Sony Bravia KDL52X3100

The Sony Bravia KDL52X3100 is a decent 52-inch LCD television with an involving, detailed picture but is about to be eclipsed by next-gen models.

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Ty is a journalist with 15 years experience in writing for IT and entertainment publications. He is in charge of the home theatre category for CNET Australia and is also a PC enthusiast. He likes indie music and plays several instruments. Twitter: @tpendlebury

While its competitors have begun releasing their latest TV ranges, Sony is waiting till September to release an update to its X series. Will it be too little too late? Especially after Samsung gets a three-month jump on its ally with its series 6 and 7 TVs...

Sony has flirted on and off with its floating glass styling for several years, and on the X series it looks rather stately. We looked at the 52-inch XBR about six months ago and the major difference between the two TVs is the bezel. While the XBR uses a fixed brushed aluminium fascia, the X series has a removable plastic back. The TV we received had the standard black bezel fitted, but there are other colours available at an extra cost.

We really like the X series' integrated stand — which makes setting up a snap. Pull it out of the box, plug it in, and you're ready to watch TV.

There are very few features that the Sony leaves you wanting for with a full 1080p resolution, high-def tuner and three HDMI ports. Another new feature that's generated some minor controversy elsewhere is 100Hz motion compensation. While this process can remove judder from movies it can have some unpleasant side effects — the most benign of these is how it renders human movement. Using 100Hz at the highest setting can make actors look like they're computer animated — sort of like a "live-action" Toy Story, if you like.

The other more serious problem is artefacting or "haloing" around static elements in a moving scene. The effect is similar to ghosting except that instead of disappearing instantaneously the ghost stays there.

In addition to the inclusion of 100Hz, other image processing features include support for 24p and a 2000:1 true contrast, which is a little low now considering that Samsung's new panels offer up to 50,000 "dynamic contrast".

Considering that the X series is so similar to the XBR it was no surprise to find that they performed similarly. However, this time we paid special attention to 100Hz MotionFlow to determine how effective it was.

We've found that the rooftop scene in Mission Impossible 3 is a stern test for 100Hz systems, and in this case it demonstrated that the Bravia just wasn't up to the task. While the "impossible craneshot" started well — with the buildings trickling smoothly by — artefacts appeared as the camera swung around Tom Cruise's head. There was heavy artefacting with lots of ghosting and unnatural movement especially when set to "High".

The ugly side of 100Hz — notice the ghosting on the face and shoulders.

The House of Flying Daggers is an excellent tester for 100Hz processing, with plenty of tracking shots and frenzied movement. We took some photos of the effect that motion compensation can have. If you look at the photo on the right you'll see the shoulders appear to be ghosting. Imagine that continuing for the length of the shot and you have the haloing effect. (Just ignore the red and green discolouration — they were errors that only occurred by the camera).

After using the MotionFlow feature for some time, we determined that most material simply looked better with it off. Images were bright and detailed, and black levels were strong despite the relatively low contrast ratio. Only when switching to the on-board tuner did smearing and ghosting begin to creep into the image. As this is something we didn't see during our other testing this is likely an issue with the tuner itself. However, free-to-air images were otherwise natural with HD content looking particularly good. Even Ready Steady Cook looked both muted and detailed and not the day-glo horror that most TVs make of it.

Latest generation LCDs have had some problems with backlight "clouding" — this is where black backgrounds appear mottled with some dark grey patches. However, we were pleased to report there was no obvious clouding — which is great news for a movie like 2001: A Space Odyssey which opens with a black screen.

Otherwise, if you discount the performance of the tuner and MotionFlow, the Sony is a good television. Blu-rays look fantastic and DVD performance is excellent too. Even analog TV looked okay. Sound is great for a flatscreen, though not up there with the Sharps we've looked at in the past. But LCD isn't at the level that plasmas are capable of at this size, and for a full two grand less — the PDP-508XDA is currently AU$3999 — we'd definitely choose a Pioneer.

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matt posted a review   

The Good:- best picture quality of all the mainstream lcds at the time.
- motionflow and 24p, brings movement up to date with HD resolution.

The Bad:- painfully slow channel surfing, this has been improved greatly in the next
- rather loud cooling fan, this was one of the last problems i was expecting to run into, but the fan can be off putting when watching quietly at night, or even in a quite scene

mainly wanted to make a comment about the motionflow, don't know if the reviewer tried this, but lots of blurring and ghosting happens when motionflow AND noise reduction is turned on, if you turn noise reduction off, there is no noticeable blurring or ghosting with motionflow. for me, having more picture noise is a small price to pay for better motionflow performance.

thought through

thought through posted a review   

The Good:- great colour
- high def

The Bad:- very very expensive for what it is
- paying for the brand

it is a good quality tv which will survive for many years. Despite the great colours, and the high definition, this is an average tv which is Not worth the price given that there are better tvs for a lower price.


