Sony may be concentrating more on its WEGA Engine LCD and plasma screens, but the Japanese megacorp certainly hasn't abandoned traditional CRT TVs. In fact, it's got one of its biggest ranges for years and the KV-28CS70U sits right at its heart.

The KV-28CS70U is dressed to impress. Although the plasticky silver finish is hardly the stuff of designers' dreams, considerable charm is introduced by some intriguingly elegant sculpting, which cleverly combines all sorts of subtle curves and acute angles to very pleasing effect - especially if you use the matching stand.

Connectivity is fair. At least the set boasts three Scarts - two RGB - rather than the measly pair sported by some similar-price rivals. And, there's a full set of 'front' AV jacks, too.

The KV-28CS70U is generally very simple to use. The remote control is ergonomic and stylish, while the menus are a doddle - albeit a slightly long-winded one.

Aside from the 100Hz, there's not much to detain you when it comes to features, just noise reduction for smoothing over mucky sources and both RGB centring and Picture Rotation tweaks for making sure pictures appear correctly positioned and exactly level in relation to the screen's borders.

The KV-28CS70U's pictures are a cut above those of most of its mid-range rivals - though they're not so outstanding as to make the TV completely irresistible.

The biggest strength is colour response. As well as looking richly saturated, naturally toned and vibrantly bright, colours seem to avoid all traces of bleeding or edge softness - even with extreme clashes such as the white-against-red of the Sky News channel logo.

The 'hardness' of colour boundaries has a great knock-on effect when it comes to the picture's sharpness, too, in that while the amount of detail inherent to the KV-28CS70U's picture is by no means spectacular, the picture certainly never looks in the least bit soft or unfocused. Even TV shows or films containing lots of fast motion look impeccably sharp - which additionally proves how unfazed by motion the set's impressive 100Hz processing is.

White's all right

We were also pleased with the TV's handling of peak whites, which are portrayed with a perfect video-friendly tone and without any of the over-emphasis that can lead to glimmering.

The KV-28CS70U proves able to deliver a deep black at the other end of the contrast scale, too. But, at the same time, darker scenes introduce the first of this Sony's two slight weaknesses. While the black levels achieved are pretty profound, they also seem a bit forced, as an absence of subtle shading details causes them to look more like empty holes than integrated parts of the picture.

Our other niggle concerns a slight ghost or 'halo' that appears around some strongly contrasted picture sections, especially where onscreen text is involved.

Plenty of room has been left in the KV-28CS70U's cabinet for its speakers, and the soundstage is produced with width, depth, and accurately rendered treble details. A 15W RMS subwoofer built into the TV's back end, meanwhile, helps the TV serve up more film-friendly rumbles than most. We personally would have liked this sub to kick in a bit more readily and to sound slightly more attuned to the other speakers when it does, but it still gives the KV-28CS70U more breathing room for action scenes than many rival sets.

In a nutshell, then, while the KV-28CS70U certainly doesn't set any new benchmarks, it's another typically accomplished Sony TV that easily warrants a place on any 28in TV shortlist. John Archer