Sony Bravia EX400 Review
Although the BraviaEX400 is technically a step down from the EX500 series, it doesn't feel like much of a drop. The Bravia EX400 has a 60Hz refresh rate rather than 120Hz, but other specs are nearly the same. The picture quality with the EX400 is solid and starting prices are a bit lower than the EX500 sets. Available in three screen sizes, the Bravia EX400 is a good deal.
Sony's EX400 TVs are very similar to the Sony EX500 models, and the reviews for the EX400 are similar as well. Televisioninfo.com is impressed with the TV's deep black levels and says the set has pretty good color quality overall. Bestbuy.com users declare that the EX400 has "amazing" picture quality, particularly when watching Blu-ray movies.
The EX400's specs are very similar to the EX500, the biggest difference between the two being that the EX400 only has a 60Hz refresh rate rather than a 120Hz refresh rate. The EX400 also has 4 HDMI ports, 3 component inputs, a PC connection, and a USB port.
The Sony EX400 may not have as fast a refresh rate as the EX500, but ultimately may be the better deal. The EX400 TVs are quite a bit cheaper, and users don't seem to notice problems with the slower refresh rate.Panasonic Viera TC-L37X2 ($535) Panasonic's Viera TC-L37X2 is a smaller TV with a fairly hefty price tag that didn't really knock users' and reviewers' socks off - not a good combination. Televisioninfo.com says the set has "mediocre" black levels, and after playing around with several calibration settings, found that users would have to choose between good color quality but a bad contrast ratio, or a good contrast ratio and poor color. Not a ringing endorsement. Amazon.com users were a little more forgiving of the picture quality, and most users mentioned they liked the TV's build-in iPod dock, however. The Viera TC-L37X2 is a 37-inch TV with 3 HDMI ports, 2 composite ports, 1 component port, and 1 PC port. Unlike most TVs in this review, the TC-L37X2 has a 720p resolution rather than the more common, higher-quality 1080p resolution.
We're ready to pass on this TV. The iPod dock may be a cool gimmick, but it's not enough to overcome the TV's picture quality problems, especially for a relatively small cheap TV at a relatively high price.
Westinghouse SK-26H640G ($277.65)
Westinghouse is one of the companies we can thank for helping to drive down LCD TV costs. The company sells some of the cheapest sets around. The SK-26H640G, though, doesn't seem to have a lot of fans. Cnet.com only gives it 2 stars out of 5 because of its weak black levels and dearth of features. PCmag.com wasn't impressed with the TV's picture quality, and a few Amazon.com users complain of quality issues, with a couple saying the TV stopped working altogether after only a year or so.
Westinghouse doesn't list many features for the SK-26H640G. This 26-inch set has only 2 HDMI ports and 1 component input. The speakers are the wimpiest in this review, at a mere 5 watts (most LCD TVs have at least 20w speakers). Also, the SK-26H640G's top resolution is 720p rather than the more common 1080p.
You won't find too many LCD TVs in this price range, but manufacturers have to make a lot of sacrifices to drive down an LCD TV's price to this low level, and we don't think it's worth it. Budget shopping isn't about finding the cheapest product available, it's about finding the best value for your dollar, and this simply TV doesn't deliver.