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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Xiaomi OLED Vision 55-inch TV review: An OLED for everyone?

Xiaomi is best known for disrupting the technology industry with its ‘value-for-money’ products. The company’s strategy has always been to provide the best specifications on paper at a slightly lower price. Xiaomi is extending this strategy further with its ‘smart TV’ segment. It has introduced a new OLED TV in the market, starting at Rs 89,999. Of course, looking at the price tag, you would say it’s not affordable. It’s a pricey TV, no doubt. Except this is an OLED, and perhaps one of the most affordable ones in the market.

An OLED TV is often considered the pinnacle of what the industry has to offer. OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) screens are supposed to be brighter, richer, and provide a much truer-to-life colour experience. The ‘blacks’ in particular on an OLED TV are much more authentic than what one would experience on an LED or LCD or QLED display. But all this beauty comes at a high price. Most OLED TVs from brands like LG and Sony will cost more than Rs 1,50,000 lakh on average. In fact, the cheapest OLED TV I could find was the LG A1 4K OLED in 48-inch size, at a starting price of Rs 69,999. And that’s only because it is on discount.

Clearly, Xiaomi hopes to pitch its OLED Vision as an alternative to those who want the best TV display technology but without paying a high price. But is the Xiaomi OLED Vision worth it? Here’s our review.

Xiaomi OLED Vision 55-inch review: Display and audio

Xiaomi’s OLED Vision is a 55-inch 4K display. This comes with support for formats such as Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10+ and 10, HLG and IMAX Enhanced. The last one is a certification by IMAX to ensure a theatre-like visual and audio experience on certified devices. However, the content also needs to be remastered to support this format, so until that happens for some Disney+ Marvel movies, you are unlikely to experience this. The Disney+Hotstar app does not yet show IMAX Enhanced as a label for any content.

Xiaomi OLED Vision offers an excellent viewing experience. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express )

Since this is an OLED, you expect a visual treat, and the TV does deliver well on this. I watched the final episodes of Netflix’s Stranger Things Season 4 on this TV, along with some episodes of Love, Death + Robots. I also watched some episodes of Big Bang Theory, the Modern Family, and Scam on Sony Liv.

The visual experience is unmatched with rich and vivid colours. It is certainly the best among all the Xiaomi TVs I have reviewed so far, including their previous QLED. I particularly enjoyed Volume 2 of Stranger Things, especially where some scenes in the Upside Down get really dark. But the Xiaomi OLED handles these well and ensures you don’t miss any action because you are trying to figure out how to crank up the brightness.

The OLED Vision handles darker scenes very well. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express )

If you consume high-quality content from Netflix, Disney+Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, etc., then Xiaomi OLED delivers well. It is a premium panel, and it shows. And what about non-4K content? The upscaling is not bad at all. Sure, some old episodes of Friends and even Big Bang Theory look a bit pixellated when you are sitting close to the TV. But when I watched from a distance, I could hardly see the difference.

This is also one Xiaomi TV where I have found the audio quality more acceptable. It’s still not the best. But at least I did not feel the need to crank up the audio to full just to listen to some dialogues, something I have had to do with Xiaomi’s TVs in the past. The Xiaomi OLED Vision comes with eight speakers with 30W output, and this has Dolby Atmos and DTS: X certification. The audio quality remains balanced no matter the type of show you are watching.

Xiaomi OLED Vision 55-inch review: Software, design and everything else

The Xiaomi OLED Vision comes with a wall-mount or regular stand. The TV has a premium metal body and stand. It comes with what Xiaomi calls a nearly bezel-less design. The bezels are there, but hardly noticeable. The TV has a sleek profile, given the frame is only 4.6mm in thickness. For connectivity, Xiaomi has packed this with lots of options. It has Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 6 – 2.4GHz/5GHz supported. The TV comes with three HDMI 2.1 ports, two USB ports, one Ethernet port, an AV port, a 3.5mm port, and an optical port. The TV’s remote comes with dedicated hotkeys for Netflix, Prime Video and Hotstar, but Xiaomi clearly thinks it is still too much to add a mute button. So yes, you must continue to press the volume down option twice in quick succession to mute the TV. It is one thing I absolutely detest.

Xiaomi’s biggest problem is still the software, which does have some hiccups. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express )

The Xiaomi OLED Vision comes with Android TV11 and of course Xiaomi’s own Patchwall 4. Xiaomi also packed this with 3GB RAM and 32GB of storage onboard.

But despite the excellent display and good audio, you feel let down when it comes to the software experience. Initially, when the TV was being used in my house, there were some glitches where the content randomly paused for a second while streaming. It didn’t help that an impatient toddler (my son) was watching when this happened. Later, when I returned to watch Modern Family, the issue re-occurred. I noticed there was a 1GB update, which did fix the problem. The reason I point this out is that such glitches if and when they occur with a consumer will likely cause problems. Not everyone will think, ‘maybe my TV’s software needs an update and check for one.’ They are likely to blame the device itself if the content randomly pauses or glitches suddenly, which is what happened in this case.

There’s also no denying that the TV can be very slow to respond at times. For instance, if I lightly press the power button, it goes into the ‘screen off’ mode, which means TV is on, but the screen is switched off. But when you press again to get it out of this mode, the TV takes a few seconds to come back on, which is annoying given the price. Even when you power it back on, it takes a few seconds for the screen to light up. You are never sure if you need to press the power-on button again or not.

The remote control that accompanies the Xiaomi OLED Vision. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express )

Of course, there’s Patchwall. It is a highly curated experience and will appeal to folks constantly looking for what’s new to watch. I’m more set in my choices and prefer the Android TV format, which is a little less in your face.

Xiaomi OLED Vision 55-inch TV review: Verdict

If you’re looking for a premium TV and have long wanted an OLED in a 55-inch size, the Xiaomi OLED Vision is your best bet in the market right now. The LG OLED on discount costs Rs 69,999 on Amazon right now, which is affordable considering the display panel, but then this is a 48-inch option. Most LG and Sony options in this size start at above Rs 1,50,000 lakh.

Xiaomi’s advantage is that it is the most affordable OLED option on the list. The display and audio quality in this TV are top-notch, but the software experience sometimes lets down it. But the premium market doesn’t just work on price. Someone looking to spend Rs 90,000 or more on a TV might be okay stretching their budget a bit more to get a more established brand. Frankly, convincing users that they should spend pick their premium TV might not be an easy battle for Xiaomi.

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