Sony's range is proving something of a mixed bag this year. Thankfully, the KDL-26S5500 avoids the backlighting problems that have afflicted some of its other sets, but it's still not the best in class.
First impressions are inconclusive: the straight-edged bezel is simple but effective, while the JPEG and MP3-compatible USB socket is a nice touch.
The set can't handle 1080p images, though. The importance of 1080p support at this size is debatable, but it's nice to have the option.
Impressive detail and motionWe're used to Sony's excellent XrossMediaBar being excluded from the company's budget sets, but the fact that the replacement menu on this set remains onscreen as you adjust picture settings makes calibration a real pain.
At least you're not bombarded by an overabundance of tweaky picture options.
More after the break
Over recent years we've become used to Sonys that specialise in combining inky blacks with ultra-bright whites, but that's not quite the case here.
Pure and punchy whitesThe picture has pure and punchy whites, but it doesn't go as deep in the blacks or colours as the best of its rivals (even with backlight set to 0), reducing the lushness and three-dimensionality of the Push Blu-ray.
Overall detail and motion-tracking is impressive here though, as it is when you switch to Two Lovers on DVD.
Upscaled Freeview pictures are equally clean and balanced, and audio is surprisingly accomplished for a TV this size, but in terms of overall performance you can buy better.