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Sony KDL-42W829B review

 Review: June 2014  
 

Last updated July 2014

Rating: 4 stars

In a nutshell: The Sony Bravia KDL-42W829 is a mid-range 42 inch TV with an attractive design. Picture quality isn't the best and audio is weak, but for good value family viewing with catch-up TV it offers excellent value for money.



 

Review

This year, Sony seems to be most interested in 4K TVs of size 55 inches or larger. Of course we'd all like one of those, but for those of us who live in the real world, what's more interesting is an affordable 42 inch TV. That would be the clumsily-named Sony Bravia KDL-42W829B.

Design & looks

Despite its position in Sony's W8 series, the KDL-42W829 is almost the same TV as last year's 42W653A mid-range model. It has an airy and contemporary design, with a very narrow bezel surrounding the screen and an open-style chrome stand. An illuminated core situated below the screen adds subtle lighting effects (this can be switched off if desired.) The top half of the screen is very slim, but it bulges out at the back in the lower half, although that's largely invisible. Overall it's a pleasing, contemporary design.

A conventional remote control is supplied with the TV and an optional One-Flick remote can be purchased as an extra, for use with Smart TV.

Picture quality

This year's W8 series consists of a confusing range of TVs in different sizes and with different specifications. This 42 inch model uses what we deduce to be an IPS panel, probably manufactured by LG (the 50 and 55 inch models use a different type of screen).

As this is a mid-range model, it's missing out on Sony's Triluminos technology, instead using a conventional LED-backlit LCD panel. The panel has relatively wide viewing angles, confirming that it's an IPS screen, but as expected, contrast levels aren't as high as we'd like them to be. Native blacks are not as dark as Samsung's Series 6 televisions, and the lack of backlight dimming makes the dynamic range relatively poor. The TV is best viewed in a brightly lit room, as its problems become more obvious with the lights turned out.

The responsiveness of the panel is pretty good, with an effective 400Hz reaction time, so there's little sign of ghosting when images move across the screen. As usual, 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.

To be fair, the picture quality is not worse than many other TVs at this price, and for typical family viewing during daytime, the shortcomings probably won't be apparent. In Game Mode, input lag is low, so this TV is an excellent choice for Playstation/Xbox gaming.

Passive 3D

3D performance is better than average on this screen. The passive 3D system ensures flicker-free images, and there's little sign of crosstalk problems or other artifacts.

Two pairs of 3D glasses are included with the TV, and additional pairs are cheap to buy.

Audio quality

The audio quality of the W829B didn't wow us. The compact bass reflex speaker struggles to deliver immersive sound with just 8Wx2 power output. We'd strongly recommend adding in one of Sony's wireless subwoofers that are designed for use with their television range, or perhaps a soundbar for better results.

Smart TV

The W8 series TVs come with integrated Wi-Fi and an ethernet connection, so they're easy to connect to the internet, giving you full access to Sony's Smart TV functions. These include Catch-up TV from the BBC iPlayer and Demand 5, YouTube, Twitter, Netflix and Amazon Instant.

TweetView lets you watch what people are tweeting about the current programme - you don't need a Twitter account to use this.

You can add an optional camera and microphone if you'd like to use your TV for Skype calls over the internet.

Connectivity

We have no issues with the range of connectivity options available. As well as Wi-Fi and ethernet (including Wi-Fi Direct), there are 4 HDMI and 3 USB ports, ARC compatibility, plus a good range of legacy connections.

Both Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners are included, and the TV also has the benefit of NFC display mirroring with compatible smartphones.

Conclusion

We've tentatively awarded the Sony 42W829 4 stars. At the RRP of £700 it's over-priced, but at £600 it's good value and if the price falls as low as £500 it'll become an outstanding buy.

In its favour it offers an attractive design, a good-sized 42 inch screen, average picture quality (above average in 3D), low input lag, good Smart TV and excellent connectivity. It's a versatile TV for family viewing.

