10 best 32-inch TVs in the world today
21st Nov 2012 | 11:56
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10 best 32-inch LCD TVs
Our constantly updated list of all the best 32-inch TVs in the world
Still going strong as we plunge headfirst into Christmas silly-season 2012, the 32-inch LCD TV is one of the most popular consumer electronics products in the UK.
It's always been the most popular TV size by far, mainly because many British living rooms can't physically take a TV much bigger than 32-inches in size. It's also a decent option for a 'big' bedroom or secondary TV.
Within the 32-inch division there's plenty of choice, too. A basic HD-ready TV can be found for well under £300 if you search hard, though it's just as easy to spend over £1,500.
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But there is one certainty at this size - your new TV will be an LCD TV.
If you're lucky it could have LED backlighting, but it won't be a plasma; LG used to make plasmas at this size, but there's not one on sale these days.
A typical £500 purchase will sport a Full HD screen, have at least three HDMI inputs, and some kind of 100Hz scanning, though the latter feature varies so much in effectiveness that you've simply got to see it in action in the shop before you shell out any extra cash.
Full HD, media streaming and even built-in Freesat HD or Freeview HD - it's all possible on these small TVs.
So what's the best 32-inch LCD TV for you? Read on to find out...
Carries a built-in DVD player despite its exceptionally low price.
£340: Despite being the cheapest 32-inch TV in our hot 10, the 32DL933 has a pleasant surprise tucked away down its side: a built-in DVD player. This means the 32DL933B isn't as slender as most of Toshiba's other TVs, but it's still reasonably easy on the eye. It also surprisingly offers multimedia playback via either DVD discs or USB devices - though there's no PC or Internet connectivity. Nor is there a Freeview HD tuner, sadly.
However, aside from a bit of motion blur and a slight general lack of fine detail it performs comfortably well enough for such an exceptionally cheap combi TV.
A minimal-frills but effective budget option
£349: Despite being widely available for less than £350, the L32X5B boasts a Freeview HD tuner and is capable of playing back of a good selection of video, photo and music files via both USB device or SD card.
it also boasts an IPS Alpha panel that can be watched from a wider angle than most LCD TVs without losing contrast, and its pictures are overall much more watchable than those of most similarly cheap 32in TVs.
There are inevitably compromises, such as a 1366x768 native resolution rather than a full HD one, a little motion blurring and some rather 'hollow'-looking dark scenes. But L32X50 is still by any stretch of the imagination a bargain.
Solid features and good pictures for peanuts
£350: The ultra-cheap 32RL953 looks much more expensive than it is, thanks to its skinny rear and barely-there bezel. It supports multimedia playback via USB and PC, and it even lets you go online - albeit not via Wi-Fi - with Toshiba's Places system. 'Places' lacks content versus most rival online systems, but getting any online features is a bonus for £350.
What really helps the 32RL953 make this list, though, is its picture quality. For while it's far from perfect (standard definition looks mushy and you can see backlight inconsistency in dark scenes), with its startlingly good contrast, impressive full HD sharpness, bold colours and crisp motion handling, it still leaves most similarly cheap TVs for dead. Check out our review of the 40-inch version here...
Few features, but exceptional pictures for its price
£399: The UE32EH5000 is unusual by budget 32-inch TV standards in that it sacrifices features to focus on delivering better picture quality. So while you do get a Freeview HD tuner and multimedia playback from USB sticks, you only get two HDMIs; you don't get 3D; you don't get Smart TV online features; and you don't get network streaming from DLNA PCs.
Nor do you get one of Samsung's famed skinny designs. In fact, the UE32EH5000 is one of the fattest TVs we've seen.
Its picture quality really is excellent for a sub-£400 TV, though, delivering better contrast, colour, sharpness and motion handling than you've any right to expect for so little money.
A solid mid-ranger with step-up 2D pictures but no 3D
£420: The L32E5 slots between the L32X5 and L32ET5, offering mid-level motion processing, multimedia playback from two USBs (versus the one and three of the L32X5 and L32ET5 respectively), and access to Panasonic's Viera Connect online service. It also supports streaming from DLNA PCs unlike the cheaper L32X5, though it doesn't carry Wi-Fi.
