Ameya DalviMar 30, 2020 13:36:42 IST
Overall Rating: 3.8/5
Price: Rs 31,999
I’ve tested a lot of Android TVs over the past few months, and official Android, along with Fire TV OS, seems to be the best platforms for smart TVs currently. A lot of premium TV brands are sticking with proprietary platforms like Samsung is with Tizen, LG with Web OS, etc. Similarly, Philips has its own Saphi OS for its smart TVs. Today, I’m taking a look at the Philips 50PUT6103S/94 model, a well-priced smart TV that looks to compete with some popular budget alternatives. Let’s see how it stacks up.
Philips 50PUT6103S/94 4K Smart TV — Design and Connectivity: 7.5/10
The Philips 50PUT6103S/94 has a standard design with narrow bezels around a 50-inch screen. The small, transparent, trapezoid chin with the company logo under the bottom bezel looks cool. Strangely, it doesn’t host the IR receiver, and the same is placed near the right edge of the TV. The TV isn’t too bulky and can be wall-mounted or placed on a desk using the bundled stands. The necessary screws and mounts are provided in the package.
The placement of ports is a bit unusual here. One USB port, two HDMI ports — one of which supports ARC, optical audio, and a LAN port, are all placed along the bottom edge of the back panel. One HDMI, one USB and a headphone out are placed along the left edge, while coaxial A/V inputs are placed right at the back of the TV. The ports can be a bit hard to reach if you choose to wall-mount the TV. Make sure you connect the cables to the respective ports before you hang it on the wall.
Philips 50PUT6103S/94 4K Smart TV — Features and specifications: 6.5/10
This Philips TV has an Ultra HD panel with a resolution of 3840x2160 pixels, and a 60 Hz refresh rate. The company doesn’t specify the panel type, but it seems like a good quality VA panel. It is powered by a quad-core processor, the make and speed of which aren’t specified, and neither is the amount of RAM or internal storage. The TV claims to support micro-dimming with 6,400 software controlled zones. The TV has built-in WiFi with support for a/b/g/n standards at 2.4 GHz. There is no support for Wi-Fi AC or the 5-GHz wireless band. There is no Bluetooth either. Audio output is rated at 20 W RMS. Since this isn’t an official Android TV, it does not have Chromecast, but you can mirror content from your phone or tablet using Miracast.
The company bundles an IR remote with dozens of keys and a hotkey for Netflix. As you might have guessed, it doesn’t accept voice commands. The build quality is good and two AAA batteries are bundled in the package.
Philips 50PUT6103S/94 4K Smart TV — User Interface: 6/10
As I mentioned earlier, this TV runs Philips’ Saphi OS. It is fairly easy to operate, featuring a simple, icon-based user interface. You can browse through apps and menus using the D-pad and select the desired option using the OK button.
The UI is smooth and pretty much lag-free. There is a media player to play content from USB drives, and there are lots of audio and video settings to tinker with. The picture and sound adjustments are buried a bit too deep for my liking, but can be accessed on the fly in any app or input mode; something several Android TVs still don’t let you do.
Among the popular OTT services in India, you only get apps for Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube and Eros Now preinstalled. There is no support yet for Hotstar, Sony LIV, Zee5 and many more; something that’s readily available on official Android TVs.
There is no casting option either, except when using the YouTube app. So, you can browse through YouTube on your phone and cast any video to the TV as long as the phone and TV are on the same Wi-Fi network. You cannot do that for any other service though. Even beyond streaming platforms, app support is very limited on Saphi OS, and it still feels like work in progress.
Philips 50PUT6103S/94 4K Smart TV — Picture quality: 8/10
The OS may be a bit undercooked, but that cannot be said about the core performance of this Philips TV. Its picture quality is quite impressive. The panel is sufficiently bright and has good contrast. However, the picture wasn’t optimally tuned out of the box and I had to do a lot of tweaking in the picture settings to get it right. Details in dark areas in high contrast scenes in our test videos that weren’t visible at the default settings were clear once I switched off all the dynamic contrast options and played around with the manual brightness and contrast settings.
