The Sony 32HX753 arrives on the back of a startlingly brilliant start to 2012 from Sony with its HX853 range of TVs. Perhaps because of this, first impressions of the cheaper 32-inch television are underwhelming, thanks to its reduced build quality and rather muted pictures.
However, over time the Sony set grows on you. Its multimedia capabilities are good - excellent, even, when it comes to the new Sony Entertainment Network online service. Its connectivity is impressive too, and there's a decent selection of features aimed at tweaking pictures.
While the Sony HX753's pictures never get near the heights of those of the Sony HX853's, and need a little calibration care to get the best out of them, they do, ultimately, produce impressive results. However, people with bright rooms might find those results low on brightness, and that trying to liven pictures up results in some unwelcome side effects.
The Sony 32HX753's online services are excellent, and its multimedia flexibility is admirable too. Its 2D pictures are capable of impressive black level response and good detail levels if you're careful with the picture settings, while its 3D pictures are commendable for being almost completely free of crosstalk.
The Home menu system is tortuous to use, and the Sony 32HX753's pictures are a bigger step down from those of the HX853 series than we'd hoped for. Also, while you can get pictures looking good, this requires you to sacrifice more brightness than some of the relatively casual users most likely to be buying a 32-inch TV might feel happy with. Finally, gamers won't be happy with the 80ms of average input lag.
While it's certainly not nearly as awesome as Sony's HX853 series, it's not really fair to compare the Sony 32HX753 to those illustrious televisions. Versus similarly priced 32-inch TVs it's pretty good, provided you accept that you have to be careful with setting it up if you want to get anything like the best out of it.
Overall, though, we couldn't help but think that both its 3D talents and the way its ideal picture settings seemed aimed at the enthusiast rather than casual market would have been better suited to a larger screen size than 32 inches.
The Panasonic L32ET5 offers a passive 3D alternative to the active 3D of Sony's 32HX753, is prettier with its design, and is generally a strong performer. Certainly its images are brighter and more colourful than those of the Sony. But the set suffers with surprisingly high input lag that could trouble gamers, its 3D pictures aren't as high in resolution, and it can't produce as deep a black level response.
Although we haven't tested it yet, another close rival appears to be the Samsung 32ES6300, which also offers smart TV features and active 3D for around the same money, but does so in a more glamorous body. Experience of past models would suggest that its pictures will be punchier than those of the the 32HX753 - perhaps making them better suited to the needs of a typical 32-inch TV buyer - but possibly less accurate and natural. But this is, we stress, mere speculation at this stage.