The front of the Sony NSX-32GT1 consists of the TV's 32-inch LCD screen, surrounded by a rounded black bezel. The bezel is behind the glass so it isn't really visible until the TV is turned on.
The back of the set is relatively featureless, except for the cluster of ports off to the right-hand side. It's also white, which makes the NSX-32GT1 look like the iPhone nobody wants. For information about the ports on the back of the Sony NSX-32GT1, see our Connectivity section.
The left side of the TV has a handful of ports, for easier accessibility. The right side of the TV has no features (the only on-set control is the power button, which is located underneath the right side of the TV). For information about the ports on the sides of the Sony NSX-32GT1, see our Connectivity section.
The NSX-32GT1's stand features some nice design. Rather than a solid block of plastic, or a flat slab of metal, this TV features a curved metal bar. The design allows the TV to remain lightweight, even with the stand attached.
The only on-set control is the power button, which is located underneath the LED indicator, towards the bottom right corner of the TV.
The TV's remote control is like a cross between a video game console controller and a QWERTY keyboard. The QWERTY keyboard allows for better internet usage, and the touchpad joystick on the right serves as a surrogate mouse: swipe across the pad to move the cursor, click it to left click on objects. If you're used to using a non-iPhone smart phone to browse the web, you probably won't have any issues with this setup, but it's definitely not as easy or intuitive as a mouse and keyboard setup.
The Sony NSX-32GT1 comes with its remote, two batteries, and manuals. There aren't any included cables or additional packaged items. The TV is pretty easy to set up as well, since it comes fully assembled.
Sony's been paying more attention to design lately, and the NSX-32GT1 is certainly an extension of that. It's a fairly attractive HDTV, but it manages to stand out from other Sony HDTVs by offering a unique stand. That might not sound like a particularly noteworthy innovation, but when 90% of your product is a reflective black service, any little flourish can make your product stand out.
The Sony NSX-32GT1's black level was really, really good. Typically our benchmark for a low black is 0.1 candelas per square meter (cd/m2), which enables a very deep black. The NSX-32GT1 is twice as dark, meaning you'll see some plasma-esque blacks here. This is an impressive black level for any TV, let alone an LCD: typically LCD TVs have trouble with blacks, leading to washed out or "bright"-looking dark scenes.
Of course, a black level doesn't necessarily mean there's a good differentiation between the dark colors. As we found in our greyscale gamma section, some of the darker shades are very similar, which can lead to dark areas looking flat. (More on how we test Black Level.)
The NSX-32GT1 had a decent peak brightness, but it wasn't nearly as bright as the average LCD. We measured an all white screen at 234.16 cd/m2, which is just slightly more light than the 200 cd/m2 you'll realistically need. The problem with doing the bare minimum brightness, however, is it limits how well the TV can handle external light. Typically external light will wash out the image on screen, or cause an annoying reflection. A brighter screen can help mitigate these effects, but it isn't mandatory. Just make sure you the NSX-32GT1 isn't somewhere that catches a lot of direct sunlight and you should be fine. ( (More on how we test Peak Brightness.)
Even though the NSX-32GT1 doesn't have the most impressive peak brightness, it's super deep black level was more than enough to ensure a high contrast ratio. We measured the TV's contrast ratio at 4683:1, which is very, very good. Our eyesight hinges on contrast, so a high contrast ratio is very important for preserving subtle details.
You may notice our contrast ratios aren't in the millions like you'll find in a TV's spec sheet, or in large font all over its box. This is because those figures are dynamic contrast ratios, which employ different settings for the black and white levels and also use features like auto dimming. If different settings are used, it means the white and black levels can't both coexist onscreen at the same time, and if a dimming feature is enabled, it has negative effects on the picture quality overall. We therefore don't use any of these methods, and instead offer a contrast ratio measurement you could feasibly see on your calibrated TV. (More on how we test Contrast.)
We didn't see much shifting in the NSX-32GT1's black levels, regardless of the screen's content. It moved up and down slightly as the percentage of black on the screen increased, but not by an amount the average viewer would notice. Typically the blacks get washed out when they're surrounded by bright colors, and while we did see this happen to a small extent, it wasn't nearly as aggregious as we've seen on other TVs. (More on how we test Tunnel Contrast.)
The TV's white level was also very stable. Regardless of how much white was onscreen, the measurement barely wavered.
Many new HDTVs feature an auto-dimming feature that can't quite be switched off, which causes noticeable shifts in the backlight's output. We're definitely glad the NSX-32GT1 doesn't have this feature, because if your content alternates between light and dark scenes, the change in luminance looks like someone is playing with a room's dimmer switch. (More on how we test White Falloff.)
