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Redmi TV X55 review: New name, new features but same old value

Redmi TV X55 review: New name, new features but same old value

Xiaomi has been revamping its brand identity in India since early 2020, christening the “Mi” nametag for its premium offerings. For smartphones, it was marked by the Mi 10i this year while the Mi QLED 4K did it for its smart TV lineup. Xiaomi consistently says that its Mi brand is destined to offer the latest in tech. This is, however, contradicted by the presence of numerous affordable Mi TV models, with some of them starting as low as Rs 13,000.

To sort out its nomenclature dilemma, Xiaomi is now bringing the Redmi nametag to the TV space with the Redmi TV X series. The Redmi TV series will aim at the affordable TV space, with a major focus on value. The popular 55-inch model, christened the Redmi TV X55, is essentially an upgrade to the older Mi TV 4X Pro 55, with a few 2021 bits in a bid to keep the package fresh.

At Rs 38,999, the Redmi TV X55 is an impressive achievement on paper for a 2021 smart TV. There’s no standout feature here but there’s enough to help Redmi draw crowds from the Samsung and Sony stalls. To find out whether the new name and under-the-skin upgrades are actually helpful, I swapped my old Mi TV 4X Pro 55-inch with the Redmi TV X55 for a few weeks.

Design

Even in the smart TV space, Xiaomi has been synonymous with practical designs and decent build quality. As a Mi TV user, I came into the Redmi TV X55 with the same lofty expectations. I am glad to see the Redmi nametag carrying forward the legacy of the Mi TVs with regards to the fit and finish on the Redmi TV.

Redmi TV

As with most affordable TVs, Xiaomi has stuck to copious use of plastic bezels and metal backplates for the Redmi TV X55. My unit came with a notable dent at the back, despite the TV being secured in a solid packing box. This could be a unit-specific issue as Xiaomi sent us an early unit of the Redmi TV and hence, I am willing to give it the benefit of doubt. I hope Xiaomi keeps an eye on consistent build quality of the Redmi TVs.

The plastic bezels don’t exhibit the same levels of quality as that seen on the Mi QLED 4K 55; the fit and finish seem slightly off when compared to the Mi TV models. The design is nothing new to write about; it looks like any other 55-inch LED TV. Xiaomi says that it reserves the Horizon Edition design for the Mi TV series in India.

While the design is plain-jane, it is nice to see Xiaomi take feedback from critics and consumers with regards to the port placement. The Redmi TV X55 shifts most of its useful ports to the absolute side, which is a blessing if your TV is wall-mounted. There are three HDMI 2.1 ports, a 3.5mm port, and two USB ports easily accessible from the left side. The bottom side houses the A/V ports, Ethernet and Optical ports.

Redmi TV

In case you are wall-mounting the TV, the Xiaomi personnel will sell you wall mount brackets at Rs 450 (price in Noida) and will do a free installation. For those preferring a table mount, Xiaomi offers free stands in the box.

The remote controller is the same that you get with the Mi TV models. The minimalist design returns with a very few keys – navigations keys, an “OK” key, power key, Google Assistant key, volume adjustment keys, and two dedicated keys for Netflix and Prime Video. The only change here is the new Redmi logo instead of the Mi logo. The controller requires two AAA batteries, the latter not included in the box.

Viewing experience

For its first smart TV series, Redmi has used good quality VA panel, at least for the Redmi TV X55. You get a 55-inch LED-backlit LCD display with a rated 4K output at 60Hz refresh rate. While it carries forward the support for HDR 10 and HDR 10+ formats from its predecessor, the Redmi TV X55 gets support for Dolby Vision as standard across the range. Xiaomi states 85 percent NTSC colour gamut on this TV. Plus, there’s Motion Smoothening enabled on this TV by default.

Redmi TV

The inclusion of Dolby Vision is a big deal in 2021, given that there’s more supported content available on OTT platforms these days. This makes the Redmi TV X55 suitable for catching up with WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in the way the creators wanted you to. Dolby Vision content on the Redmi TV X55 does not appear as vivid as it did on the Mi QLED TV 4K (for obvious reasons) but for an LCD TV, the performance is good. Next to my older Mi TV 4X Pro 55, WandaVision definitely looks livelier on the new model.

For regular content, the Redmi TV X55 does a decent job. The LED backlight control isn’t the best I have seen on a sub-Rs 40,000 TV, especially when compared to similarly priced offerings from Samsung and Sony. In movies such as Gravity and Interstellar, the dark vastness of the space was grayish in colour instead of deeper blacks on the Mi QLED TV 4K.

However, the Redmi TV X55 redeems itself with its performance for HDR 10 and HDR10+ content. If I have to describe in layman’s English, web shows and movies in HDR formats will certainly appear more colourful and brighter to the eyes. Hence, binge-watching my favourite shows on Netflix or Prime Video is usually a delightful experience.

Redmi TV

With 4K content, I have no complaints with regards to sharpness and picture resolution. The upscaling from the 1080p videos is decent, although I was able to notice a smoothening effect at times. 720p videos are upscaled decently on YouTube as well as Netflix.

