Sony Bravia KD-32W830K smart TV review: Impressive performance, big premium
Sony Bravia KD-32W830K smart TV review: Impressive performance, big premium
Jun 23, 2022, 10:28 am
10 min read
The concept of a premium 32-inch TV seems long lost. Though it is the most popular size of TVs in India in terms of units sold, there are two main reasons for buying one. Firstly, if you are on a tight budget, and secondly, if you need one for a smaller room. Barring a very few Full-HD models available here, most TVs this size are HD-ready, and there is very little scope for brands to display their magic at such a low resolution.
Despite that, Sony has launched a new 32-inch TV in their W830K series that promises to offer a good bunch of features along with a premium performance in the segment. Of course, it doesn’t come cheap. Despite the company’s glorious reputation, can this TV do enough to justify a price tag that rivals that of several 43-inch TVs? Let’s figure out.
Old school design with a variety of input/output options
The design is more classical with narrow bezels on all four sides and an elongated chin underneath the company logo on the bottom bezel. There is nothing bad about its appearance but may seem dated in comparison to the near bezel-less designs on offer in recent times. The TV can be wall-mounted or placed on a desk using the bundled stands. The table top stands are sturdy, and even better, they attach closer to the center of the TV making it possible to place this TV on a smaller desk.
There is another smart design element that I would like to point out. The side ports are located near the edge of the TV rather than at the center making them more accessible after wall-mounting it. However, there are certain ports placed at the back of the TV that will be hard to reach. When you need to use those, you will have to first attach the cables and then hang the TV back on the wall.
Moving on to connectivity, most of the popular input/output ports are present on this Sony TV. You get three HDMI ports – one of which supports ARC, two USB 2.0 ports, a 3.5mm headphone out, optical audio out, coaxial A/V inputs and a LAN port.
As for wireless connectivity, you get Bluetooth 5.0 to connect wireless speakers or headphones and even a wireless keyboard or mouse. There’s also dual band Wi-Fi here with support for 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
Features and specifications
A low resolution screen complemented by some interesting features
As you know by now, the Sony KD-32W830K has a 32-inch panel with a resolution of 1366×768 pixels and a 50Hz refresh rate. Given that this is a premium TV, I was expecting Sony to go Full-HD here but alas! Information about the panel type or peak brightness isn’t available. The TV supports a couple of HDR formats in HDR10 and HLG. Powering this TV is a quad-core processor with four ARM Cortex A55 cores and a Mali-G31 GPU. You get 1.5GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage, about half of which is taken up by the OS and preinstalled apps, while the other half is available for your needs.
These are good numbers as most 32-inch Android based TVs have 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage. Sound output is rated at 20W with support for Dolby audio. It has Chromecast built-in and you can cast content to this TV from compatible apps on your smartphone or tablet. This Sony TV goes beyond the Google ecosystem and is compatible with Alexa-enabled smart devices too, and you can control them from this TV by asking Alexa to do the needful. The compliance extends to Apple AirPlay and HomeKit as well.
The wireless remote control that you get with this TV operates over IR and Bluetooth both. A pair of AAA batteries needed to power it are bundled along. It feels cluttered due to the presence of far too many buttons, and some of the commonly used keys tend to get lost. The hotkeys for Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube and YouTube Music are quite easy to spot though. The remote is voice enabled and lets you bring up the Voice Assistant by pressing the corresponding key and issue voice commands.
Latest Google TV with some smart UI elements
The Sony Bravia KD-32W830K smart TV runs the latest Google TV platform based on Android 11 for TV. As we had discussed in the Realme Google TV Stick 4K review, most of the features are similar to Android TV but with a slightly different interface. Google seems to be moving toward unification of both platforms as newer Android TV updates on several TVs have made the interface look a lot like that of Google TV.
The UI is polished and gives a higher weightage to content discovery. You also get a row of installed apps. It’s easy to get a hang of and the learning curve isn’t steep. It shows you suggested content from various OTT platforms which it believes may interest you. It does feel random at the start but is expected to get smarter as you watch more content on it. Apps for several popular OTT services come preinstalled on this TV, however their subscriptions are not a part of the package and need to be purchased separately.
You have Google Play Store that gives you access to thousands of additional apps. You get access to picture, sound and other settings on the fly in most of the apps and input modes. All you need to do is press the Settings button on the remote to bring up the quick settings menu and make the desired changes.
