Nobody knows the affordable smart TV market in India like Xiaomi does. Ever since the first Mi TV in 2018, the company knows what appeals to the Indian buyers: a big display, decent audio, rich features, and, most importantly, a price that’s accessible to all. After catering to the LCD TV segment for a while, the company is now trying to make some space for itself with its first QLED TV. The Mi QLED TV 4K 55 is still a tongue twister for many but it is surely the best TV the company has ever sold in India. Also Read - Poco announces Flipkart Big Saving Days sale deals: Poco X3, Poco M2 Pro and more
Sitting at a price of Rs 54,999, the Mi QLED TV 4K 55 is among the most affordable QLED TVs you can buy in India today. Xiaomi is using the QLED technology to offer a premium viewing experience and the rest of the package makes for a well-rounded smart TV experience. The new design strikes a chord with those obsessed with interior decor while the performance is among the best in its class. Also Read - Today’s Tech News: Samsung Galaxy S21 launch, Xiaomi blacklisted, Vaio laptops launched
Should you then invest a fairly premium amount into Xiaomi’s first QLED TV for India? Since I have been a Mi TV user for some years now, I swapped my unit for a brand new Mi QLED TV 4K 55 for a few weeks. The experience has been mostly great. Also Read - Xiaomi blacklisted in the US, denies connection with the Chinese military
There’s only so much you can do with the design of a TV, given that you are dealing with a flat rectangular canvas. The only direction I see brands going with TV designs is getting rid of the chunky bezels, before the rollable TVs become mainstream. Xiaomi has used the same Horizon Edition design from its Mi TV 4A models for this QLED TV and it mostly works. The Mi QLED TV 4K 55 is a handsome TV with its border-less design and that classy chrome finished bottom bezel.
The frame is made of metal and despite finished in a matte silver finish, it imparts a sense of premium design. The top and side may appear bezel-free but there’s still some black bezel around. When closed, the TV looks like one massive slab of glass mounted to the wall, with wires dangling down. Despite my room not adhering to class-A standards of interior decor, the Mi QLED TV 4K 55 gelled well with my usually unkempt room (you can figure that out from the photos).
Access to the ports is not as easy, especially when the TV is wall mounted. The three HDMI ports, all belonging to the 2.1 format, are the easiest to figure out without looking. There are two USB-A ports too on either flank of these HDMI ports. Xiaomi clearly knew the ports users would use the most and placed it fairly conveniently. The AV ports, as well as the Ethernet port, are placed slightly inconveniently but I assume most Indian households won’t be using these much.
Given the massive size of the TV, I recommend you get all the wiring and connections done by Xiaomi personnel if you are going the wall-mount route. Xiaomi does not offer wall mount brackets with the box but you do get free table stands (cough…OnePlus learn…cough…). In Noida, the wall installation charges for the Mi QLED TV 4K 55 amount to Rs 450, excluding the wall brackets.
The remote controller itself hasn’t changed much from earlier Mi TV models. You get the same minimalist controller with fewer buttons, all made of rubber material. There are two dedicated keys for Netflix and Prime Video (the latter was highly useful for me). While the mute button still evades the controller, Xiaomi has baked in a shortcut to achieve the same. One long-press on the volume decrease key and voila! The TV mutes. I know it sounds stupid but as a long-term Mi TV user, this is a blessing. You will need a pair of AAA batteries to power the controller.
As the name suggests, the Mi QLED TV 4K 55 has a massive 55-inch canvas that uses the QLED technology. You may already be familiar with QLED technology but for our readers who are unaware, here’s a brief explanation. Q in QLED stands for Quantum dots that are essentially transmissive particles emitting colors when hit with the usual LED backlighting. Practically, you will see greater gains in colors vibrancy and improved dynamic range, which is always enjoyable on a big-screen TV.
Here are some stuff for TV nerds: the Mi QLED TV 4K 55 uses a VA panel and supports some high-end formats such as HDR 10, HDR 10+, and Dolby Vision. Moreover, the TV lets you choose from different color space formats such as DCI-P3, BT 2020, BT709, etc. On the whole, as a user, I found I have so many options to choose the experience I want from a TV.
What’s the viewing experience like? For a majority of my time with the Mi QLED TV 4K 55, I stuck to the default settings, complete with motion smoothening set to “Standard.” Compared to my older Mi TV 4X Pro 55, this QLED model appeared lifelike with its rich colors. The QLED technology brings out the best in the same mundane content and I found myself watching the TV more than ever. I personally prefer having some kind of motion smoothening at the cost of sharpness but with the Mi QLED TV 4K 55, the compromises were fairly low.
Frankly, the best way to enjoy this TV is with Dolby Vision-supported content on Prime Video and other supported platforms. Videos shot from my iPhone 12 were shown as it is on the iPhone. Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan felt lively with lots of colors and high contrasts. Even for HDR10 and HDR 10+ content, the experience was always good. Older shows such as The Big Bang Theory and The Office look good, even for nerds.
I plugged in my Xbox Series X to the Mi QLED TV 4K 55 and the overall experience was amped up by several notches. The Series X supports 4K HDR 10+ as well as Dolby Vision content. I watched a few Dolby Vision supported content via Apple TV+ and it all looked great. Games such as Forza Horizon 4, Dirt 5, and Assasins Creed Valhalla looked gorgeous, with extremely detailed environments – thanks to the 4K resolution. The HDMI 2.1 ensures a lag-free experience and compared to my older TV, it definitely felt smoother. Sadly, the refresh rate is stuck at 60Hz and I wish the days of 120Hz making it to affordable TVs come sooner. Do note that this refresh rate thing is only relevant if you have got a modern-age console (Xbox Series X and PS5).
