2016 will go down as the year in which 4K, or ultra HD, technology crossed a line and became affordable enough to come inside middle-class living rooms. A lot of the credit for this will go to companies like Vu, but we will see much more brands in this space around the festival season. For instance, smartphone maker Le Eco has just announced smart televisions for the India market, complete with curated content. And these televisions are affordable starting at Rs 59,790 for the Super3 55-inch 4K TV. However, I got the larger 65-incher for review.
Super3 X65 4K UHD smart TV
As a rule, I don’t review any television that is larger than 55 inches. But Le Eco sent me the larger 65-inch model, which looks like an elephant inside a cowshed in my modest apartment. Yes, the Super3 X65 is large. In fact, the stand is shaped and sized like a boat, but it gives the giant screen a solid base. It is also stylish in some ways, but might not go with all home decors. The X65 is not bezel-less but at this size it doesn’t really matter. There is a simple, but very functional remote that comes with the TV. It has air functions, which I think needs to be mandatory with all smart televisions.
Specs: 64.53″ LED (3840 x 2160p) display | 4,000:1 Contrast Ratio | 350 nits | 60Hz refresh rate | 32-bit MSD6A928 Smart TV chipset (ARM Cortex-A17 Quad-core 1.4GHz CPU + Quad-core Mali-T760 MP4 GPU) | 3GB DDR3 RAM with 16GB eMMC5.0 Flash Memory | HEVC/H.265 hardware video decoding, up to 4K@60fps | MACE-PRO4 Image Engine | 10w x 2 speakers with Dolby Audio and DTS | Wi-Fi, 3 USB ports, 3 HDMI2.0 ports, SD Card slot, Component Input (YPbPr), 3 AV inputs, VGA, PC Audio Line in, RF input, Ethernet 10/100M, SPDIF(Optical) Audio Output
Price: Rs 99,790
Display & Audio: The Super3 X65 offers a pretty decent picture. I wouldn’t call it stunning like some of the other more expensive 4K displays I have seen, but it sure lets you enjoy what Ultra HD is supposed to be. The screen offers deep blacks and vibrant colours. The Dolby audio is good and complements the display well. I, however, thought it could have added a bit more oomph with bass which Indians are known to be partial about.
Smart features: This television offers smart features, but in a subtle sort of when you compare it with an LG or Samsung. The television is divided in input, Live and Apps. Input gives you access to your television signal, DTH or even downloaded content on a hard drive. The Live section offers LeEco’s own content, which is now limited to channels from YuppTV which you might already have access to through your DTC or Cable provider. Then there are the apps, which give you access to Eros TV and a browser as well as the LeEco appstore.
LIVE: LeEco’s differentiated play in the Indian market is its bid to offer a content ecosystem like it does in China. The difference between the two markets is that in China there is a lot of content that is not freely available, just offering YouTube content will give you an edge. The Live content offer access to India channels from most of the states in one hub, but this is not really differentiated content. Also, with my 8Mbps broadband I struggled to get this bit working most of the times. This is when usually 4K streaming from YouTube works even without buffering. LeEco will need to work on optimising this service and try to bring in really different content.
APPS: The TV runs on the Android-based EUI but doesn’t come preloaded with a lot of apps. You can download more, but the store does not offer a lot of options at the moment. And you don’t have access to the Google Play Store, which I think is a bit of a downer. Thankfully, I could download the YouTube App, but not Vimeo or NetFlix which I would really need on a TV like this. The native advantage an Android TV offers to the user, is missing here and LeEco could maybe try and offer more in this space. You can download and play some games, but the entire gamut that the Play Store might have offered. Also, the Ero TV app which offers you lots of content does not offer an option to bump up resolution to even Full HD making the entire experience wanting.
User Interface: The user interface on the Super3 X65 is simple and easy to comprehend and navigate. The settings are always one click away and there is a customisable Le button that gives you quick access to favourite functions and apps. And yes, there is a screen grab option as well as a system cleaner like on an Android smartphone. There are some language issues which LeEco should be able to manage in time. Till then it offers comic relief for the viewers. Also, unlike some of the newer smart televisions, you will need to use the set top box remote separately and this TV does not control it.
Verdict: The LeEco Super3 X65 is certainly among the most affordable 65-inch 4K smart televisions you can buy this year. It is reasonably smart and offers access to content which could get really relevant in the coming months. However, at the moment some of the features are a bit half-baked and some of the content is more a promise than reality. Also, the lack of apps could be an impediment for some users. But this if you want a large screen television but don’t want to pay a bomb for the same. Also, if you are one of those who does not watch Live TV much it might make sense to get rid of your cable or DTH in favour of the internet based Live channels offered by LeEco. It will surely be the cheaper option if you already have a good Internet connection.
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