Lively picture with good colors but sharpness is slightly underwhelming
As I said at the start, there’s only as much an HD-ready TV can deliver. Factoring that, the picture quality of the Sony 32W830K is quite good. The panel is fairly bright, and as one expects from the brand, the color reproduction is impressive. The default tuning is quite good with the exception of red shades being slightly boosted and the contrast being a bit aggressive. The former can be addressed from the picture settings by lowering the saturation a little, while switching off all the dynamic contrast settings takes care of the latter.
You can also toy around with dropping the auto-contrast settings to low instead of switching them off entirely. Some may prefer it that way. Once you do that, the contrast is quite good with impressive black levels. Details in darker areas in our test videos were generally visible. The sharpness isn’t the greatest due to the low resolution panel. Though the picture doesn’t look entirely dull, you do crave for a bit more sharpness at times. HDR performance is not something I take too seriously on 32-inch TVs, but it does a reasonable job here, if not spectacular.
HD and Full-HD content (scaled down) looks lively on this TV with vibrant colors and a fair amount of detail. The skin tones look quite natural here which is not the case with the majority of budget 32-inch TVs. Given the size of the screen, lower resolution videos up to 480p and non-HD TV channels are watchable on this TV as long as you are more than six feet away. The viewing angles are fine, and the color shift is noticeable only from sharp angles. To sum it up, the picture quality of the Sony KD-32W830K smart TV is impressive for a 32-inch TV.
Audio output on this Sony TV is quite pleasant. A pair of speakers rated at 20W deliver loud and fairly clean sound for a small to mid-sized room. There is clarity in the vocals and also a bit of bass to add warmth to the sound. The Dolby Audio compliant speakers are tuned well out of the box and you can play around with the sound settings if you like to tweak the output further. If you wish to plug in a soundbar or a speaker system, there are various audio outputs on this TV like HDMI ARC, optical audio out, headphone jack and Bluetooth.
The TV takes about 45 seconds to boot, which is a little slow for an Android/Google TV these days. Interestingly, when you turn on the power from the mains, the screen remains off but the TV starts to boot up even before you switch it on from the remote. So if you use the remote a minute later, it starts almost instantly. Post that, the TV turns on in just a couple of seconds from standby mode, which is great.
There is no stutter or lag in the UI or when watching content. You get the occasional delay in the voice assistant’s response initially, but even that tends to get better over time. The default media player on this TV isn’t the greatest though with almost zero customization. Certain test videos we played from a USB drive had the wrong aspect ratio. It would be best to download a different player like VLC from the Play Store and use it instead. Another tiny issue, though of little consequence here, is that this TV cannot play 4K videos through USB irrespective of the player.
A good all-round TV that’s too expensive for its size
The Sony Bravia KD-32W830K smart TV can be purchased for Rs. 28,990 with a one year warranty. That is almost the price of certain 43-inch 4K smart TVs, let alone 32-inch. For the record, 32-inch Android TVs from popular Chinese brands are available under Rs. 15,000. Yes, it may not be a fair comparison, but then similar sized smart TVs from competing brands like LG and Samsung can also be purchased well under Rs. 20,000, making this Sony TV a hard sell.
While there is nothing wrong with the TV, the price will serve as a deterrent for many. Staying true to the theme of a premium TV, Sony should have opted for a Full HD panel here. An HD-ready screen weakens its case further. It may only appeal to Sony loyalists or those looking to buy a premium 32-inch Android TV with superior picture quality for a small room and would also need compatibility with Apple and Alexa devices.
As for alternatives, if space is not a constraint, you should opt straight away for a 43-inch 4K Android TV from a brand like Hisense if you have Rs. 30,000 to spare. If you are brand conscious, a 43-inch Full-HD smart TV from Samsung or LG can also be acquired in the vicinity of that budget. As for 32-inch smart TVs, you may consider the Full-HD option from Realme for Rs. 17,999 or any other HD-ready smart TV from a brand of your choice as long as you stay under Rs. 20,000.
Sony Bravia KD-32W830K smart TV review: At a glance
What would you do if you had a budget of Rs. 30,000 for a smart TV? Buy a 32-inch model from a premium brand or a 43-inch 4K model from a lesser brand?
Impressive color reproduction and contrast
Broad connectivity options; dual band Wi-Fi
Latest version of Google TV
Compliant with Alexa-enabled devices, Apple AirPlay and HomeKit
Access to picture and sound adjustments on the fly
Not Full HD; sharpness feels sub par at times
Not so charming aesthetics, cluttered remote