The smart TV space in India has exploded in the last few years with a number of affordable options driven by brands like Xiaomi, OnePlus, TCL, VU and others. It is now possible to get a 4K resolution TV with a 43-inch screen size at under Rs 40,000 with all the latest features, and most streaming services supported. But in the premium TV space, well-established players like Sony, LG and Samsung still dominate, given the brand name and the products they offer. Xiaomi is now trying to break into that segment with its Mi QLED TV 4K.
The Mi QLED TV 4K is a 55-inch smart TV from the brand with a price of Rs 54,999. This is not the biggest TV that Xiaomi has to offer in India. There’s a 65-inch 4K TV that the brand already offers. However, that is not a QLED or a “Quantum dot LED” display.
In a QLED, the Quantum dots or the tiny nano-particles light up to deliver their own unique colour, when the LED backlight hits them. Unlike an OLED offered by Sony or LG, where the particles light up on their own, a QLED is what is considered as a transmissive technology. Previously, we have seen OnePlus launch premium QLED TVs in India, and Samsung is another major player which offers these.
Xiaomi’s QLED TV is more ‘affordable’ in comparison to these two players, but how does it fare in terms of performance? Here’s our review.
The Mi QLED TV certainly has a gorgeous and premium design, given it is bezel-less in the front and all-glass. It is ultra-thin and looks very stylish thanks to the aluminium frame on the side. The TV comes with a stand inside the box, though you can wall mount it as well. I chose to go with the stand in the box. But be careful if you decide to set this up by yourself.
The Mi QLED TV runs Android 10 with Xiaomi’s own PatchWall UI. Users have the option of setting up either the Android TV user interface or going with the PatchWall UI. The Mi TV remote does with a dedicated Mi button which will switch to the PatchWall UI. It also comes with a dedicated button for Netflix and Prime Video. It comes with three HDMI ports and 2 USB ports.
The TV also has Bluetooth connectivity and a headphone jack as well. Someone in my house kept complaining why there is no LAN port, but I just chose to ignore them.There’s no dedicated mute button on the remote yet, though Xiaomi has added a new functionality where you can press the down function on volume controls twice quickly to activate mute.
I preferred using the Android TV setup for the Mi QLED TV over Patchwall given the latter always seems very cluttered to me. Still Patchwall does a good job of pulling all the content you might be watching. The recommendations are pretty accurate, which some will find appealing.
The Mi QLED TV 4K also comes with support for Dolby Vision and all other formats of HDR. This is certainly an excellent TV when it comes to viewing high quality content. I watched shows such as the Queen’s Gambit, the Mandalorian and Euphoria on Disney+Hotstar on this TV along with non-4K content such as Friends and Big Bang Theory on Netflix and Family Guy on Disney+Hotstar.
There’s no doubt that the 4K content looks stunning on this screen. Queen’s Gambit and Mandalorian were a delight to watch on this display as the colours are fairly accurate, if a bit on the warmer side. Both are also Dolby Vision ready shows. It is when you are watching some non-4K content that the experience gets jarring at times and upscaling doesn’t always seem so good. Friends, for instance, was not fun to watch on Netflix, though Family Guy was perfectly fine. When I watched Modern Family on the TV, I felt that the skin tones were just too warm, though changing the display colour profile to a more standard option in the settings did help the experience.
I should point out that when I was watching the TV late at night I had to keep the volumes on the lower side, because I had a seven-month old sleeping in the other room. Despite that I found the audio to be clear and good enough for the late night TV binge session.
I don’t have a cable or DTH connection in my house, so I was limited to streaming services when it came to watching content on the TV. Of course almost all TV content is now available on these services so one doesn’t really need a cable or DTH connection these days. It helps that almost all the major streaming services such as Zee5, Sony Liv, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+Hotstar are supported on the Mi TV, so there is plenty of content to view.
While the audio is not bad, I do feel that this is still the Mi TV’s weakest point. I felt this more so when I watched the Mandalorian during the day without worrying about the audio levels. It did lack that extra boost and punch which a show like the Mandalorian would command. For other content, the volume levels were fine, but the audio department left me wanting.
The other issue with the Mi TV would be that it is a little slow to boot at times. At one point when I had switched on a movie on Netflix, the TV froze and I wasn’t quite sure what happened. At first I thought Netflix had crashed, but then I realised that pressing none of the buttons helped. I had to switch off the TV and switch it back on again and the problem appeared to be fixed.
When using the Google Assistant on the TV, I noticed it was really slow. I would press the Assistant button on the remote, and even speak out my query, but it would take a good minute or so, before the query was answered, and sometimes it was not even answered. So it left me a bit frustrated and wondering as to why the Google Assistant is even there.
While the Mi QLED TV is great when I was watching some of the high quality content, with the non-high quality stuff, the colours are definitely off. For instance with some of the Indian TV shows, the skintones were just too red. Changing the colour profile helped in some instances such as with Modern Family, but you might find yourself tinkering with the settings to get the right colour profile.
If you are looking for a slightly more premium TV experience, but don’t wish to pay beyond Rs 60,000, the Mi QLED TV 4K is certainly an option to consider on your list. The next bet in the QLED series is Samsung’s Frame, and the 55-inch version there costs Rs 78,999. Samsung does have the Frame in a 50-inch size, which is around Rs 69,999.
There’s also OnePlus’ QLED TV, which starts at Rs 62,000 plus, and this is the version without the soundbar. Other players which are offering more affordable QLEDs are TCL and iFFalcon, though the latter is the cheapest at Rs 51,999, while the TCL version costs Rs 61,990.
Xiaomi’s TV has positives on its sides. It comes packed with latest features, support for all high quality content formats, and runs Android TV. The audio quality while good could be better, but you can always add a soundbar if you want that something extra.
Also make sure you have adequate space when considering the 55-inch screen and it’s not just in terms of the wall length. You ideally want to make sure there is some good distance between you and the TV. I did have this in my house given the room where it was placed is quite big and that certainly makes the experience a lot more enjoyable.