Good photo performance, black sound
The 43-inch 4K HDR TV we have for review today is not Realme’s first expedition into the TV space. We reviewed Realme’s 55-inch SLED TV (Review) and the company’s Realme 43-inch FHD TV (Review) launched last year. Now, Realme has launched 43-inch and 50-inch 4K HDR TVs with support for HDR 10 and Dolby Vision. The only difference between 43 and 50-inch TVs when it comes to features and specifications is the screen size. Today, we have a 43-inch TV for review. It has some impressive features and specifications like support for Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, and HDR 10. Priced below Rs 30,000, it faces competition like 43-inch Realme TV, Hisense 43A71F, AmazonBasics 43-inch 4K HDR TV. TCL, and more. Is it different from the crowd or is it lost in the sea of some kind of TV? Find out.
Features Realme 43-inch 4K smart TV at a glance
Panel size: 43-inch (also available in 50-inch variants)
Panel type: VA with D-LED backlighting
Panel resolution: 3840×2160 – 4K
Panel refresh rate: 60Hz
HDR 10 support: Yes
HDR 10+ support: no
Dolby Vision Support: Yes
Weight: 6.5 kg
HDMI port: 3
USB port: 2
Built-in storage: 16GB
Price: Rs 27,999 for the 43-inch variant, Rs 39,999 for the 50-inch variant.
Realme 43-inch smart TV 4K display panel and picture quality
Turning things off with the display, the Realme Smart TV has a 4K panel with HDR 10 and Dolby Vision support. Realme tells me that the TV has a maximum brightness of 280 nit which is really low for HDR content. We will talk about it in detail in the performance section. The TV has DLED backlighting where there is no dimming zone. It also claims to support 90% of the DCI-P3 color space.
4K and HDR performance
We played some of the Dolby Vision and HDR10 content on TV in general, and the overall experience was good despite the TV’s low peak brightness. Let me tell you the details. In the past, budget HDR TVs had the problem of showing the content too dark which provided an inadequate experience. We’ve seen it on FHD Realme TV and Xiaomi TV in the past. However, in the last one year, we’ve seen a new level of homogeneity for all budget 4K HDR TVs, if you will. The good news is that this baseline makes using HDR content a great experience, even without hitting the maximum brightness of around 400 nits. While it doesn’t give you a real HDR experience, it’s a good enough experience to enjoy content viewing.
In the case of the 43-inch 4K Realme TV, the HDR content was quite enjoyable, although the highlights have a lack of detail, and the punchy HDR sequences aren’t as punchy as we’ve seen on some other TVs. So, when we watch a show like Hour Planet or Modified Carbon on Netflix in HDR on this Realme TV, we don’t get the “dark” experience we had before. Also we are not filled with burning the brightness of your eyes. What we’ve seen is the good enough color reproduction and contrast that anyone on a budget watching TV will enjoy.
The same goes for prime video. The built-in Prime Video app is recognized as an HDR source and you can enjoy shows like Jack Ryan and The Grand Tour on HDR without any hindrance. Although the brightest highlights of these shows are clipped before them, you won’t notice it because the rest of the screen offers visuals that you will focus on.
However, not everything is perfect with the HDR performance of this TV. We need to talk about some photo presets. For Dolby Vision content, we have Dolby Vision Bright, Dolby Vision Dark and Dolby Vision Vivid. We’ve seen Dolby Vision Bright and Dolby Vision Dark mode on other TVs; Their performance is the same here. However, all Dolby Vision Vivid seems to increase the sharpness of the content. In order to use Dolby Vision content, I suggest you keep it on Dolby Vision Bright. Although there are hints of gray in black, considering the price of the TV, the performance is acceptable.
With HDR 10 content, however, the standard and movie presets seem to have very similar settings and in some cases, the content may look too warm. In this case, I suggest you leave the preset to the movie or standard based on your preference and toggle the color temperature between warm and neutral.
The SDR playback of the TV is quite good again. We’ve seen movies and TV shows on this TV like Mission Impossible, Young Sheldon and many more. Although you might be interested in using movie presets here, be aware that movie presets make the whole color palette very warm. You can change the color temperature neutrally. Movies like Mission Impossible and shows like Young Sheldon, movie presets with neutral or “standard” color temperature give the best results.
The only downside to playing with presets is that there is no way to go back to settings and go back to factory defaults, which is an annoyance. If you want to reset presets to factory defaults, you may want to take a picture of the default settings before tinkering.
