Product: OnePlus TV
Key specs: 55-inch QLED display, 50W sound, DOLBY VISION, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Audio, Android TV (Oxygen Play), HDMI, Bluetooth, USB, Wi-Fi.
Price: Rs 99,990 (Q1 55 Pro)
Smart TVs are the flavor of the month. Thanks to India’s growing appetite for faster data and OTT apps, technology firms are now gradually shifting their focus to TVs. Whether it’s a budget TV from an unfamiliar brand like Shinco or premium smart TVs like ‘The Frame’ from Samsung, a quick look at the recent online festival sales suggest there’s room for everyone. Even for OnePlus. The company is looking to transition from a smartphone player into an IoT company, and a smart TV is the first natural pit stop.
OnePlus TV launched in India late last month amid much fanfare. Even though the company had hinted at it ahead of the launch, OnePlus TV (55 Q1 Pro) is shockingly priced at Rs 99, 990. OnePlus may harp on the ‘focus-on-quality’ argument, but the fact is brands like OnePlus and Xiaomi are stuck with affordable stigma. Just look at the recent Redmi K20 Pro price controversy. Nonetheless, OnePlus TV is a unique product in its category. Let’s elaborate.
Design: Not flawless
OnePlus has made some serious efforts in making the smart TV different from the rest of the TVs in the segment and in general. When was the last time you saw a soundbar sliding from a TV? There’s that and there are several other interesting things about the TV.
Let’s begin with the basics. The 55-inch TV comes with a carbon-fiber like finish on the back which also houses ports for connectivity. The finish is quite similar to what we’ve seen in special cases for some phones. The back is held by a single stand that acts as a spine of the TV. The stand has an oval-shaped base with a chrome finish. While the single stand makes it unique and compatible with smaller tabletops, it’s not the greatest choice of design in our opinion. The sides wobble a lot. That’s scary for a Rs 99,990 TV.
The front is dominated by the display with ultra-slim bezels on the sides. The sliding soundbar is the biggest addition to this smart TV. Rocking mesh finishes, the soundbar automatically slides down when you switch on the TV along with a small flash (horizon light in OnePlus’ speak) to notify about its arrival. The mechanism is smooth and has the cool quotient.
Overall, OnePlus TV looks great but scores low on a practical design use case. OnePlus TV’s smart TV remote is another low point in terms of design. We don’t mind the absence of full numeric pads or useless set of function buttons but it’s way too thin for comfortable use. As already pointed out by some reviewers, volume rockers on sides of a TV remote isn’t an intuitive experience. Amazon’s Fire TV stick remote or Xiaomi’s smart TVs remotes are more comfortable to use.
OnePlus TV in action pic.twitter.com/9JlJc8g3F4— Kul Bhushan (@1987Kulbhushan) October 6, 2019
OnePlus TV’s 55-inch 4K QLED display is delightful. There’s a lot said and written about the choice of QLED technology, OnePlus TV delivers sharper and richer content. Of course, you need to have compatible content to experience the display. During our usage, we found colors to be quite sharp and quite accurate. Viewing angles are fine too. Nonetheless, you can customize the colors and other aspects of the TV depending upon your preference.
The attached sliding soundbar comes with as many as eight speakers with 50W sound output. The sound quality is satisfactory if not extraordinary. There’s a fair bit of clarity in the audio and doesn’t compromise in delivering right punches. The soundbar is much better than several under Rs 6,000 soundbars available in the market. If you already have a good audio system at home, the soundbar is unlikely to impress you. But if you don’t, you will probably not need to buy a new one.
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OnePlus TV’s biggest strength is software and other smart features baked into the device. Android TV-based Oxygen Play is smooth and offers a clean UI. It could have been a bit simpler to use to make most of the remote navigation. Xiaomi’s Patchwall is a fine example of a custom UI. OnePlus is also betting big on the smartphone connect “OnePlus Connect.” The dedicated app allows you to customize and navigate the TV with your phone. Some of the elements such as TypeSync and quick screenshot are nifty. OnePlus TV is scheduled to get Netflix in the future while OTT apps like Amazon Prime Video, Eros Now and Zee5 come pre-loaded.
OnePlus TV is loaded with some interesting features such as OnePlus Connect and a sliding soundbar. It looks great as well. The smart TV, however, isn’t perfect. Better design and more attractive pricing could have made it a much better proposition. Consumers can consider the cheaper Q1 55 model which is available for Rs 69,990 and offers same display quality and most of the other key features such as sliding soundbar. You can also consider Samsung’s The Frame QLED TV.