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At Reviewed.com, we’re big fans of technology—maybe you’ve noticed. We’re approaching the middle of 2013, and we couldn’t be more excited. TV companies are starting to release their latest and greatest displays; we’ve already seen some masterpieces from Panasonic and Samsung. Forget July—this is Christmas in May.
Sony is the latest display maker to enter the fray with a high-end television: the W802A. This new Bravia includes a revamped menu interface, a more streamlined smart platform, and solid picture quality. Also, it has killer good looks. What’s not to love? Well, the asking price of $1,999.99 may be a little off-putting to the average consumer, so let’s find out if Sony’s latest is worth the price (and the wait).
Sony, you're crazy for this one! Seriously, we love the look of this TV. Thin bezels with a blue border (!) surround the screen, which is attached to a similar circular base that we saw on last year’s HX950. The bottom of the screen has a metal bar emblazoned with Sony’s logo, just in case you forgot who made this delightfully svelte TV.
We do take issue with some things, though. As much as we like the W802A from the front, the back is a different story. Instead of an all-metal body, Sony crafted this television using a lot of plastic. We loved how light the TV is, especially after lugging around all 120 pounds of Panasonic’s VT60, but we can’t get over how cheap this product feels. Even the gorgeous circular stand—which appears metal—is actually made of plastic. The $2,000 asking price is starting to feel inappropriate.
Sony is capable of crafting a great TV, but runs out of stream when they get around to its menu interface. To be honest, I expected Sony to just recycle the 2012 menus. I was wrong—its new interface is not only a breath of fresh air for the company, but an all-around excellent way to access settings.
Pressing the Home button brings up the basic menu, which lets you access apps, different inputs, and yes, settings. Each category has large icons and looks very modern. Pressing the Options button gives you a more down-and-dirty menu interface with no pictures, but accessing settings this way is quicker. And settings you will get! Sony lets you change plenty of options on your TV, including an auto-contrast setting and its Reality Creation engine. TV geeks, you’ll be in heaven with all these options.
But mister TV reviewer, what about smart features? Sony isn’t going to compete with Samsung and LG when it comes to internet features, but this year’s showing is much improved over 2012. Gone are the multiple smart interfaces; instead, Sony gives you access to its most popular apps—Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and YouTube—by pressing the Home button.
If you press the SEN button (short for Sony Entertainment Network), you are given a list of all the apps Sony has to offer. Everything is arranged in a grid of pleasant-looking icons, but there is too much to wade through. Accessing the aforementioned “popular” apps is your best choice for finding content.
Alas, one thing Sony must work on is a better way to interface with its internet content. Panasonic, Samsung, and LG all have some kind of smart remote that makes navigation and/or typing easier. Sony only packages its basic remote with the W802A. Also, there is no integration with cable programming, like we saw with Samsung's Smart Hub and LG's Google TV. We hate to sound like a broken record, but for nearly $2,000… you get the picture.
So far, Sony has impressed us with its design sensibilities and revamped interface. But what about our favorite category, good ol’ fashioned picture quality? While it won’t doing any knocking of socks, the W802A will not disappoint, either.
Whether streaming or watching a Blu-ray, we had no major issues with the W802A’s picture quality. Content looks crisp and motion performance is great. We should point out that Sony’s motion enhancement options are overkill: enabling the Motionflow setting produces an awful Soap Opera effect. Unless you have a thing for The Young and the Restless, we recommend turning Motionflow off.
As far as color accuracy is concerned, the W802A is a bit off, although it’s nothing deal-breaking. Reds are completely accurate, and whites also look near-perfect. Blues and greens lose a bit of their luster on this Sony, although you would need a highly trained eye to spot this.
And while the concept of 3D no longer makes us wide-eyed and excited, this TV does produce a pleasing (and crosstalk-free) 3D image. Sony even includes four pairs of passive glasses with the W802A, which is a welcome surprise; last year, its glasses were active and did not come packaged with TVs.
We may be halfway through 2013, but Sony is just getting started with its TV lineup. If the W802A is any indication, this is going to be a good year for the Japanese electronics giant.
There are many things to like about the W802A: It looks good enough to make your in-laws jealous, it produces a solid picture, and has vastly improved smart features compared to last year. So is this the right TV for you? That depends on how much you’re willing to spend. Sony’s TVs are usually on the expensive side, and the W802A is no different. $1,999.99 will get you a quality 55-inch television, but with plenty of competition from LG, Panasonic, and Samsung, we'd recommend doing some comparison shopping first.
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