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In Mozart's time, the piano was considered the king of instruments. Back then, a king needed a throne. The piano was no small instrument, and to get great sound out of it, you also had to have a lot of money. Fortunately, piano technology has advanced quite a bit since Mozart was tinkling the keys. Today, you can purchase an excellent piano for performance and composing without going absolute broke. Options like the Yamaha PSR E253 give you the power of a concert piano without needing baroque nobility levels of funds.

But is the Yamaha PSR E253 piano worth the sticker price? To answer this question, we compiled a short list of the top pianos that hover around the Yamaha PSR E253's price point. We cut this list down to an evaluation of the top four pianos in this field and compared each entry head to head against the others.

In this Yamaha PSR E253 review, we scored the titular piano against its top competition according to the following criteria: features, price, ease of use, sound quality & versatility, design quality, and durability & warranty. No one factor will determine which is the right keyboard for you and your budget. However, by the end, you should have all the tools necessary to make this decision for yourself.

 

What Is the Yamaha PSR E253?

The Yamaha PSR E253 is an incredibly affordable, beginner friendly, digital piano. If you've run into the Yamaha SR-E453 or the Yamaha PSR-E353, you've met the cousins of this excellent starter keyboard.

The models in the PSR series do represent the low end of what Yamaha offers in terms of keyboards, but they greatly out-perform their competition at these budget price points. About the only way that this keyboard falls short is that it is indeed geared towards young learners or beginner keyboardists.

However, the digital piano is such an expansive instrument that professionals would not be seriously hamstrung by playing on the Yamaha PSR E253. At the same time, if you have more of a budget for your digital piano, you might be able to get better sound out of a top of the line model.

 Product Specs

Pricing

How It Compares

Yamaha PSRE253 61-Key Portable Keyboard
  • 61 full-sized keys are great for learning and developing keyboard playing technique.
  • Duo mode splits the keyboard into two halves, each with their own "middle C" for practicing with a partner
  • The Aux Line Input allows you to connect any music device with a headphone output, such as an MP3 player, a computer, a...

Ease of Use 

This is certainly a beginner's piano. Even if you get lost playing with its settings, you can always change it back to a fairly traditional sounding piano with the touch of a button.

Sound Quality & Versatility

The sound quality of the Yamaha PSR E253 can be outclassed by the more expensive pianos, but the flexibility it provides is impressive for its price point.

Design Quality 

The parts look and feel cheaper than those on pianos which have higher price points.

Durability & Warranty 

The Yamaha PSR E253 comes with a one-year warranty.

PROS

  • Budget price point
  • Great for beginners
  • Portable Grand button makes it easy to get back into performance mode
  • Aux line input is useful
  • 61 key full-sized keyboard
  • Duo mode helps practice and duets
  • Can sustain a 32-note polyphony
  • 100 auto accompaniment styles to back your tracks
  • Very lightweight and portable

CONS

  • Power adapter is sold separately
  • Not the highest quality
  • Professionals might want more features or higher sound quality
Yamaha Psr-E263 61-Key Portable Keyboard
  • The psr e263 Yamaha portable keyboard features a wide variety of sounds and functions for beginners
  • 61 full sized keys are great for learning and developing keyboard playing technique
  • The Yamaha Education Suite can be used with the more than 100 preset songs, making it the ideal first keyboard for...

We would be remiss to evaluate the Yamaha PSR E253 without pitting it against its cousin, the Yamaha PSR-E263 61-Key Portable Keyboard. Obviously both come with the quality assumption that you receive from Yamaha. Both are even in the same line of keyboard.

However, several factors separate the Yamaha PSR-E263 61-Key Portable Keyboard from the Yamaha PSR E253. The Yamaha PSR-E263 61-Key Portable Keyboard provides even more considerations for learning musicians, but that same focus on beginners might leave the keyboard less useful for more professional consumers.

The Yamaha PSR-E263 61-Key Portable Keyboard does clock in as even cheaper than its cousin, however. It is also easier to find in stock.

Both keyboards provide a full 61 key range. Both offer the duo mode that is ideal for learning piano. Both are compact and portable. Both provide a wide library of voices that allow the keyboard to imitate a vast array of instruments.

However, certain details differ. For instance, the PSR-E263 offers 400 unique voices, whereas the PSR E253 offers only 385.

Ease of Use 

This is an ideal beginner piano for the same reasons that the Yamaha PSR E253 provides a great amateur option.

Sound Quality & Versatility 

This piano is slightly more versatile than the Yamaha PSR E253, but sound quality is still lacking versus the top of the line.

Design Quality 

It looks like a beginner piano.

Durability & Warranty 

The Yamaha PSR-E263 61-Key Portable Keyboard comes with a limited one-year manufacturer's warranty.

