In an age where televisions are either rolling inside a neatly designed soundbar or plastering the wall with mammoth sized modular designs or even disappearing in front of our very eyes and pretending to be just a slab of transparent glass, 2019 has the big boys playing really hard to win a space in your living room.
We’re talking lakhs of rupees worth of innovation from big players like Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Sony, which undoubtedly steal the show. The Xiaomi Mi LED 4X Pro (quite a mouthful) avoids all antics of that sort.
Snobby videophiles jumping to conclusions based on the price clearly have no idea why Xiaomi has become one of the leading smartphone brands in India. This 55in telly with Android TV, 4K and HDR10 has all the basics ticked right from the get-go but how does all that spec jargon hold up and will it continue its bang for the buck offerings from our palms to the living room as well? You’d be amazed.
Build and design: it doesn’t bother so you shouldn’t too
Not like your guests will be caressing the body of this 55-incher because, like we mentioned, it’s not pulling any tricks out of the hat to grab attention. The 65in Philips telly we reviewed recently has LED lights around its frame to extend picture colours outwards onto the wall behind. Quite a potato feature but when you’re paying big bucks, unnecessary bling can sometimes show its money’s worth, right?
Here, the plastic body demands forgiveness like no other. The slim bezels and mediocre design are not even remotely sporting any futuristic tech formula. Everything seems to be tried and tested a few generations ago and if it ain’t broke, focus on the picture quality right? Works for us. Although the plasticky stands are quite underwhelming, we didn’t bother much once the telly was set up. If wall mounting is your taste, then you’ll have to purchase the wall mount bracket separately.
Remote and ports: gets the basics right
On its part, the most touchy-feely aspect of any TV is a remote and the Mi remote is quite a fantastic one. It looks and feels like the Amazon Fire Stick TV Stick remote and is not busy with buttons.
The Bluetooth (not IR blaster) remote has 12 buttons in total and it’s more than enough to whiz around its Android TV and PatchWall UI. The build quality of the remote is quite good too. However, not everyone's a tech wizard so there might be a slight learning curve for old folks who might be facing a smart telly for the first time. The lack of buttons is the culprit but in our use, the UI is much cleaner than other budget tellies out there.
There are a total of three HDMI ports and one with ARC, two USB 2.0, one Ethernet port, one S/PDIF Out, one AV connection and for the wireless department, there’s Bluetooth 4.2 LE and WiFi support.
Picture quality: A gateway to 4K
For ₹40K, Xiaomi’s picture quality is one of the best among its competitors. Watching 4K content is honestly a treat and the panel gets the contrast and colour accuracy just right.
We wouldn’t compare it to the much superior LG, Samsung and Sony tellies because those come at a steep price. Especially when you’re asking for a smart telly with 4K and HDR10 support spanning across a 55in display.
The brightness could’ve been a bit better but it didn't raise any eyebrows. We shut off the dynamic brightness setting mainly because our review unit was next to glare-searing windows and it's sensible to keep it at max brightness when viewing HDR content. Strangely enough, Xiaomi doesn’t tell you how many nits of peak brightness the TV is capable of.
Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are not supported on the telly from Google Play Store so we had to route our 4K HDR content from a PS4 Pro and other streaming devices. Watching the cheerful trio on Grand Tour Season 3 with punchy colours and satisfactory blacks was compelling enough to appreciate the show’s cinematic shots. On closer inspection, we did notice that HDR content with darker tones like in Altered Carbon had little detail. So the HDR10, though reasonably present, isn’t going to touch your jaws to the floor. Meanwhile, watching Planet Earth II episode 2 led us to confirm that this telly is a steal for the price. Feed it good content and it will not disappoint. Even upscaled 1080p content felt good.
The 60Hz frame rate screen was smooth enough for us to wear the blue and red spandex again and take a second swing across Manhattan in Marvel’s Spider-Man. Couch gaming is definitely fun and if you’ve got a beefy gaming rig that can output 4K then the Mi 4X Pro makes a compelling argument to ditch your monitor from time to time.
Audio: more volume
The Mi 4X Pro doesn’t suffer from diet issues. It’s plenty thick around the base and the bottom firing speakers are decent. If you’re keeping it on telly furniture then it might bounce out and sound louder. Still, that doesn’t solve its problem with muddy lows and coloured mids. There’s barely any bass and it’s good to invest in a soundbar. The Mi Soundbar is selling for ₹4,999 which should be quite a bargain if wallet droughts are frequent. The telly supports DTS surround sound so if there’s a 5.1 system lying around this a good time to hook it up.
UI and Apps: Needs patching
PatchWall and Android TV are the two UIs available at your disposal. Both of them have dedicated buttons on the remote to switch seamlessly. Truth be told, PatchWall is more like an app made specifically for Xiaomi tellys (obviously) and can be accessed from the app tray in the Android TV UI as well.
The quad-core processor and 2GB RAM makes sure that you’re not stuck on any app for more than the necessary loading time. The Google Chromecast integration makes casting YouTube and other apps a child’s play. You can even control Google Home devices with the telly. Watching Game of Thrones on Hotstar? Bark orders from the remote to change living room light colour to blue. Voila, winter is here!
PatchWall UI offers free movies across plenty of Indian apps and you can watch some of the latest flicks by paying too. We’re more 4K and HDR hungry so let's address the elephant in the room: where are Netflix and Amazon Prime Video? Short answer, Amazon Prime will come soon and Netflix might probably take longer than Salman’s wedding.
You cannot cast Netflix directly onto the telly if that’s what you’re thinking. Amazon Prime Video, on the other hand, is closer to coming officially on the telly.
Desperate tech junkies have already found a way around with APKs but we’ve seen only Amazon Prime Video working on this telly. Netflix is a bit more difficult to get up and running even with an APK.
Verdict: Join the dark side
Ah, this telly is as clear as Bhai’s life but in the end we all love Salman right? No? Come on.
The underwhelming plastic body can be easily overlooked because you’re not just saving plenty of cash, you’re also getting your money’s worth on the panel and Android TV. The 55in 4K and HDR10 telly is quite remarkable for the price. This should definitely be on your list if you’re someone looking to enter the 4K domain on a tight budget. The lack of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video is a bummer, but there are ways to get around it.