An impressive Google TV for a sizable premium- Technology News, Firstpost

Pros:
– Good color reproduction and contrast
– Variety of input/output ports
– Dual band WiFi
– Latest version of Google TV
– Works with Alexa-enabled smart devices too
– Access to picture and sound adjustments on the fly

Cons:
– HD Ready, not Full HD
– Expensive
– Dated TV design, cluttered remote

Overall Rating: 3.8/5

Price: Rs 28,990

With so many budget smart TV brands plying their trade in India, at times one tends to forget that the big boys are still around. And what’s more, they are present in the most popular 32-inch segment too! Sony served us a timely reminder of that with the recently launched W830K series. As expected, it carries a premium price tag with the promise of a superior picture quality and performance. But does it do enough to change mindsets? Let’s find out.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV – Design and connectivity: 7.5/10
Sony hasn’t bothered going bezel-less and opted for a more classical design with narrow but distinct bezels on all four sides. Though there is nothing glaringly bad about it, it feels a tad dated. The elongated chin below the bottom bezel, which hosts a power LED and IR receiver, adds a bit of character to the design. The TV can be wall-mounted or placed on a desk using the bundled stands. The desktop stands hold the TV firmly in place. The wall mount kit isn’t bundled but would be provided during installation if required.

The necessary screws are bundled along with a wireless remote control and a pair of AAA batteries. Though the aesthetics of this TV didn’t wow me, there were a couple of design elements that I liked here. First, the stands are attached towards the center of the TV rather than near the edges, making it possible to place this TV on a smaller desk. Secondly, the side ports are located near the left edge of the TV making them easy to access even after wall-mounting it. On the flip side, certain ports placed at the back of the TV will be hard to reach.

Speaking of ports, you get three HDMI ports – one of which supports ARC, two USB 2.0 ports, optical audio out, 3.5 mm headphone jack, coaxial A/V inputs and a LAN port. Wireless connectivity options include Bluetooth 5.0 to connect wireless speakers/headphones and even a keyboard or mouse. You also get dual band WiFi with support for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands and a/b/g/n/AC standards. Thus most of the key connectivity bases are covered on this Sony TV.

Speaking of ports, you get three HDMI ports – one of which supports ARC, two USB 2.0 ports, optical audio out, 3.5 mm headphone jack, coaxial A/V inputs and a LAN port. Wireless connectivity options include Bluetooth 5.0 to connect wireless speakers/headphones and even a keyboard or mouse. You also get dual band WiFi with support for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands and a/b/g/n/AC standards. Thus most of the key connectivity bases are covered on this Sony TV.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV Review Back ports

Image Credit: Tech2 | Ameya Dalvic

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV – Features and specifications: 7.5/10
This TV has a 32-inch panel with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels and a 50 Hz refresh rate. I was hoping Sony would go Full HD here but that’s not the case. Neither the panel type nor peak brightness figures have been mentioned here. It does support a couple of basic HDR formats like HDR10 and HLG. This TV is powered by a quad-core chip with four ARM Cortex A55 cores that can clock up to 1400 MHz and a Mali-G31 GPU. You get 1.5 GB RAM and 16 GB of internal storage, more than half of which is available for your needs.

Sound output is rated at 20 Watts RMS with support for Dolby audio. Given that it is based on Google TV platform, it has Chromecast built-in and you can cast content on it from compatible apps on your Android phone or tablet. Something unique here is that this Sony TV works with Alexa-enabled smart devices too, and they can be controlled from here along with those in the Google ecosystem. It is also compliant with Apple AirPlay and HomeKit.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV Review Remote

Image Credit: Tech2 | Ameya Dalvic

You get a wireless remote control that operates over IR and Bluetooth both. Though it doesn’t miss out on any important keys, it has far too many buttons and feels cluttered. The remote has hotkeys for Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube and YouTube Music. The remote is voice enabled, so you can bring up the Google Assistant by pressing the corresponding key and issue voice commands.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV – User interface: 8/10
The Sony KD-32W830K runs the latest Google TV based on Android 11 for TV. Most of the features are similar to Android TV but with a slightly different user interface. In fact, it seems Google is moving towards having a uniform UI for both as newer Android TV updates on several TVs make the interface look a lot like that of Google TV. The UI is quite polished and assigns a higher priority to content discovery instead of installed apps.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV Review Google TV UI

It shows you suggested content from various OTT platforms which the AI ​​believes would interest you. Don’t worry if it feels random at the beginning; it is expected to get smarter as you watch more content on it. There’s Google Play Store that gives you access to a lot more apps. Apps for quite a few popular OTT services come preinstalled on this TV. Their subscriptions need to be purchased separately though and you have to login to each service that you wish to watch here.