PROS

  • Great for beginners
  • Even cheaper than the Yamaha PSR E253
  • Easier to find in stock than the Yamaha PSR E253
  • 100 auto accompaniment styles to back your tracks
  • Offers 400 unique voices
  • Offers Duo mode for easy learning

CONS

  • Heavier than the Yamaha PSR E253
  • Warranty is only okay
Casio CTK-3500 61-Key Touch Sensitive Portable Keyboard with Power...
  • Dance music Mode w/50 built-in dance music rhythms
  • Chordata play app integration
  • 48 note polyphony

The Casio has a full 61 keys in piano style, multiple sensitivity levels, and 400 built-in tones for using on the go or in your home. If you are just being, or looking to compose on the Casio, the 150 built-in rhythms will keep you dancing all night long.

While the keyboard is not MIDI capable, you can plug your phone, laptop, or pad right into the audio plugin. The keyboard comes with a stand and other accessories, depending on the package that you purchase. Casio proclaims they have built a keyboard perfect for beginners to learn on and experts to enjoy naturally.

Ease of Use 

The keyboard has touch sensitive keys perfect for a beginner to learn on. The full range of keys makes for great practice even for experts. The loaded sounds are a huge bonus in terms of composing.

Sound Quality & Versatility 

While this keyboard does not have as many preloaded sounds as other keyboards on our list, the sounds it does have are quality; not to mention the large amount of preloaded rhythms to get you started.

Design Quality 

The included keyboard stand, sheet music stand, and touch sensitive keys are all you need to begin your next musical project! The Casio has them all.

Durability & Warranty 

The manufacturer's warranty covers the keyboard from breaking for a year after purchase.

PROS

  • Touch sensitive keys
  • Tons of tones preloaded to make it easy to play
  • Great design quality for sound

CONS

  • Not the least expensive
  • Not MIDI compatible
Sale
RockJam, 61-Key RJ461 61-Key Portable Electric Keyboard Power Supply,...
  • Despite its highly portable and compact design This Rock Jam keyboard piano houses the full 61 keys
  • Powered by either mains (power adapter included) or batteries This Rock Jam keyboard is ideal for making music both when...
  • The Inbuilt LCD display on this Rock Jam keyboard piano provides you with information on your current settings and even...

When looking at keyboards, it is important to consider usability versus portability. The RockJam has both. It has a light, easy to move design without losing a single key! While still keeping tone, the RockJam can use batteries for gigs on the go or a plug for playing at home.

The keyboard also has all the plugs you need, a micro SD, aux, and USB. Already preloaded, the RockJam comes with 61 percussion instruments, 300 rhythms, and 300 tones. To top it off, the keyboard does not cost the arm and leg that you will need when playing.

Ease of Use 

The keyboard comes with a stand for reading notes and a booklet to help you get started. Experts and novices alike can enjoy the helpful hints and tips.

Sound Quality & Versatility 

While this keyboard does not have as many preloaded sounds as other keyboards on our list, the sounds it does have are quality; not to mention the large amount of preloaded rhythms to get you started.

Design Quality 

Options included for powering the keyboard, weight, and full keys make this keyboard a no brainer in terms of design.

Durability & Warranty 

The RockJam keyboard has a warranty for purchase. You can get a two-year or three-year warranty depending on your preference.

PROS

  • A great starter keyboard for kids and adults
  • 61 percussion instruments pre loaded
  • Durable for heavy play and use
  • Has many adaptable plugin options

CONS

  • Stand is not included with the purchase
  • Seat is not included with the purchase

 

Conclusion

a kid playing a piano

Image Via unsplash

If you are aiming to buy a digital piano for a young musician or someone who has never mastered piano, then you will be hard pressed to find a piano that outperforms the Yamaha PSR E253 for its price point.

If you view a warranty as the manufacturer's promise of quality, then you may gravitate towards the RockJam RJ461 61-Key Portable Electronic Keyboard. The RockJam model we evaluated offered quite a bit of nice features, but its warranty does have to be purchased.

If dance parties are more your jam, and you're looking for a cheap option to transform your apartment into a dance punk shindig, then you should consider the multiple dance modes offered by the Casio CTK-3500 61-Key Touch-Sensitive Portable Keyboard. The touch sensitivity promised by this model does add a professional touch that might keep this keyboard around for longer, but ultimately we found that it could not displace the Yamaha PSR E253 in terms of quality for its price point.

Ultimately, the decision for the best digital keyboard in the budget price range comes down to the Yamaha PSR E253 and its even cheaper cousin, the Yamaha PSR-E263 61-Key Portable Keyboard. Both will provide you with all the tools necessary to springboard a career in playing or composing with piano. Both are built on foundational 61 key keyboards and come with a lot of features to ease the learning process.

However, if you are truly learning with a digital piano, or if you ever plan to busq on the streets, portability gains extra points. The additional voices of the Yamaha PSR-E263 61-Key Portable Keyboard are excellent, but it ends up weighing about twice as much as our winner: the Yamaha PSR E253.

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