Picture quality is good. Colours are bold, and HD sources look sharp and detailed. Motion is a big improvement over the L32X5 too, and the set's rich colours and high brightness create at least the impression of a strong contrast performance.
There's some backlight inconsistency during dark scenes, but overall the L32E5 comfortably outperforms its price point.
Attractive design meets punchy pictures and smart TV functionality at a tempting price
£500: Despite being very affordable for what it offers, the 32LM620T delivers LG's customary picture strengths, namely extremely dynamic colours, a well-balanced contrast performance that lets you see unusually high amounts of shadow detail in dark areas, and exemplary sharpness with HD. If you're into 3D, meanwhile, you'll also lap up its passive 3D playback, which is clean, natural and involving.
The 32LM620T's pictures show a little noise and motion blurring at times, but these are relatively minor problems.
In fact, once you've added to the 32LM620T's strong pictures some excellent online and USB/network multimedia capabilities, you've got one of LG's finest TV moments to date. Check out our review of the 55-inch model...
Read: LG 55LM620T review
Great value for a TV with online functions and active 3D playback
£520: In feature terms Samsung's UE32ES6300 exceeds the cheaper UE32EH5000 elsewhere on this list by offering active 3D playback (with two pairs of free glasses); streaming from networked PCs; and access to Samsung's content-rich and beautifully presented Smart TV online service.
The set also still offers multimedia playback from USB devices, but ditches the UE32EH5000's chunky design in favour of something much more svelte.
Pictures are mostly excellent in both 2D and 3D mode, thanks to exceptional backlight uniformity, rich but also subtle colour rendering, gorgeous HD detailing, minimal 3D crosstalk, and some of the best motion handling seen on a 32in TV.
The only significant problem with the UE32ES6300, in fact, is a rather limited viewing angle. Check out our review of the 46-inch version here...
Panasonic turns to passive 3D with impressive results
£550: The L32ET5 gets off to a great start by sporting an unusual and attractive smoky grey colour and glass-like finish. It's also richly featured, including among its attractions passive 3D playback, a Freeview HD tuner, multimedia playback from USB or a networked PC, and access to Panasonic's Viera Connect online platform, with its solid selection of video, game and infotainment apps.
In many ways the L32ET5's pictures are good too. Its passive 3D pictures are clean, bright and untiring, while its 2D pictures are punchy, sharp and colour-rich.
Dark scenes reveal a lack of contrast, but this is only a big problem for serious film fans.
Impressive mid-range performer with expansive multimedia features
£590: Although not as outstanding as Sony's brilliant HX853 models, the step-down 32HX753 is still a fine 32in option.
For starters it's very well featured, with a Freeview HD tuner, Sony's excellent new video-rich SEN online service, streaming from DLNA PCs and Macs, and even active 3D playback (though you don't get any free glasses).
Its pictures, meanwhile, look sharp and richly coloured, and handle motion well. The set also does excellently with 3D, largely ducking the dreaded crosstalk problem.
The only catch is that pictures aren't very bright after they've been calibrated to produce a good black colour. But provided you're not looking for a TV for a kitchen or conservatory, it should do you just fine.
Great picture quality means this premium TV can be considered 'reassuringly expensive'
£750: The 32PFL6007T is expensive, but rewards your extra outlay handsomely. For starters it looks gorgeous with its exceptionally slender bezel and Philips' unique Ambilight system casting soothing and involving pools of light from the TV's edges.
It's also stuffed with features, including passive 3D playback, two-player full screen gaming, multimedia playback via USB, and connection to both networked PCs and Philips' Smart TV service via LAN or built-in Wi-Fi.
Best of all, its Pixel Precise HD processing and inherent panel quality help it produce the best all-round pictures of any TV on this list - so long as you're careful with its complicated picture settings, at any rate.
Philips 32PFL6007T review: Coming soon!