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Mi TV in India - Review 2018

By on June 5, 2018 with 1 Comment  

The one distinguishing characteristic about televisions like a lot of other electrical/electronic appliances is that they highlight our homes. Like a dedicated corner for washing machine, the or a plug point for the refrigerator, there’s the ‘decorated wall’ for television (TV). That’s becoming a trend in the homes of emerging Indian middle-class. The mirth of buying most of these appliances is profound—a celebrated affair to say the least.

With such a context, a company like Xiaomi comes along and do what it is best at—turning the given product category on its head with an amalgam of class-leading features, new software experience and the most important—the predatory pricing. So, when you get premium looking slim TV at a giveaway price, you probably don’t even need a review to decide. But maybe you will need a review to perhaps convince the person paying up for your purchase—your parent or spouse, or someone else.

For Indian audience, Mi TV offers three models based on the screen size:

  1. 32’ Mi LED Smart TV 4
  2. 43’ Mi LED Smart TV 4a
  3. 55’ Mi LED Smart TV 4a

55’ Smart TV from Mi is the most advanced and expensive of all and obviously the biggest of the three. So, let’s understand what key features and technologies Mi TV comes with.

Key Mi TV Features

Get Smitten with the Slimness

The first thing which will completely astonish you about Mi TV (55’ model) is the thickness. It is the thinnest Smart LED TV in this size with a thickness of the TV being 4.9mm. In fact, it is slimmer than most of the smartphone out there in the market. For 55’ TV, that kind of thickness is unprecedented. Looking at the TV one can easily assume that the company has invested a lot in its design aesthetics.

The TV does get thick at the bottom and that’s because it’s the bottom which houses all the internal circuits. The TV can be placed on a stand or can be mounted on a wall. But it is little scary to keep such a slim TV on a stand if you have toddlers or pets around because no one would like the sight of kids/pets nibbling or pulling a piece of display technology.

Overall, with the frameless display design, Mi TV is quite attractive. Irrespective of how you plan to keep it, the TV will surely draw attention. The minimalist design makes sure that your attention is focused towards the content on the display of the TV.




4K Display to Make You Foolproof for the Future

All three models from Mi comes with a different resolution. The 32’Mi TV comes with HD display resolution (1366 x 768), 43’ TV feature full HD display resolution (1920 x 1080) while the 55’ comes with the best—4k resolution (3840 x 2160). Though there is not much 4K content in India but with the superfast growth of video content, 55’ Mi TV will be future-proof.

55’ Mi Smart TV sports a Samsung-manufactured 10-bit VA panel. Having a 10-bit panel is a big plus as most of the smart 4K TVs come with the 8-bit panel. An 8-bit panel is capable of 256 shades of color for each of the primary colors (red, green and blue). So, an 8-bit panel can give out 16.8 million colors (256 x 256 x 256 = 16,777,216). In contrast to 256 colors per primary color, a 10-bit panel can produce 1,024 colors per primary color. That means that a TV with a 10-bit panel can produce over a billion colors (1024 × 1024 × 1024 = 1,072,341,824).

The 55’ display has a refresh rate of 60Hz and contrast ratio of 6000:1. The best thing is the TV is capable of producing colors with HDR capabilities. High Dynamic Range (HDR) generates more dynamic contrast, better brightness and a wider color palette that makes TV viewing experience closer to life. The whites are brighter, blacks are darker and other colors more natural. HDR enhances image quality and details that are usually lost in translation in older TVs with standard display models. Premium Mi TV uses HDR10 which is most frequently used and easily available HDR format. HDR10 is an open source (just like the Android) format, it’s much easier to implement by manufacturers. Mi seems to have tweaked this format to customize their 4K offering for the better viewing experience. So, Xiaomi is offering 4K TV in a budget of Rs 40,000 which would otherwise cost over one lakh if you decide to opt for premium brands like Samsung, LG or Sony.

Optimum Performance with Quad Core Processor and 10-bit panel

The 55’ Mi TV with 10-bit VA panel and powered by 64-bit quad core processor offers excellent performance. Color reproduction is good too. If you’re upgrading from cheaper offerings from Vu etc, you will see a big difference in the picture quality. Yet, it won’t match the likes of OLED from LG or QLEDs from Samsung. The viewing angles are limited and viewing from extreme angles will cause color shift. If user sits at an angle beyond 45-degrees from the screen, the colors will start looking off. The contrast levels would be dropped too.

Upon testing the TV with benchmarking software, the black and white levels on the TV were decent as one would expect from a 4K HDR TV with a 10-bit panel. But when compared to OLED TV from LG, Mi TV don’t produce perfect blacks. Talking about the contrast ratio, the Mi TV again falls far behind the Sony or Samsung’s 4K HDR LED TV and that’s expected. But considering the asking price of the Mi TV and that of the Sony or the Samsung, the Mi TV definitely punches above its price tag. In short, this TV is an excellent value for money proposition.

Average Audio Despite Dolby & DTS Support

Though we were impressed with the picture quality of the Mi Smart TV, the audio output from the TV disappointed us. This is despite featuring Dolby and DTS in the TV. It’s the loudness which is not up to the mark, though the sound quality is manageable. The Mi TV 4 has two 8-watt speakers placed at the bottom and their performance is plainly okay for a medium-sized room. The bangs and whistles while watching an action-packed movie aren’t much discernible. So, if you are an audiophile, you would probably rue TV’s audio quality. It is advisable to invest in a nice soundbar to make the most of this TV. The good thing is that the vocals from the built-in speakers are clean. So, for viewing documentaries or a usual talk show, this TV is decent enough.