There is a dedicated settings button on the remote that gives you quick access to picture, sound and other settings on the fly irrespective of the app or input in use. The UI is fairly simple to use and the learning curve isn’t steep.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV – Picture quality: 8/10
The picture quality of the 32W830K is pretty good despite being just a HD-ready TV. The panel is bright and the color reproduction is quite impressive as you would expect from a Sony TV. The picture is tuned well out of the box, and you have further scope for adjustment if you wish to. If I have to point out certain minor issues, the reds seem slightly boosted and the default contrast is a tad aggressive. Both can be addressed from the settings by lowering or switching off all the automatic contrast settings and lowering the saturation just a little bit.

Post that, the contrast is generally quite good with impressive black levels for the segment. Details in darker areas in certain scenes in our test videos were visible for most parts. The only real issue here is the moderate sharpness due to the low resolution. Mind you, the picture doesn’t look washed out or dull, but at times you wish for it to be a tad sharper. HDR performance is acceptable, but on a 32-inch HD-ready screen I wouldn’t assign too many points for it, nor should you expect something spectacular.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV Review Centered stands

720p and 1080p content (scaled down) looks vibrant on this TV with lively colours. A special mention for the skin tones that look quite natural on this screen, something that budget TVs can’t get right most of the time. Lower resolution videos up to 480p are perfectly watchable too given that this is a smallish screen. The viewing angles are generally good with the color shift being noticeably only from sharp angles. All said and done, the picture quality of the Sony KD-32W830K is impressive for a 32-inch TV.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV – Audio quality: 7/10
This Sony TV delivers a warm and punchy sound output. You get a pair of bottom firing speakers rated at 20 Watts RMS that delivers Dolby-certified audio. The audio output of this TV is loud and clear for compact to a mid-sized room. There is ample clarity in the vocals and a bit of bass to go with it. The speakers are tuned well out of the box and I did not feel the need to tinker with the audio settings.

The speakers are good enough for general audio needs like watching the news, sports, the odd webseries or listening to music. If you crave for extra thump in the audio, you have more than a handful of audio outputs on this TV like HDMI ARC, optical audio out, headphone jack and Bluetooth to plug in a soundbar or a speaker system.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV – Overall performance: 7.5/10
The TV takes about 45 seconds to boot up when you switch it on from the mains, which is a little slow for an Android/Google TV. Post that, if you switch it off and on from the remote, the TV comes back on in just a couple of seconds from standby mode, which is good. But there’s something interesting that I noticed here. When you turn on the power from the mains, the TV starts to boot up but the screen stays off. So if you turn the TV on from the remote a minute later, you may feel that it starts almost instantly.

There is no noticeable lag in operation, be it the menus or when watching content. There was a slight delay in the voice assistant’s response initially, but it seemed to get better over the course of testing. The default media player on this TV isn’t the best I have come across for watching videos. Some of our test videos being played from a USB drive had the wrong aspect ratio and I couldn’t find any option to fix that. Using a different player like VLC or MX provided a far better experience. However, this TV cannot play 4K videos through USB. Given that this is not even a Full HD screen, such a requirement would be rare, but it would have been nice if it did.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV – Price and verdict
This is where things get a little tricky. The Sony KD-32W830K smart TV can be purchased for Rs 28,990 with a one year warranty. That is almost twice the price of certain budget 32-inch Android TVs with similar features but inferior picture quality. Similar sized smart TVs from LG and Samsung also sell for a good Rs 10,000 lower. One can even get certain 43-inch Ultra HD (4K) Android TVs for the price of this Sony TV. So why should one buy this?

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV Review Side ports

Frankly, there is no clear answer. The only scenarios I can think of for buying this TV are either you are a loyal Sony fan or have a space crunch and want to buy a premium 32-inch TV with superior picture quality and good connectivity options. While there is nothing glaringly wrong about this Sony TV, I feel 29K is too big a price to pay for a 32-inch HD-ready TV irrespective of the brand. Had it been a Full HD TV, I would have given it a bit more leeway.

If you have that kind of budget and space is not an issue, you would be better off buying a 43-inch 4K Android TV from a brand like Hisense. You can even squeeze in a 43-inch Full HD smart TV from the likes of Samsung or LG close to 30K. As for 32-inch HD-ready TVs, there is only as much quality they can offer due to the lower resolution, and it would be prudent to not spend beyond Rs 18,000 to 20,000 on one in this day and age.

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