Sony KDL-32EX524 review

Don't let the size or price fool you – this TV is packed with clever features and delivers decent pictures

Sony KDL-32EX524
Sony has upgraded their menu interface from the Xross Media Bar to something a bit more user-friendly

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Sony kdl-32ex524

As mentioned, the KDL-32EX524 is equipped with a healthy array of features for a reasonably priced TV. First up, let's talk screen technology – it is of course, a full HD affair that uses Edge LED backlighting, which facilitates those super-slim dimensions and light weight.

Driving the set is Sony's new single-chip image processor, X-Reality, which analyses and selectively processes the picture to sharpen it up, boost colours and contrast and get rid of noise. It's designed to grab blocky, low-res web video by the scruff of the neck and get it looking halfway decent – in theory, at least. The TV is 50Hz though, so look elsewhere if you want 3D.

The KDL-32EX524 is part of Sony's wide selection of internet-enabled TVs and therefore boasts a top-drawer selection of web content and networking features. To access these you can either hook it up via Ethernet cable to your router or purchase Sony's optional USB Wi-Fi dongle (UWA-BR100) and go wireless.

The most compelling of these features is Bravia Internet Video, which offers an unrivalled selection of applications. These include TV and movie services like BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, Sky News, Qriocity Video on Demand, Love Film, Eurosport and YouTube, plus music and radio services and Picasa photos. You can also poke, throw sheep and tweet thanks to built-in Facebook and Twitter access, both of which became available as onscreen widgets after a firmware update.

But that's not all. The Skype feature enables you to make video and voice calls on your TV, although this requires Sony's optional CMU-BR100 voice control camera and microphone (£89) and a firmware upgrade (which is available now). And on another phone-related topic, another firmware upgrade enables you to use your smartphone to control the TV or use it as a second screen for watching video-on-demand.

And if you're the sort of person who laps up trivia and facts about movies and TV shows the search applications will be very welcome. The Gracenote-powered Music and Video Search features enable you to look up detailed information relating to songs, movies or cast members by entering a keyword.

Then you can search for content related to the results across all applications. There's even a Track ID button on the remote that calls up information about song info while you're watching a programme – we hit it during a Snoop Dogg video being played on MTV and lo and behold up popped info about the song as well as a Snoop Dogg bio. Clever stuff.

Away from web-related stuff, you can record programmes from the built-in Freeview HD tuner on an external HDD (again, with a firmware update) and there's a Presence Sensor on board that can detect body heat and movement, switching the picture off when you leave the room but keeping the sound going to save energy.

There's a fairly decent array of picture tweaks, too. On the most basic level, Scene Select (activated at the touch of a button on the remote) provides a list of presets that cater for different types of material – General, Cinema, Sports, Music, Animation, Game – but the Auto setting saves you the hassle of choosing.

Dig a little deeper into the setup menu (scrolling down past the usual backlight, colour, contrast, brightness, sharpness, hue and noise reduction settings) and you'll find an Advanced Settings menu. This opens up adjustments like Black Corrector, Advanced Contrast Enhancer, Live Colour, Gamma and various image enhancements - the sort of detail that'll keep picture perfectionists very happy indeed.