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Sony Bravia KDL-32EX523 LED LCD HDTV Review$749.00
The Sony Bravia KDL-32EX523 ($749.0 MSRP) offers a lot for a TV that's positioned closer to the entry-level end of the spectrum. Along with the EX520 series, the EX523 series is the cheapest LED-edgelit LCD that Sony offers. Yet it packs in built-in WiFi (the key upgrade from the EX520), access to its huge library of streaming content, DLNA support, and an attractive design. That's quite a lot for the money. Many other manufacturers stack several more models in beginning of their line-up until you get to the internet-ready models.
The performance is generally strong. The black levels were nearly as deep as a plasma TV, making the contrast ratio soar. The color performance is outstanding in every regard. While the viewing angle is narrow, it's not that much worse than most LCDs.
The weaknesses are noticeable though. The biggest problem was a luminous striping down the entire screen – 32 distinct columns visible in any dark scene. We assume this is either the LED lighting or the light paths that try and spread the backlighting evenly across the screen. This may not bother some, but it's going to bug cinephiles or those that have a real passion for picture quality. Naturally, we count ourselves among that group.
The other great annoyance was the menu system. Though it's common to all mid and high-end Sonys, up to their most expensive models, the labyrinthine list of submenus and icons is no less frustrating.
Overall, we can recommend the Sony Bravia KDL-32EX523 to those who want a "smart TV" benefits like streaming content and local networking, but also aren't huge sticklers for a perfectly even screen luminance. Is there enough overlap in that Venn diagram to make this a winner for Sony? We'll see.
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