Sony KDL-48W600B Bravia Review (KDL48W600B, KDL48W590B)

48 Inch, Full HD Smart TV

by , Senior Editor

Sony KDL-48W600B LED TV

Strengths

  • Powerful Edge LED backlighting bright peak whites
  • Very strong color rendition for a lower end edge lit LED TV
  • 4 HDMI inputs is enough for any home theater
  • USB media player accepts a wide range of video formats
  • Game mode effectively reduces controller input lag
  • Sony Entertainment Network provides plenty of apps for streaming content
  • Subwoofer out on the TV is a very cool feature

Weaknesses

  • Side angle viewing sees color and contrast degradation
  • Chrome reflective bar across front bottom of frame slightly unattractive
  • Motion artifacts can be seen in the background when not in the Custom picture mode

Picture Quality Rating: 82/100

One note about black level depth on the KDL-48W600B is that they look jet black on the top and bottom bars in a 16:9 format mode when directly viewed front and center. However colors can be a little more washed out on the picture itself due in part to the anti reflective coating on the screen of the W600B.

Colors rendition on these new Sony TVs is exceptional and not over-saturated. The fact that the TVs calibrate easily to D6500K speaks to their color accuracy. The backlight is extremely powerful and can overpower color in the 48W600B so keep it moderated.

Sony KDL-48W600B LED TV
Image sharpness and depth are strong points of this image on the 48W600B

Sometimes dark shadow detail could be better in the 48W600B as the screen filter (matte screen) on this TV causes a hazy appearance with some programming on the screen. One quick fix is to turn up the Brightness setting some. This will cause better definition in dark areas but at the expense of less penetrating blacks.

Color rendition is realistic and not over saturated from the Custom picture setting. The TV calibrated near D6500K even though there is only a 2 point white balance control setting on this TV. The custom setting is set fairly close to D6500 from the start so you really only need some minor tweaks to get there. There plenty of choices for picture modes to get just the right picture.

Sony generally has great processors in their TVs. The video engines in the W600B does a competent job but we definitely notice significant improvements in the higher end Sony TV lines. The difference results in more motion artifacts in general, less defined lines, and more background noise in the W600B.

Motionflow XR240

This feature working in conjunction with the 60Hz panel can distort the natural background blur in the picture somewhat in movies or film-based content so use with care. It's great for sports programming though. Options within the setting are: Clear, Clear Plus, Standard, Smooth, Impulse. We recommend turning it off for movies, and using the Standard or Smooth setting for other programming.

Features Rating: 81/100

Sony Entertainment Network

The new layout of the Sony Entertainment Network contains category separations for Movies, Apps, Music, and Albums. It's a very attractive and easy to use layout. The biggest plus is that it operates much better than 2013's SEN. The Apps selections are more interesting than in the past as well and we see lots of improvement from Sony in this area.

Sony KDL-48W600B LED TV
This is the Apps section of the Sony Entertainment Network hub. You can see plenty of video, news, and social apps

Here are a few of the included Apps that we have viewed and rated:

TV Tweet: This app lets users tweet from their TVs while watching. This puts viewers together in a live setting to bring the social aspect of watching TV together with people from all over. 4 out of 5
Yahoo!: Widgets Internet Apps Button on remote takes you there.
Blinkx: quirky videos, funny shorts videos rating 2.5 out of 5
Dr. Oz: Short tips on better health. One minute videos. Rating 3 out of 5.
Crackle: Has 220 free movies (with ads) but some pretty good choices 4 out of 5.
Slacker: Personal radio with lots of music choice. It gives some commentary on the tunes and you can set it to a genre and just let it roll – providing background music if you want 4.5 out of 5.
Sony Digital Concert Series: A limited selection of 7 live concert recordings from Creed, ThirdEyeBlind, and Chickenfoot – at least that's all they have at the time of this writing. Recording quality is average and is of the whole concert. Rating 3 out of 5.
Sony Video Unlimited: Paid movie service $5.99 for HD Movies

Apps can be slow loading. When I tried to load the NHL Vault App, the menu prompts me to go online from a computer to register for the service.

Built-in Speakers and Sound Quality

The KDL-48W600B features (2) 8 watt speakers that can achieve good levels of sound to fill medium sized rooms. They aren't going to pump out entertainment center quality, but they get the job done. There are plenty of presets to get the best out of the source material as well. We really liked having those options. Bass seems to be the biggest problem with these on-board speakers, but that is understandable. We reccomend a sound bar or home theater setup for those looking to get the best sound for their movies and sports programming.

Design and Appearance


Sony KDL-48W600B LED TV Thin Design
The KDL-40W600B has the same wider profile as the W630B, and the same sleek stand as the W800B

The W600B series has a similar design to last year's R550A series LED TV. Losing the reflective bar where the Sony logo sits is a big plus in our eyes. The wire-frame stand is still a bright reflective chrome, but it isn't as distracting. This stand isn't like a lot of others this year since it is oriented in the center of the TV. There shouldn't be a problem with TV stand width like we are seeing on some of the wide two-legged stands. The thin black bezels and 3.5 inch depth of the TV are great as well. It has more depth than the top tier models, but not by too much.

Value Rating: 89/100

The KDL-48W600B starts at around $650. What you are mostly paying for is the Sony picture quality and brand reliability. Extras like the Sony Entertainment Network features and plenty of HDMI inputs are just icing on the cake. The Samsung UN48H5500 is the direct competition for this TV, but at a slightly higher cost.

Overall Rating: 84/100

Quick Specs

  • 47.6" Diagonal Measurement
  • Brilliant Full HD (1080p) picture quality
  • X-Reality PRO picture engine delivers color, clarity and detail at their best
  • Motionflow XR 240 helps with motion blur and judder
  • ClearAudio+ Digital Sound Processing (DSP) with S-Force Front Surround projects clear vocals and wide sound range
  • Subwoofer Out for optional subwoofer (SWF-BR100)
  • Built-in Wi-Fi for streaming HD content using the Sony Entertainment Network apps
  • 4 HDMI inputs and 2 USB ports
  • Skype ready for optional camera
  • Dimensions without Stand: (W x H x D) 42 7/8 x 25 1/2 x 3 5/8(2) in
  • Dimensions with stand: 42 7/8 x 26 5/8 x 7 1/4 in
  • Weight without stand: 21.9 lbs.
  • Weight with stand:22.7 lbs.


Robert Wiley Jack Burden joined the review staff of CEAG Inc. in May 2003 after finishing his graduate work at Harvard University. He has been reporting on consumer electronics and conducting product reviews for more than seven years... Read more about Jack
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