Sony 37ex503

Sound

The 37EX403's sound is about average – maybe a touch above – for a slim 37in TV. It's at its best with relatively undemanding material - documentaries, chatshows, news programmes and so on. With these, dialogue is enjoyable rich and gentle ambient effects are clearly presented, plus the general presentation is quite open and dynamic.

This strong starting point means the speakers don't capitulate as readily as some when pushed harder by demanding soundtracks. But while action scenes don't sound as compressed or thin as they often do with flat TVs, there is no serious attempt to produce convincing bass levels.

Value

The 37EX403's £550 price isn't bad at all for a set that offers a Freeview HD tuner, Bravia Engine 3 processing, and best of all, Sony's excellent Bravia Internet Video system.
The pictures and sound, however, feel merely about right for the money.

Ease of use

The XrossMediaBar onscreen menu system seemed an inspired way to handle a plethora of features when it first appeared, but now seems to be crumbling under the weight of all the extra options that have since come its way.

It is frequently difficult to remember exactly where you need to go to find a particular feature, thanks to poor organisation and inscrutable labelling. For instance, who would have guessed that the crucial feature for turning on automatic software updates for the 37EX403 would be found in the massive settings menu under 'Product Support'?

The automatic software renewal feature doesn't update as readily as you would expect; it would therefore be very useful if you could manually ask the TV to update itself, but if such an option exists, it certainly wasn't obvious during this review.

There are further issues with the remote control. Initially things look OK, thanks to a comfortable shape and weight, but the concentric discs in the remote's upper third that contain a number of the most important buttons prove fiddly, especially in darkened rooms.

On the upside, the Bravia Internet Video system content is handled reasonably well considering how much content there is, with plenty of visuals to help you recognise what's what. The only potential issue for Sony is that if it keeps adding new services, the current system of scrolling down a vertical list of content providers might become unwieldy.