Photo presets have no default game mode. There is one in the TV settings. However, attracting it did not really have a noticeable effect on TV. Game mode requires stopping all image processing on the TV and reducing input lag. Although Game Mode does something on TV, it’s not clear what it is. To get the photo settings correct, I switched the photo preset to the user and stopped all image processing. I put the backlighting at 100, with other settings like brightness, contrast and saturation between 50 and 55 depending on the game.
We’ve played games like Dart 5 (Review), Spider-Man Miles Morales (Review) and Return (Review) on this TV using PS5 (Review) and the experience is acceptable. A game like Dart 5 is a great example of HDR gaming and the overall brightness of the game was quite low. To get an acceptable experience we had to manually increase the HDR brightness of the game from the game settings.
A game like Return has enemy projectiles that give you a nice HDR experience, especially on a high-end TV. However, here the difference between the brightness of the scene and the enemy projectile was not very wide.
This does not mean that games are unplayable or a bad experience The games are very playable and enjoyable. You’ll need to calibrate the HDR settings from the PS5 to let the console know the upper and lower limits of the TV’s brightness to make sure you see all the relevant highlights and details on the TV.
Audio is where the TV comes to a standstill. Although it has a 24W sound output, it is low volume where you can get frustrated with the TV’s audio output, especially the vocals. Audio is audible from TV below 30 but dialogues are not clear So, if you watch this TV late at night and do not want to disturb the family, I recommend a pair of headphones. It is clear that the volume is above the 45 mark and it can be quite loud. There is no way to reduce the dynamic range for good clarity at low volume.
Other than that, the TV’s audio output works for watching daily TV. We’ve seen a lot of movies, TV shows, news and game games on TV and Acceptance is the best way to describe the speaker.
There is a toggle in the settings to turn Dolby Atmos on and off and it basically lets you toggle between a regular sound mode and a Dolby Sound mode and I can tell the difference between these two different modes in just a few part of the content. Suffice it to say, choose the one that suits your ears best.
Realme 43-inch 4K TV UI
The UI here is via stock Android and just like we saw on Hisense TV, for example. Patchwall like Xiaomi or OnePlus has no added flavor with OxygenPlay and whether it is a good thing depends on how much you enjoy these alternative UIs. Although I appreciate the features they offer, I’m a stock Android person myself. Stock Android works well and you have the option to change settings at this time when using content from built-in apps, which is great.
The unique thing about Realme TV is that it comes with hands-free control, which we saw on TCL C715 (Review) and Mi QLED TV 75 (Review). In this case, you can say, “OK Google, turn on the TV” and as long as the TV is on standby, it will obey your commands. The hands-free controls on this TV work just like the MI QLED TVs. It answers all my questions, although it still believes that Falcon and The Winter Soldier are not available on Hotstar.
You have a toggle to turn off the mic, but it leaves a yellow LED array at the bottom of the display and can be annoying.
With the remote control, Realm has a “don’t fix it if it doesn’t break” policy. This is what we saw on SLED TVs and 43-inch FHD TVs. This is one I really like. It has a teardrop design – very thin at the top and slightly thicker at the bottom where you have battery housing. This design gives the remote a good grip. It has dedicated hotkeys for Netflix and Prime Video, and a dedicated button to change the source, to bring up the settings. There is also a dedicated Google Assistant button.
Construction and design
The Realme 43-inch 4K TV has a thin bezel on three sides. Only the lower bezel is slightly thicker. Below is also an LED indicator for Google Assistant. There is a toggle on the back of the TV to turn the assistant mic on and off The TV has a plastic frame and the legs have a metallic finish. The legs are quite wide, but for those who want to have a gaming console like a soundbar or PS4 and a set-top-box under the TV, this can be a good thing.
Realme faces the ports of a 43-inch smart TV. For connection, the TV has an AV-in port, two USB ports, three HDMI ports, including HDMI 1 ARC enabled, antenna port, Ethernet port and optical out. It does not have a 3.5mm port. The TV also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0.
The last row
This is a good offer for what Realme 43-inch 4K TV brings to the table. For the price it has a nice panel for taking content in HDR and SDR and has a smooth UI. It comes with a smooth remote control easy to use. The combination of long-range microphones is nice and they let you turn off the TV and turn it on while on standby. Audio performance feels dark at low volumes and ‘game mode’ seems to have little effect on performance on TV. Overall, if you’re looking for a 43-inch 4K TV in 30K price brackets, Realme TV is a must have on your list.