Posts Tagged ‘Sony’

Budget HDTV Shootout

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
A great budget-range HDTV, Samsungs LN23B360 720P LCD HDTV

A great budget-range HDTV, Samsung's LN23B360 720P LCD HDTV

Last week, we looked at three “budget” priced (under $500) LCD TVs — the Samsung LN26B360 26-Inch 720P LCD HDTV, the Sony Bravia L Series KDL-26L5000 26-Inch 720P LCD HDTV, and the Toshiba 26AB502R 26-Inch 720P LCD HDTV. All of these models are priced under $500, all of them are made by major manufacturers, and all of them are 26-Inch, 720P LCD sets, making comparison truly fair.

How did they stack up? Well, the short of it is that all three produced a solid picture and great sound. The Sony had the most features, but some of those features — like the ability to “upgrade” the TV with more inputs or wireless ability — are potentially costly and probably wasted on a sub-$500 TV set We thought the best picture, sound, and feature set for the money went to the Samsung LN26B360 hands-down. You can get the TV for under $400 at Amazon (with free SuperSaver shipping) and you’ll be quite happy with it. And that’s all that matters. Click on the links above to read our more in-depth reviews of each model.

Sony Bravia L-Series KDL-26L5000 26-Inch 720p LCD HDTV Review

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009
Sony's high-end Bravia 26" HDTV

Sony's high-end Bravia 26" HDTV

We continue our weekly series reviewing “budget” HDTVs, those in the $500 and under price range. Sony, known for their premium electronics, has its entry into the 26-inch LCD space, the Sony Bravia L-Series KDL-26L5000 26-Inch 720P LCD HDTV. Whew! That’s a mouthful.

The Sony Bravia KDL26L5000 offers:

  • Advanced Contrast Enhancer with Dynamic Backlight Control — contrast ratio of 13,000:1
  • Three HDMI inputs, two component, S-video, composite, and PC input — plug in a variety of sources, from Blu-Ray players to game consoles
  • The ability to add on Bravia Link modules — this allows you to purchase wireless, input, and other modules to add abilities to your TV
  • Bravia sync – allows you to control all compatible home theater devices and some Sony camcorders
  • Built-in digital tuner
  • And you get the standard remote, batteries, guides, and a pedestal.

    So what’s the set like? Well, it’s a Sony. So you know you’re going to get a great picture and sound quality. You also know that because of the Sony name, you’re going to be paying more for a comparable product by another brand. The Sony Bravia L-Series KDL-26L5000 26-Inch 720P LCD HDTV offers respectable features — the 13,000:1 contrast ratio is bright and sharp enough for most rooms, although nowhere near as bright as the 30,000:1 on the comparable Samsung LN26B360. The ability to add in Bravia modules is a nice touch, although how many people are really going to customize a $449 TV by adding on another $200-$1,000 in wireless and input modules? That seems like a feature more suited for Sony’s larger, higher-end HDTVs. You get a built-in digital tuner and a QAM cable card tuner, so whether or not you opt for cable or over-the-air signals, you’ll be able to view your programming on the TV without a converter box or cable box (assuming your cable company is cable-card compatible).

    Aside from the price, drawbacks to the Sony KDL-26L5000 include the lack of certain picture control options, such as tint calibration, leading many to feel that colors are too bright and faces sometimes fuzzy. And some people have complained about the build quality leading to unit failures after a year or two. Like all LCD TVs, you will experience some dropoff in viewing if you sit too far to the side of the TV. And some users have complained about the autobacklight function leading to a sort of auto-dim in dark scenes.

    Overall Rating: 6/10 The price on the Sony KDL-26L5000 is still more than comparable models, and the overall picture adjustment and auto-backlighting features aren’t as handy or nice as other brands.

    Recommendation: Buy a different TV. There are cheaper models than the Sony KDL-26L5000 with better quality. Sony makes a lot of things well. This HDTV is just okay.

PlayStation 3 80GB Review

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009
The last of the next-gen consoles we reviewed, the PlayStation 3

The last of the next-gen consoles we reviewed, the PlayStation 3

The other hard-hitting next-gen console is the PlayStation 3.  Like the Xbox 360, the PS3 has come down in price a bit from its debut.  It’s now possible to pick one up (sans games or a second controller) for just $399.99.  The PlayStation 3 offers possibly better graphics than the Xbox 360 (check out our Xbox 360 Pro review); it’s hard to compare systems because their hardware specs are so radically different.  It features a built-in Blu-Ray player, so if you’re thinking of upgrading your movie/DVD collection to the next generation, you can basically add on a game player for only a couple hundred bucks more.  

An additional nice thing about the PlayStation 3 is the fact that there are still some franchises, like DRAKE’S FORTUNE, RATCHET & CLANK, METAL GEAR, and FINAL FANTASY, that are PS3 exclusives.  While a lot of titles like GRAND THEFT AUTO have made the jump to Xbox 360, if you’re a hardcore gamer or Sony fan, there are many franchises that can only be played on a PS3.

The final exclusive feature of the PlayStation 3 is that unlike Xbox Live, PlayStation’s online service — the PlayStation Network — is completely free.  This saves you $49.99 a year and allows you the same networking, friend-chatting, online matchmaking, and content (like movies and TV shows) that Xbox Live does, but without the yearly membership.

The PS3 delivers full-HD gaming, output through an HDMI cable.  This means games with stunning graphics and sound, sometimes indistinguishable from real life.  At this point, there are also quite a number of games in many genres, from first-person shooters to puzzle games to casual games downloadable through the PSN.

What do you get?  The PS3, one DualShock controller, a free membership to the PlayStation Network, Internet-ready Wi-Fi, an  (another advantage over the Xbox 360), 80-gig hard drive, built-in Blu-Ray player, and the ability to play Blu-Ray, DVD, and CDs.

Overall Rating: 7/10 – even though the price has been reduced to compete with the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3 is still by far the most expensive console around.  While the graphics are marginally better than the 360 and you get free online play and a Blu-Ray player, by the time you add in another controller and same games, you’re dropping $600.  You can buy a pretty decent computer (either laptop or desktop) for that price.  Or a new HDTV.

Recommendation: If you’re a hardcore gamer who needs three systems, if you’re a die-hard Sony man, or if you’re planning on getting a Blu-Ray player anyway and like to play video games, you should probably get a Sony PlayStation 3.  If not, buy a cheaper system with more games.