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Sony KDL-42W653A - Conclusions

John Archer

By John Archer



  • Recommended by TR
Sony KDL-42W653A


Our Score:


Sony KDL-42W653A - Sharpness

We noted a moment ago that the 42W653A’s pictures aren’t the brightest around. But they’re still punchy enough to be eminently watchable in normal living room lighting conditions, and they’re also dynamic enough to show off a very decently expansive and subtly rendered colour range. The quality of the colour handling is particularly evident in the very credible rendition of skin tones in all sorts of different situations, from the brightness of Sky’s sun-drenched Ashes coverage to the near-perpetual murkiness of the last Harry Potter movie on Blu-ray.

The Sony 42W653A’s HD pictures aren’t as forensically sharp as those of some TVs we’ve seen this year – most notably those from Samsung. There’s a touch more resolution loss over moving objects than you get with Sony’s higher-end TVs too. But HD sources still look definitively HD, especially when you take the colour precision into account.

Sony 42W653A

The 42W653A performs comfortably above its price point with its standard definition upscaling, too, remapping even quite grubby standard def digital sources to the panel’s full HD resolution with an astutely judged combination of extra detail and noise suppression. This is undoubtedly where Sony’s X-Reality Pro video processing system most earns its corn.

Sony KDL-42W653A - Sound Quality

The large bulge at the bottom segment of the Sony 42W653A’s rear raises hopes of some strong audio from Sony’s affordable mid-ranger. And certainly the TV delivers more treble detail and a slightly more open mid-range than the majority of its similarly priced peers. The set struggles to pump out much bass depth, though, which can lead to the soundstage becoming a bit harsh and lop-sided during dense action sequences.

So we can finish on the upbeat tone the 42W653A deserves, though - we’ve left our input lag measurements for the end. For remarkably, with its Game picture option selected and all image processing deactivated, the 42W653A measured just 7ms of input lag during our tests, meaning it renders its images faster than any other TV around right now. This obviously makes it uniquely well-qualified as a gaming monitor.

Sony 42W653A

Should I buy a Sony KDL-42W653A?

After the disappointment of the 47W805A, Sony gets its swagger back on with the 42W653A. By stripping away 3D the Japanese brand has been able to produce a mid-range TV that offers strikingly good, contrast-rich 2D picture quality for a hugely attractive price. Sony’s Smart TV system has a strong amount of video content to commend it too.

The 42W653A’s most significant rival is unquestionably the Samsung UE40F6400 we tested recently. This is slightly more expensive – around £70 – but it adds 3D and a wider range of catch-up TV services to the party, as well as offering slightly sharper pictures. But even so Samsung’s rival remains just an option to consider alongside the 42W653A rather than a screen you should definitely buy instead.


Thanks to first Samsung’s UE40F6400 and now the Sony 42W653A, the affordable end of the 2013 TV market has finally got interesting.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • 2D Quality 9
  • Design 8
  • Smart TV 8
  • Sound Quality 7
  • Value 9


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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