It’s always exciting when new technology is unveiled in the TV space. I remember the surprise I felt when I first saw an OLED TV. I felt the same way when I saw the first plasma TV of the day. Even when I first saw Horizon Zero Dawn, a flagship TV display in HDR, I was amazed. So, you can imagine my excitement when Realme said they were introducing a new backlighting technology to illuminate the display. They call it SLED. Simply put, without white or blue backlighting, the backlighting display includes three primary colors used to show all colors – red, green, and blue. Traditionally, in the case of a white light, or QLED TV, a blue light hits a level which then displays the required color on the screen. This, of course, is a great simplification of how it works, but it will help you get a basic idea of what a SLED key is. How does this new backlighting technology affect the content we use? Can we expect more TV makers to switch to this type of backlighting? Read and find out.
Features of Realme SLED 4K smart TV at a glance
Panel size: 55-inch
Panel type: VA SLED
Panel resolution: 3840 x 2160 – 4K
Panel refresh rate: 60Hz
HDR 10 support: Yes
Dolby Vision Support: No.
Weight (including stand): 12.6 kg
HDMI port: 3
USB port: 2
Built-in storage: 16GB
Price: MRP: 42,999
Realme SLED TV display and picture quality
Turning things off with the display, Realme SLED TVs have a VA panel, which means you can expect good blacks with some compromises with viewing angles. It’s a 4K panel with support for HDR 10 but sadly it doesn’t support Dolby Vision, which we saw on offer on cheap TVs. The maximum brightness of the TV is around 300 nits and we have seen that TVs like Thomson OATH bring 500 nits for better HDR performance. There is no dimming zone on the TV. It comes with standard picture presets like Standard, Vivid, Movies, Games and more. Let’s take a look at the details of this TV’s photo performance.
4K and HDR performance
Netflix, Prime Video and even Hotstar have a decent catalog of Dolby Vision and HDR content. Fire three apps and all HDR content is presented with HDR badge. Performance is where things get interesting. But before we take a look at the performance, know that the 55-inch SLED TV has the same problem that we found on the 43-inch Realme TV (Review) and that you can’t control the image presets when using native apps. TV. So while you can access Netflix, Prime Video, Disney + Hotstar and more from the comfort of the TV, you can’t change the photo presets and that’s a big mistake.
While viewing HDR content like our planet, which shows some vast deserts and animals crossing it, the display is a bit burnt. The content seemed overexposed. Change the order where our planet shows a starry sky, and we have a bright star filled night. By switching to Fire TV Stick 4K, we changed the image preset from standard to movie, and the over-exposed sequence looked much better. We can say the same thing about The Grand Tour in the Amazon Prime video.
Action-packed content in dark sequences like Star Trek Discovery where we have lots of shots in deep space and warehouse sequences of modified Carbon Season 1 Episode 7 that have a healthy mix of dark and bright sequences and the experience from TV Native was quite enjoyable. Apps again, switching to Fire TV Stick, we had a bit of a good experience when we switched photo presets.
While anyone can enjoy HDR content on a TV, Realme actually needs to enable the ability for a user to control image presets and other settings from the native app. Even cheap TVs like the Hisense 55A71F (review) offer those capabilities and support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atoms.
Realme SLED TV FHD performance
The same over-exposed experience that we have seen in HDR can also happen in SDR. Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, where we see Tom Cruise riding a big bike on the highway, with the sky and sunlight occasionally overcast in the background. Switching to movie presets while receiving content from the Fire TV Stick really helped. Similarly, a show like Young Sheldon, which has a bright vibrant color, seemed a bit off the functionality of the built-in app until we connected an external device and changed the image settings on the TV.
Only when we connect an external device and change the settings of the TV can we take advantage of the possibility of Relame SLED TV. Overall, one can get quite decent photo performance from the TV but only when using an external device, it allows you to control the photo settings.
Realme SLED TV gaming performance
Surprisingly, the gaming performance of the TV was not affected by the issue of extra exposure that we saw with the consuming content. We’ve played a number of common games, including Assassins Creed: Odyssey, Forza Horizon 4 and Gears 5. Gears 5 was a game that looked pretty good. You really have to go through some dark environments in the game’s opening work, and while on a TV like the OnePlus U1 (Review), it was quite difficult to navigate those dark environments because of how the panel was reflected on the Realme SLED. TV made it a more comfortable experience.