Alternatives include one of Samsung's mid-range Series 6 TVs, which outperform the Sony in terms of picture quality, although they have smaller 40 inch screens.


Sony KDL-42W829B features include:

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What is the best sound bar for use with kdl42w829b?

Asked by Ray from England on 2nd Jan 2017



Sony KDL-42W829B user reviews

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Average rating from 11 reviews:

Reviewed by ray hewitt from united kingdom on 5th Jun 2016
I have hated this tv since it was installed. It does it's own thing regardless of what we want, it mutes at will, changes to different modes, tries to get analogue tv when it is not available, refuses to connect to teletext, the list goes on. It uses subtiltles when not requested and also voiceovers. The 3d element is good, but does not overcome the other problems.
Rating:

Reviewed by gary from uk on 22nd Jan 2016
comes with only 1 control?
Rating:

Reviewed by Aaron from UK on 9th Oct 2015
Great TV, great picture, just GREAT! Better than my Samsung Smart TV which I bought last year for over 400! Can't complain as I got this TV at a steal for 112 as it was reduced to clear! Happy Customer!!
Rating:

Reviewed by Wayne Bridgen from England on 9th Aug 2015
V good value for money and the rest of the tvs are lot more expensive wbridgen13@gmail.com
Rating:

Reviewed by Wayne Bridgen from England on 15th Jul 2015
V good just wish tv was better.
Rating:

Reviewed by Anthony from United kingdom on 21st Jun 2015
Decent TV. looks good. Nice PIC strait out of box. With little tweaking .to suit taste .get a very good PIC. Can't ) complain at price of 399.99p.
Rating:

Reviewed by Nick from Czech on 20th Feb 2015
So sorry, after some setting changes the viewing angles are much better, then must add one star.
Rating:

Reviewed by Nick from Czech on 18th Feb 2015
Im a new owner, just a little bit dissapointed. My Tv has probably VA panel, since black is good, just viewing angles are bad. There is only small area directly in the front of the screen, where the picture is perfect. When moved about 80cm any direction the colors and contrast is noticeably affected, its like fog over all screen. It begins from the corners, when moved by a 30cm, especialy in dark scenes. It means 2 or more people watching at the same time can not see the same picture. When compared with Samsung 5 years old VA Tv, samsung is 50% better in this regard, also text is better on Sam. Except of this the picture is fine.
Rating:

Reviewed by Simeon Cheshmedjiev from Bulgaria on 6th Feb 2015
Truly stunning picture George! Thank you so much for the calibration settings. Lovely TV by the way.
Rating:

Reviewed by john winsley from England. UK on 24th Dec 2014
well I've had quite a few tv,s in my time and I must say for the price it's a nice looking TV set I give it five stars thank you.
Rating:

Reviewed by Roderick Jones from UK on 18th Sep 2014
Only had it a week. Model KDLW428b Picture is a problem. In vivid its too white on some scenes. Natural is too dark. Not as good in my opinion to the Samsung. I've always had Sony and this one is disappointing.Anyone out there that has any ideas on how to improve picture please?
Sound isn't too bad.
Rating:

Reply by Rad from uk on 28th Nov 2014
check yours screen setting etc

Reply by George from Bulgaria on 6th Dec 2014
These settings should produce a stunning picture on your tv:
picture mode - standard
baclight 6
contrast 90
brightness 50
colour 41
hue 0
color tempetature - cool
sharpness 50
noise reduction - low
mpeg noise reduction low
dot noise reduction - auto
reality creation - auto
smooth gradation - low
film mode - auto

ADVANCED SETTINGS:
black corrector - medium
adv. contrast enhancer - low
gamma o
auto light limite - low
clear white - low
live color - low

WHITE BALANCE (V.IMPORTANT):
G Gain - minus 1
B Gain - minus 1
B Bias - minus 1
(all other settings in white balnce should be zero)
detail enhancer - low
edge enhance - low
skin naturaliser - on
LED motiom mode - off

sound mode - cinema


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