A while back I got a chance to play around with an ultrawide LG monitor that I was enamoured with – but also decided against getting for such a high price. It has a slightly less intimidating price tag now and, if you’re in the market for monitors of the ultrawide variety, then I’d still recommend it. However if you’re looking for something a little cheaper and in the Television vein for your gaming, then I have a recommendation in the form of the 32” Sony Bravia KDL32W705C that I recently bought myself.
Primarily this is a PC monitor for me, secondarily it’s for consoles, tertiarily for on-demand films and TV (specifically Netflix as the remote has a Netflix button), and finally as a very unlikely – but still possible – use as a PlayStation Now device. At the very least, it succeeds on all but the last front, as I have very little want or need for PS Now with its current offerings. After having owned the TV for over a month and having also gotten a fairly long amount of screen time with it, I must say it’s pretty darn good.
I’ll start off with the only major flaw, the sound quality. I read reviews myself, before ponying up for it and I took the risk that the sound would be awful as a few outlets said it would be; I don’t think it’s as bad it was described in the reviews. It’s fairly empty however; it lacks oomph. It has a good volume to it, doesn’t distort and is clear; but it doesn’t give that powerful sound that televisions should have over monitors.
With its default sound settings it is positively devoid of power. A few minutes of fiddling about can get it to respectable levels that are fine for games, music, film and TV; so long as you care about the content rather than how well the content is delivered. Getting a decent speaker system can do wonders and is well worth it if you like some rumble to accompany any media that relies on sound as part of the package it’s offering.
As a PC monitor, some people might argue that 32” is too big; I would argue that it’s not. Vehemently. Being big is in some regards better than a second monitor; if for instance you are of the game playing persuasion and have an interest immersing yourself in a game without the need for checking social media, emails, news or cat videos in a second monitor then you’ll do just fine with one of these. The screen is big enough for those borderline reasons for two screens, like half a screen with a Word Doc open and the other half with Netflix, Twitter etc. If you want to play something MMO-like with guides or whatever in a second window, then maybe two smaller screens is still for you.
It’s Full HD, as TVs and monitors these days should be, and it does a fine job at that. Everything from the Witcher 3 to Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush looks gorgeous, with vivid colour and crisp, clear pictures. It also handles dark colours really well, which there were a lot of in both Among the Sleep and Zombi, with it showing off that it can handle the contrasting shades especially well in Among the Sleep, which has many sections of darkness with smatterings of light shining here and there. Also, considering the addition of 8” on my last monitor, it should look a little worse from PC viewing distance but somehow it does look far better than my previous one, so again the size of the screen hasn’t affected it adversely.
While sound and picture quality are really the only things that should matter for a TV – energy consumption and other more indirect qualities aside – the smart TV functionality and Freeview is something that can’t really be overlooked in this day and age. However, I am not of the TV viewing sort as Netflix and catch-up TV like iPlayer have replaced my need for scheduled television, as it has for many others, so I cannot attest as to what the Freeview is like. There’s the previously mentioned Netflix button on the remote though, which takes a few button presses away from the chain that it would otherwise normally take, which is as convenient as it sounds. There is the option of controlling the TV with a PS3 or PS4 controller too, which is to allow for it playing games through PS Now – which is an interesting feature, but not one that I have tried.
I’d been hankering for a new TV for quite a while to replace my slightly defective one and this has worked wonders. The large size has meant that distance viewing for me has improved; allowing me to enjoy both films and games from further away without squinting to read the subtitles or missing minutiae in scenes or environments. Its inbuilt and rather fast Netflix app/program is more useful than I should like to admit – alongside iPlayer and Amazon Video, making it perfect for keeping background noise to a minimum (no 360, PC or Wii U fans whirring) and it also means less device power consumption.
The only real drawback is the sound, which I personally can deal with on the most part but I can see why you might look for something that’s the “whole package” rather than having two separate devices to do one job. It does look lovely though, both in its ability to display images beautifully and its physical appearance; so all in all a worthy purchase at the fairly reasonable £300ish mark.