Sony's W series has got off to a fine start, with the company's 40-inch set walking away with a Supertest winner gong in What Hi-Fi magazine. Can the 32-inch version follow suit?
As you'd expect from Sony, the KDL-32W4000 is an attractive set. The dark blue, glittered 'midnight sky' finish is a nice touch but can only really be noticed when you're leering at the set from close range - it's ideal for impressing friends, though. The swivel stand gives added flexibility - not that the Sony needs it; the viewing angle is just fine by us.
But that slick, sophisticated exterior is more than just skin deep. The TV sports Sony's new, PS3-inspired menu system. It's fool-proof and a pleasure to use.
The Freeview tuner delivers a detailed and colourful picture that, thankfully, doesn't suffer from an excess of on-screen noise.
With a standard-definition DVD, the Sony's internal scaler handles the signal with aplomb, displaying a picture high in detail and sharpness.
The KDL-32W4000 is a Full HD set, so it would be rude not to feed it a Blu-ray disc's 1080p/24fps signal. Immediately, you're taken aback by the punchy, vibrant image and the contrast between dark and light scenes. The Sony manages to give blacks the kind of richness and depth that we rarely see from an LCD TV.
If we're being picky, we could say the Sony could show an ounce more detail in the darkest scenes, but that really is being super-critical. Images are rock solid and crystal clear, with fantastic edge definition whether you're watching the colourful action of Cars or more gritty images from The Bank Job. Even a game of Pro Evolution Soccer on Xbox 360 couldn't get the Sony to flinch.
The speakers deliver a punchy sound; not quite as refined as the Panasonic TX-32LZD85, but by no means sub-standard.
With the W Series, Sony seems to be on to a winner and even in the company of other great 32-inch sets, it's hard to look past this TV if you're in the market for a flatscreen. Great stuff.