Sony Bravia KDL52W3100
- Mammoth 52in screen, masterful colour reproduction and sharp picture, three HDMI ports
- Occasional noise, minor ghosting issues during gaming
While $5999 isn't exactly a steal, the KDL52W3100 remains one of the best valued 52in LCD displays on the market.
Price$ 5,999.00 (AUD)
With December 25th just around the corner, Sony has decided to spread the holiday cheer by slashing the price of its Bravia LCD TV range by a few hundred dollars. This makes the mammoth 52in KDL52W3100 model the ideal gift for an extravagant Christmas -- provided you can fit it under your tree.
Falling under Sony's 'W' umbrella of entry-level HD panels, the 52W3100 is a solid entertainment unit that should suit everybody from cinema buffs to next-gen gamers. Offering the highest resolution television standard of 1080p, it performed admirably well in the majority of our testing, displaying excellent picture quality with very little ghosting.
Aesthetically, the 52W3100 retains the same brushed metal finish as the rest of the Bravia W range. This is a smart move on Sony's part, as it ensures the display will fit right in with the rest of your home entertainment setup, whether it is grey, silver or black. In addition to looking great, the 52W3100 is also decked out with an impressive array of connection options, including no fewer than three HDMI ports. Naturally, you'll want to make full use of these high-definition capabilities, and for the most part the 52W3100 won't disappoint in this area.
For our first test, we used an Xbox 360 HD-DVD player which displays video at a resolution of 1080p (otherwise known as 'full' HD). We ran the climactic battle scene from the new Transformers movie, which contains a huge amount of particle effects, lens flare, billowing smoke and slow-motion; making it an ideal measuring stick for a TV's visual performance.
Images remained razor-sharp throughout, with some of the most vibrant and well-balanced colours we've seen from an LCD in this price range. From the mechanical hero's fiery red paintjob to the lead actress' dazzling blue eyes, everything in the movie popped off the screen. (According to Sony's hype machine, the unit is capable of displaying almost twice as many colours as previous HD TVs, and we're almost inclined to believe them.) Contrast was equally impressive (e.g. -- the internal parts of each robot were easily identifiable, despite being rendered in similar shades of grey). We were a little disappointed by the occasional noise that cropped up in smoky shots; but this isn't really noticeable unless you're looking for it. Considering the 52W3100's 8ms response time, we were pleasantly surprised by the minimal ghosting it exhibited during the fast-paced action scenes.
Unfortunately, streaking issues were a little more evident during our gaming tests, though certainly not to any ruinous degree. While we found the display occasionally struggled to keep up with the frenetic frame rates, each game we tested remained perfectly playable and looked superb to boot. Rest assured, whether your tastes lie in cinema or video games, this television's HD performance is bound to impress.
To test the 52W3100's standard-definition capabilities, we watched the lobby scene from The Matrix using a normal DVD player. We found that noise was slightly more prominent here, which is perhaps to be expected (1080p televisions typically struggle in this area). With that being said, your old SD-DVD collection should still look suitably vivid on the huge 52in screen.
Our final test was for PC connectivity. We hooked the 52W3100 up to an ASUS Lamborghini notebook via HDMI and were extremely pleased with the results. Unlike previous Bravia units we've tested, such as the Bravia KDL46W3001, the desktop looked incredibly sharp and filled up the entire display. We ran DisplayMate through our notebook to test a variety of benchmarks, from block colour charts to moire patterns and straight line tests. Happily, the 52W3100 performed well across the board -- we only noticed a few inconstancies in the sharpness tests (black text lacked clarity on dark grey) and the lower spectrum of colour charts (the first three or four shades of each colour appeared black). Neither of these issues were enough to detract from what is a very solid LCD unit, however. If you're after something big, go for the Sony Bravia KDL52W3100 -- you won't be disappointed.
Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.
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