Jason posted a review   

The Good:Amount of inputs
Picture quality

The Bad:Absolutely none!

I bought the 46 inch a couple of days ago, and I thoght that Cnet was a little harsh with the review. I have had no problems with it and the picture quality is great, especially in HD.


anonomus posted a review   

The Good:great all round tv. picture quality is great when ever friends come round they always comnt on how good the picture is. lovely design...

The Bad:foxtel only has 5 hd channels so the picture isnt as good as wen i watch hd. over all i love my tv

i bought the 40" nd i love it! it is a great tv and i would recomend it to anyone. my neighbour has a samsung (im not sure if it is plasma or LCD) but the picture is alot better on my sony


guest1987 posted a review   

Bought the 46 inch screen, absolutely fantastic TV. Goes with the sony home theatre set perfectly.


rizwanahmed posted a review   

The Good:outstanting

The Bad:outstanting

Sony Bravia KDL52X3100 -outstanting


tee posted a review   

The Good:general picture awesomeness. best black i've seen on lcd, almost up there with plasma. 100hz (obviously!), and, as the reviewer said, sound is very good too - this isn't one of those flatscreens which absolutely HAS to go hand-in-hand with a home theatre system.

The Bad:i actually find ghosting with sdtv signals far more annoying than the artefacts created by 100hz. this is perhaps endemic to sd-viewed-on-hd, but the sony seems to suffer from this more than some samsungs that i've seen.

i have a 40" inch x3100 (same model as reviewed here but smaller + with different bezel).... I thought cnet were a little harsh on 100hz. it's GREAT for games, particularly games that already have a very high frame rate (eg. call of duty 4, gran turismo prologue). 100 hz makes them even smoother (almost freakishly smooth) without introducing any noticeable artefacts whatsoever. agree that it can creates some definite blurring artefacts in movies when set to high but that doesn't automatically write it off, the smoothness that brings IS very impressive.


harlz posted a review   

The Good:
options, inputs, 100hz (best on standard not high) on the PS3, the XMB game pictures (ie. the GTA IV girl) or any hd images look like they're actually real pictures infromt of the screen.

The Bad:tuner channel change time, no epg. I still have a philips HD tuner, works great with hdmi

The ghosting problem you talked about on the tuner is just the noise reduction, turn both off and you won't have that problem anymore. - was the same for me, now fine


bazza posted a review   

The Good:very good allround set.

The Bad:feel sorry for the public if they have to rely on this sight for acurate reviews.
do your own research and search the world as i did to find out what i needed to know.
sorry guys but you have lost me.

"As we've said before 100Hz Motionflow is perhaps the best technology we've seen for removing judder and on Blu-ray it works superbly."
thats what you said about the 46" & 52" xbr and they are exactly the same lcd only cosmetic differences so either you got a dud or you dont read your own reviews.
you rate the 52"xbr with a 8.0
the 46"xbr with 8.4 & editors choice
and this 52" x with 7.5


bazza posted a review   

The Good:the best in HD movie experience
more acurate colours than most plasma and lcd inc top brands.
HD tv never looked so good sd def tv is as good as can be expected from any lcd.

The Bad:minor issues with std def programs which is mostly because of the digital broard cast signal not the lcd and can be noticed on most plasma as well. i bought my 52" full hd for just that, if you want the best picture for std def then stick with your tube tv.
but then your missing out on what hd has to offer.

sorry but i dont agree.
i have had the same 52" since oct last year and dont notice any clouding that you talk about and the 100hz motion has been at most good with only minor artifacts issues on high, all flat panel tv have some settings that should not be on high for obvious reasons, where are your results for standard settings on 100hz.
do you set your sharpness to full or high, no because it will in most cases on all tv make the picture worse. i watch full hd and std def sport with no problems.
are you basing your findings on default factory settings or proper calibrated settings like what i use and know they work.

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User Reviews / Comments  Sony Bravia KDL52X3100

  • matt



    "mainly wanted to make a comment about the motionflow, don't know if the reviewer tried this, but lots of blurring and ghosting happens when motionflow AND noise reduction is turned on, if you turn ..."

  • thought through

    thought through


    "it is a good quality tv which will survive for many years. Despite the great colours, and the high definition, this is an average tv which is Not worth the price given that there are better tvs for..."

  • Jason



    "I bought the 46 inch a couple of days ago, and I thoght that Cnet was a little harsh with the review. I have had no problems with it and the picture quality is great, especially in HD."

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