With the launch of 250,000 coloured rubber balls down the streets of San Francisco, Sony heralds its latest offering to the catch phrase "Like No Other". A bold statement to be sure, as the Sony Bravia LCD Panel isn't exactly revolutionary, but its certainly a step in the right direction.
- Atrractive design, High Quality display, large number of inputs
- RGB Composite could have been better
Bravia is easily one of the best quality televisions we have tested and while its not perfect, its still a top buy with a price tag that reflects its quality.
Price$ 2,999.00 (AUD)
In the grand tradition of Sony design, the Bravia is a sleek, sexy unit with easy to access, almost flush, buttons on the top and an intuitive input/output plug placement. We tested the 32" model and while it was as heavy (as you would expect from a 32" panel), it wasn't too bulky. We think this unit would comfortably sit at the centre of a lounge room without taking up too much space.
The display on the Bravia is nothing short of stunning. In almost every display mode it produces vivid colour reproduction without any of the noticeable problems that plague many other LCD TVs. It still succumbs to the general pitfalls of pixel definition, but the pixel precision is far more accurate than any LCD Panel we have seen. It handled almost all of the test patterns we threw at it using "DisplayMate Video Edition" with only a minor flickering in a few of the hardcore Gaussian test patterns. As yet, we have not seen any LCD televisions that have been able to handle these patterns perfectly, and since they won't realistically hamper any real world usages, this is easily an acceptable issue.
The model we tested delivered a bright image and accurately reproduced colours including flesh tones. We did notice a very slight green tinge to some blacks when viewing a DVD via component cables, but this wasn't too much of a problem. We also tested the viewing angle on the Bravia and found it quite negligible up to about 50-60 degrees. After that point, the degradation of quality increases in reciprocation with the angle, resulting in various stages of colour shift.
The Bravia's natural enemy is RGB composite. Compared to the other display modes, the composite output was unattractive with active pixel crawl and a huge loss in accurate pixel definition. This is due largely to the limitations of the RGB signal but even for RGB, this was a problem. On the other end of the spectrum, the VGA mode was outstanding. We tested the DSub connection by hooking it up to two different laptops and the results were flawless. The Bravia is a champion in the fight for people to assimilate their home displays into their PC multimedia centres. We played a few levels of F.E.A.R. and experienced an unparalleled level of clarity in the image without any loss of information or colour in both graphics and text.
One of the most interesting features of the Bravia is the light sensor. According to how much light is in the room, the Bravia can automatically adjust the display settings to optimise the viewing experience. We did notice an automatic change in brightness and contrast when even we switched the fluorescent lights off and then back on. If this feature works as well as it is being advertised it would make this set an ideal purchase for people who either don't have the time or the knowledge to calibrate their TV upon installation.
The Sony Bravia comes with in-built speakers which we found to be quite adequate for most sound requirements. All the connections on the unit are all located in the rear, some of which are concealed behind various panels. This unit impressed us with its range of inputs including High Definition inputs and an input for the in-built TV tuner. Each mode was easily to connect and easy to set up, with various calibration options to keep tweakers amused for hours. The on-screen menus are fairly easy to understand although they can feel a little overwhelming at first. A little patience is required for some of the features but overall, the menus were a breeze to navigate. The remote control isn't all that fancy when compared with the design of the panel itself but it is functional, intuitive and lightweight which is far more desirable in a remote control than design will ever be.
The Sony Bravia isn't quite "like no other" as it doesn't really do anything that other TVs don't. However, it whatever it does, it does better than most and in high quality. This is definitely a case of the cost being justified by product performance which Sony has delivered in spades.
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