Sound

Sony kdl-32ex723

The 32EX723 feels pretty average in the sound department. As so often happens with relatively small, flat TVs, there just isn't enough headroom in the mid-range to squeeze in a complex soundstage.

The result is a sound that feels rather thin, compressed and indistinct. It can nudge over into harshness, too, if there's an excess of treble sound information to deal with.

Value

On the one hand, the 32EX723's above-par 2D picture performance and extensive, well-pitched multimedia services look attractive on a £750 TV.

However, it's impossible to shake the suspicion that you're paying at least a little for the TV's 3D capabilities, even though these 3D capabilities are hamstrung by crosstalk noise to the extent that they're almost unusable.

Ease of use

Sony has revamped its on-screen menus, with mostly positive results. Pressing the remote's large, colour-defined Home button shrinks the picture by around a third and moves it into the top left corner, while double-axis menus appear along the bottom and up the right-hand side. The effect is not unlike that seen with the Sharp Quattron LC46LE821E, and is much easier to follow than the cluttered, PS3-like approach used by last year's Sony models.

It's great, too, to find that the online services have been moved into a dedicated on-screen space where you can see and access most of the current options without having to scroll down huge lists like you had to with the previous interface.

The remote control takes a little getting used to, because its layout feels as if some features have just been retrofitted to an old design where buttons were originally intended for something else. But once you've learned your way around, you appreciate how many features you can access directly from a button.

Our two main issues with the operating system concern the iManual and the web browser. The iManual is a standalone on-screen manual, rather than a truly interactive one where you can call up quick explanations of particular features. This makes it quite time-consuming and difficult to find the section of the iManual you want, and makes you wish for a paper manual fairly quickly.

The internet browser's text is just too small to be readable unless you've got your face right up against the screen. This is true even if you adjust the text display option to Large. It's quite bizarre that Sony didn't include a simple Magnify button in the browser controls.

Couple the painfully small text with the sheer tedium of using the remote control to move around a typical website, and the experience becomes one that only a masochist would want to take on very often. Shame.