Sony KDL-42W653A review

Sony targets the budget market with admirable results

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Although the 42W653A undoubtedly made a bold statement right off the bat with its aggressive price, big questions still hung over it as we started our tests based on our unhappy experience with Sony's step-up 47W805A.

Fortunately it answers most of these questions in very positive fashion, though, replacing the limited contrast performance of the 47W805A with a much more credible black level response that immediately makes pictures of all sorts – especially films – look vastly more immersive and realistic.

Its pictures are also sharper and cleaner than you might expect for the set's money, and it backs its picture prowess up with a reasonably strong online system. Just bear in mind before splurging your cash that the set doesn't support 3D.

We liked

Picture quality is very good for such an affordable set, some aspects of the TV's design are strong, and there's an admirable focus on video streaming in the set's online functionality.

We disliked

There's no 3D (if that bothers you), the video streaming services on offer don't include the ITV Player or 4OD at the time of writing, the smart TV interface lacks a little sophistication, and its audio doesn't live up to its picture quality.

Final verdict

Ducking out of 3D with the 42W653A has proved a masterstroke by Sony. Deciding to ditch a feature most people are no longer bothered about has enabled the brand to retain more of its latest picture processing power for the 42W653A. It has also allowed Sony to use a more contrast-rich source panel than they did with the W805 series.

The 42W653A's picture quality really is excellent for its money, while a ground-breakingly low input lag performance also makes it a stellar option for serious gamers.

Also consider

There aren't too many direct rivals around in the 42W653A's price range. But one recently tested example would be the Toshiba 40L6353, which joins the Sony in ditching 3D and offering Smart TV and multimedia playback features. We've also seen Toshiba's set now selling for as little as £450 – that's £100 cheaper than the Sony.

However, Toshiba's smart system is much slower and less content heavy than Sony's, and the 40L6353's picture quality falls some way short of the 42W653A's.

A much more serious rival for the 42W653A if you value picture quality is the Samsung UE40F6400. This offers similarly impressive HD images and a superbly flexible and wide-ranging Smart TV platform, but its standard definition images aren't quite as good.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Digital TunerDVB-C (MPEG2), DVB-T (MPEG4)
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports2
Number of SCART Interfaces2
Product FamilyBRAVIA W653A
EU Energy LabelA+
Smart TVYes
Brand NameSony
Screen Size106.7 cm (42")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Horizontal Viewing Angle178°
Vertical Viewing Angle178°
EthernetYes
Wireless LANYes
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
USBYes
HDMIYes
Weight with Stand (Approximate)11 kg
Backlight TechnologyEdge LED
Operating Power Consumption95 W
Standby Power Consumption450 mW
RMS Output Power16 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand595 mm
Width with Stand954 mm
Depth with Stand197 mm
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
SCARTYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Number of USB Ports1
Energy Consumption per Year69 kWh
PC StreamingYes
Internet AccessYes
Media PlayerYes
Motion Interpolation TechnologyMotionflow XR 200
Height568 mm
Width954 mm
Depth69 mm
ColourChrome
Sound SystemSurround Sound, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pulse, NICAM
Product SeriesW653A
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
FeaturesWeb Browser, Sleep Timer, Picture and Picture (PAP)
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelKDL-42W653A
Product NameBRAVIA KDL-42W653A LED-LCD TV
Product LineBRAVIA
Manufacturer Part NumberKDL42W653ABU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Marketing Information

Go beyond the everyday

Think you know great TV? Think again. The W65 is packed with technology to make everything you watch clearer, smoother and more full of life. It has some unexpected extras too, enabling you to seamlessly integrate your smartphone or tablet into the entertainment experience.

Bring your picture to life

Warmer sunsets, brighter eyes, more thrilling action - X-Reality PRO adds an extra dimension of image clarity to everything you watch. Drawing on a database of visual information, it analyses and enhances every image - it's especially good with faces and skin tone.

Package Contents
  • BRAVIA KDL-42W653A LED-LCD TV
  • Batteries
  • Remote control
  • AC power cable
SpeakersYes
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)9.90 kg