An impressive Google TV for a hefty premium- Technology News, Firstpost



Advantages:
– Good color rendering and contrast
– Variety of input/output ports
– Dual band Wi-Fi
– Latest version of Google TV
– Also works with smart devices with Alexa

cons:
– HD Ready, not Full HD
– Expensive
– Dated TV design, messy remote control

Overall rating: 3.8/5

Price: Rs 28,990

With so many cheap smart TV brands plying their trade in India, sometimes you forget that the big boys are still around. And what’s more, they are also present in the most popular 32-inch segment! Sony has reminded us of this in good time with the recently launched W830K series. As expected, it carries a premium price tag with the promise of superior image quality and performance. But is it doing enough to change mindsets? Let’s find out.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV – Design and Connectivity: 7.5/10
Sony hasn’t bothered to go borderless, opting for a more classic design with narrow but clear bezels on all four sides. While there’s nothing blatantly bad about it, it does feel a little dated. The elongated chin under the bottom bezel, which houses a power LED and IR receiver, adds a bit of character to the design. The TV can be wall mounted or placed on a desk using the included stands. The desk stands keep the TV firmly in place. The wall mounting kit is not included, but will be provided during installation if required.

The necessary screws are included, along with a wireless remote and a few AAA batteries. While the aesthetics of this TV didn’t impress me, there were a few design elements that I liked here. Firstly, the stands are mounted towards the center of the TV instead of the edges, making it possible to place this TV on a smaller desk. Second, the side ports are located near the left edge of the TV, making them easy to access even after wall mounting. On the other hand, certain ports on the back of the TV will be difficult to reach.

Speaking of ports, you get three HDMI ports – one of which supports ARC, two USB 2.0 ports, optical audio out, 3.5mm headphone jack, coaxial A/V inputs and a LAN port. Wireless connectivity options include Bluetooth 5.0 to connect wireless speakers/headphones and even a keyboard or mouse. You also get dual-band Wi-Fi with support for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands and a/b/g/n/AC standards. So most of the major connectivity bases are covered by this Sony TV.

Speaking of ports, you get three HDMI ports – one of which supports ARC, two USB 2.0 ports, optical audio out, 3.5mm headphone jack, coaxial A/V inputs and a LAN port. Wireless connectivity options include Bluetooth 5.0 to connect wireless speakers/headphones and even a keyboard or mouse. You also get dual-band Wi-Fi with support for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands and a/b/g/n/AC standards. So most of the major connectivity bases are covered by this Sony TV.

Image Credit: Tech2 | Ameya Dalvic

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV – Features and specifications: 7.5/10
This TV has a 32-inch panel with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels and a refresh rate of 50 Hz. I was hoping Sony would go Full HD here, but it isn’t. Neither the panel type nor the peak brightness figures are mentioned here. It does support some basic HDR formats such as HDR10 and HLG. This TV is powered by a quad-core chip with four ARM Cortex A55 cores capable of clocking up to 1400MHz and a Mali-G31 GPU. You get 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, more than half of which is available for your needs.

The sound output is 20 watts RMS with support for Dolby audio. Since it’s based on the Google TV platform, it has Chromecast built-in and you can cast content to it from compatible apps on your Android phone or tablet. Something unique here is that this Sony TV also works with Alexa-enabled smart devices, and they can be controlled from here, along with those in the Google ecosystem. It is also compatible with Apple AirPlay and HomeKit.

Image Credit: Tech2 | Ameya Dalvic

You get a wireless remote that works via both IR and Bluetooth. While it’s not missing any important keys, it has way too many buttons and feels cluttered. The remote has hotkeys for Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube and YouTube Music. The remote is voice-activated, so you can summon the Google Assistant by pressing the corresponding key and giving voice commands.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV – User Interface: 8/10
The Sony KD-32W830K runs the latest Google TV based on Android 11 for TV. Most of the features are similar to Android TV, but with a slightly different user interface. In fact, it seems that Google is moving towards a unified UI for both, as newer Android TV updates on various TVs make the interface look a lot like Google TV’s. The UI is quite polished and gives higher priority to discovering content rather than installed apps.

It shows you suggested content from various OTT platforms that the AI ​​thinks may interest you. Don’t worry if it feels random at first; it is expected to get smarter the more content you watch on it. There is a Google Play Store that gives you access to many more apps. Apps for quite a few popular OTT services are pre-installed on this TV. However, their plans must be purchased separately and you must log in to each service you wish to view here.

