A word upfront: This Consumer Product Review about my Sony Bravia LED TV is not a technical, behind-the-scenes, what’s in the guts, kind of review. I won’t be telling you how many millions of colors my new TV put out (Besides, we can only see thousands of colors), or tiny nuances like that.
No, I’m the average Joe like you, who just dropped some bucks on something, hoping it won’t screw me over. I’m a regular consumer like you. When I buy things, I do my research, try to buy smart then tell you what happened after I bought it!
I also want to preface this consumer review article by saying, if you’re loyal to a brand, I understand. I’m not pushing Sony on you. It’s the brand I’m learning to be loyal with, unless something else comes along that impresses me. With that said…
In the beginning of September, 2011, I had put out a piece about shopping for a new flat screen TV. At the time, I had gone through the various factors to think about before buying a flat screen TV because I was going through the process myself and it felt a bit harrowing. [How to buy a flat screen TV]
In the end, I had chosen to purchase a Sony Bravia LED flat screen TV, a KDL-32EX523. I also wanted an internet-ready TV… that cost a wee bit more, but it was worth it, at least for me.
[Point/Reminder: LED TV‘s are better for the environment because they use LED back-lighting instead of the LCD fluorescent back lighting, which contain mercury]
I ended up buying a great little 32-inch LED Sony Bravia. (A Sony KDL 32EX523) I had a $700 budget, but got away with a fantastic price of just over $500. No… I didn’t find a discount outlet store. But rather, I found my new TV at a local Sony Electronics store for a better price than Best Buy, Fry’s and other electronics stores. That surprised even me.
The Sony Website quick pitch about this TV says:
Model Features: Full HD 1080p, LED backlit, Internet TV for streaming entertainment, X-Reality Engine, built-in Wi-Fi, USB input, advanced power saving features
Below, I start to rattle off some consumer perspectives about my Sony Bravia TV:
It’s amazing how light a TV is these days.
I just replaced my old and sick JVC tube TV, whose life was too short as far as I’m concerned, and it felt like it needed two burly men to move it. The flat screen, well, anyone could move it around. I was rather tickled by that. Though, it would be nice if Sony provided some sort of handle near the top on the back to be able to pick it up because that’s the instinct… grab the top and lift. (Don’t. Don’t squish the TV with a death grip.)
Compared to my old heat-sink of a tube TV, this LED barely puts out any heat. Again, a neat observation!
Since I’ve had this new TV for around three months, I don’t have too much bad to say about it.
It has a motion detector. The TV uses this to turn itself off after a preset amount of time. That way you can go to sleep or if you forget to turn it off, it will take care of itself. The nice piece of this tech is that as soon as there’s any motion in the room, it turns itself back on. Of course my old trick of leaving the TV on when I leave the house won’t work anymore! But the function can be turned off if so desired. What I have noticed about this function is that is has a terrific range. I can come into my house, through the kitchen and the moment I can see my Sony Bravia, it can see me, and the screen pops to life instantly.
The wireless connection is pretty nice. I’ve hooked it up to my wireless hub and have had a great time connecting up to websites and other services. The TV is set up internally to hook up to various service providers like Hulu-Plus, Netflix, Yahoo, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, Ebay and other cool web destinations.
I tend to watch a lot of Crackle.com offerings. They have a HUGE collection of popcorn-fun Godzilla movies!!!
The only downside is that there is no keyboard and the interactive method for typing can be a bit slow… so patience is the key if you’re going to a web destination that is not pre-programmed in or bookmarked by yourself from an earlier web experience.
Also, if you do connect to the internet, you can do a firmware update and you do get a few changed options, like the provided service provider selection increases quite a bit and such.
The TV has all kinds of connections in the back but I think most of the flat screen TV’s seem to. I’m able to hook up to my wireless network, and hence the video services installed on the TV. Aside from the aforementioned wireless capability in this particular model, it also has HDMI connectors, RCA connectors, VGA PC connector, USB… well, you get the idea.
There’s no connector on the front… wait… yes, there’s no connectors up front. I had to go look to make sure something wasn’t hiding.
Today’s TV is all about the various platforms that can deliver your entertainment content to your eyeballs!
Overall Feelings About My Sony Bravia LED TV So Far
I’ve been pretty happy with the picture quality. It’s capable of 1080p but I haven’t fully tested it at that resolution yet. (But that should happen pretty soon when my HDMI cable arrives in the mail*, and I’ll pass along an update!) It auto senses the light in the room and adjusts itself. The viewing angle range, which refers to where you’re sitting in relation to being in front of the TV, seems fine to me, no matter where in the room you sit.
I have it hooked up to my standard cable box and it definitely sharpened up the image, even for the standard signal. I’m pretty jazzed and I don’t even have HD. I also don’t have a working Blu-ray player, so I can’t wait to jazz up my TV with a Blu-ray player to boot. (Hence, my waiting for an HDMI cable note above)
I haven’t really tested the sound capability… my system cranks through my stereo. But on the few times that I have cranked up the sound through the TV speakers, it seems find to me. It’s not tinny sounding or anything like that.
This TV has so many features that I haven’t even tried yet, but that’s mostly because I’ve been kept occupied with it doing regular things. But when I try out a feature, navigating the menu is fairly intuitive. My only gripe is that some buttons on the remote, out of force of old habits, tend to make me think they’re the navigation buttons. They’re not. They tend to exit what I’m doing.
Consumer Bits Footnote:
* If you’re wondering why I’m waiting for an HDMI cable to arrive in the mail, that’s because rather than suck up the $40-70 HDMI cables offered to me at the stores that are conveniently placed next to your new TVs and Blu-ray players, I went online at Amazon and bought the same comparative cable for $6, free shipping. Seriously… do your homework first, and then, when you look at your alternatives, also don’t get confounded by titles and catch phrases for products. (This was happening to me when I was looking at HDMI cables. Sheesh.)
I chatted up a few folks who work in and around things like this and showed them my options.
They laughed at the huge price differences and noted that in almost all cases, you don’t need the fancy gimmicks like metal coated cable versus foil wrapped cable heads, or what not. (Foil wrap, according to my electrical engineer friend, is par for the course on most cables.) So it’s all pretty much the same, again, except in a rare case or two like if you can afford 3D movies and 3D surround-sound systems and such, then it might matter.
Something to keep in mind if you go look at HDMI Cables on Amazon.