Sony has long been a premium name in televisions, and this trend has carried on into the age of Wi-Fi TV. The introduction of the X-Reality PRO image processor has only reinforced this reputation. This means Sony has a lot to live up to with the Sony KDL-32W650A, especially considering the relatively steep price for a size that often seems more suited for entry-level consumers. Fortunately, the KDL-32W650A delivers in a big and satisfying way.
The 650A is, quite simply, a beautiful piece of hardware. The sharp, modern panel is attractively designed, and Sony has kept the bezel razor-thin. The whole thing is perched atop a sleek chrome stand that, in a bit of innovative engineering, can also be used as a wall mount. There's a pulsing LED tucked along the bottom of the panel, which can be customized to the user's content or turned off altogether.
The 650A's connectivity options are sufficient, if a bit basic. There are two HDMI-outs on the back panel, along with a USB port, component and composite plugs, an ethernet socket and an antenna connection. On the audio side, there's a digital audio out, analog-in and a standard headphone jack. It'd be nice to have another HDMI port on such a premium device, but it's not a deal breaker.
In contrast to the wireless TV itself, the remote seems pretty outdated. It looks like something out of the 1990s, and that's mostly how it performs. Replace the remote with your smartphone for most functions if you can, but bear in mind that the remote appears to be necessary for accessing Sony's smart content. The lack of voice and gesture controls may be disappointing, but it's rarely a hassle. Otherwise, the on-screen display is excellent and easy to use. The menu also provides a whole host of adjustment options and other tweaks.
Ultimately, regardless of what other features a wireless TV may boast, the bottom line is image quality. In this regard, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better performer among LCD panels than the 650A. The display is calibrated almost perfectly out of the box, and it really is superb. The 650A handles both the deepest darks and brightest brights with alacrity, rendering the most subtle details of shadow and producing rich, vibrant color with equal effectiveness. Color accuracy is excellent, and the 32W650A doesn't suffer from the poor viewing angles that curse many lesser displays. A 120-hertz refresh rate means fast-paced action looks smooth and sharp as well.
Sound performance is pretty solid as well. The 5-watt speakers aren't going to blow anyone away, but they handle the job well enough for a bedroom or other small room. The overall sound is accurate, and the bass response is at least passable. There are several audio modes and an equalizer for those who feel the urge to tweak. For those who wish to use the 32W650A is a home theater centerpiece, external speakers will probably be a necessity.
Customer response to the 32W650A has been generally positive, with most users praising the excellent picture quality. Many consumers prefer the 650A's accurate, realistic color palette over the skewed, oversaturated color found in some competing models. The design and construction quality have been lauded as well. Users also enjoy the 650A's minimal input lag.
The main complaint about the 32W650A is the price, which is abnormally steep for a 32-inch Wi-Fi TV. Some users also found the Wi-Fi functionality somewhat sluggish. The reliance on a basic remote for input also drew some criticism, as customers found it difficult to navigate the web browser and some of the apps and menus.