Design and Connections
The supplied remote control is slightly smaller and lighter than those of the HX853 and HX753 but in terms of the buttons and their layout, identical. Placement is well considered but, again, we’d prefer the exit button to be bigger and better placed, The fact that it’s no more effective than the Return button for getting you out of a menu, in most circumstances, is also a complaint we’ve voiced before but it’s worth saying again, in case Sony take note.
The Sony EX553 ranked about bang average in terms of input latency, with readings typically between 46 and 48 milliseconds using our dedicated testing kit. Panel response is on the good side for LCD, however, and only in the most ‘contrasty’ scenes – i.e. those with lots of black and white, was it easy to see any ghosting. Even then, you would need to be quite close to the screen to make it out. It’s possible that some might consider the EX553 a decent choice as an auxiliary PC monitor but we’d probably not recommend it for that application, especially because of the relatively low native panel resolution. We managed to replicate the same input lag in the ‘Graphics’ Scene ads in the ‘Game’ option and for those that prefer a more accurate greyscale and colour gamut whilst gamimg it makes the easier one (OK, 9) click solution. Yes, we counted.
- Standby: 0.0W
- Out-of-the-Box – Standard Mode: 22.4W
- Calibrated – Cinema 1 Mode: 26.0W
The undoubted biggest weakness in the Sony EX553’s armoury is its inability to produce anything like a bright picture in its best picture mode. For an LED TV, its light output is quite shockingly low. It is possible to get a bit closer using the Standard picture mode and, by switching the Colour Temp to Warm 2, gain a reasonably pleasing image but, truth be told, it still doesn’t give enough pop in a room containing anything approaching a reasonable amount of ambient light. The filter works well, however, so at least there’s not too much contrast wash out in those kinds of situations but, ultimately, the EX553 is for the bedroom, curtains drawn.
- Nice accuracy post calibration
- Impressive black levels
- Solid video processing
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- Loads of VoD services
- Robust media streaming
- Very easy to construct
- Picture is too dim with the curtains open
- Smart services are fragmented
- XMB is a chore
- Some shimmer with film content
Sony EX553 (KDL-26EX553) LED LCD Television Review
We were hugely impressed by the ease of assembling the Sony EX553 and we’re tempted to give it bonus marks just for making our lives less complicated but there’s no official scoring category for that. The EX553 is another understated design from Sony and no worse for that but some may be surprised at its relatively thick chassis when the modest screen size is considered. The added depth does allow a pair of reasonably capable speakers to have been equipped, however. We don’t and probably never will like the XMB as a GUI for a TV but as most of the major controls are accessible from the Options button, on the remote control, it’s not a fatal flaw. To get the most from the generous set of connected and Smart features aboard the EX553 will necessitate a trawl through the sluggish XMB, however, but there are dozens of Video on Demand services on offer for those that do. Sony's own Music and Video services are readily accessible with just a single click of the SEN button but we really would have preferred Sony to make all the other features – VoD, PVR, Media Streaming – accessible from the same interface. As it is, it can feel like a slog to see all that’s available. Sony are currently in the process of streamlining the entire company and they should apply similar thinking here.
Out of the box performance in the Cinema mode was reasonably pleasing but much improved with calibration whilst the video processing of the X-Reality engine was as reliable, as ever, with both HD and SD content. The EX553 managed an excellent black response with very good - for an edge-lit LCD - screen uniformity. As a gaming screen, it’s bang on average for the 2012 TVs we’ve tested with an input latency in the high 40 millisecond range. The real weak point of the Sony EX553, and unusually for a LED TV, is its inability to produce bright pictures meaning that unless you intend this as a ‘watch-in-bed’ TV with the curtains drawn, you’ll never be getting the most out of it. If you do intend the EX553 for the bedroom then its mixture of impressive dynamic range, all round colour fidelity and a whole host of Smart features – all readily accessible through the built in Wi-Fi – make it a very worthy choice. But are you sure you can’t go bigger?
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.