Sony KDL-40EX653 review
|Review: December 2012|
In a nutshell: This Sony 40 inch TV offers Smart TV functionality at a competitive price, but is let down by poor picture and sound quality.
Design & looks
The Sony 40EX653 looks almost identical to the slightly more expensive 40HX753, with a dramatic minimalist design featuring a smart black frame with seamless edges. It's rather a masculine look, but with the flat expanse of screen softened by a contemporary chrome edging. It's quite slim too, measuring 47mm at its thinnest point, and the adjustable easel stand gives the TV a light, spacious feel. It looks and feels like a quality product.
However, the reason why this TV is cheaper than the HX753 becomes apparent when you switch it on.
Although both TVs use Sony's X-Reality processing engine, this model uses a much cheaper LCD panel. It's really quite a slow screen, with a native 50 Hz response rate and an effective Motionflow XR 100 Hz. This is much slower than most TVs in this price range, and motion blur or ghosting becomes an issue whenever things start moving quickly. It's OK for Teletubbies, but bad news for Wimbledon or The Hunger Games.
Although the panel is capable of producing nice bright whites and reasonably dark blacks, it can't manage both in the same scene. The lack of any kind of dynamic backlighting means that contrast ratios are dulled, with both whites and blacks looking grey and cloudy. This is common in cheaper LED TVs - we don't expect it at this price point.
The view gets worse if you move just a few feet off centre, because the LCD panel has really quite poor viewing angles. This means that unless you're sitting directly in front of the screen, you'll find that colours start to fade and the scene becomes even murkier. Add this to the slow response rate, and it all adds up to a relatively poor viewing experience. There are certainly better TVs available for this price.
Nothing improves when it comes to audio quality. The EX653 lacks the integrated soundbar of the HX853, and is equipped with two weedy 10W speakers. There's very little bass present, even with the S-Force surround effect turned on. In fact, this can have the effect of muffling voices rather than enhancing them.
The Sony Entertainment Network lets you stream full-screen movies, music, youtube videos, apps, and access social networks directly from your TV. You can add an optional camera and microphone if you'd like to use your TV for Skype calls over the internet.
This is one area where Sony has decided not to make any cost savings. All the connectivity of the more expensive models is here, including Wi-Fi, ethernet, 4 HDMIs, 2 USBs, SCART, component, composite and audio connections.
A Freesat HD tuner is also included.
Conclusion - sadly, avoid
It's a great-looking TV with Smart TV functionality at a sensible price. Everyone's looking to save some cash right now, but is the EX653 a saving too far?
If you've read this far, it's probably no surprise to find out that we think this TV is one to avoid. Cost savings have been made right where it hurts - picture quality. 3D is missing completely, which probably won't bother a lot of people, and Smart TV has been preserved, but overall, the mix of features vs price doesn't seem to add up.
The bottom line is that there are better 40 inch TVs available at this price. They don't have a "Sony" badge on them though.
Sony KDL-40EX653 features include:
- 40 inch LED-backlit screen
- 1920 x 1080 resolution
- X-Reality processing engine
- Advanced Contrast Enhancer
- Live Colour Technology
- Edge LED backlighting
- Motionflow XR 100 Hz
- Game Mode
- Freeview HD
- Sony Entertainment Network
- Audio: Dolby Digital Plus, S-Force surround effect, , 10W x 2 sound output (RMS)
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Ethernet (LAN) x 1, HDMI x 4, DLNA, USB x 2, headphone x 1, component in (Y/Pb/Pr) / composite in (AV) x 1, digital audio out (optical) x 1, Audio In x 2, PC in x 1, Scart x 1, RF In (Terrestrial / Cable input) x 1
- RM-ED050 Remote Control
- Energy efficiency class: A
- Typical power consumption: 62W
- Size without stand (WxHxD): 941 x 576 x 60 (46.6) mm
- Size with stand (WxHxD): 941 x 595 x 241 mm
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