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Sony KDL-42W653A review

John Archer




  • Recommended by TR

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Sony KDL-42W653A
  • Sony KDL-42W653A
  • Sony KDL-42W653A
  • Sony KDL-42W653A
  • Sony KDL-42W653A
  • Sony KDL-42W653A
  • Sony KDL-42W653A
  • Sony KDL-42W653A


Our Score:



  • Outstanding value
  • Good picture quality for the money
  • Good selection of online streaming content


  • no ITV Player or 4oD support
  • No 3D (if that bothers you)
  • Only two HDMIs

Key Features

  • 42in LCD TV with edge LED lighting
  • Smart TV online system
  • multimedia playback via USB and DLNA
  • Latest X-Reality Pro picture processing
  • Ultra-slim Design
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Review Price: £549.00

What is the Sony KDL-42W653A?

At just £550, the 42-inch 42W653A is Sony’s most affordable LCD TV of 2013 to date. Not surprisingly, though, this means it comes with a few significant strings attached. Particularly striking is the lack of any 3D support, but it also fails to deliver any of the local dimming technology that so illuminated – literally – the Sony 55W905A and last year’s Sony 55HX853.

None of these compromises need be deal breakers for the Sony 42W653A’s money, though, unless you happen to be big into 3D. In fact, the decision not to include 3D on this mid-range set in order to keep its price lower is arguably very prescient given all the recent publicity suggesting that the public’s interest in 3D is majorly on the wane.

Sony 42W653A

Sony KDL-42W653A - Design

The Sony 42W653A doesn’t retain the Sense of Quartz design theme found on the Sony 55W905 and 47W805 sets. But it’s still a decent looker thanks to its incredibly slim (sub 1cm) screen frame, extremely slender rear (aside from a somewhat unseemly bulge over its bottom quarter), eye-catching metallic, open-framed desktop stand, and the reflective ‘Intelligent Core’ box hanging from its bottom edge.

Also found on the W905 and W805 models, the IC box is significant because it houses Sony’s latest video processing engine, X-Reality Pro. Finding this powerful system on a model as affordable as the 42W653 is a real boon, and will be considered by many picture enthusiasts to be a very fair trade for the lack of 3D.

Sony 42W653A

Sony 42W653A - Smart Features

The 42W653A also serves up Sony’s latest online platform, the Sony Entertainment Network. This is one of the most video-rich online systems in the TV world, including as it does such video-streaming highlights as the BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, BBC News, LoveFilm, Netflix, Sony’s Video Unlimited platform, Sky News, BBC Sport, Crackle and Sony Entertainment Television. It could do with also adding 4oD and the ITV Player, but it’s still a superior online video streaming effort.

Its interface feels rather basic compared with some rivals though, and it’s a pity the Sony TV Android/iOS app doesn’t currently let you ‘broadcast’ what’s showing on the TV to your Smart device. You can send stuff the other way, and mirror the screen of your smart device on the TV, though.

Sony 42W653A

For a fuller report on Sony’s latest Smart TV engine, check our previous in-depth article.

Sony 42W653A - Connectivity

The Sony 42W653A’s network features are delivered via built-in Wi-Fi or LAN connections. But there are some significant connectivity compromises to swallow. There are just two HDMIs when even budget TVs often sport three, and just one USB port for playing back video, photo and music files.


July 22, 2013, 6:21 pm

So if I can get this TV at an equivalent of 430£, it's a pretty safe buy? I'm having a difficult time deciding between this and the Panasonic 42ST60 at 650£. Not sure if I should cheap out and just go with the Sony, or if I'd be happier with the plasma in the long run. The low input lag is a nice perk as well.


July 22, 2013, 9:31 pm

Where are you getting those low prices from? The Panasonic sounds great at £650

I heard this tv uses the same panel as the panasonic 42e6 hence the great black levels but that panel also renders motion poorly. I don't know how well the 50e6 performs but I think its a shame there's no larger version of this tv.


July 23, 2013, 1:56 am

The low prices are likely an artifact of converting the prices (from DKK to £) and the result of Danish webstores trying to clear their stock.

I just ordered the Sony. Price vs intended use ended up deciding it. I'll see if it lives up to my expectations, or whether I'll have to send it back and cough up a bit more for the plasma.