I left the motion smoothening setting in its standard notch and it made most of my favourite TV shows smoother to my eyes. I, however, occasionally noticed drops in frame rates on a few Prime Video shows and had to switch it off for a consistent viewing experience.

Viewing angles on the panel are wide and I did not see any notable shift in colour tones from extreme angles. Hence, I find the Redmi TV X55 suitable for a movie night with a large gathering.

Redmi TV

The Redmi TV X55 supports low latency modes similar to the more expensive Mi QLED TV 4K 55. If you have got yourself an Xbox Series X/Series X or a Sony PlayStation 5, you can connect to the HDMI 2.1 ports and witness reduced latency while gaming. I did not have any gaming console to test this feature out during my time with the Redmi TV X55. However, if Xiaomi says the experience is similar to what you get on the Mi TV QLED 4K, I expect to get a decent gaming experience.

Audio experience

With a pair of 15W speakers, the Redmi TV X55 sufficed my audio requirements from a smart TV. The volume levels are more than enough for an average household and the audio does not distort while sitting in high volume levels. The audio quality itself is decent, with a little hint of bass to the overall output – this should be enough for most basic viewing requirements. That said, if you seek a home theatre experience, you should invest in a good soundbar to get the most out of this package.

Smart features

Xiaomi democratized the Android TV experience in India with its Mi TV range, which evolves further on the Redmi TV X55. Out-of-the-box, you are getting Android TV 10 with the latest iteration of Google services. There’s the newest version of PatchWall as well, complete with the updated UI elements and improved optimization.

Redmi TV

PatchWall on Redmi TV

My review unit is running an early build of the software and misses out on the Mi Home app – an advertised feature for the Redmi TV X series. Most consumers should, however, see the app baked in.

Of all the Xiaomi TVs I have ever used, the Redmi TV X55 is among the slickest performing Android TVs. The new quad-core processor with Cortex A55 CPUs, 2GB RAM and 16GB ROM give this TV enough grunt to offer a smooth Android TV experience. Whether I use the standard Android TV interface or the PatchWall UI, the Redmi TV X55 simply glides along pages and windows. The lags in animations and longer loading times are mostly gone.

Get this – Amazon Prime Video on the Redmi TV X55 loads in 30 seconds! 30 seconds! Older Mi TV models easily take up at least a minute to do the same. Same is the case for most OTT apps, with Netflix and Hotstar showing faster loading times on this Redmi TV.

Redmi TV

I found the stock Android TV UI too cluttered for my taste and difficult to navigate. PatchWall, in comparison, is easy to use and livelier to look at. The interface is easily laid out with quick access to the popular OTT apps as well as Sources (i.e. HDMI and USB ports). The best part is that you can customize the quick access bar to your liking. A long press on the PatchWall key brings up the Quick Settings now.

Other than quick access to settings and apps, I found PatchWall more useful for recommending new content. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier gets its dedicated space on the PatchWall homepage and it makes it easier for me to access the content rather than manually navigate to the same in Hotstar. The Top 10 recommendation list helped me on days I wanted to see something new while the curated list of Dolby Vision content is a nice addition. For news lovers, there’s quick access to a few popular news channels.

Redmi TV

I am glad to see Xiaomi’s PatchWall interface maturing as a smart TV interface, especially given the Indian content scenario. I recommend all Redmi TV buyers to try out PatchWall as the default TV interface for a better user experience.

I also found the Mi Quick Wake feature helpful as a smart TV user; it boots up the TV in under 3 seconds (provided you leave the TV on standby). Do note that the first start of the day takes close to a minute. Android smartphone users will find the integration with Google services helpful. The Android TV remote app is useful while typing inputs while Chromecast helps with easy streaming of content from my phone.

The universal search in PatchWall, as well as the Google Assistant-based content search, make life easier on a daily basis.

Verdict

Redmi TV

Xiaomi has left us impressed with its value-for-money-focused smart TVs in the past and it aims to double its efforts on that front with the Redmi TV X series. At Rs 38,999, the Redmi TV X55 is high on the value-for-money quotient in the 55-inch smart TV space. The support for Dolby Vision is a bonus in 2021 and the overall smart TV experience is among the best, if not the best, in its class. The PatchWall experience alone makes the Redmi TV desirable for those who love to discover new content.

I expected Xiaomi to play around with the design and build quality on the Redmi TV, given the company’s glorious past of disrupting the competition with stunning designs (remember the first Mi LED TV 4 Pro?). Interested buyers should also experience the audio performance on the Redmi TV X55 before making a decision. Cinema enthusiasts will need to invest in a soundbar or home theatre system. Those seeking an immersive viewing experience could look at the more expensive Mi QLED TV 4K starting at Rs 54,999.

For most TV buyers, however, the Redmi TV X55 fits the bill for an affordable large screen and feature-rich smart TV. If you have got a limited budget of Rs 40,000 to spend on your next TV, you should keep the Redmi TV X55 in your top considerations.

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