The Sony EX523 LED TV has joined the battle to be top of the sub-$1000 price band and is in direct contest with the likes of Samsung and LG who are more familiar to this price bracket. Read this Sony Bravia EX523 review to find out how the brand more accustomed to the mid to high end of the market fairs.
Sony EX523 Series models
The EX523 is available in three different display sizes and this EX523 review applies to all the models which have the same technical specifications and only differ by screen size.
Sony EX523 Video Performance
When forming an objective Sony EX523 LED TV review you have to keep in mind that this a very affordable TV with a more limited set of features, it is not a top of the range model such as the Sony XBR HX929, which costs far more than double of what this LED TV does.
To compare the EX523 to its direct competitors how well does it stand up? The answer is very favourably. It has solid all round performance and it is as good as other Samsung LED TV and LG LED TV models (such as the LG LV5500) which are in the same price bracket.
Outlined here are the specifics relating to the Sony EX523’s video performance.
Sony KDL-EX523 Black Levels
The EX523 does well in regards to the levels of blackness that it produces. It is somewhat better at producing deeper blacks than other more expensive Sony LED TV models such as the NX720 as well as the LG LV5500.
You wouldn’t expect an LED TV in this price bracket to compare to the performance of a more expensive Panasonic plasma TV such as the Panasonic ST30 (and it doesn’t), but none-the-less it does produce respectable deep blacks for such an affordable edge lit LED TV.
Sony KDL-EX523 Color Reproduction
This is the area that you might expect a cheaper LED TV to have its limitations. Without the finer controls and adjustments that more expensive TVs possess, the Sony EX523 does a decent job of producing vibrant colors. It is better at displaying bright scenes than it does with dark as some of the colors get distorted or lost in dark scenery. But on the whole it does a great job. Even without the finer calibration settings of more expensive TVs, the Sony EX523 can produce well balanced colors using its Cinema preset mode.
Sony KDL-EX523 Video Processing
This is an area that Sony typically shows their strength and the EX523 is no different. The EX523 produces smooth images which don’t exhibit any unwanted effects or artefacts what-so-ever thanks to its superb video processing. It displays Bluray movies and 1080 content without any problems.
The Sony KDL-EX 523 may have a 60Hz display but it does a great job, even better than a lot more expensive models do. It will never have the motion resolution that a 120Hz display does but the Sony EX 523 surpasses in giving more than what you are paying for with this affordable LED TV.
Sony KDL-EX523 Power Consumption
When it comes to producing an energy-efficient TV Sony have got it right with the EX523 thanks to it’s tried and tested edge-lit LED technology that is also bundled with other energy saving features such as auto-power off. It manages to outperform most of its competitors when it comes to power consumption, so not only will it not cost you the earth own this TV but it will save you money on you electricity costs as well as reducing your carbon footprint.
Sony KDL-EX523 Design
An old saying goes ‘if it’s not broken don’t fix it’. That seems to be the case with the EX523, there was little wrong with the design aesthetics of recent models of Sony TVs and so Sony hasn’t changed much on the design front, the EX523 looks very much like previous models (the EX720 in particular).
The design may be a bit understated for the liking of some and it certainly doesn’t have the appeal of Samsung LED TV models, but it does what you expect from a Sony TV it has a feel of quality about it. It has an impressive slim design with a panel depth of only 1.1 inch and it has a stylish matte black finish. It comes with a robust swivel stand for easy viewing at any angle.
Sony KDL-EX523 Usability
The Sony EX523 has a perfectly functional remote control which has handy media buttons for easy access to Netflix etc rather than having to go through the menus.
The menu system is Sony’s redesigned 2011 menu system and provides easy access to settings and media content. The menus appear along the bottom and right hand side of the display and the rest of the area is taken up by a large picture-in-picture window. Once you become familiar with Sony’s menu system it is really intuitive and quick to use.
The Sony EX523 has a lot of picture preset modes including a top notch Cinema mode along with multiple presets for color temperature and gamma levels.
Sony KDL-EX523 Internet TV
Sony have provided internet connectivity for the EX523 using their slick internet suite seen in other Sony TVs. In the price bracket which this TV falls in to, consumers don’t want to have to spend extra money on connecting external streaming devices and Sony’s integrated Wi-Fi and internet suite get the job done at no extra cost.
Sony’s internet suite provides access to Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant, Pandora, YouTube and of course the Sony Entertainment Network to provide streaming of movies, music and videos. It also has an integrated internet browser and optional Skype service.
Sony KDL-EX523 Connectivity
As already mentioned the EX523 includes integrated Wi-Fi, also worth noting are that is also rather generously comes with 4 HDMI ports, 2 USB ports, a PC connector, ethernet port, and a headphone jack (which has independent volume control).
Sony KDL-EX523 Summary
For Sony fans, the EX523 will be a definite success. It typifies what we have come to expect from Sony, the Sony Bravia EX523 is a high-quality, solid all round performer. For the price it is great value, a lot better than other models of Sony TV. It provides great picture quality for a small price, the sort of price you would expect from lesser brands and not Sony. It has got to be a definite thumbs up to Sony for entering the sub-$1000 bracket with the Sony Bravia EX523.