The best 32-inch TVs used to be the pinnacle of AV enthusiasm, and while they’ve since fallen far from that title, the best 32-inch TVs are far from irrelevant.Quite the opposite, it continues to be one of the most popular segments of the TV market – and this really isn’t all that surprising when you think about it.
If you’re thinking about putting TVs in second, third, and even fourth rooms, the best 32-inch TVs strike a perfect balance between affordability and utility: It’s big enough to be comfortably viewable even in typically large rooms such as kitchens and conservatories, but not so big that it dominates smaller areas such as bedrooms or studies.
Which TVs does TechRadar recommend?
While there always exceptions to the rule, we’ve come up with a quick and handy list of things to think about when shopping for a new 32-inch TV.
Most importantly, smart TVs aren’t called smart for no reason. Second-room TVs can gain more from a good range of ‘smart’ features than main living room sets. Obviously, it’s clearly much easier to watch content streamed wirelessly over the internet than go to the hassle of trying to install an aerial point or second-room set-top box on a second room TV. So, if you are indeed shopping for a second-room TV, you should definitely consider a set with Wi-Fi capability that supports both video streaming services and file sharing.
With even the best 32-inch TVs, you should always go for a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. Most 32-inch TVs these days are labeled as ‘HD Ready’, meaning it has a high definition resolution and can play high definition sources. Don’t be fooled by misleading labeling, though. There are two different resolutions that meet the HD Ready criteria: 1,366×768, and ‘full HD’ 1,920 x 1,080. A TV with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution will always give you a cleaner, more detailed image than one with a 768p resolution, and they’re not even that much more expensive.
One last thing to consider before you decide which TV you want, is whether or not it has all the connections you need. Devices like PS4s, Xbox Ones and DVD/Blu-ray players will need HDMI inputs, the Nintendo Wii or other legacy game consoles will need a component or even composite video input, PCs if they don’t use HDMI, will probably use a DVI input and Sky/Cable set top boxes will need an additional HDMI. To make your life easier, you should also consider a TV with enough ports so that you’re not constantly shuffling inputs around in order to use your different devices.
Keep these tips in mind, and you should have no problem finding the small screen of your dreams. However, just in case you can’t find something, we’ve taken the liberty of compiling a list of the best 32-inch TVs of 2017.
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.