Even at Assassin’s Creed, which has a pretty good HDR performance for a game in brightly lit areas, we didn’t face the problem of extra exposure. Remember, we were running TV in game mode. From switching between night and day to entering a base both day and night in the game to see the time-position in the sky, the TV performance was a pleasant surprise. Same for racing in Forza. It is safe to say that if what you do on this TV is play games using a console, you should have an enjoyable experience.
Realme SLED TV Audio Performance
Realme SLED TVs have 24W sound output. The sound from the TV is loud and clear. There is a sequence at Disney + Hotstar in Togo where you pull a sled and the dogs run over a frozen lake. Ice crackling is one of the sequences that proves how well audio can capture the excitement of a movie. We didn’t miss the depth of the ditch when the ice broke, the rest of the experience was pretty good. At about 50% volume the TV can be quite loud and does not lose clarity. Even with dialogue or mixed sequences, the TV caught my attention. Have less rumble but at the same level what you want to expect from a TV. The voice is clear, so watching a soap opera or even a dialogue-heavy movie and documentary without investing in a soundbar is a must.
Realme SLED TV UI
Stock Android TV Here is the name of the game and you will find it. Once the initial setup is done, the UI butter is smooth. Except for one or two hiccups here and there, I haven’t had any problems with the UI, whether it’s navigating streaming services, switching between HDMI sources, or even changing settings. In addition to the problem of not being able to control picture presets when using built-in services, the UI runs smoothly. Even Google Assistant Voice Control works fine.
Realme SLED TV remote control
With the remote control, Realm has a “don’t fix it if it doesn’t break” policy. This is what we saw on the 43-inch TV and I really liked. 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. Added to the grip is the matte finish which makes you feel that if you hold the remote lightly it will not slip from your hand. It has a compact in-hand feel and is much better than the Fire TV Stick Remote Control, for example.
The buttons are simply followed by a directional control with power and mute up tops. It has dedicated hotkeys for Netflix, YouTube and Prime videos, which is great. The OTT is easily accessible by hotkey, Google Assistant buttons and the volume control user’s thumb, which adds the ergonomics of the remote control.
Realme SLED TV build and design
Starting with the construction of the TV, it is very well built. The three side bezels of the TV are very thin and the bottom bezels are a bit thick. It also has the Realmy logo which is not surprisingly prominent as we have seen in other brands. It has a very delicate appearance. The TV isn’t the thinnest out there but it’s also not too thick. If the legs of the TV are strong and placed on the tabletop, it will hold it well. That is that you can find a tabletop wide enough. I put the 65-inch TCL C715 (Review) and Sony X9000H 65-inch in the TV cabinet at home and the 55-inch Realme SLED TV refused to fit in it. The legs are out too much on both sides. Unlike some TVs that give you 2 spaces to adjust the feet or allow you to reverse their positioning so that they don’t just pop out, Realme TV has a single space for feet. It can get ergonomically quite annoying.
Another annoying fact about the design is the port placement. We have two USB ports, an antenna and a mini AV in, 3.5mm port, LAN port, three HDMI ports on the back. This means that whether you place the TV on a tabletop or wall-mount, it can be quite difficult to access the HDMI ports. Even if they were facing horizontally backwards, it would have been better.
So, while the TV is great for construction value, its design and ergonomics are not.
The last row
Considering the TV’s 43K price, it’s a bit difficult to recommend, especially when you consider the options on offer. We have a 55-inch Nokia TV with JBL speakers available in 42K, we have Hisense 55A71F available in around 38K and many more options to consider. Needless to say, the 35k to 45K price bracket is full of offers from several brands to grab your attention. What’s going on for Realme TV is a good build and a pretty good performance when you get the option to control the image settings. However, the lack of outstanding design and image control is a big problem when using content from built-in apps. Not to mention that some content from Native Apps may appear over-published on the panel. If Realme can fix UI issues in the coming weeks, yes, anyone can consider this TV. Until then, you better consider the options.