We didn't see any issues with the Sony NSX-GT1's uniformity. An all white screen was almost completely uniform, with only slight dimming around the edges. An all black screen was slightly blotchy, but not by an amount that will be readily apparent during normal viewing. Typically LCDs have more of a trouble with black screens because their poor black levels can't hide the imperfections caused by their backlighting. The NSX-GT1s' deep blacks go a long way to covering up its imperfections. (More on how we test Uniformity.)
The NSX-32GT1's greyscale gamma had some issues, but wasn't bad overall. If you look towards the right half of the graph, you'll notice a uniform slope with only very small bumps. This was a near perfect performance, and means that greys will brighten into white smoothly, ensuring fewer lost details. The lower portion of the graph is much less uniform, and indicates an inconsistent progression from black to the middle greys. The bumps here indicate areas where a color doesn't shift by a perceptible amount for a few intensity levels, then jumps up to a brighter color. The little tail towards the bottom of the graph indicates some poor differentiation between the darkest greys. This means dark areas will appear a bit flat, or "crushed," since the darker greys won't be as distinguished from black as they should be. (More on how we test Greyscale Gamma.)
The Sony NSX-32GT1 has a pretty solid color temperature. Some whites are a bit on the warm side, but the effect was only barely perceptible. For the average, non-cinephile user, the NSX-32GT1 will appear to have perfect color temperature throughout the greyscale. (More on how we test Color Temperature.)
The NSX-32GT1 has some issues with its RGB curves. First of all, all of the curves are a bit bumpy, meaning there are a lot of minor lost details throughout the red, green, and blue spectra. This means areas of gradual color transition won't look as smooth as they should, with subtle boundaries between its component colors. For example, if the TV was displaying a sunrise, the sun's glow against the sky wouldn't be a smooth transition, and you'd see several concentric halos encircling the sun. Aside from this minor loss of detail, however, the curves look somewhat sound. The blue curve is slightly more bowed out than the red and green curves, but not by a distressing amount. Overall, while the NSX-32GT1 didn't have perfect RGB emulation, it was still better than average. (More on how we test RGB Curves.)
Below you'll find some color gradients, which represent the TVs' red, green, and blue performance—it's a different representation of the graph above. You should look for where the blacks start to kick in and for any vertical streaks. Vertical streaks are indicative of some sort of lost detailing, as the TV is either skipping over a color or displaying one that's incorrect. The onset of darker colors can indicate how much detail you can expect in darker scenes. While many TVs are capable of some impressive black levels, that stat is useless if it can't differentiate between any dark colors.
The TV's color gamut didn't quite adhere to rec. 709, the international standard for color gamuts. The green point is close, but shifted slightly towards yellow. The red is also close, but it's a bit more purple than it should be and is slightly undersaturated. The blue is shifted the furthest, and is somewhat purple. The white point, however, is almost spot on.
So what does this mean for the average viewer? Absolutely nothing: they won't notice the minor inconsistencies in color. (More on how we test Color Gamut.)
The chart below lists our measurements along with the rec. 709 standard. The error is the difference between the two.
The Sony NSX-32GT1 performed decently in our motion tests. The TV certainly get the top-tier display panel installed, and a lot of that Intel processing power must be geared towards decoding streaming content, and not necessarily it's optimal display on the screen. We noticed some hard to miss jaggies and color trailing in moving objects. More details in the next section. (More on how we test Motion.)
Artifacting includes anything that appears on the screen that's not in the original signal. When testing the Sony NSX-32GT1, we noticed flickering and false color trails. High contrast areas would break up into blocks of color banding, and the higher the contrast, the more obvious the problem became. 1080i content was a little worse than 1080p, which suggests that resolution scaling may be part of the problem.
The Sony NSX-32GT1 showed no problems displaying native 24fps content (such as what you might get on a Blu-Ray disc). To get the best performance, make sure you leave the CineMotion feature setting in Auto. (More on how we test 3:2 Pulldown and 24fps.)
The Sony NSX-32GT1 has a native 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution, but most of the signals you feed it will be of a lower resolution. It's up to the TV's processor to rescale that video to fit the screen. Overall, we found the32GT1 to be good, but not great, at this task. ( More on how we test Resolution Scaling.)
When we tried 480p content, the Sony NSX-32GT1 lost a considerable amount of data due to overscan – 3% of the sides and 4% of the top and bottom.
The 720p content lost 2% on all sides to overscan and showed some noticeable Moires with high frequency patterns.
The 1080i content also showed a 2% loss on all sides due to overscan, and major problems with Moires in high frequency patterns.
The Sony NSX-32GT1 has a native 1080p (1920 x 1080) display, but is capable of display all standard NTSC content types.
The Sony NSX-32GT1 has a terrible, terrible viewing angle. Our guess is that Sony fattened the LCD panel in order to increase contrast ratio. As a result, though, the light has pass through all that material, and the viewing angle suffers. We measured the contrast ratio at approximately 16 degrees (8 degrees from center on either side). This is easily one of the worst viewing angles we've seen on a TV. (More on how we test Viewing Angle.)
