Sony Bravia KDL-19S5700 television review

A mere 6.9cm deep, there’s not much to Sony’s KDL-19S5700, but what it lacks in depth it makes up for in excellent pictures and some novel versatility.

Surprisingly well connected for a small TV, this 19-incher counts a couple of HDMI inputs (one on a side panel), a set of Component video inputs, a VGA PC in, two RGB Scarts and some handy audio ins and outs. The latter phono ports means you can attach a PC, or take the sound out to a hi-fi you might have around the room.

This is a TV fit for a bedroom, and one styled as such; its low-profile design is accentuated by a tabletop stand that’s invisible. It protrudes out the back (which increases the TV’s depth to 12.3cm), but can’t be seen from the front. It’s also removable and the KDL-19S5700 can be hung on a wall using any VESA wallmount, though we’d bet its gentle sloping standalone appearance will most appeal.

Available in white or "satin" silver, the KDL-19S5700 features a wraparound frame that encompasses both a HD-ready (1366 x 768 pixel) resolution LCD screen and a very visible speaker beneath. That’s unusual - most brands like to shout about their "invisible" speakers - but there’s a reason; slap bang in the middle of the speaker, behind the actual grille, is a digital display that shows the time.

You probably wouldn’t want that in the lounge, though the KDL-19S5700 is very portable; it even comes with a carry handle in the box that can be screwed-on to the top.

Its built-in Freeview TV tuner comes equipped with a 7-day EPG that’s nicely presented; shades of blue and grey show TV schedules for 12 channels on screen at any one time, over 3 hours. The onscreen menus are high-res graphics and are lightning quick despite being at the mercy of a slightly clumsy remote control.

That EPG is operated using Fastext buttons, which also come to the fore if you put a USB stick into the KDL-19S5700’s side. Unfortunately it doesn’t recognise video files, but operation of both music (MP3) and photos (JPEG) is impressive. Slideshows can be operated using the Fastext buttons, while sound quality is reasonably good, too - music is acceptable, but dialogue benefits most from the speakers’ positioning under the screen.

Kudos goes to Sony for fitting the KDL-19S5700 with one of the finest LCD screens we’ve seen at this size. We’re talking exceptional clarity and detail from Blu-ray, and a clean presentation of Freeview, though best of all is contrast. Jet-black areas of images are just that; they’re a world away from most LCD screens of this size, and the viewing angle is also very wide, with colour and contrast remaining even if you watch from the wings. 

Verdict

Sony’s 19-incher might appear to be nothing more than a cleverly designed TV aimed at kitchens and minimalist bedrooms, but the KDL-19S5700 proves that looks and performance can go together. A generally brilliant LCD screen stuffed with contrast and vibrant colours is married to decent sound and an impossibly simple and intuitive user system.