It’s quite easy to get caught up in buzz words – especially when it comes to consumer electronics. Aside from perhaps the obnoxious spectacle that is Hollywood, no other industry uses buzz words and catchphrases better than consumer electronics. One of the current ones is “full” or “true 1080p HD” as it pertains to display products. Somewhat lost in the shuffle is the HD format that kick started it all: 720p. With the NX3202 LCD TV, Nexus has created a 720p HD television, which, based upon price-point and performance, offers you a tremendous intro into the world of HD displays.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS - Nexus HD LCD TV
Style & Appearance
All of the newer line of Nexus LCDs and plasmas have moved away from the matte black color finishes, instead opting to go with the more popular (amongst consumers) piano black finish. While it’s certainly less conspicuous than the matte finish, one can’t deny the aesthetic appeal and touch of class that piano finishes instantly bring to the table. In terms of dimensions, the NX3202 measures in at: (W x H x D) 31.5 x 23.5 x 9.5 inches or 80 x 59.7 x 24 centimeters, while tipping the scales at a net weight of 32 pounds or 14.5 kilograms. The frame bezels measure a modest two inches all around, and the bottom portion of the TV (just under the lower frame bezels) is where you’ll find – as always – the Nexus stereo speakers.
The right side of the TV features a few of the buttons that you’ll find on the remote such as power, volume and channel control, as well as the menu. The left side of the TV features all of the connection inputs. While prior Nexus TVs have split the inputs between the center rear and left side, this time around, the only thing you’ll find center rear is the power cord input which, of course, features a removable, non-fixed power cord. The base of the TV features the now standard sturdy and removable table-top stand. While previous Nexus models have features stands that swivel left and right, all of the newer televisions substitute the swivel for the stationery. While I do enjoy having the ability to subtly adjust your display left or right without having to physically move the entire TV, when you’re dealing with smaller display sizes in the neighborhood of 32 inches or smaller, it becomes far less of a selling point since the burden of physically adjusting it isn’t that much of a chore.
As I’ve mentioned in many a review, having input connections on the side as opposed to rear is a great feature in that it minimizes rear cable bulge and is much easier to access. Nexus once again caters to customer convenience by offering the aforementioned rear inputs on the NX3203.
In terms of the actual inputs available, the NX3203 offers a nice blend that includes HDMI (2), Component (1), Composite (1), S-Video (1), VGA (1), and Coaxial (1). Having three HD inputs in the form of two HDMI and one Component should suffice most people’s needs, and the addition of a VGA input is quite handy, as it gives you greater output display flexibility when using the TV screen with a PC. Doing away with an Optical audio input is a tad strange, but you can still make do with the Coaxial input for your digital audio needs.
PERFORMANCE - Nexus HD LCD TV
Unlike projectors, the set-up for any LCD TV consists of taking it out of the box and placing it where you’d like. The only real consideration in terms of physically setting it up is the proximity of where it will rest from the viewing area. Without harping on the specifics again (please refer to my prior Nexus TV reviews), it’s a good idea to adhere to the “2 to 5” principle as to how far or close you should place the TV from your viewing eyes. With respect to the NX3203, it should sit no closer than 3.6 feet away (43.12 inches), and no further than 11.7 feet away (140 inches).
Once you’ve taken the physical labor portion out of the set-up equation, you’ll then need to acquaint yourself with the user menus for the NX3203 LCD TV. For those who’ve purchased a new TV in the last few years, aside from specific names or color graphic icon displays, you’ll have no trouble navigating your way through the four menus on the NX3202. The first menu is Video which allows you to adjust items such as Brightness, Contrast, and Saturation. There are also four Picture Modes to choose from that include Standard, Cinema, User, or Vivid. You’ll also find an Advanced Video section that allows you to adjust (it’s on by default) settings for DNR (dynamic noise reduction, NOT to be confused with do not resuscitate), Black Level Extender, White Peak Limiter, and Flesh Tone. The second menu is Audio where you can adjust for Balance, Surround Sound, SPDIF type which offers PCM, Dolby Digital, or Off, and an Equalizer which gives you easy to use control over five separate sound range frequencies (120 Hz, 500 Hz, 1.5 KHz, 5 KHz, and 10 KHz) with a -10 to a +10 dB rating.
