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Sony KDL-26EX553 review

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

Sony KDL-26EX553 review
The Sony KDL-26EX553 is one of the only 26-inch TVs around at the moment


  • Great picture quality
  • Video apps
  • Wi-Fi
  • 'Easel' design
  • White or black styling


  • Average build quality
  • Slightly fussy UI
  • No support for MKV files
  • Weak sound

By adding the likes of BBC iPlayer, LED backlighting and nifty ultra-slim designs, the last few years have seen some mightily impressive bigscreen TVs for the living room, but what about the bedrooms and kitchen?

We've been longing for a do-it-all smart TV that can stream from a PC just as easily as playing a Blu-ray or handling music, and the 26-inch Sony KDL-26EX553 - with a full price of £429 (around AU677/US$694) - is very nearly that product.

Sony KDL-26EX553 review

There's no built-in DVD or Blu-ray player, and nor is there enough sonic power to act as a bedroom stereo, but this Edge LED-backlit television is otherwise ripe for a night's entertainment.

A key component in its arsenal is a suite of Wi-Fi-fueled Sony Entertainment Network smart TV apps, including BBC iPlayer. And many will also love its design; an 'easel' type that sees two small silver pegs jutting out from underneath a screen that sits back a few degrees.

Sony KDL-26EX553 review

The effect is subtle, though any notion of luxe good looks won't last much beyond a feel of the rather industrial gloss black plastic used in the bezel.

That won't matter too much in the bedroom, and if it does, consider the white version, because the Sony KDL-26EX553 is the most advanced 26-inch TV around.

Sony KDL-26EX553 review

Two HDMI inputs should be enough for most simple setups (we're thinking a games console and a Blu-ray player) since there's a Freeview HD tuner inside, while its USB port enables both simple recordings and digital file playback.

There's also a hook-up for a PC, albeit the old 15-pin D-sub VGA option.

Sony KDL-26EX553 review

One technical shortcoming of the Sony KDL-26EX553 is its HD-ready resolution, but we're not at all bothered by this.

We do realise that Full HD starts to become a factor at the 26-inch size, and also that many PC monitors a lot smaller than this TV have such a resolution, but we prefer HD-ready on a Sony TV.

Sony KDL-26EX553 review

The excellent up-rezzing circuitry in Sony's X-Reality has long impressed us, and here it chums up with the HD-ready panel to help make dodgy YouTube videos or downloaded AVI files look almost as clean as a Blu-ray disc.

In our test we managed to play AVI, MPEG, MPEG4, AVC and WMV videos from a USB flashdrive - and in excellent quality - though that does leave MKV and MOV files unsupported, which is a real shame.

Sony KDL-26EX553 review

The 26-inch Sony KDL-26EX553 is joined by smaller brother the 22-inch Sony KDL-22EX553, which also boasts a HD-ready resolution and has a full price of £349 (around AU$550/US$565).

Beyond that, you're into 32-inch TV territory, and looking at models such as the Haier LET32C80, Panasonic TX-L32X5 and Sony KDL-32HX753.

Sony KDL-26EX553 review

Jamie Carter

Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and He also edits two of his own websites, and that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),