Philips 55 Inch 4K Ultra Slim Smart LED TV Review: Good Panel, Dark UI
If you want to spend between Rs 60,000 to Rs 70,000 on a TV, you can get something from premium brands like Sony, Samsung, LG, Panasonic and many more in the 4K smart TV space with sizes from 50 to 55. OnePlus’s entry-level TV is priced at around Rs 70,000. Today we have a Philips TV. The TV comes with a 55-inch 4K HDR-capable panel and the company’s own SAPHI OS. Is it a worthy competitor in the smart TV space, or are you looking for alternatives?
Key specification at a glance
Panel size: 55-inch
Panel type: VA
Panel resolution: 3840 x 2160 – 4K
Panel refresh rate: 60Hz
10-bit panel: Yes
HDR 10 support: Yes
Dolby Vision Support: No.
HDMI port: 3
USB port: 2
Speaker: 2 x 10W
OS: Safi OS
Price: MRP: Rs 119990, MOP: 70,400
Construction and design
When it comes to making TVs, it’s all plastic but not fragile. It’s not thin, but it’s okay. The tabletop feet of the TV are small and made of plastic but not so small that a gaming console or set-top-box will disrupt your viewing experience. In terms of design, the TV has a relatively thick bezel. The same 70k priced OnePlus TV comes with a very thin bezel. The only downside to the design is that only one HDMI port and USB port face outwards, so if you plan to wall mount it, you may want to consider cable management. The rest of the ports are not all back together. You have a small block with AV input and a hole at the bottom that contains Ethernet and the remaining HDMI ports.
Overall, the TV’s build is standard as one would expect, the bezels around the display are not a hindrance but a visual treat, and the tabletop stand keeps the TV long enough to hold a soundbar or set-top-box. Under the TV, in comfort.
Ports and connections
For connectivity, the Philips 55PUT6103S / 94 has 3 HDMI ports and 2 USB ports. One of the HDMI ports with a USB port and the headphone port is sideways. There is a block that contains the back service port and the AV port. Below this, in a hole, we have the other two HDMI ports, one of which is ARC enabled. We have an antenna port, an Ethernet port, a USB port and an optical out port. Overall, the connection options are decent and enough to get the job done.
Display panel and image quality
Speaking of the panel on offer on the Philips 55-inch 4K HDR smart TV, it’s a 10-bit panel manufactured by BOE (CHINA). It is a VA panel with a maximum brightness of 350 nits. The press release shared by Philips states that the TV has micro dimming which “thanks to our special software that analyzes images in 6400 different zones and adjusts them accordingly, you will enjoy incredible contrast and image quality for a truly lively visual experience.” But when asked how many physical dimming zones there are on TV, Phillips gave us the answer “multiple zones with local dimming technology”.
For content, the TV has a built-in TV version of the Netflix and Prime video apps. Sadly, there is no Hotstar out there and Philips has confirmed to us that they plan to launch the Hotstar app in Q1 2020. The TV runs SAPHI OS based on Linux and is based on Philips OS.
We used not only the Xbox One X as an external source but also the built-in streaming app to test our standard multiple content.
4K content HDR
Before watching how the content looks on the TV, find out that the built-in Netflix app supports HDR, but the built-in Prime Video app doesn’t, and that’s a good thing. Let me elaborate. We’ve done a number of standard play of Netflix content on 4K SDR, HDR and HD for viewing content on TV. When it comes to a show like Altered Carbon, Season 1 Episode 7 has a sequel that has great action in the dark, mixed with bright light from a warehouse ceiling. This sequence is enjoyable when playing from the native app. In fact, the content quality of the native Netflix app is much better than what we’ve seen from the Xbox. Sequences that look dark on the Xbox were fairly bright and bright when viewed from the native app. Moving on to Prime Video, Jack Ryan is in Season 2 HDR, and at the beginning of Season 2 Episode 2, a typical scene in the office when the Xbox One X was played on HDR looked darker than we wanted. But it looked pretty good while playing using the built-in app on the SDR. It shows bright maintenance details and good color instead of looking dull and dark from external sources.
