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Sony KDL-26S5500 review

Sony's latest foray into the 26in screen market might be accomplished in some areas, but it's not the best in its class Tested at £400.00

Our Verdict

Sony's latest foray into the 26in screen market might be accomplished in some areas, but it's not the best in its class

For

  • Good detail and motion tracking
  • clean and well balanced pictures

Against

  • Pictures lack some depth
  • menu irritates
  • can't handle 1080p

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Sony's latest foray into the 26in screen market might be accomplished in some areas, but it's not the best in its class

Pros

  • + Good detail and motion tracking
  • + clean and well balanced pictures

Cons

  • - Pictures lack some depth
  • - menu irritates
  • - can't handle 1080p

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 motion
We'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.

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 whites
The 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.

See all our 21-26in TV reviews

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 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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