Redefined TV Viewing with Patchwall OS

Just like the slim design, Mi seems to have done a massive amount of work on the user interface that is to be offered to Indian users. The result is—Patchwall operating system (OS) which is a heavily tweaked version of Android. Patchwall OS is aimed to redefine the job of smart TV—putting the content first and apps later. That is the reason why it doesn’t even have a dedicated app store. Though it comes with a plethora of apps like Hotstar, Voot, Hungama etc that would cater your entertainment need.

Patchwall uses an advanced AI (artificial intelligence) to make smart, content recommendations based on the users viewing habits, which means that over time, it starts showing them the stuff they like/watch. But the downside is that the TV does not have a concept of profiles. So, if your brother likes to watch business shows, expect the recommendations to reflect in the UI too. Here again, the company claims it is working on profiles and they should be live in the near future. Another big miss is the absence of Amazon Prime and Netflix which are the major sources of 4k content.

Ports, Remote, and App to Fulfill Most of the Connectivity Need

When it comes to connectivity, Mi TV has all the arsenal in its repertoire. 55’ model comes with 3 HDMI ports (one of them is ARC), 2 USB ports (out of which one is the latest USB 3.0), an Ethernet port, AV input and good old antenna connection as well. But the problem is the USB and HDMI ports lie in a socket at the bottom of the TV on its backside, downward facing. This can easily get in the way of various devices, cables or other connectors. For instance, it’s almost impossible to connect Amazon FireStick to the port, because space gets cramped at the back, in case you wall mount the TV. Though the remedy is to use a connector, still one needs to struggle for the right fit. Another thing which is problematic is that you can’t pair speakers through 3.5mm or RCA. You will need coaxial digital adapter cable if you want to connect speakers through 3.5mm jack or RCA. But the wireless connection is a breeze as the TV supports both, Bluetooth and WiFi.

Just like the main TV unit the remote bundled with Mi TV features minimalistic design. The design resembles Amazon FireStick without playback controls but with the addition of the much-needed volume control. Though the addition of volume control is a welcomed move but remote misses mute button. Since the remote works on Bluetooth, one does not need to point remote in the direction of TV. The best thing about this remote is that it doubles as a universal remote. This means the user can control your DTH, Mi Android box and few other devices. Non-compatibility to work with Amazon FireStick TV disappointed us. And then unlike FireStick, it doesn’t feature voice control functionality.

What if you run out of remote batteries post-midnight? Well, Mi TV comes with a mobile app that lets you control your TV through the smartphone. The user interface of the app is clean and features the mute button—something we missed so dearly on the physical remote. Interestingly, Mi TV app also allows the user to take a screenshot of the TV and save it directly on their phone. Though it’s a simple feature, we really found this useful. There is also an option called apps, that lets you open apps on your TV from the directly from your phone. The Mi TV app also comes with an option to convert a smartphone into a gaming pad to play games.

Pros and Cons of Mi TV

Biggest plus point for Mi TV is the value for money. You get all the features in a TV which other big brands charge double for. The extent of slimness is simply amazing. The 10-bit VA panel with over a billion of colors ensures viewing experience is delightful. Ample of connectivity option with a customized OS make sure you can load/view as much of content as you like for your personal entertainment.

The downside is that the screen is very reflective. You will need to make sure there is no direct sunlight or other light striking the TV. Also, Mi TV doesn’t have an upscaling hardware/software to improve low-resolution SD (standard definition) videos to be displayed on the 4k screen. This means viewing the SD content would be painfully pixelated. As the Mi TV don’t use OLED or QLED the blacks aren’t the best. So, watching a movie which has a lot of dark scenes would make the viewing experience a little less appealing.

Conclusion

Just like its smartphone offering, Mi has done a decent job of bringing out smart TVs at a giveaway price. If you are looking to pick up a 4k TV on a budget under 50k, you can’t go wrong with Mi TV. You get a 10-bit panel that produces 4k HDR content something which is very crucial if you intend to buy a big-sized TV. If you upgrade your LED TV from brands like VU, Sanyo or Micromax, you will clearly see a fair amount of difference. But if pitted against the likes of Sony or Samsung, Mi TV would be out of contention. With that said, Mi TV is still an excellent choice if you keep your expectations under control.

Some Popular Mi Models:

  • MI-LED Smart TV 4A 32
    • 32 inch
    • Full HD
    • 10W x 2 Audio
    • SMART TV
    • Refresh Rate: 60Hz
  • MI-LED Smart TV 4A 43
    • 43 inch
    • Full HD
    • 10W x 2 Audio
    • SMART TV
    • Refresh Rate: 60Hz
  • MI-LED Smart TV 4
    • 55 inch
    • Ultra HD
    • 2 x 8 W Audio
    • SMART TV
    • Refresh Rate: 60Hz
    • HDR

About the Author:
Hussain Kanchwala is an Electronics Engineer from University of Mumbai. As an Analyst at BijliBachao he keeps a tab on latest technologies in gadgets and appliances, tracks businesses of white goods companies and monitors the consumer behavior. With a background in engineering, penchant for detail, and flair for writing he regularly write reviews about brands and their products. .

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