Sony KDL-32W653A review
|Review: September 2013|
Last updated December 2013
In a nutshell: The Sony W653A is at its most impressive in its 32 inch form, where the picture quality is head and shoulders above most competitors. Price drops in the run-up to Christmas have made it very affordable.
Design & looks
The Sony 32W653 LED TV uses the same "Sense of Quartz" design language as the high-end Sony models, and is a very good-looking piece of equipment.
The TV is smart and understated, with a narrow matte black bezel surrounding the screen. An "intelligent core" below the screen gently illuminates with a colour dependent on the input source. The chrome-plated stand is not the circular design used for the more expensive models, but apart from that, when viewed from the front the W653 looks very much like a premium product costing much more.
From the side it looks peculiar, due to the pronounced bulge that fills about two thirds of the height and houses the LED backlighting system and the interior workings of the TV. It sticks out a long way, but it's best just ignored, as from the front the TV is very attractive.
You won't find a 3D capability in the W6 televisions, but on a 32 inch screen we don't miss that feature one bit. In any case, the 2D picture quality more than makes up for the lack of 3D. It's one of the most impressive 32 inch TVs we've reviewed.
The LCD display uses LED edgelit backlighting with Sony's "frame dimming" technology. This means that backlight intensity varies from frame to frame but there is no local variation in backlighting over the screen. This does mean that the dynamic range of the image is limited, with a resulting loss in shadow detail.
But despite that, the screens achieves good levels of contrast, with some very dark blacks and plenty of brightness. Viewing angles are reasonably good, although you'll notice blacks turning to grey if you sit too far off-centre. This is a common feature of LED-backlit TVs, and Samsung's 32 inch televisions are no different.
Sony's X-Reality PRO processing engine does an excellent job of displaying input from a variety of sources, from upscaling standard definition broadcast material to displaying high quality Blu-Ray. The panel is reasonably fast too, with an effective 200Hz response time. In Game Mode, input lag is very low, so this TV is perfect for gaming.
The audio quality of the W653A isn't quite as good as the picture quality. The Bass Reflex Box speakers deliver reasonable levels of bass, although the 5Wx2 maximum output is really on the low side.
The sound is OK for general watching, but if you enjoy your action movies, we'd recommend hooking up to a dedicated soundbar or some other audio system.
Sony's Smart TV system lets you connect to the internet so you can browse the web, catch up with Facebook and Twitter and stream movies and music to your TV. It's been updated for 2013 with nicer menus. Services include the BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, YouTube, Netflix and LoveFilm.
You can add an optional camera and microphone if you'd like to use your TV for Skype calls over the internet.
Sony's Smart TV is very good, but it's definitely lagging behind Samsung, both in terms of content and in ease-of-use.
All the bases are covered when it comes to connectivity, with HDMI, USB, ethernet and Wi-Fi connections all present and correct. However, Sony has been particularly mean when it comes to the number of connections - there are only 2 HDMI connections and a single USB port here. Think carefully about how many devices you plan to connect to the TV and whether this will meet your requirements.
A Freeview HD tuner is included, and there's also DLNA support plus screen mirroring with compatible smartphones.
A standard remote is supplied and the TV SideView app lets you use a compatible smartphone or tablet as a remote.
We previously reviewed the Sony 42W653 TV and rated it very highly, and we're even more impressed by the 32 inch version. It's one of the very best 32 inch TVs in 2013.
The lack of 3D isn't an issue at this screen size, and the picture quality truly excels. We also enjoyed the low input lag when gaming.
Admittedly the sound system is weak, there are only 2 HDMI ports and Sony's Smart TV system isn't up there with Samsung's latest. But on balance, and for the price, we don't think that you can go far wrong with one of these gracing your room. As long as the number of connections are enough to plug in everything you need, you can buy this TV with confidence.
Sony KDL-32W653A features include:
- 32 inch LED-backlit screen
- 1920 x 1080 resolution
- X-Reality PRO processing engine
- Advanced Contrast Enhancer
- Frame Dimming
- Motionflow XR 200 Hz
- Freeview HD
- Sony Entertainment Network
- Audio: Dolby Digital Plus, S-Force 3D surround effect, 5W x 2 sound output (RMS)
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Ethernet (LAN) x 1, screen mirroring, HDMI x 2, USB x 1, headphone x 1, component in (Y/Pb/Pr) / composite in (AV) x 1, digital audio out (optical) x 1, Audio In x 2, Scart x 2, RF In (Terrestrial / Cable input) x 1, DLNA
- RM-ED053 remote control
- Energy efficiency class: A
- Typical power consumption: 41W
- Size without stand (WxHxD): 725 x 438 x 69 (15.8) mm
- Size with stand (WxHxD): 725 x 465 x 197 mm
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