Colour reproduction is excellent and the colours feel vibrant. Strangely, the default colour calibration of our test unit was a bit conservative and image quality seemed slightly dull. But after boosting the colour and sharpness settings a bit, the colours looked perfectly natural and popped out well without going over the top. There are natural motion settings too. Set them at 'low' for optimal results.
The 4K videos look extremely sharp on this TV, as do 1080p videos. 720p videos scale reasonably well too, courtesy of the TV’s upscaling engine. Anything lower looks noticeably washed out.
The TV supports HDR, but the Prime Video app on this TV doesn’t turn on HDR for some reason. For instance, Jack Ryan, a show with some quality HDR content, played in Ultra HD on this TV, but without HDR. Blame it on Saphi OS again as I faced no such issues when playing the same episode via the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K on this TV.
Philips 50PUT6103S/94 4K Smart TV — Audio quality: 8/10
The TV has a pair of stereo speakers that deliver a total rated output of 20 W RMS. The speakers on this TV produce crisp audio, and with a good degree of bass too. Volume is ample even at 25 percent, and I don’t remember going beyond the 50 percent mark during the course of my testing. The TV provides you with a bunch of sound settings to let you tweak it further to suit your taste. Unlike the picture, the sound was tuned very well out of the box.
The audio quality is among the best in TVs I have tested over the past couple of years, surpassed only by the Vu Cinema TV from the recent lot. It is more than adequate for day-to-day TV viewing, and while watching the odd movie or web series. If you crave for something better, there are various audio out options to plug a soundbar or other speakers to enhance the audio.
Philips 50PUT6103S/94 4K Smart TV — Overall performance: 8.5/10
The TV takes just five to seven seconds to boot up when you switch the power on from the mains. This is quite remarkable given that even the fastest of Android TVs take in excess of half a minute to boot. This is easily the fastest booting Smart TV I have come across till date. Credit to Saphi OS for this.
Video file format support through USB is excellent too. The default media player managed to play almost every file with various codecs I threw at it, and smoothly at that, including my 4K test videos.
There was no noticeable lag either. Though Philips hasn’t shared details about the processing hardware, it clearly does its job well. Even the TV viewing experience via DTH was good, especially HD channels. Non-HD channels are just about watchable, and that’s the best case scenario with all 4K TVs these days.
The only major issue here is the lack of an app ecosystem, and support for limited OTT platforms. If you just use Netflix, Prime Video and YouTube, you are pretty much covered. For the rest of the OTT services, it would be advisable to invest in a Fire TV Stick 4K. Not only will you get access to several other apps and services, you will also get the best out of this TV, case in point: HDR support in Prime Video.
Philips 50PUT6103S/94 4K Smart TV — Price and verdict
The price of this TV varies between Rs 29,999 and Rs 39,999 online. More often than not, one can purchase it around the 32K mark on Flipkart, and that is a good price for this TV. Also, this is the figure on which all the above ratings have been based.
Philips offers a 2-years warranty, which is an added benefit given that most competing brands offer half of that. So, all said and done, how does this TV compete with the popular official Android TVs in the market?
In terms of picture and sound quality, the Philips 50PUT6103S/94 is noticeably better than the Xiaomi, Thomson and TCL 49/50-inch variants selling in the market at around Rs 30,000. The picture quality is also comparable to the Vu Cinema TV I reviewed recently. However, the VU has a brighter panel than the Philips and better HDR performance. Though the sound output here is quite impressive, it cannot surpass that of the Vu.
The biggest limitation of this TV is Saphi OS, though, which still seems far from ready in terms of the app ecosystem. In that department, official Android TVs are undeniably superior. You have to invest in a Fire TV Stick 4K to make this TV feel complete, and to get the most out of it. That’s an additional cost of 4K to 6K. So, if you are looking for the best all-round TV right out of the box, the Vu Cinema TV is a better alternative at 30K. But its availability has been scant since a week after its launch (weeks before the nationwide lockdown in India).
The Philips 50PUT6103S/94 is the next best option if brand name and very good audio/video quality are more important to you than the OS, and if you can find it at close to 32K or lower. But be prepared to invest a bit more in a Fire TV stick or smart set-top box to extract the most out of this machine.
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