I recently had a chance to look at a bunch of pre-release TVs, including trying the first 42-inch OLED TVs and the Sony A95K QD-OLED TV. But one of the TVs I saw that stuck with me most wasn't pre-release at all. In fact, it's been out for a full year – I just didn't know about it until now, and I bet lots of other people didn't either.
The TV is the Sony FW-32BZ30J, and it's a 32-inch 4K TV that's really quite high-specced. Not many feature HDR support at all, let alone Dolby Vision… but this does. You usually expect two or three HDMI ports on them at most, but this boasts four… and one is HDMI eARC so you can connect one of the best soundbars for small TVs in ultra-high-quality.
Maybe the single biggest stand-out feature is the Sony X1 image processor, which is what powers the likes of Sony X85J – and that comes in huge sizes, where impeccable processing is a must.
On a TV this size, it means you really get pin-sharp images and smooth motion – and that was my impression seeing it in the flesh. But even more than that, the combo of Dolby Vision support and Sony's Triluminous Pro tech meant that the colours and vibrancy were what really leapt off the wall here.
I happened to see it right at the same time as Sony's 42-inch OLED TV, and there was an alarmingly small difference in the richness of the colours, consider that this is an edge-lit LED TV and is much less expensive.
Being edge-lit means you're looking at both limited brightness and limited dark levels overall, though it was clearly still a cut above most of the best 32-inch TVs in both regards. With a brightness of around 300 nits, you're not getting dazzling HDR, but lots of bigger budget screens are also around this level – and the use of Dolby Vision means any compatible source will still make the most of the dynamic range it does have.
And, again, this might not compare so well to the best big-screen TVs, but compared to other 32-inch models, it's a noticeably step up.
So why haven't we heard about it?
The thing to know about the Sony FW-32BZ30J is that Sony officially calls it a pro monitor designed for business use – as signage, or in an office. That's why it's not pushed hard at most TV retailers. I saw it thanks to AWE Europe, which is a distributor for the custom installation market, which is far more likely to work with screen's from Sony's pro division – hence my chance meeting alongside all the more consumer-focused TVs coming this year.
But the actual specs are not all that pro focused. This isn't a computer monitor pretending to be a TV – it's a TV stuffed in a monitor's suit, right down to having the same processing as many of the best Sony TVs. The only think it's lacking is a TV tuner, but this is 2022! Get a Roku stick or an Apple TV 4K or something!
The one thing it doesn't seem to be especially geared up for is gaming, but neither are other 32-inch TVs, to be fair – at this size, it's going to be competing with the best gaming monitors, really. But those aren't impressive as TVs, and based on the colours, motion handling and detail I saw from it… this is.
Naturally, all of this tech means it's more expensive than other 32-inch TVs. Depending on where you order, you'll need to pay £600-£800, or around $700. And as I mentioned, it's not just sitting around in most stores – you'll need to choose an online store, which may even end up putting in a special order.
But if you're someone who loves great picture quality and but you've got a room that's really tight on space, based on my admittedly brief time with it, the Sony FW-32BZ30J could be the hidden gem you've been waiting for.