Kodak ventured into the smart LED TV market last year with a bunch of affordable models. While the company itself is not making them, it partnered with Super Plastronics Pvt. Ltd. (SPPL), a Noida-based company to manufacture them.
I had the chance to try out their biggest offering, which is a 50-inch Full HD smart LED TV.
Build and Design: 7 / 10
Produced locally, the LED TV features a very basic build quality. It has a plastic finish, glossy around the panel and matte on the back. Considering its cost, it isn’t exactly premium but it doesn't look cheap.
LED panels are going slimmer, but this one has a fair amount of thickness. While the panel and the frame are fairly thin, the back bulges out quite a bit. The majority of ports are placed on the back facing the left side and a few facing down. There are buttons for changing the channels, volume, power and menu on the right side.
Features: 7 / 10
The Kodak 50 FHDXSMART features a 50-inch LED panel with Full HD resolution (1920x1080). On the inside there is a 1GHz quad-core processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. Connectivity options include three USB ports (two USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0), VGA ports, three HDMI ports, a standard 3.5mm audio jack, a LAN port and built-in WiFi. The TV comes bundled with a standard remote and an air-remote.
Display: 7 / 10
The 50-inch panel offers a Full HD resolution with 300 nits of brightness. Offering a 4000:1 contrast ratio it is claimed to be an A+ grade Samsung display panel. Brightness levels are up to the mark, although the panel isn't properly lit. I could notice the upper portion of the panel darker than the lower. I was quite happy with the colour reproduction and sharpness but I wish the blacks were deeper. It is claimed to offer a 178-degrees viewing angle and I think it is just about okay because I could see a bit of colour shift.
I think for the price its a pretty decent panel. It probably isn't the best out there, but again at its price, one can't complain.
Audio: 6 / 10
Kodak says that the LED TV comes with stereo speakers of 10W each. The sound is loud and pretty good for large rooms. However, the sound quality is just average. Lows are dominating and there isn’t a lot of bass. It comes with some presets that you can try out, but if sound quality is on your checklist, I would suggest you hook up some external speakers.
Software and User Interface: 5.5 / 10
The TV runs on a tweaked version of Android 4.4 which is basically ancient now. The UI is quite basic. It comes with a built in internet browser, a media centre to access local or external media and a section where all your apps are present. Speaking of which, the TV comes pre-installed with apps like WhatsApp, Netflix, YouTube, Gmail and more. It also comes with Google Play Store where you can sign in and install more apps. However, there is limited storage on the internal memory of the TV.
The performance of the UI is quite slow though. Opening an app or even accessing the menu takes a lot of time. The slow response time of the TV got a bit annoying, almost every time it felt like the TV didn’t receive a signal from the remote.
Then there is the air-remote. It brings up a cursor onto the display which you can use to navigate around. It works well most of the times, but it wasn't perfect as it would stop responding randomly, making me move to the traditional remote. The air-remote also features a full QWERTY keyboard which you can use to feed in text. The air remote comes with a dongle which needs to be plugged in one of the USB ports so it can communicate with the TV.
Thanks to the inbuilt file-browser you can access the internal storage and USB pen-drives. The TV can run most video formats and I was quite satisfied playing movies and videos off external storage drives. The built-in WiFi chip isn’t very high end as it was evident while I was testing it. It couldn’t catch my home WiFi which was just one room away, which is about 10m away. It isn’t a huge issue, but if you have your WiFi router away from the TV, you could end up without any internet connection.
Verdict and Price in India
Kodak’s venture into the smart TV market is bold decision, but it will face strong competition from premium brands as well as manufacturers offering low-cost LED sets in the Indian market. I wasn’t very satisfied with the user interface and I think the company can improve them in their upcoming products. Display and audio quality are still something that a consumer would be ready to compromise, but having a slow TV does spoil the fun.
Companies like Micromax, Intex, Videocon and others have started dominating the budget segment and seem more reliable. Priced at Rs 36,000, I wouldn’t personally suggest this TV for someone who is looking for a high-quality experience, but if your requirement is just a large LED panel with some smart features and you can ignore the brand name, then this isn't such a bad investment.
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