Most of the tele talk these days is about Ultra HD / 4K TVs, and generally the super-sized ones too. Companies like Samsung are even talking about how 55-inch screens have become their biggest selling TV size.
While the days when a 32-inch TV was considered the height of show-off AV opulence may be long gone, the 32-inch TV has certainly not gone out of fashion. On the contrary, it continues to be one of the biggest-selling segments of the TV market – and this really isn’t a surprise when you think about it.
When households are putting TVs in second, third, and even fourth rooms, the 32-inch screen size offers a perfect balance between affordability and practicality: It’s big enough to be comfortably viewable even in typically large rooms such as kitchens and conservatories, but not so big that it overwhelms smaller spaces such as bedrooms or studies.
Which TVs does TechRadar recommend?
While there always exceptions to the rule, we’ve come up with a list of a few things to look for when buying a new 32-inch TV.
First off, it pays to be smart. Second-room TVs can benefit more from a good range of ‘smart’ features than main living room TVs. After all, it’s clearly much easier to watch content streamed wirelessly over the internet on a second room TV than go to the hassle of trying to install an aerial point or second-room set-top box. With this in mind, we’d recommend that you try and get a 32-inch TV with built-in Wi-Fi that carries integrated video streaming services and supports DLNA file sharing from other devices on your network.
Second, shoot for a 1920×1080 resolution wherever possible. Pretty much every 32-inch TV these days is classed as ‘HD Ready’, meaning it has a high definition resolution and can play high definition sources. There are, though, two different resolutions that meet the HD Ready criteria: 1366×768, and ‘full HD’ 1920×1080. A set with a 1920×1080 resolution has the potential to give you cleaner, crisper, more detailed pictures than 1366×768 screens.
Lastly, just make sure the TV you have in mind has all the connections you need. For instance, PS4s, Xbox Ones and DVD/Blu-ray players will need HDMIs, the Nintendo Wii will need a component or even composite video input, PCs will likely need a VGA input, and Sky/Cable set top boxes will need another HDMI. Once you’ve got your list together, make sure your chosen TV has enough connections to handle everything without you having to keep swapping connection cables over.
Keep these tips in mind (along with the additional in-depth tips offered on page two) and you should have no problem finding the small screen of your dreams.
However, just in case you can’t find something, we’ve come up with a short list of what we think our the best 32-inch TVs of 2017 to help you along.
1. Sony KDL-32RE4 (UK only)
Sony’s 32RE4 packs HDR into a 32-inch screen
Screen size: 32-inch | Tuner: Freeview HD | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Smart Hub | Curved: No | Dimensions: 543 x 156 x 826 mm
Great for gamers
Not a smart TV
Screen is a bit dim
We’ve chosen to highlight Sony’s 32RE4 because, uniquely, it supports high dynamic range video. The screen won’t be bright enough to do HDR full justice, but any sort of HDR impact is welcome. Gamers may be particularly drawn to it given the HDR potential of the Xbox One S and PS4 consoles. Unlike 4K, HDR doesn’t need a big screen to deliver palpable picture quality improvements. Just remember you’ll need to feed the TV HDR sources to unlock its HDR potential.
2. VIZIO D32X-D1 (US Only)
Apps and full array backlighting for less than you might expect
Screen size: 32-inch | Tuner: N/A | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: VIZIO Internet Apps Plus | Curved: No | Dimensions: 505 x 733 x 184 mm
Full array backlighting
Remote isn’t great
Sound quality isn’t top class
VIZIO has never been known for catchy or easy to remember model names, so it’s only fitting that one of the best small screens from the company has a name like D32X-D1. While it might not have the catchiest name in the world, VIZIO’s small screen has a lot going for it – including a full 1080p resolution and an app tray full of the most popular streaming services like Netflix, YouTube and Hulu.
3. Samsung UN32M5300 (US Only)
Samsung’s M5300 Series is the top of its class for 2017
Screen size: 32-inch | Tuner: NA | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Smart Hub | Curved: No | Dimensions: 29.2 x 18.5 x 5.7 inches
Great app selection
Only 2 HDMI ports
Only optical audio supported
Samsung has been a leader in the 32-inch screen space for years. The top of the line model from the South Korean manufacturer this year is the UN32M5300. Why? It offers full 1080p images and its Tizen operating system for a price that most folks can afford. Sure, it doesn’t have the most connections in the world, but hey, the small compromises are absolutely worth it.
4. LG 32LJ610V (UK Only)
LG’s 32-inch screen is great for bright, open rooms
Screen size: 32-inch | Tuner: Freeview HD | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: No | Curved: No | Dimensions: 480 x 720 x 160mm
Good for bright rooms
webOS smart TV platform
Design could use work
The 32LJ610V is a bit on the ugly side by 32-inch TV standards, and it uses an IPS panel, making it a bad option for dark room environments. However, its picture is bright enough to stand out in light rooms, and best of all its webOS smart TV system makes it fantastically easy to use. Two out of three isn’t so bad, right?
5. Toshiba 32D3753DB (UK only)
Toshiba’s 32-inch screen is for cinephiles with DVD collections
Screen size: 32-inch | Tuner: Freeview HD | Resolution: 1366 x 768 | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Cloud TV | Curved: No | Dimensions: 498 x 745 x 215
Only 720p resolution
If you’re still rocking shelves full of DVDs or you’ve got a habit of popping the latest bargain bucket DVD title in with your weekly shopping, this new Toshiba model features a built-in DVD drive.
It likely won’t rival the other models here on all-round picture quality, but it still looks attractive despite its combi design, and supports the Freeview Play smart system in the UK. Which adds up to a lot of features for its £299 price tag.
- Head on over to page two to read more about 32-inch TVs!