Face-off: Affordable 4K TVs reviewed

The new Ultra High Definition TVs from Vu and Micromax are trying to reduce the cost of buying a 4K TV

Ultra high definition (HD), also known as 4K, is the next big standard in television broadcasting. Any television that is 4K capable will support a resolution of 3,840x2,160 pixels, whereas full HD televisions have a default resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels. And a higher resolution means a better viewing experience.

The new 4K TVs from Vu and Micromax include some level of future-proofing, bigger screen size compared to full HD LED TVs in the same price range (usually 40-inch or 42-inch panels) and the ability to run Android apps.

Design

The modern-looking Micromax UHD TV also has a thin bezel, and even though it is silver, it looks like a subtle shade of gold from certain angles depending on the lighting in the room. The table-top stand attaches close to either end of the TV’s frame, making it critical to have a table that is equally wide.

Both these televisions don’t cut any corners in terms of looks. Good quality materials have
been used and the design language is in line with the more popular brands.

Features

The Vu TV has three HDMI inputs, whereas Micromax offers two. Both TVs are also MHL compatible, for connectivity with smartphones. Both TVs have 4 GB internal storage and integrated Wi-Fi, while Micromax includes an SD card slot as well. This is useful for accessing media files, or adding more storage for installing apps downloaded from the app store. The remote that Micromax provides supports motion control, which is useful for some apps.

Panel and performance

If you are watching low-quality SD content on a 48-inch edge LED panel, the image processing of the Vu 48D6455 works overtime to improve clarity and colours, and does an acceptable job. HD content looks good, but 4K content is decidedly sharp and rich.

Overall, the softer colours and comfortable brightness levels are similar to what one usually associates with Samsung’s LED TVs. There is some amount of extra backlight that is visible near the lower part of the panel, but that doesn’t spoil the picture.

The Micromax 50K2330UHD also uses an edge LED panel, but is slightly bigger at 50 inches. This is a brighter panel, not necessarily superior, but the whites look purer—closer to Sony’s LED TVs. Fast-motion scenes in movies and sports look slightly smoother on this TV, but the quality is consistent with the Vu rest of the time. Clarity, detailing and the smoothness of the on-screen motion similar in both televisions.

Both TVs have a couple of limitations. While they support resolutions up to 3,840x2,160 pixels, there is a refresh-rate restriction—3,840x2,160 works at 24 Hz but is incompatible at 50 Hz. Simply put, 24 Hz broadcasts are best for watching movies and TV shows, but sports are recorded in 50 Hz, which makes them seem choppy when forced to broadcast at 24 Hz.

Second, the picture setting options are minimal. While backlight level, brightness, contrast, colour and sharpness are available, deeper controls for noise cancellation, colour format and motion-engine settings are missing.

Price matters

Among the big name brands, LG’s most affordable 4K TV at the moment is the 40-inch 40UB800T ( 77,900). The 48-inch Vu 48D6455 is priced at 55,000, while the 50-inch Micromax UHD LED TV (50K2330UHD) costs 48,990.

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