Ever since Xiaomi launched its Mi TVs in India, affordable Smart TVs have become the next big thing in the country after the cheap smartphone revolution that took place a few years ago. Brands like Realme, Nokia, and even Motorola, known for their smartphones have launched smart TVs in the country to get a stronger hold in the market. OnePlus also jumped onto the bandwagon last year but with a slightly different approach. Instead of the same formula as other brands, they took the experience a notch higher by launching QLED TVs. While the experience was premium, it also came with a premium price tag.
The premium price meant it didn’t reach as many households as something more accessible and affordable like LED TVs from competing brands and with the U series, that’s precisely what OnePlus is trying to address. We have been using the 55-inch U1 model for the better part of almost 3 weeks now and here is what we feel about it and we’ll tell you if you should get one or not under Rs. 50,000.
The unit sent to us is the top-end variant that comes with a 4K HDR panel so everything we say hereon is only with respect to this particular variant. OnePlus also launched more affordable variants as a part of the Y series – a 32-inch HD-ready TV for Rs. 12,999 and a 43-inch Full HD TV for Rs. 22,999. With that out of the way, let’s get to the OnePlus TV 55U1 review.
OnePlus TV 55U1: Design
Starting off with one of the factors that set the TV apart from others in this price range which is the design, the thickness of the entire top half of the TV is exactly the same or even lesser than that of the OnePlus 8 Pro and that is quite impressive. It gives the TV a sleek look when combined with the almost bezel-less look on the front. The OnePlus branding sits on the bottom bezel which also has an LED indicator light along with the IR receiver and a button to turn the TV on and off.
Unlike the Q series where you had to purchase the center stand separately, this one comes with two side stands inside the box itself and they look quite good as their color matches that of the bottom bezel. Also, the stands are metallic so they feel really sturdy. There is an option to get a wall-mount done at the time of delivery if you prefer that.
As we mentioned, the top half of the TV is just the thin panel and it bulges out when we move further below to house all the components and ports. Speaking of ports, there are three HDMI ports with the first one having support for ARC, an AV port if you’re still living in the 90s, and 2 USB ports. There’s even an ethernet port if you prefer using that over Wi-Fi.
Let us now move to the front and address the most important aspect of the TV, the reason you’re even buying it in the first place, and that is the display. The 55-inch variant we have comes with a 4K VA panel covering 93% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. There’s support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HDR10+. The main differentiating factor with the Q series here is that unlike the QLED panel on that one, the U series comes with an LED-backlit LCD display so the blacks are not as deep or the colors do not look as punchy when you compare the two.
However, speaking solely about this particular panel on the U series, we were very happy with the picture quality and the vividness that it offers. Colors are well saturated and watching HDR content on Netflix is a treat. Also, there’s no evident backlight bleed on black backgrounds which is good. The TV has an anti-glare panel which improves the experience more than you would think. Our TV, for example, is placed close to a window so there is a lot of sunlight coming in straight onto the TV. Since the panel is anti-glare, it’s not as reflective as some other TVs which improves the viewing experience.
There is MEMC onboard which interpolates 30fps content to make it appear like 60fps along with noise reduction and anti-aliasing with the Gamma engine. The screen-to-body ratio is 95% and the viewing angles are good, especially since the panel isn’t glossy.
Moving on to the sound output from the TV, this is where we feel the audio is bass-heavy and there’s some optimization that is required to make the audio more balanced. There are some audio presets that you can change to make the output better but because of the emphasis on bass, the vocals end up sounding slightly muffled at times. If you listen to music on your TV though, you are going to like the extra bass. The 30W speaker also has support for Dolby Atmos.
Software and UI
Let’s address the software situation on the OnePlus U series TVs. The UI is what you would get on any Android TV with the addition of Oxygen Play that is essentially a content recommendation service from over 15 different providers like Prime Video, Netflix, Sony Liv, Voot, etc. There is Chromecast built-in and you also get a data saver mode, kids’ mode, and of course, one of the marquee features of OnePlus TVs, OnePlus Connect.
OnePlus Connect offers a host of features that makes the usability of the TV much easier by letting you do things like selecting shows to play right from your phone, using your phone’s keyboard instead of the one on the TV, using your phone as a trackpad, taking screenshots on your TV, launch apps from your phone, smart volume control where the volume of your TV will be minimized whenever you get a call, etc.
While we did experience the occasional slow down when navigating through the UI, the experience, for the most part, is snappy and OnePlus Connect makes the overall experience all the more convenient since you don’t have to use the remote for everything.
Speaking of the remote, we get the usual minimal style Bluetooth remote that we have been seeing on all Smart TVs. There is a D-pad for navigation, dedicated buttons for Oxygen Play, Google assistant, Prime Video and Netflix and not to forget, even a dedicated mute button that a lot of manufacturers skimp out on. And no, you don’t have to charge the remote, it uses two AAA batteries.
OnePlus TV 55U1 Review: Verdict
That was our experience using the OnePlus TV U series 55-inch variant. Compared to the Mi TV 4X Pro 55-inch which retails for Rs. 40,000, OnePlus TV has a better design, a bezel-less look, and a slightly better display panel. It is up to you to decide if these improvements warrant the additional 10k that OnePlus is charging.
While Xiaomi’s Patchwall is mighty useful for many users, according to us, the OnePlus U series TV offers a slightly more premium experience when compared to the competition which makes it a worthy purchase if you can extend your budget. OnePlus has brought the premium experience from the Q series down to the U series and has made it more affordable, and that’s great because consumers now have more options to choose from.
- Premium design
- Good display panel
- OnePlus connect
- Sound is bass-heavy
- One more HDMI port could've been included
|Design & Build||
|Features & UI||
While OnePlus started as a premium player in the Smart television space last year, it has come back to its roots with budget and mid-range offerings in 2020. Here is our OnePlus TV 55U1 review which helps you decide whether to buy this over other budget TVs.