The 32-inch Sony KDL-32BX330 offers picture quality that is only so-so and a feature lineup that is nonexistent. However, the low price for a Sony-branded TV could convince many to overlook its shortcomings.
What you see on the screen is in line with its price … mostly. When it comes to picture performance, most experts agree that the KDL-32BX330 isn't horrible. They also agree that it's not very good, either, though perhaps acceptable in a set from a top maker at its current street price. Color accuracy is the biggest shortfall: CNET reviewer Ty Pendlebury says that the color "is a little off," and that the inclusion of only basic color controls makes that impossible to completely correct. Skin tones suffer the most from this. The obsessive experts at TelevisionInfo.com concur: Josh Fields finds tons of troubles in the set's color accuracy, saying it "does not measure up nicely with the industry standard."
Turning to blacks and picture contrast, things look a little brighter -- though that's not a good thing when it comes to absolute black levels. But while Pendlebury is rather meh when it comes to the deepest blacks the KDL-32BX330 can produce, he is impressed with the fact that the TV does a pretty good job of coaxing details out of dimly lit scenes. In terms of contrast, some experts remain mum or seem pleased, while others offer wildly different takes. Fields complains that contrast is limited, meaning whites are dim. Caleb Denison at DigitalTrends.com, on the other hand, says that contrast "seems a little forced to us," and cautions that whites can be too bright, leading to washed-out details.
There are some high points with picture performance: The viewing angle is excellent for an LCD TV. The same can be said about screen uniformity: it's not perfect, but few LCD TVs offer perfect uniformity, and hot spots and bright edges are minimal with the KDL-32BX330. The matte screen also stands up well under bright ambient lighting.
Audio, unfortunately, is not very good -- a common complaint with most flat-screen TVs. That might not be as big an issue in a 50-something-inch TV that's to be the centerpiece of a home theater system with external sound system. In a 32-inch set like this one, which is less likely to be paired with a soundbar or full home theater system, it can be more of a concern.
Shoppers looking for a feature-rich HDTV will pass on the KDL-32BX330. Having a bunch of goodies on board would detract from its primary role as a good budget TV. You won't find 3D, streaming of any kind or an enhanced refresh rate, and resolution is only 720p, though experts say that's usually fine in a screen size this small. Simply put, beyond the simple but very user-friendly remote control, the BX330 is definitely what Denison describes as your "basic, bread-and-butter 720p HDTV."
Basic in every way. CNET's Ty Pendlebury calls the look of the KDL-32BX330 "serviceable." Josh Fields at TelevisionInfo.com goes a bit further, saying the BX330 has "a distinctly cheap feel to it." In its favor, Fields does like the touch-sensitive buttons "that give this average-looking TV a somewhat modern vibe," though he does complain about their lack of haptic feedback.
The set is very easy to use, but on the flip side are the reduced picture-adjustment options noted earlier, as well as only basic (though sufficient) connectivity. The BX330's most noteworthy design feature is its mere 14-pound weight, allowing placement in locations ordinarily not well suited for supporting a 32-inch HDTV. The set uses a conventional CCFL backlight in place of the LED backlights found in more upscale sets, so it is somewhat thicker than those -- around 3 inches in total.
The Sony name carries a premium. Though some reviewers -- and some owners -- don't have a gripe about the cost of the Sony KDL-32BX330 relative to what it delivers, others beg to differ. As an example, Pendlebury notes that if you want a Sony-branded TV at the lowest possible cost, the KDL-32BX330 is pretty much it, though he hastens to add that "even at this budget price, there are better options." One to consider is the Samsung UN32EH4000 (*Est. $320). [http://www.consumersearch.com/lcd-tv/samsung-un32eh4000]
Review Credibility: Excellent Ty Pendlebury says that overall the BX330 is a "decent telly." He likes its "attractive" appearance and believes it is "sensibly priced," but adds that "even at this budget price, there are better options." Given CNET's high standards for accurate reviews, Pendlebury's comparative review, where he rigorously tests the BX330 against five other models, is especially helpful.
Review: Sony KDL-32BX330, Ty Pendlebury, Aug. 8, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good The normally tough reviewers at TelevisionInfo.com give the Sony KDL-32BX330 a pretty good review. That's not to say lots of shortfalls aren't uncovered -- it's just that Josh Fields thinks that they can be overlooked in light of the TV's selling price.
Review: Sony KDL-32BX330, Josh Fields, Sept. 11, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good Using several comparative tests to reach his conclusions, Caleb Denison says that even though the Sony KDL-32BX330 might not "be wowing any videophiles," he finds several things to like about it. However, its "rich colors" and "high brightness capability" are offset by "poor sound" and "overly bright whites." In spite of these and other quibbles, he believes the TV will not disappoint those who "love that signature Sony picture."
Review: Sony Bravia KDL-32BX330 Review, Caleb Denison, May 17, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good ConsumerReports.org includes the Sony KDL-32BX330 among the many sets it evaluates. Testing is done and sets are rated and ranked, but discussion is brief and all information is available only to subscribers.
Review: Sony Bravia KDL-32BX330, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Undated
Review Quality: Very Good Of the roughly 70 Amazon.com customers who take the time to rate the Sony KDL-32BX330, most give it a grade of 4 or 5 stars, helping it to an overall score of 4.2 stars. Of those that give this set the lowest rating, issues are varied and some look to be commenting on previous Sony models.
Review: Sony Bravia KDL32BX330 32-Inch 720p HDTV, Black, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of December 2012