
Refresh rate(s)60Hz
Dejudder (smooth) processingNo
Internet connectionNo
Wireless HDMI/AV connectionNo

As an entry-level TV the Sony offers the minimum of extras. It has a native resolution of 720p, and at this screen size there's little reason for more pixels, aside from utility as a PC monitor. Its lack of an LED backlight isn't much of a hindrance in our view either; power use for this small TV is relatively minor anyway.

Picture settings
Adjustable picture modes9
Independent memories per inputYes
Dejudder presets0
Fine dejudder controlN/A
Aspect ratio modes -- HD3
Aspect ratio modes -- SD4
Color temperature presets4
Fine color temperature control2 points
Gamma presets7
Color management systemNo

There's little to complain about here. Between the extensive number of picture modes (nine out of ten of which are adjustable and independent per input, the tenth being Auto) and solid selection of advanced settings, including fine color temperature, tweakers should find everything they need to adjust the Sony's picture. We liked the big Theater button on the remote, which puts the TV into Cinema mode without having to dive into the menus. We do wish the Scene and General presets were integrated into one menu, as opposed to broken out somewhat arbitrarily, but that's not a big deal.

Two-point white balance is common even in entry-level TVs.

Other features
Power saver modeYes
Ambient light sensorNo
Onscreen user manualNo
Other: Picture Off (sound only) mode

Sony's Eco menu allows three levels of Energy Saving, each of which limits the backlight's maximum level. The Picture Off mode is a nice touch, as are a pair of autoshutoff doodads, although we'd like to see an ambient light sensor too.

There's an unusually good selection of power-saving options.

HDMI inputs2 back
Component video inputs2 back
Composite video input(s)1 back (shared)
S-video input(s)0
VGA-style PC input(s)1
RF input(s)1
AV output(s)1 audio only
Digital audio output1 optical
USB port1 back (service only)
Ethernet (LAN) portNo

A pair of HDMI inputs is standard for this level, and the lack of front or side-panel jacks isn't unusual either. We appreciate the second component video input, especially since one is shared with composite video. The USB port is for service updates only, not for any digital media.

Sony omits a front- or side-panel input bay, and the USB slot on the rear bay (pictured) is for service only.

Overall we found the Sony plenty "good enough" for an entry-level TV, with no game-breaking defects and a couple of surprisingly good qualities, namely bright-area color accuracy and screen uniformity. The latter puts it above the Samsung C350 in our book, although not far enough to break the numeric tie between the two in this subcategory. We can't speculate as to how the BX300 compares with even less expensive no-name models, unfortunately, but on its own merits it's a fine entry-level TV.


Sony's little TV offers a fairly accurate picture in the Cinema setting, although its average gamma was a bit dark (2.38) and its light output a bit high at 51 ftl. Our calibration modified the former number to an even 2.2--excellent--and the latter to our target of 40. No controls were available to adjust the imperfect green and magenta, however. For our image quality tests we checked out "I Am Legend" on Blu-ray.

In our comparison we looked at the similar 32-inch Samsung LN32C350 and the larger Samsung LN46C630 to represent non-LED-based LCD TVs. We also employed our reference Pioneer PRO-111FD.

Black level: The Sony showed a slightly lighter shade of black than the Samsung B350, but neither was very dark, as expected, compared with larger, higher-end models like the Samsung C630. We noticed the difference in areas like the letterbox bars and black areas from Chapter 3 and 4, for example, when Neville shutters his house for the night. On the other hand, details in shadows were solid, showing up better than on the C630 in areas like his pants and gun as he curls up in the bathtub.

Color accuracy: Although neither smaller TV could touch the Samsung C630 in this area, the Sony appeared a bit more accurate in bright areas than the Samsung C350, and very good overall in terms of grayscale accuracy. We appreciated its color in skin tones, for example, like the face of Ethan in the kitchen in Chapter 18; it appeared neither too pale nor too flushed, and closer to our reference than on the Samsung.

One quibble was the slightly bluish green, visible for example in the grass of the plants in Chapter 2. The Sony's worst problem, however, was the extremely blue tint to black and near-black areas, which was much more evident than on the Samsung C350.

Video processing: We were surprised when this little TV handled 1080p/24 sources properly, delivering the proper cadence in our test with the helicopter flyover from Chapter 7. Motion resolution was what we'd expect for a 60Hz TV, coming in between 300 and 400 lines. The set did properly deinterlace 1080i film- and video-based content.

Uniformity: Unlike the Samsung 32-incher, the Sony's screen was more uniform overall, with no overly bright corners. Off-angle the image washed out more quickly than on the larger Samsung, and about the same as the 32-incher, but wasn't terrible for an entry-level LCD.

Bright lighting: Like most low-buck LCDs the KDL-32BX300 performed very well in bright lighting thanks to its matte screen, reducing the visibility of reflections and preserving black levels relatively well. It matched the Samsung C350 in this area.

Standard definition: With standard-def sources the TV performed well. It delivered every line of the DVD format and details were visibly sharper than on the Samsung. Jaggies in moving lines were kept to a minimum, and noise reduction functioned well. In CineMotion's Auto setting the set engaged 2:3 pull-down effectively.

PC: With both VGA and HDMI PC sources the TV did well, resolving every line of 1,360x768 with minimal edge enhancement and no overscan. Of course a 1080p TV could provide more detail, but given the set's native resolution, PC performance was fine.

Before color temp (20/80)6,419/6,418Good
After color temp6,499/6,388Good
Before grayscale variation103Good
After grayscale variation112Average
Color of red (x/y)0.64/0.327Good
Color of green0.266/0.585Average
Color of blue0.147/0.06Good
Defeatable edge enhancementYGood
480i 2:3 pull-down, 24 fpsPassGood
1080i video resolutionPassGood
1080i film resolutionPassGood

Power consumption: In both default and calibrated picture modes the little Sony uses a bit more power than a standard incandescent 60-watt light bulb, and compares well with the Samsung C350.

Juice box
Sony KDL-32BX300Picture settings
DefaultCalibratedPower Save
Picture on (watts)61.6265.8731.6
Picture on (watts/sq. inch)
Standby (watts)
Cost per year$15.27$14.45$6.94
Score (considering size)Average
Score (overall)Good

Annual power consumption cost after calibration

Samsung LN32C350


Sony KDL-46EX700 (46-inch LED)


Sony KDL-32BX300


Samsung UN46C6500 (46-inch LED)


Samsung LN46C630 (46-inch)


Sony KDL-46EX500 (46-inch)


Although we haven't reviewed any small-screen LED models to compare, based on similar comparisons at larger screen sizes (check out the power consumption section of the Samsung LN46C630 review, for example), we believe there's little reason to pay extra for an LED-based model based on efficiency.

Read more about how we test TVs.


Sony Bravia KDL-32BX300

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 5Performance 5