There is a dedicated settings button on the remote that gives you quick access to picture, sound and other settings regardless of the app or input being used. The user interface is quite easy to use and the learning curve is not steep.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV – Picture quality: 8/10
The picture quality of the 32W830K is quite good, despite being only an HD-ready TV. The panel is clear and the color reproduction is quite impressive as you would expect from a Sony TV. The image is well adjusted out of the box, and you have even more room for adjustment if you want. If I have to point out certain minor issues, the reds seem slightly boosted and the default contrast is a bit aggressive. Both can be accessed from the settings by lowering or disabling all automatic contrast settings and lowering the saturation just a little bit.

Post that, the contrast is pretty good overall with impressive black levels for the segment. Details in dark areas in certain scenes in our test videos were visible in most parts. The only real problem here is the mediocre sharpness due to the low resolution. Mind you, the image doesn’t look faded or dull, but sometimes you would like it a little sharper. HDR performance is acceptable, but on a 32-inch HD-ready screen I wouldn’t give too many points for it, nor should you expect anything spectacular.

720p and 1080p content (scaled down) looks vibrant on this TV with vibrant colors. A special mention to the skin tones that look quite natural on this screen, something that budget TVs usually can’t get right. Videos with a lower resolution down to 480p are also perfectly viewable, as this is a small screen. Viewing angles are generally good, with the color shift only noticeable from sharp angles. All said and done, the picture quality of the Sony KD-32W830K is impressive for a 32-inch TV.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV – Audio quality: 7/10
This Sony TV delivers a warm and powerful sound. You get a pair of speakers on the bottom, rated at 20 watts RMS that deliver Dolby-certified audio. The audio output from this TV is loud and clear for a compact to medium sized room. There is sufficient clarity in the vocals and a bit of bass. The speakers are well adjusted out of the box and I didn’t feel the need to tinker with the audio settings.

The speakers are good enough for general audio needs such as watching the news, sports, a single web series or listening to music. If you crave an extra thump in the audio, you have more than a handful of audio outputs on this TV such as HDMI ARC, optical audio out, headphone jack and Bluetooth to connect a soundbar or speaker system.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV – Overall performance: 7.5/10
The TV takes about 45 seconds to start up when you turn it on from the mains, which is a bit slow for an Android/Google TV. Post that if you turn it off and on with the remote, the TV will turn back on from standby in a few seconds, which is good. But there is something interesting that I noticed here. When you turn on the power from the mains, the TV starts up, but the screen stays off. So if you turn the TV on with the remote a minute later, you might feel it start up almost immediately.

There is no noticeable delay in operation, be it the menus or when viewing content. There was a slight delay in the voice assistant’s response initially, but it seemed to get better during testing. The standard media player on this TV isn’t the best I’ve come across for watching videos. Some of our test videos played from a USB drive had the wrong aspect ratio and I couldn’t find an option to fix that. Using another player like VLC or MX made for a much better experience. However, this TV cannot play 4K videos via USB. Since this isn’t even a Full HD display, such a requirement would be rare, but it would have been nice if it was.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV – Price and Verdict
This is where things get a little tricky. The Sony KD-32W830K smart TV can be bought for Rs 28,990 with a one-year warranty. That’s almost double the price of certain budget 32-inch Android TVs with similar features, but inferior picture quality. Similar sized smart TVs from LG and Samsung also sell for a good Rs 10,000 lower. You can even get select 43-inch Ultra HD (4K) Android TVs for the price of this Sony TV. So why would one buy this?

Frankly, there is no clear answer. The only scenarios I can think of to buy this TV is whether you’re a loyal Sony fan or are short on space and want to buy a premium 32-inch TV with superior picture quality and good connectivity options. While there’s nothing wrong with this Sony TV, I think 29K is too high a price to pay for a 32-inch HD-ready TV, regardless of brand. If it had been a Full HD TV, I would have given it a little more leeway.

If you’re on that kind of budget and space isn’t an issue, you’d be better off getting a 43-inch 4K Android TV from a brand like Hisense. You can even squeeze a 43-inch Full HD Smart TV from Samsung or LG into close to 30K. As for 32 inch HD ready TVs, there is only so much quality they can offer because of the lower resolution, and it would be wise not to spend more than Rs 18,000 to 20,000 on one these days.

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