The Kodak 43FHDXPRO smart TV made all the right noises to grab my attention.
It boasted of a 43-inch full HD IPS panel, Android 7.1 platform, good connectivity options, compatibility with all major streaming platforms like Netflix, Prime Video, Hotstar and more for a price as low as 20K. So I thought of taking it for a spin. Let’s see how it performed.
Kodak 43FHDXPRO Smart TV — Build and Design: 7/10
The Kodak TV sports a sleek design with fairly narrow bezels along the edges of the screen. The material is glossy plastic but doesn’t look bad. As is the case with most TVs, it can be wall-mounted or placed on a desk using the bundled stands. A pair of plastic stands with rubber feet do a good job of holding the TV in place.
Two USB ports and coaxial AV inputs can be found on the side of the TV, while HDMI ports and other input-output ports are located along its lower edge. The ports aren’t hard to reach but I would have preferred to see the HDMI ports on the side panel. That way they would have been a lot more accessible if one chose to wall-mount the TV.
Kodak 43FHDXPRO Smart TV — Features and specifications: 7/10
The Kodak 43FHDXPRO has a 43-inch screen with a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and direct LED backlighting. The company claims to have used an IPS panel here with 500 nits brightness and 60 Hz refresh rate. A pair of bottom-firing stereo speakers rated at 20 Watts RMS take care of the audio output. This isn’t a certified Android TV but its UI is built on top of Android 7.1. Conclusive information about the processing hardware wasn’t available but it does have 1 GB RAM and 8 GB of internal storage which is pretty standard for budget TVs.
There was no noticeable lag in navigation during my testing. The UI is fairly easy to use and is exactly the same as found on Thomson B9 Pro (Review) models. No surprises there give that SPPL manufactures both, Kodak and Thomson TVs in India. Since this isn’t a certified Android TV, you miss out on certain perks like stock UI and built-in Chromecast.
On the bright side, you get apps for even Amazon Prime Video and Netflix for this TV among others. More on that later. The bundled IR remote is fairly basic and has the necessary keys but is nowhere near as fluid as the Bluetooth remotes you get these days. There are no motion sensors or voice inputs here either.
Kodak 43FHDXPRO Smart TV — Connectivity options: 8.5/10
You get a good spread of connectivity options here with most of the key bases covered. You get 3x HDMI ports, 2x USB ports, one RJ45 LAN port, 2x A/V inputs, one coaxial audio out, optical out and a headphone out. One of the HDMI ports supports ARC. Like all smart TVs, the 43FHDXPRO has built-in Wi-Fi b/g/n and connects at 2.4 GHz. Setting up and connecting to a Wi-Fi network was a simple and straightforward process.
Kodak 43FHDXPRO Smart TV — Picture quality: 6/10
The picture quality on the Kodak 43FHDXPRO is average at best. I expected better given that this TV has an IPS panel. The panel is bright and viewing angles are very good but colour reproduction isn't accurate, and colours feel slightly blown out at times. The contrast, though not great, is acceptable for TVs in this budget. More than the overall colour reproduction, it’s the skin tones that bothered me more. They look flat on this screen even when viewing full HD content.
To compound the problem, this TV lets you adjust the picture settings only in HDMI mode and not when streaming videos through apps. You get options to tweak brightness, contrast, colour, sharpness and backlight among other things in addition to picture presets. That does help when watching TV through your set-top box plugged into the HDMI port, but you only get picture presets when you watch something through apps like Netflix, YouTube or Hotstar. If you have the patience, you can switch to HDMI mode, tweak the User preset and switch back to the streaming service and use that picture preset.
Full HD and 4K videos (scaled to 1080p) look good on this screen. 720p content is just about acceptable, but anything lower looks heavily pixelated. HD channels on DTH look fine on this TV if you can look past the flat skin tones. But non-HD channels look too washed out unless you choose to sit at least 12 feet away from this screen. The optimal viewing distance for a 43-inch TV is about 9 to 10 feet.
Kodak 43FHDXPRO Smart TV — Audio Quality: 5.5/10
The TV has a pair of stereo speakers that claim to deliver a total output of 20 Watts RMS. The audio quality and loudness aren’t uniform across inputs. It is fairly loud and clear at 50 percent volume level when watching stuff on YouTube and other streaming services, and there is just a hint of bass. But when watching TV (even HD channels), the sound feels flat and completely lacks bass. You also need to drive the volume upward of 75 percent for dialogues to be clearly heard.
It wouldn’t be a bad idea to plug in a soundbar or some other external speaker system if you prefer good quality sound. Can’t expect that from the built-in speakers here. Given the presence of several audio-out ports on this TV, that won’t be a tough ask.
Kodak 43FHDXPRO Smart TV— Overall performance: 6/10
The TV takes about 35 seconds to boot up which is standard for smart TVs these days. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the quick resume from standby feature found on several Thomson models, wherein the TV starts in under 5 seconds from standby mode. As I had mentioned earlier, the UI is fairly clean and easy to use. One can get used to it within minutes
Video file format support through USB is excellent. It played every file with various popular codecs I threw at it smoothly through its default player, including 4K videos. However, the picture looked pixelated for anything with less than 1080p resolution. You can control the playback using the bundled remote.
This Kodak TV comes with Google Play store as well as a third-party app store that provide you with a wide variety of apps, including those for all major streaming services like Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime Videos, Sony LIV, Voot etc. YouTube app was preinstalled on the TV along with Netflix. While most services worked fine here, the video quality wasn’t great. The resolution seemed to be capped at 480p at best. Most of the apps were mobile versions after all and weren’t perfectly adapted for TV. The YouTube app, however, had no such issues and could even play 4K videos smoothly. In order to watch other streaming content in full HD, you will need to invest in an Amazon Fire TV Stick. I tried playing content from the Fire TV Stick and needless to say, there was a world of difference in the quality that also did better justice to this 1080p screen.
Kodak 43FHDXPRO Smart TV — Price and verdict
The Kodak 43FHDXPRO can be purchased for Rs 19,999 on Flipkart with a one year warranty. The pricing is competitive for a 43-inch screen and the variety of connectivity options that it offers, making it a decent buy on a tight budget. But the competition is too close for comfort.
For just a couple of thousand Rupees extra, you can get Xiaomi’s similar-sized Mi TV 4A Pro, which is a certified Android TV that comes packed with all the perks like clean UI, voice commands, more recent version of Android and Chromecast built-in. Not just that, the picture quality is significantly better and audio output is a lot clearer too. Only things you will miss there are Netflix compatibility and believe it or not, a mute button.