First On TechTree: Review: Sony BRAVIA KLV-32EX310
Excellent performance at an affordable price.
Excellent image quality; Wide viewing angle; Swivel stand; USB supports NTFS and most popular movie formats; Low power consumption; Price.
Rear ports are difficult to access once wall mounted; No HDMI port on the side; Maximum volume via HDMI may not be loud enough; Panel not Full HD.
Sony BRAVIA KLV-32EX310
Street Price: Rs 33,500 (Local dealer)
While we were busy scouring the markets for good HDTV deals, we came across a few Sony BRAVIA models, which are yet to be officially launched in India, but are still being offered by several dealers at amazing prices. These models are the 42" EX41 (KLV-42EX410) and the 32" EX31 (KLV-32EX310). These TVs do not come with the X-Reality Engine and smart TV features and hence are more affordably priced, sport the new BRAVIA 3 engine, and come with edge backlit LED design, making them slim. We got our hands on the EX31.
The TV comes with a full function remote control with BRAVIA Sync functionality to control supported Sony devices connected to the TV via HDMI. The rather long remote control has neatly labelled keys and every function can be controlled without ever having to go to the TV. The Home button lets you access various media functions including devices connected to the USB port. There is a convenient Aspect ratio button to cycle through various aspect ratios directly without having to go inside the menus to do the same. It is powered by two AA batteries.
Design And Features
The Sony BRAVIA KLV-32EX310 or EX31, as we will refer to it henceforth, is an edge LED-backlit LCD panel based TV measuring 32" diagonally. While it does not belong to the X-Reality range, it boasts of the new BRAVIA 3 engine, which promises a good performance.
The TV sports a no-nonsense look with an all-black body. The bezel is around 3 cm thick at the bottom and 2 cm on the remaining three sides. Here is some information you may find useful while installing the TV. The TV stands at 51 cm with the pedestal stand, is 76 cm wide, and the thickness is 23 cm. If you are going for the wall-mounted option, then the height of the TV is 48 cm, with the width obviously remaining the same. Wall mounting may seem an obvious choice for many, but we must warn you that the TV has HDMI ports only at the back, which become hard to access once you install it in this way. The pedestal stand option is good enough for most cases since the TV weighs just 11.4 kg and the stand holds firm without any wobble. Furthermore, the pedestal stand is of swivel type, allowing you to swivel it left or right to suit your seating arrangement.
Control buttons are present on the right side of the TV, just behind the bezel. These include Power, Channel, Volume, Source, and Home. These are sufficient to handle most basic functions if your remote control malfunctions or runs out of battery power.
There are a few ports available for easy access on the right side of the TV just behind the bezel. These includes AV ports to connect a set top box, and a headphone jack to connect headphones. A USB port is also present to play back content directly from a USB storage drive. We must mention here that NTFS drives are supported, which is a major advantage because it removes the 4 GB file size limitation of FAT32, and allows you to play larger, better quality movies. Video format support is also better, with MKV, MP4, MPEG-1 \ 2, DivX HD, AVI, MOV, RMVB, RM, ASF, PS, TS, etc. We must mention here that none of the new X-Reality TVs support NTFS USB drives and the format support is pathetic. However, Sony has not placed any HDMI connector over here.
The ports which are missing on the side, have been provided at the rear of the TV. In addition to a component input, there are two HDMI ports and a co-axial port to connect cable TV. A D-Sub port has also been provided for PC connectivity using the legacy interface, while audio input ports have also been separately provided for the same. As noted earlier, these ports become almost impossible to access once you wall-mount this TV, so you have to make sure that you connect the cables before mounting it on the wall.
An ambient light sensor is present on the left side of the bottom bezel at the front. When it is enabled, it senses ambient light to automatically adjust the brightness of the panel for optimal viewing. It does work as advertised. User interface provides detailed setup options to control the video and audio features of the TV. The video options include 8 scene modes, aspect ratio, noise reduction, colour, contrast, brightness, temperature, backlight, etc. The audio part includes controls such as a 7-band equaliser to fine tune, while a pseudo surround mode is also present to create a wider soundstage.
We connected the Amkette HD media player to test the HD video playback capability of the TV, while we also ran PassMark MonitorTest by connecting it to a PC. We connected to the HDMI port in both the instances. We also tested the upscaling performance of the TV by connecting it to a set top box with Tata Sky HD.
While the TV has WXGA (1366x768) native pixel dimensions, it scales up to 1920x1080 when connected to a PC via HDMI as was automatically detected. That being said, you will get optimal results with the sharpest image only at its native resolution. With screen size up to 32", you will hardly be able to make out the difference between 1080p and 720p from the seating distance, unless you have very keen eyesight.
HQV Benchmark: HQV benchmark was ran via the media player. The TV does a good job at noise reduction and passed the Jaggies test with flying result, meaning that it effectively antialiases the edges of objects to give them a smooth appearance. The TV failed in the Video Resolution Loss test, but this test result does not matter if the media source outputs a progressive signal rather than an interlaced one, which is almost always the case these days. All in all, the TV came on top in the HQV test.
Video Playback: The TV is capable of displaying a wide colour range and smooth transition from one shade to another, unlike the staircase effect in a few TVs. Colours are very close to natural. The backlight is evenly spread across the panel without any light leakage phenomenon and the contrast is very good with deeper blacks than what we see in LCD TVs. The panel being of IPS type, viewing angle is very large and you can practically sit on any side of the TV, yet see the image without any colour loss. HD video playback is excellent and there is no visible ghosting or streaking in fast-paced action scenes, indicating a good filtering engine. Image upscaling is done very well as we experienced with the SD signals from the set top box.
The TV supports Picture-in-Picture feature, showing two connected sources simultaneously. Audio playback is good with the two down-firing stereo speakers on either side. However, the volume level while playing back content from USB or via HDMI was found to be low in general and it is not loud even at the maximum level. This may be a cause of concern if you live in a noisy neighbourhood. The TV's FM radio did not work even when we connected an antenna cable.
The TV consumed just 32 W in the normal mode, and the consumption peaked at 42 W with everything set to high. With the ECO mode set to High, the power consumption registers a modest drop to 28 W, which is not bad at all. For the same of comparison, a normal 21" CRT TV consumes almost twice the power at normal settings, which means you will save a lot with this TV. The TV also supports a Picture Off mode, when you just want to listen to the audio. In this mode, the display is completely switched off and the power consumption drops to just 12 W, which is equivalent to a standard stereo music system.
The Sony BRAVIA KLV-32EX310 managed to win us over with its excellent performance and its low price. The colour reproduction is excellent and the filtering electronics manages to efficiently filter out unwanted noise, which is evident when you watch video from a noisy source. Although the monitor is not Full HD, it does support playback of such content and the results are pretty good. If you are not a fan of smart TV features, then you should save your money and go for this TV. You will also save money due to its low power consumption. While it is yet to be launched in India, the TV is widely available at local dealers, who stated that it is imported from abroad and claimed that it has a better image quality than the same model when it will be officially launched. We won't know the veracity of that statement until the launch happens. Due to it not being officially launched, you have to trust the dealer about the warranty. The dealer, who provided us the TV, offered a 3-year warranty on the TV with a rather affordable price tag of Rs 33,500. We must mention here that Sony India offers just one year warranty on all its officially launched TVs, with additional 2-year Extended Warranty at an extra cost depending on the size of the display (Rs 2000 for 32").
Ease Of Use: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
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