Realme has come a long way in its two-year journey with smartphones in India. The company slowly expanded into other segments like power banks, fitness trackers, wireless earphones and more in the last one year. Now for the year 2020, their aim is to position Realme as an IoT brand in India, and its the reason why we saw Realme’s first ever smartwatch and the foray into smart television segment. Also Read - Realme Buds Air Neo Review: Decent wireless audio experience made more affordable
Last month, Realme launched two Smart TVs in India to compete with the likes of Xiaomi’s Mi TV range, Vu Smart TVs, and other players like TCL, Toshiba, iFFalcon, MarQ, Kodak and more. The company appears to be going for the emerging TV market in India because this segment saw a steep rise in the last one year. The all-new Realme Smart TVs come in a range where most of the non-traditional TV brands operate. Priced at Rs 12,999, the 32-inch HD-ready Realme Smart TV is meant for an entry-level consumer. But for my review, I got the 43-inch full-HD Realme TV instead. This one comes at a price of Rs 21,999. But is it worth the money, find out in my full review below. Also Read - Realme Watch Review: It's all about the form
Design and Picture quality
The design of Realme Smart TV is quite good for its price. The front looks pretty clean with three-side slim bezels, however, the bottom chin is slightly thick. Why I am saying, it’s a good design, because there are very few televisions in this price range which have the same design with slim-bezels flushed into the glass. That said, I feel the company could have done a better job with overall build quality, especially with its low-quality plastic stand. Also, it would have been better if there was a wall-mount inside the retail box. Also Read - Realme Narzo 10 Review: Expanding options in the budget segment
Coming to the display, the 43-inch TV panel of the Realme Smart TV offers full-HD (1920×1080 pixels) resolution. It can go up to 400 nits brighter, which is sufficient. It has a standard refresh rate of 60Hz, which you’ll find in most other TVs around the same price bracket.
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In my daily usage, I found the picture quality on the DTH to be a little poor. The major problem throughout my review time was the color accuracy of this Realme TV panel. Also, it was a pain to get the picture colors adjusted, so that it doesn’t hurt the eye. By default, all Android TVs do not offer custom color settings, but you can tone these a bit down by reducing saturation. After a bit of struggle, I could get the picture adjusted, but not the way it feels on any Samsung, Sony or LG. It’s the one important thing, I expected Realme to be careful about. I recently reviewed, the OnePlus TV and they managed to get some extra tweaks like standard TVs, and that made the viewing experience better. But Overall, the Realme TV has a vary basic panel, nothing impressive.
Connectivity and Sound
Coming to the connectivity ports, you get three HDMI ports and two USB-A ports in total, out-of-which only one HDMI port and one USB port is accessible on the left of the TV, while the other two HDMI ports and the USB port are at the back of the TV (facing down). During my review, I couldn’t mount the TV on the wall, so it’s difficult to say that these will be accessible or not. The left side also has one Tuner/ Antenna port (old cable connection port), Audio out port (3.5mm socket), and a single AV port. The back panel down facing port list also includes one RJ45 LAN option for wired internet connection.
The Realme 43-inch TV packs a 24W down-firing two-box set speakers with one driver and one tweeter. Essentially the same that you see in most Samsung and LG TVs. It is a standard practice for TV makers (although with 20W output). Coming to the quality of it, the sound output is just about fine on this TV and not great. The loud output distorts on high volume and lacks clarity. Also, you won’t feel the base much.
The company has put in ‘Dolby Audio Processing’ as well, but I feel it doesn’t help much. To sum it up, the speakers are decent for a cheap television, and not many will have a problem with these, unless you are expecting good quality audio for music or movies.
Remote control and Android TV experience
The Realme Smart TV ships with one small remote control with only 14 keys. You’ll find power key, mute key, the circular d-pad for direction control, back key, home key, menu key, source key and volume up & down. Other than these, there are dedicated keys for Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video and Google Assistant. During my review time, the remote did take a little bit extra time to pair initially, but otherwise it worked fine. I feel the volume keys could have been little away from the Google Assistant key, because the accidental pressing mostly triggered assistant for me.
Coming to the Android TV experience, this too has an identical software to most other Android TVs in the market. After the update, now the Realme TV remembers last source selection, which means if you were watching DTH on HDMI 1, the TV will restart on the same source. In case of sudden electricity supply cut, the TV switches off and remains switched off until you use either the remote or the TV button to start it again.
About the app switching and the Android TV layout, both offer pleasantly smooth experience on it, thanks to the MediaTek chipset. The Realme Smart TV packs a MediaTek MSD6683 processor, with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage for apps and app data. It never felt that there was additional requirement of RAM and storage, because the MediaTek chipset is quite powerful. Where the TV experience lags is, in the booting up time or say in the first time starting time, just like all other Android TVs. It is mainly because of the OS and has nothing to do with the chipset. Hopefully, Google in the next iteration of Android TV OS will improve on it. That said, Realme has done a good job with the smart experience of the TV and its remote.
Verdict: should you buy?
Realme’s 43-inch Smart Android television comes in a segment which is already overcrowded with the likes of Xiaomi, Vu, Toshiba, MarQ, Thomson, Kodak and TCL. Then there are veterans of the segment like Samsung, Sony and LG, which might not offer the latest Smart TV for this price, but can give you an option of a TV which is from their two or three year old generation portfolio.
In my opinion, Realme could have done a better job with this 43-inch TV. It misses the basic of a television, which is the picture quality. Also, I didn’t find the sound quality to be any greater than the other TVs in this same price segment. Overall, the Realme TV 43-inch full-HD model falls short on my expectations. It lacks value for money in comparison to the other online-only brands in this segment, which might offer you a better 4K UHD option.