Sony KDL-37S5500 review

The Sony KDL-37S5500 is good value for money and a set that does enough to warrant an audition Tested at £750.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

This is good value, but if stretch your budget slightly you can catch yourself a class-leader from the same stable


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    Good value

  • +

    awesome colour balance

  • +

    confident with Blu-ray and DVD pictures


  • -

    Noisy Freeview pictures

  • -

    not the final word in clarity and detail

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    sound not great

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In the grand scheme of Sony TVs, the ‘S' range should be considered more entry-level than cutting edge.

Yes, it's Full HD resolution and compatible with 1080p/24fps video content, but you don't get the same feature-set as, say, the Sony ‘W' model.

What does this mean? Well, there's no DLNA functionality and no PlayStation 3-inspired Xross Media Bar menu system.

The TV uses an older version of Sony's Bravia Engine picture processor, too. Of course, all this is reflected in the price tag.

But, don't be dissuaded by this TV's less-than-glamorous vital statistics. Sony sets have had an impressive track record of late and you'd be foolish to dismiss the '37S5500 out of hand.

Excellent colour balance
Indeed, this set exhibits some serious picture strengths. For example, the screen's colour balance can't be faulted.

Whether you're watching Freeview, DVDs or indulging in a Blu-ray, the Sony maintains a fine balance of rich, yet natural hues.

Throughout The Happening, skin tones are judged perfectly, yet the TV still manages to deliver lush, natural greens as the action moves from the city to the countryside.

While other sets have you messing around with picture settings, sometimes in vain, the Sony paints all images with the same natural colour.

As Mark Wahlberg and his posse of survivors make a run for the countryside, the Sony exhibits enough punch and vibrancy to draw the viewer in, while motion is also handled calmly under all the on-screen commotion.

Watchable, if noisy, Freeview tuner
The Sony's Freeview tuner is perfectly watchable, if a little noisy. If you're searching for the ultimate in clarity and realism, this set can be bettered – by its ‘W' sibling for one.

And, although there's good detail in the blacks, they're not quite as deep and dark as seen on some of its rivals. The TV's speakers don't have the dynamics and composure of some other screens' either.

Bearing in mind that the Sony sits at the more affordable end of the 37in LCD televisions available, you're still getting good value for money – and a set that does enough to warrant an audition.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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