The third menu is Setup which allows you to adjust from items such as Screen Mode (Normal, Wide, Cinema, and Zoom), Time Setup, and OSD language. The fourth and final menu is Parental, and as the name would suggest, this is where parents can make sure that precocious and underage eyes are watching, and able to access, only the most wholesome of things that TV and otherwise has to offer, through options that include password protection, Channel Block, Input Block, and Program Block. Let’s now get into what matters most on any display product: the picture.
The first phase of accessing the image is doing it straight out of the box without any adjustments, using only the factory default settings. My setup was as follows: a Sony PS3 for Blu-ray playback, starring BBC’s Planet Earth, and an HDMI cable connection using 720p resolution. As you’re probably already aware to the point of ad nauseam, if you’re ever going to be less than impressed with your display’s image quality, it usually happens right out of the box because the default settings are usually tailored to a room that’s inordinately big and bright like you’d find in say, a store showroom, and as such, things usually appear too bright, too blown out, and oversaturated. Nexus, with their other HD TV models that I’ve reviewed, have consistently surprised and spoiled me in this regard. The NX3203 was no exception.
While there was certainly room for improvement (there always is) immediately out-of-box, I was quite satisfied with the visuals on display. Colors were consistently sharp and vibrant, particularly the reds, greens, and whites, while the blacks and overall contrast detail were good. In short: we were off to a splendid start. I then decided to do some tweaking by eye.
I arrived at the following settings in the Picture menu below:
In the Advanced Video portion of the Video menu, I turned off all the settings for DNR (dynamic noise reduction), Black Level Extender, White Peak Limiter, and Flesh Tone. This is all a matter a personal preference of course, but I tend to prefer having an image that is free of most artificial-type filters that manufacturers will sometimes include with their displays. I prefer to make my adjustments in the video or image menus, which I find attach far more realism to a given image.
Replaying some of the very same sequences, the already vivid colors and sharp images were augmented nicely with deeper blacks, which no doubt contributed to greater contrast detail, particularly during the darker segments. This is where many TV displays will fail to find that tricky balance between image detail and image brightness, thereby rendering rich and proper blacks to something more on par with the color gray. With a calibration on the horizon, I came away thoroughly impressed with the exceptional image quality yielded by the NX3203, using just the most basic of picture adjustments.
With impressive image quality right out of the box, I wasn’t surprised at how close my naked eye image adjustments were to the final calibrated settings. In terms of white balance, I adjusted for the 70 IRE range and the 15 IRE range, covering both ends of the proverbial bright and dark spectrum.
In the darker, 15 IRE end of things, with just an ever-so slight boost of red and blue offset, I was able to clock into an almost perfect color temperature of 6518K, while in the brighter, 70 IRE range, final color temperature was 6572K, requiring an additional gain boost in the red and blue as well. Re-watching scenes from Planet Earth, I did see what appeared to be marginal improvements in color saturation and contrast detail, but for all intents and purposes, improving an already stellar out-of-box image with just a few simple tweaks in the user menu should more than suffice.
I’ll keep things brief and to the point here. When you’re in the sub 42-inch size range for your television, it will primarily act as a secondary TV or one that’s suitable to smaller room sizes. Having said that, none of the above belies a home theater-style TV that requires a 5.1 speaker set-up with receiver, and as such, the audio for the Nexus NX3203 will more than do the job based on what you’re using this television for. The audio is clean and clear, and with a five-channel graphic equalizer that’s available for adjustments in the Audio menu, you’ll have above-average controls for TV sound that happens to be better than most of the competition out of the box.
FINAL THOUGHTS - Nexus HD LCD TV
I’ve used this word a couple of times already, so why not make it three: having worked my way through a variety of the Nexus line of HD televisions, I continue to be uniformly “impressed.” The NX3203 admirably upholds the Nexus standard of high-performance, quality HD televisions that offer ease of use, and consumer-friendly pricing that makes them virtually impossible to pass up.
DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS - Nexus NX3203 HD LCD TV
Manufacturer Homepage: www.nexuselectronics.com
Ridley Acoustics EVIO852B
Sinclair Cube System
RF Link AVS-5811