The OnePlus TV was no flash in the pan. The company is convinced about the segment and is ready with more products across price points and specifications.
The latest is the OnePlus TV U1S series with televisions in 50, 55 and 65-inch models. The idea is to offer high-end specs at affordable pricing and with the suave experience of OnePlus.
I got the OnePlus TV U1S 65-inch model for review, a scary thought given the size of the homes we live in. But having moved to a new home with a larger, or should i say longer, living room, I had been struggling with my old 40-inch screen which was proving to be a bit small for the space. Yes, I had been mulling a larger TV, but was that a 65-inch, I was not sure. However, the fact that we have been deprived of the big screen experience because of the pandemic was at the back of my mind
Though large, I quickly realised that the 65-inch screen gels well in my living room, especially because the panels are thin these days and fit perfectly well on TV stands. The smaller stands too are a factor — the earlier 65 inches I checked out has really large bases. You can wall mount this too, but given the quality of walls of my builder that was a risk, I was unwilling to take. Anyway, a wall mount for a review TV is as pointless as a tattoo with the name of a long-lost girlfriend.
The OnePlus TV is powered by Android and set up is really easy with your Google account. There is a remote, which is more akin to the Fire Stick remote and less the earlier OnePlus remove that came with the Q series. The remote has dedicated buttons for Netflix and Amazon Prime as well as OnePlus Home, which takes you to the curated feed of Oxygen Play which I found was a great place to discover content from across different apps.
The 65-inch 4K display (3840x2160p) can be stunning, sharp and vivid. Just running the wallpapers on the display will showcase its capabilities. And watching a Netflix series like Kayla, with its dark narrative and even darker frames, just underlines the big screen experience this OnePlus TV can bring to your living room. I was also impressed by how the TV stood its ground in my really bright living room, which at times can too many reflections on the screens.
The 65-inch models has four speakers with a 30W combined output. So this can be loud and subtle at the same time. While watching some movies, the experience with the Dolby Audio was the closest I have been to a large screen in a long time and just under what I felt with the Optoma projector recently. But the audio also depends on the app being used, as it will go up and down a bit depending on what your streaming source is. But then you can switch to a pure music app like Amazon Music and while away your Sunday with great audio filling then room.
The Oxygen Play UI on top of Android 10 makes this television really easy to navigate. Even my 10-year-old loved finding his favourite shows again and discover new ones on the OnePlus Home, which curates content from popular apps. We would never have known that Kingkong vs Godzilla was available on Google Play Movies, an app we never use, without this curated screen.
You can also use voice to control and pull up news shows. Along with Google Assistant, which is inbuilt, OnePlus has also added the ability to make Alexa respond to your queries, which I found was a good feature.
You can also invest another Rs 2,499 to get a camera accessory for the OnePlus U1S. The TV software comes loaded with a camera app, as well as Google Duo so that you can switch on the camera and jump on a family call. You might need to find other compatible apps as I realised no one in my friends circle was using the app. Getting my mother to install Google Duo for her daily chats with my son was something I did not want to attempt remotely. the camera can also be used to record and save family moments in front of the TV, which is a great advantage.
Plus, there is the OnePlus Connect app that let me control the TV using a OnePlus phone as well as the OnePlus Watch. It is as easy as it gets and makes the TV a good addition for those already invested in the OnePlus ecosystem. Similarly, if you have OnePlus earphones, they to pair seamlessly with the TV.
One irritant for me was how you need to come back to the home screen every time to change the input source. OnePlus could have looked at adding a button for that on the remote. The TV otherwise comes with lots of input options, as well as the ability to connect with audio devices using the optical output. I paired the TV with the Echo Studio to get a better experience, but found that the streaming gets slower and there is a small lag in lip sync.
Overall, given the price of Rs 62,999, the OnePlus offers a premium experience in the living room, one that does not break the bank. As with most OnePlus devices, this TV will also get the updates that will make it better as time goes by. If you are looking for a large-screen 4K experience, then the OnePlus U1S is certainly worth considering.