Xiaomi seems to have the pulse of the Indian market. From a soap dispenser to a 4K TV, they seem to have it all. The products are popular, well-built and designed and very affordable. The Mi QLED TV 4K 55 (yes, it is quite the mouthful) is no exception. The 55 does indicate the size of the screen and there is no variant in this, just a single model.
The Mi QLED TV is quite attractive looking. It has a metallic bezel-less design which screams premium. While it does not ship with a wall-mount, it does come with metallic legs which form a very steady stand. Overall, a very thin design with not much sticking out at the back. The ports for connecting sources are mostly on the side with very few being at the back.
Setting up the TV is a breeze: unpack and follow the on-screen instructions and you are ready to go in minutes. The TV OS is Android 10 though Google has not yet provided any of the manufacturers with the new Google TV UI which it ships exclusively with the new Chromecast. However, the Mi TV lets you use the standard Android TV UI along with Google Assistant. Or you could opt for Patchwall, their own interface.
Patchwall on the wall
The current version of Patchwall is the best version of the software to date. It is very easy to discover content from the various streaming services. I had enabled Netflix, Amazon Prime, Youtube, Discovery+, Disney Hotstar and SonyLiv and content from all these services surfaced up to the home screen. It is a marked improvement over previous editions of Patchwall. Very definitely less clutter and easy to use and navigate. Patchwall also gives you easy access to any sources that you may have connected to the TV such as a set top box, gaming console etc.
Of course, the two most important factors for a TV would be the screen and the sound. The Mi TV does a good job on both with a few compromises. The TV would be considered an entry-level 4K TV. When compared with other brands like Sony and Samsung it looks a little pale. However, the price of those would be at least three times and if you are on a budget this is definitely a TV to consider.
QLED is a well established technology, and while the black is not a complete black as in an OLED screen, it is a super dark grey nearing black and most eyes will be okay with it. In any case, most wallets will be okay with it for sure.
The screen is quite punchy and vibrant and provides good colours overall. Specially when viewing high-resolution content. Beware though: if you’re buying this TV to watch standard definition content you will be disappointed. But if you are primarily going to consume HD, 4K, HDR 10 and Dolby Vision content then you will be very pleased. The TV also offers a plethora of profiles and settings which can be tweaked to your hearts content, giving you complete control over the appearance of the content that you are viewing.
One of the challenges with this new breed of thin TVs is how to pack in good sound. This is where most users land up buying a soundbar. The Mi TV however did a very good job with sound. It comes with four drivers and two tweeters delivering a good 30W. This is great for a variety of content and if you have a small room it would be more than sufficient. Dialogs are crisp and clear. Action movies and music tend to suffer a little bit but for most users the built-in speakers will suffice.
In the past Mi has been criticised for the minimalist remote that it provides with its TVs and this edition of the remote still essentially the same remote. However, some very subtle changes were made not in the hardware but in the software of the remote. Based on feedback from the community, a shortcut was provided for muting the sound rather than providing a mute button. Double-click the volume down button and the TV is muted. Similarly, a long press on the “Mi” button will bring up the settings interface which is kinda nice since you can make changes to the picture profiles while viewing content. Dedicated Netflix, Amazon Prime and Google Assistant buttons are also available as in the past.
Overall, the Mi QLED TV 4K 55 is a good option for someone wanting to get a 4K TV. There are TVs from the competition like TCL and OnePlus which may offer better picture and colours, but the overall interface and package of the Mi TV is most certainly a compelling choice.
Pros: Good screen, sound ,user-interface and price
Cons: Black levels not great, no wall mount, remote still minimal
Originally published: Hindu Business Line