The screen may as well be a mirror. It's as glossy as any high-gloss computer screen you've seen before. This is likely yet another way to improve perceived contrast ratio. Ambient lights are only going to increase the reflectivity, so try and angle the TV and any lights in the room to minimize it. (More on how we test Reflectance.)
The Sony NSX-32GT1 has a handful of video processing features, but not as many as you'd find on more expensive Sony models.
The NSX-32GT1 has three different presets and a custom mode. The presets are vivid, standard, graphics, and cinema.
The remote control that comes with the Sony Google TVs is distinctly different from every other remote on the market. With its image featured on the side of the box, and its prominence in the TV ads, Sony is clearly using the remote to shout the message, "Hey, this isn't a regular TV!"
They're correct, of course. The NSX-32GT1 is not an ordinary TV; in fact, it's a really complicated TV with a really complicated remote. The design origin was obviously rooted in game controllers like the Sony PS3 Dual Shock controller, with its two-handed grip and d-pad for each thumb. They stopped short of using an analog joystick, probably because that would have been too far over the line for non-gamers. Instead, the left thumb button has an optical sensor in it. You glide your thumb over it to control an on-screen mouse. For a full explanation of the remote and its quirks, watch the video embedded here.
The button layout on the remote is dense, and there's little physical differentiation to help you operate it in a dark room. It's particularly difficult if you're trying to exit the menu quickly. The most expeditious would be the "TV" button, located in near the top, between the d-pads, but you'll never find this without looking down to check its location.
The optical sensor that controls the mouse is novel, but ultimately too slow and inaccurate. You can tell by watching the video above that we didn't use it when the had the opportunity to use the left d-pad instead.
The QWERTY keyboard at the bottom is nice to have, and required if you're going to make extensive use of the Chrome browser, but the buttons could have been designed a little better. They require fair amount of force to push down, which slowed us down.
The remote control is universally programmable with other AV devices, though it tried 10 times to match our Comcast cable box and ultimately failed. The remote has an IR receiver on the top for controlling other devices, but it actually communicates with theNSX-32GT1 through radio signal, so it doesn't need line-of-sight.
The Sony NSX-32GT1 has a moderate selection of input ports. It covers the basics, with 4 HDMI, 2 analog audio inputs, a composite video in, and a component video in. It doesn't have many ports to spare, though, so don't expect to hook everything up to the TV simultaneously. If you have a multitude of media devices, you'll probably want to buy a switcher as well.
The TV only has one output port, a digital audio out.
The NSX-32GT1 has two options for connecting to the internet: an ethernet port and built-in wifi.
The TV has two USB ports for media playback, which support picture, music, and video files.
The NSX-32GT1 has fairly good port placement overall. It has a small cluster on its back, right next to some side-facing ports. They were all relatively easy to access, though the TVs non-swiveling stand might prove a minor obstacle.
The audio quality of the Sony NSX-32GT1 is poor. True, it's not the worst we've heard, but it's not a whole lot better than some fancy portable speakers you might plug into an iPod. The lack of depth is quite evident. Everything sounds flat, and deep bass notes crackle like bad distortion. There are three audio presets: Standard, Dynamic, and a setting that pushes the vocal track to prominence. You have bass and treble controls, but no equalizer. It's just as well; audio performance was clearly not a priority for the first-generation Sony Google TVs.
The Sony menu has been completely overhauled with the implementation of Google TV. It bears no resemblance to the Xross Media Bar you'll find on other Sony TVs, the PS3, PSP, or other Sony devices. For a complete walkthrough, jump to the Multimedia & Internet section, where we have a video that explains it all.
The menu is a huge assemblage of streaming content features. The striation of sub-menus is confusing, and you can almost see where the seams match up with Google's contributions and the features Sony insisted on carrying over from other TVs. Some are categorized as "Applications" and others as "Sony Recommends," despite their virtually identical purpose of being specialized "channels" for delivering a certain type of content: financial news, NBA basketball, exercise, cooking, music videos, etc.
The thing you normally find in a TV menu –picture quality adjustments – is buried so far in the labyrinth as to be laughable. Once you find it, there's not much to look at. Sony offers some of the same PQ controls you'd find on other TVs, but they don't always seem to function the same. For instance, the backlight control still has a 0 to 10 setting, but the actual illumination change is quite minor. Also, the Sharpness setting seemed to have absolutely no effect on the sharpness of the picture.
The Sony Google TV's ship with a very abbreviated set of paper documentations to help you get the TV set up. Stored electronically on the TV itself is a larger document, but it still fails to address a lot of the settings and buttons on the remote. Locating an answer to a specific question is difficult. Unfortunately, you cannot find the Sony manual online, at least not at the time of this publication.