So, if the content is from streaming shows like Netflix and Prime Video that you watch, be aware that the content of the built-in apps can go. As we said, Hotstar TV will come Q1 2020 so you can wait for it too.
This is a place where both the built-in app and the content from external sources looked good. Whether it’s a show like Young Sheldon in Prime Video or Mission on Netflix: Impossible, both look almost identical in HD when comparing internal apps and external sources. Content is overall, bright, rich, full of colors and when you tweak the settings, you can get a nice touch of bright color if you know what you are doing. Both standard and vivid presets work well for SDR content.
Overall, the SDR content on the TV looks great. Even 4K shows like The Chef Show or even The Blacklist on Netflix look great and enjoyable.
When the Xbox One was connected to the X TV, it immediately recognized it as a gaming console, and the photo modes available in the toggle were HDR Games, HDR Vivid, etc., which were good. Games like Doom which are 4K and SDR and Forza Horizon 4 which are in 4K but looked very good on HDR TV and only need a little tweaking in the photo settings. Doom may look too bright, but change the photo mode and you’ll get a little more muted orange for Mars. The Forza Horizon 4 races may lack the bright highlights brought by the overhead sun, but this is precisely because the rest of the image was perfectly clear, sharp and colorful.
If there’s one game that’s really lost in the dark sequence, it’s with Gears 5. Gears 5 is our new benchmark for 4K HDR gaming and a sequence where you have to walk through a dark corridor. Now on a flagship TV, the dark corridor is dark, but it manages to retain the details that need to be visible in the dark. In Gears 5 on Philips TV, it looked much darker than that
TV works well for gaming, but there are some instances of gaming where we want it to be even better.
Audio from the built-in speaker
In the audio from Philips TV, the sound is louder and better and the average sized living room is likely to fill up to about 50 percent volume. It is not hoarse, the voice is clear and for watching TV every day, the TV does a good job. But it lacks bass. So if you expect to pack it in one push while watching movies or playing games, you will be disappointed. TVs offer different sound modes that change the reliability of the audio. You will get several sound presets including original, movie, music, game, news and expert mode.
Built-in service and UI
Most TVs today run on Android with their own UI overlaying it We also have Samsung and LG bringing their own OS and UI in the form of Tizen and WebOS respectively. Philips TV has its own SAPHI OS which is not only the best in terms of smart capabilities but also effective in controlling image settings. You will only get Netflix and Prime videos in 2020 UI with Hotstar. The UI is simple and all the content is presented in 2 rows. UI does not come with any extra smart capabilities like voice assistant etc. The App Store also lacks other local streaming services
Overall, the UI is slender and pale compared to what is on offer from Android TV-powered TVs, Tizen, WebOS and more.
Another frustrating aspect of TV is the remote control. The layout of the buttons is not ergonomic. In general, you expect the number pad to be at the top and the playback controls to be at the bottom, dominated by the middle navigation control and the home button. On Philips TV, things are a little different. You have number controls at the bottom, playback controls at the top, with your settings and home buttons at the bottom. There is a D-pad in the center. If you want to use the TV as a smart TV, the buttons are felt everywhere.
The remote control comes in construction, it is well built, sturdy and has a good grip. The buttons are rubbery. Considering the premium price of the TV, we hope the remote was even better.
The last row
If the Philips 55PUT6103S / 94 is below 50k, it would be easy to recommend only for image quality. But at the 60-70k price point, it misses important features like smart capability, UI and maximum brightness for HDR performance. If you are looking for a TV with a good panel to watch every day, then yes, you can consider it, but remember, you have the choice of OnePlus TV which we have reviewed before and a host of other TVs available at 70K price point that is a worthy competitor.