Sony KDL-26EX553 review

A small, smart and serious TV for a bedroom or kitchen

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Though one of few smart TVs at the 26-inch size, it's nevertheless the Sony KDL-26EX553's picture quality, not its apps, that most impress us.

Still, any TV this size with Wi-Fi, Freeview HD and some semblance of (albeit not perfect) digital file support and networking was always going to impress.

We liked

In terms of picture quality, the Sony KDL-26EX553 is a great all-rounder, with contrast and colours its key strengths. The HD-ready resolution proves a help, not a hindrance, at this size, helping to make disparate sources clean and watchable.

We like the wide choice of apps available, too. Meanwhile, the Media Remote app is effective, as is the hard button version, while the 'easel' design looks great - at least from afar.

We disliked

The chance to indulge in USB playback, apps and home networking on the small screen is welcome and long overdue - surely in the bedroom is where one is most likely to have the time and patience to scroll through apps, or watch digital video files - though without MKV support, it's a chance missed.

Audio is relatively poor, ruling out the KDL-26EX553 as an all-in-one solution for music, too (even though it hosts radio channels on Freeview and plays MP3s via USB and networking), and it hasn't got the wow factor in terms of build quality that have graced previous Sony efforts of this size.

Final verdict

Smart TVs for a second room are rare, and this 26-inch effort from Sony canters to victory by sporting a good array of apps and a great all-round picture that's helped by its 'kind to YouTube rubbish' HD-ready resolution.

If Sony hadn't skimped on sound and build quality it could have been on to a real winner, but we'd still recommend the Sony KDL-26EX553 as one of the most capable 'second screens' around.