Can you remember the last time you read a television’s specifications before buying it? Not many do—at least, not in India. That doesn’t mean specs don’t matter, just that mainstream buyers don’t care about terms like million-to-one contrast ratio or Motion Estimation, Motion Compensation (MEMC).
What matters is picture quality as your eyes see it, audio as your ears hear it, and now even the operating system and connectivity.
The new OnePlus TV checks the right boxes in that regard. High quality content looks great on this TV, it delivers above average contrast and the colours look decent, if not absolutely punchy and out of this world.
But does that justify the price? When Sony, Samsung and LG deliver their obscenely-priced premium TVs in India, you can see a stark difference in picture quality against cheaper TVs. That’s not true for OnePlus TV. If a Mi TV represents the value end of the TV buying chain, the Sony A9G represents the absolute best available on the market.
Unfortunately, the OnePlus TV is closer to the Mi TV than the Sony. In fact, there’s very little discernible difference between the picture quality on the Mi TV and the OnePlus TV, unless you’re actually testing with colourimeters, etc.
The bottomline is--OnePlus’ TV doesn’t look bad. In fact, its colours are quite good and if you can bring high quality content, you will have a field day. But it won’t quite be as much fun as the Sony A9G. And the picture quality isn’t good enough to justify spending an extra nearly 70 grand over a Mi, Vu or TCL AndroidTV.
The OnePlus TV Q1 is priced at ₹69,900 and the Q1 Pro will cost you ₹99,900. Neither is particularly affordable and neither is worth the extra money you’re paying over something like a Mi TV.
In its phones, OnePlus offers superior software, but it hasn’t been able to do that here because AndroidTV just isn’t as customisable as the smartphone version of Android. Also, the fact that OnePlus couldn’t include Netflix support out of the box is a big miss for a premium television.
Xiaomi Mi TV 4X
Xiaomi’s approach to televisions is in stark contrast to that of OnePlus. While the latter wants to make its TV aspirational, the former takes a “4K for everyone" approach.
Xiaomi’s Mi TV 4X (50-inch) at ₹29,999 is an attractive proposition. After all, how many televisions can give you 4K resolution and high dynamic range (HDR) picture support at this price, right? But the price isn’t the only thing Xiaomi has going for it. The Mi TV 4X delivers the basics without trying to push the specs to very high levels.
For instance, the quality of audio is significantly lower than premium TVs, but it’s also sufficiently loud. If you’re using it in small rooms, the TV can actually feel too loud at higher volumes. However, it misses out on good audio detail or very well defined bass. Compared to say a slightly cheaper TCL television, the Mi TV is better, but if you’re comparing it to LG or Sony TVs that cost over ₹60,000, the Mi TV is noticeably behind.
The same can be said about colour fidelity and contrast. If you’re streaming high-quality content from streaming services or external sources, the Mi TV 4X is actually quite impressive, given the price.
However, it doesn’t deal with standard definition (SD) or older content very well, though that again is acceptable at this price.
Speaking of streaming services, this is the first Xiaomi television that comes with Netflix support out of the box. The remote now has dedicated buttons for both Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.
It runs on Android TV, which allows voice support, additional applications and more. Of course, Xiaomi’s Patchwall OS is built inside as well and remains unchanged from older variants.
The only thing we seem to miss in this television is a decent design. That doesn’t mean it’s not perfectly acceptable at this price, but we have come to expect better designs from Xiaomi, irrespective of the price point. Perhaps a metal, or even a faux-metal finish would have made this TV feel more aspirational, yet affordable. That’s Xiaomi’s whole game after all, isn’t it?