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Driving down the price of new screen technologies has always been a matter of production and adoption. Xiaomi, while unable to do that for their main smart TV lineups, has definitely managed to step up its game to be at least on par with the main competition.

Part of the reason for the company’s success was its user feedback system. The company had a firmer grasp on tackling popular requests from its userbase in the last few years. While we’ve yet to confirm this tactic’s efficiency, for now, it seems to be quite effective, as evidenced by the latest Mi QLED 55-inch 4K TV.

Main Specifications Overview

Display16:9 55-inch 4K (3840 x 2160) QLED screen
CPUMediaTek MT9611
GPUARM Mali-G52 MP2
Memory2GB RAM
Internal Storage32 GB
Operating SystemAndroid TV 10
Notable TechnologiesDolby Vision, HDR10, ALLM
ConnectivityDual-Band MIMO Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, RJ45 Ethernet, Antenna
Portsx3 HDMI 2.1, x2 USB 2.0, 3.5 Audio Jack, Optical Audio, AV Composite

This might be common knowledge at this point, but it is important to take note that the name QLED TV, much like LED TV, actually means “QLED-backlit LCD” TV. The quantum-dots mainly serve as the lighting and not actually the display source. This is to be differentiated from OLED, which on its own is a separate display technology from LCD.

Putting semantics aside, though, you’d be hard-pressed to simply dismiss the technology outright, as QLED TVs have more or less functioned as a middle-point between traditional LED displays and the more modern but significantly more expensive OLED screens. Indeed, the Mi QLED Smart TV’s 55-inch 4K screen can display impressive color contrasts (especially blues and reds). When combined with other display technologies, the experience becomes easily superior to LED TVs. You don’t quite get to the level of CRT-vivid quality as OLED, but at least you don’t need to pony up an outrageous premium for it.

Supporting the display itself is the 4-core MediaTek MT9611 CPU, which strangely bears the same numbers as Samsung’s Exynos 9611 CPU. In tandem with this is the recently released (mid-2020) ARM Mali-G52 MP2 GPU, a higher mid-range mobile graphics processor that has previously shown impressive performance in graphics-intensive smartphone and tablet games.

Having 2GB of RAM is not bad for the Mi QLED Smart TV. This isn’t exactly lacking, mind you, and this is actually one of the most commonly cited requests that were “granted” by its design. But one would think that Smart TVs in this day and age would try to catch up with TV boxes so they can readily follow suit with the competition. As for its internal storage, 32 GB may seem insufficient. But as a media hub (where it connects to other different devices), this isn’t bothersome at all.

Features: A Nice Mix of Familiar and New

With its primary operating system being Android TV 10, those who have been seeing any of Xiaomi’s previous smart TV offerings would be perfectly at home with the Mi QLED Smart TV. Setup is quick and straightforward (though it requires an internet connection as usual), and the ever-familiar app and media selection layout should immediately present itself warmly.

Image credit: Xiaomi India

Because this is a Xiaomi display, PatchWall will be your primary smart media selection app. For those unfamiliar, this is a semi-exclusive app for Xiaomi displays that feature a system for collating all related links for all of the other media apps you frequently use. If you have a Netflix and an Amazon (Prime Video) account, for instance, links within these services will be available there.

Miracast also makes its return to this Android-based device. Useful for syncing media with your phone, but personally speaking, this is a much better tool for gaming more than anything else.

As with the previous Mi TV 4S, the Mi TV Bluetooth remote will be your standard access device for the Mi QLED Smart TV. The button layout is simple, plus you have two specific input options. The first is the quick wake feature, which is done by long-pressing the power button after powering it down once. Second is the mute feature, which is done by double-pressing the Volume down button. Then you can instantly turn it up again by pressing the Volume up button.

Image credit: Xiaomi India

Its onboard audio is the somewhat average but still decently impressive 30W 4-woofer 2-tweeter setup. If you prefer using external peripherals instead, you also have two audio outputs in Bluetooth 5.0 and an Optical Digital Audio Cable connection port. Both should be more than enough for any media viewing session at any time of the day.

Take note, though, that while two metal stands are included in the package, the Mi QLED Smart TV has no wall-mounting accessories. You would have to buy those separately.

Display Performance: Rich, Vibrant, With One Weird Exception

As expected, the standard GPU and CPU combination complements this model’s color display capabilities very well. With just the output quality alone, 4K XDR videos can stream with no visual problems whatsoever. There’s this sort of clear vividness to the image that is significantly different. As we have said earlier, it is somewhere between OLED and LED, giving its Wide Color Gamut (WCG) support the punch that it needs.

Image credit: Xiaomi India

The other side of this superb streaming quality is the relatively new AV1 video codec. In a nutshell, this codec allows video to be efficiently encoded into lower data sizes while still maintaining quality. So you get crisp 4K videos without actually needing to download data that is as big as previous 4K videos (of different encoding formats).

As a higher-end TV model, we would be sorely disappointed if the Mi QLED Smart TV did not include any frame enhancing technologies. Thankfully, the included MEMC chip lives up to its algorithmic reputation. Its Reality Flow feature improves smoothness in frames by interpolating extra ones in-between. It predicts the flow of movement in the picture to increase the framerate artificially. Very great for watching live sports, event coverages, or wide-spanning documentaries. Not so much for movies, of course, but at least you always have the option to turn it off.

One bizarre thing, though, is that even as black or darker colors look vibrant on the Mi QLED Smart TV, it doesn’t have any dimming features whatsoever. There is no mention of it anywhere, and manually controlling the dimming settings confirms this. Worse, the backlight bleeds over ever so slightly when white color palettes dominate the screen. This doesn’t ruin the viewing experience entirely, but you kind of already expect such features to be a staple in most higher-end smart TVs today.

Image credit: Xiaomi India

It should be noted that all three video output ports are HDMI 2.1. While this somewhat limits connectivity to other peripherals (that are not HDMI), this also means that it can support native 4K at 60fps if the connected device can provide consistent output. Of course, all the other goodies of HDMI 2.1 are also included. Its ALLM (Auto Low-Latency Mode), for example, automatically turns on when a recognized console is connected to any of the HDMI 2.1 ports.

Conclusion

The Mi QLED Smart TV offers quite a lot in a relatively cheaper package than the competition. Having Android TV 10 out of the box makes its usage and feature advantage almost universal. While not perfect, its display is still well worth its purchase price, held firmly in place by its middle-tier but robust CPU and GPU combination.

That being said, it is currently going head-to-head with TCL’s 55-inch QLED competitor, the C715. It has almost the same features and is even priced very closely. The decision to choose one over the other would usually end with which one is available at that moment.

In the end, though, for those who want a solid-performing lower high-end QLED Smart TV, then this one is for you. Enjoy the HDMI 2.1 connectivity, updated software, and reasonable budget investment for its display technologies.

 

Categories: Reviews