July 23, 2013, 7:15 am

Can anyone tell me what exactly is the difference between W650, W651, W653? (I'm guessing the last one is the UK version of one of the previous two)
In my country, the W650ABAEP and the W651ASAEP are available, with the W651ASAEP being slightly more expensive and I don't know what the actual difference is (apart from the former being black and the latter silver)


July 26, 2013, 9:26 pm

If it would have come in 60 inch, i would have bought it.


July 27, 2013, 2:06 pm

Should i buy this instead of Samsung UE40F6400?
i will use tv to play ps3/4 and watching 2d hd films. What about compare of 2d picture quality of this two, and gaming experience?
Sorry for my bad english, i am russian.


August 16, 2013, 8:32 am

panny for films, sony for games.


August 29, 2013, 6:24 am

Just recently bought the 42W653 TV, after three years of one of Panasonic's first LED 37inch sets. The Sony is stunning, picture quality of amazing clarity and sharpness, my own HD footage looks marvellous, broadcasts too, blacks deep and convincing. SD is very good too. Sound good for so slim set. One small criticism: only TWO HDMI inputs, very stingy today for an otherwise winner of a TV. One needs an HD switch.

Ivo 78

August 30, 2013, 8:51 am

Hey Guys
Love Everything You Do :)
Just wanted to say that I need an Urgent Advice!
I mean I live in UK but My Parents are Bulgarian and Yesterday We have seen the TV here in Bulgaria and thinking of Buying it Today!
I wasnted to ask if any of You Guys Can give me the Exact Mesures To Clibrate The TV in order to "Get The Best Out Of It"



Ivo 78

August 30, 2013, 9:27 am

Hi Roger
Very Happy For You and Me and My Parentsm are thinking of getting the same TV as early as Today but the Question I would like to ask you is Do You Know How To Calibrate it Properly?




September 21, 2013, 7:20 pm

If I'm not wrong, 3rd number means in which color is TV. Letter and first 2 numbers means model.
Example: A123
A - group
1 - model
2 - to distinct feature changes between same model
3 - design

ashutosh mishra

September 22, 2013, 1:21 pm


I am residing in India,needed advice for 42 inch SMART LED tv: please help me decide which brand to go for & why?
LG (Model 42LA6130 3D)
Sony (KDL-42W850A)
Samsung (40F6400 3D)
My priority is decent display, vibrant colors, less pain to eyes, without battery 3D glasses, good sound & service.


September 24, 2013, 2:05 pm

Get the Sony KDL42W653


September 27, 2013, 2:29 am

Thanks a lot for your reply.


September 30, 2013, 9:03 am

Sony (KDL-42W850A) is a better option. But it is expensive. if you dont the want the 3D option then don't use it.


October 7, 2013, 7:47 pm

Hi, would this review be equally applicable to the 32 inch version, as it should have the exact same specs, or migh there still be a difference in quality?

Milos Radakovic

October 12, 2013, 9:02 pm

KDL 42W650 or KDL 42W653

can someone tell me what's the difference between these two models.

The stores in my country only has the KDL 42W650


Geoff Richards

October 13, 2013, 8:57 am

Hi Milos,

Please do check before you buy but I believe they are basically the same model. Normally the final digit of a model number like this only indicates a very small regional difference or maybe even a change of colour (like silver or black).

They are both "W6 series". I checked on Sony's website and they have the W650, W651, W655 and W656 and I struggled to find any difference in specification.

I would say you buy buy the 42W650 in your country with confidence


October 23, 2013, 11:06 am

Hello, can I stream online sports from my pc to this TV via wifi?


October 26, 2013, 10:17 am

the sony is very good and the colours are very good I have a Samsung 6530 3d tv and its about the same go for the sony


October 26, 2013, 10:18 am

I have this tv,im not sure u can do this u can stream video and music from your pc but not online stuff,but the tv has internet so u could use the tv to stream online sports not sure if it useses flash player


October 26, 2013, 10:20 am

the 32 is hd ready not full hd and 100hz not 200hz


October 26, 2013, 10:23 am

the sony was 200hz u could turn it on and off but Sony took this option away with a update ,also this tv suffers from banding very bad


October 27, 2013, 8:05 pm

Confused between Sony 42W650A and LG LN5710???? Guys help me..Planning to buy one of them in 2-3 days!!


December 20, 2013, 6:04 pm

This television has Updates?
It would be nice to have a 3D Update

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