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Sony KDL-42W653A - Performance and Picture Quality

John Archer

By John Archer



  • Recommended by TR
Sony KDL-42W653A


Our Score:


Sony KDL-42W653A - Picture Quality

The Sony 42W653A does, though, cling to Sony’s new, improved, icon-heavy setup menu system, which includes the Reality Creation processing options – Resolution, noise filtering and Smooth Gradation - associated with the X-Reality Pro chipset. There are many other processing options too, including a detail booster, a white booster, an edge enhancer and a skin naturaliser – though actually we’d suggest leaving most of these untouched. Of much more use is a white balance adjuster, with which you can refine the gain and bias of the RGB colour elements.

Sony 42W653A

With Sony’s picture standards this year veering between the superb (the W905A and X9005A series) and the average (the W805A series), we really have no idea what to expect from the 42W653A’s pictures. So without further ado, let’s put them through their paces.

Sony KDL-42W653A - Excellent Black Levels

Right away the Sony KDL-42W653A 's pictures make a hugely positive impression by delivering a much more convincing black level response than the 47W805 model higher up Sony’s current range. In fact, its ability to deliver a black colour during dark scenes that’s barely besmirched at all by low-contrast grey misting is really outstanding for a sub-£600 42-inch TV, even humbling the black level response of many much costlier rivals from a variety of brands this year.

It’s not just the sheer depth of the 42W653A’s black colours that impresses, either. We were also seriously relieved to see no significant evidence during dark scenes – even in the image’s corners - of the backlight clouding/inconsistency problem still common with edge LED screens.

Sony 42W653A

Also telling about the quality of the 42W653A’s edge LED lighting is that the black bars that appear above and below wide-ratio films remain completely consistent in their blackness, even when sections of the image appearing between them are really bright.

Sony KDL-42W653A- Good Shadow Detail

And there’s more. For while it’s true that the Sony 42W653A’s post-calibration images aren’t the brightest in the LCD firmament, the panel’s native contrast performance is sufficiently good that you can still see a credible amount of shadow detail in dark areas of the picture, ensuring that dark scenes don’t feel frustratingly flat and hollow.

Connected with this, the 42W653A’s impressive native black level also helps it produce strikingly natural colours during dark scenes for such an affordable TV.


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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