Since the online interface is a bit different, we've made a video walkthrough showing how the Sony NSX-GT1's remote will help you browse this internet of ours.
As you may have gathered at this point, the NSX-32GT1's main selling feature is its ability to connect to the real internet, not just a walled garden version with only a handful of options. Before you can start browsing the web, though, you'll first have to download a fairly substantial software update.
Once that's done, you'll be using Chrome for all your internet browsing, which has an expected preset homepage.
We thought the internet was fairly easy to use with Sony's goliath remote. You can either use the Google homepage to search for your URLs, or press the magnifying glass button in the lower left corner of the remote. From here you can either type in a URL manually, or manage tabs. While you can have multiple tabs, this is unfortunately the only way you can manage them.
The browser also lets you alter text size, manage your history and cookies, and fiddle around with your security options.
If you find the internet too big and scary to use normally, fear not: Sony still offers their walled garden view of the internet, as humble suggestions.
Of course, the big services also have applications for easy access, often with a better interface. You should generally go through the applicable app instead of using the browser.
There's also software to let you organize and manage your podcast subscriptions, allowing you to sync them with your Google account.
Keep in mind, though, that Google is always watching your every move.
The Sony NSX-32GT1 does not require much power to operate. Even for a 32-inch screen, it's pretty conservative. There are also a number of "Eco" settings to further reduce power consumption. We left these disabled for testing. (More on how we test Power Consumption.)
The chart below shows how it compares to other TVs. Note, however, that these comparison models were chosen because of their software interface and streaming content, not their screen size or price point. Because the screen sizes are larger, they naturally draw more power.
Value Comparison Summary
The KDL-32EX700 has better picture quality compared to the NSX-32GT1, but the NSX-32GT1 has significantly better online functionality. Unless there are suddenly huge price cuts for the KDL-32EX700, the NSX-32GT1 is almost strictly better.
Blacks & Whites
The NSX-32GT1 is twice as dark as the KDL-32EX700, but the KDL-32EX700 is quite a bit brighter. The NSX-32GT1 does manage to have a higher overall contrast ratio, but its doesn't have much differentiation in the darker end of its greyscale.
While the KDL-32EX700 has a slightly inconsistent color temperature compared to the NSX-32GT1, but the KDL-32EX700 was a bit better with accurate RGB representation.
The KDL-32EX700 handled motion better the NSX-32GT1. It didn't have as many issues with motion blur or motion artifacting.
The KDL-32EX700 has a much larger viewing angle than the NSX-32GT1.
The KDL-32EX700 has a few extra ports, but the NSX-32GT1 has built-in wifi. The KDL-32EX700 is capable of establishing a wifi connection, but it requires a separate purchase.
Value Comparison Summary
The Sony and the Samsung both have online features, only the Sony has the entire internet at its disposal. The Samsung offers 3D capabilities, and while it didn't have the best 3D we've seen, it was pretty good.
Blacks & Whites
The Sony had a much deeper black level, but the Samsung is a bit brighter. Because of its deeper black level, the Sony wound up with a higher overall contrast ratio.
The Sony had a slightly less consistent color temperature and its RGB curves weren't as accurate.
The Samsung had much less motion blur than the Sony. The Samsung had slightly less artifacting issues, but not by a lot.
Both of these TVs had very poor viewing angles.
The two TVs have similar connectivity options, but the Sony has built-in wifi.
Value Comparison Summary
These two TVs both offer the most cutting edge advancements in the world of HDTVs. The Sony is basically a 32-inch netbook, and the LG can do 3D. The LG also has internet connectivity, but it doesn't feature wifi and won't let you browse the actual internet. You'll have to go through LG's pre-approved version of the internet. Additionally, the 3D playback on the LG isn't the best.
Blacks & Whites
The Sony has a much deeper black level than the LG, but it isn't as bright. Due to the LG's poor black level, though, it wound up with a significantly lower contrast ratio.
The LG has slightly better color performance, but not by a huge margin. The only difference you might notice is some minor detail loss on the Sony.
The Sony and LG had approximately the same motion performance. Neither one was particularly good at reducing motion blur and both had issues with motion artifacting.
The Sony NSX-32GT1 has a pretty awful viewing angle. The LG doesn't have a good viewing angle either, but it's significantly better than the Sony's.
The LG 47LX6500 has a few extra inputs, but the Sony NSX-32GT1 has built-in wifi.
GT1 Google TV Series
The Sony GT1 series has four sizes. Starting at an unusually small 24 inches, we can only assume that Sony is expecting people to install this TV in places where a computer might normally go, such as desktops or kitchens. All four models feature the Google TV software interface, Android Apps, built-in WiFi, an 8GB internal drive, and the two-fisted qwerty remote control.
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