If you pixel peep, you will eventually figure out that there are no individual dimming zones similar to more expensive QLED TVs. Hence, if you seek extremely higher contrasts (or, deep blacks), you can rely on the dynamic backlighting option switched on. On a personal level, I found the TV to be comfortable in dark rooms during my weekend movie nights. The viewing angles are wide and never did I notice any color shift from wide angles.
On the whole, I liked the viewing experience a lot on the Mi QLED TV 4K 55. Surely, comparing it to the premium QLED TVs from Samsung and Sony will bring out certain flaws. But then you look at the price and most of the nitpicks seem irrelevant.
At the product briefing, the Xiaomi team said that it has worked hard to bring a soundbar kind of audio experience with the onboard speakers. For that purpose, the Mi QLED TV 4K 55 comes with a six-speaker setup, comprising of four speakers with a wider range and two tweeters. I am unsure of the soundbar experience claims but in my time with the TV, I did not feel the need to consider an external speaker.
The audio experience is definitely the best I have heard on a Mi TV model. The four full-range speakers do make for some lower-end thump and strong mids, both of which make for a wholesome experience. Whether watching Sheldon Cooper ranting about his food or Batman tearing apart a mall to catch the Joker, the TV was able to do justice to the movies and sitcoms by delivering the audio as intended by the creators.
Most of the time, I stuck to 50 percent of volume for a immersive experience but if you feel adventurous, you can always go upwards, waking up neighbors while you race your heart out in Dirt 5, eventually making the society authorities knock on your door (I learned it the hard way). There are several audio profiles to choose from but I was always the happiest with the Standard mode. The mute function is definitely useful but I still wish Xiaomi has introduced a dedicated button.
For the Mi QLED TV 4K 55, Xiaomi has gone for the latest Android 10 version for Android TV. Theoretically, this is supposed to be faster and better. So far, I found the standard Android TV interface fairly fast, although there were lags at times. The TV comes with 2GB RAM onboard and 32GB storage, which sounds enough for now. Most app loading times were on par with what I have witnessed on other Android TVs so far.
If you are new to the Android TV ecosystem, you will be glad to see support for most of Google services and apps baked nicely. There’s Google Assistant on board for quickly searching through content on YouTube with a simple voice command. With Chromecast, you can cast videos and audio directly to the TV, provided you have a Wi-Fi network at your place. You get access to thousands of TV apps and you can even sideload a few. Do note that the 32GB of onboard storage isn’t available for storing your personal files.
However, it is the PatchWall interface that makes the Mi QLED TV 4K 55 lively. PatchWall has been in development for over two years and it is befitting of a feature-rich media center that a smart TV needs. The interface has improved by leaps and bounds in a year and makes for easy access to most of the TV features. With PatchWall, I was able to access my Xbox and laptop more easily than I could in the stock Android TV interface.
Moreover, content from certain OTT platforms such as Hotstar and Sony LIV are directly integrated into the homescreen as tiles. Even though I don’t have a subscription to Sony LIV, I was able to see the first episode of “Scam 1992” for free. Shortcuts to many movies and web series also make for direct access to the content rather than scrolling endlessly through pages. The best part is that the PatchWall homescreen keeps on getting updated frequently and as a result, I have a chance of discovering more stuff than ever.
Personally, I feel the PatchWall interface is a major value addition to the Mi QLED TV 4K 55 and that alone makes it more favorable over the competitors at slightly higher prices. It is still not perfect but PatchWall is among the best, if not the best, custom smart TV interfaces I have used in a while. On a high-end TV like this one, the performance is smoother and it makes me want to browse my TV more.
Of course, some of you may not like PatchWall and its presentation. However, the Mi TV lets you choose the experience you seek and if you prefer the Android TV way of managing your smart TV, so be it. I like how Xiaomi doesn’t enforce its PatchWall interface to users. Also, there are no ads, if you wondered (unless you consider the suggested content on PatchWall as ads).
The Quick Wake function is a blessing for Android TV and it makes it feel like a regular TV while booting it up. Xiaomi says it takes 5 seconds on average to boot up from sleep but I never found myself waiting any longer than that. Surely, if you long-press the power key on the controller, you can choose to completely turn off the TV and that still takes its own sweet time to boot up. The Quick Wake functionality makes the TV always available on standby and eliminates that annoying waiting period Android TVs usually require to start from standby.
Xiaomi has been making smart TVs for a long time and the culmination of all its experience, as well as the consumer feedback, has resulted in an overall brilliant package that is the Xiaomi Mi QLED TV 4K 55. At Rs 54,999, the Mi QLED TV 4K 55 is an option unlike anything in that segment. The QLED display is still unique at under Rs 60,000 and for someone interested in a massive 55-inch TV, the OnePlus TV Q1 is the only option closer to this price. However, Xiaomi offers superior value with its PatchWall interface and a design that appeals to most style-enthusiasts.
Is it worth spending an extra Rs 20,000 over the regular Mi TV 4X 55 as well as other cheaper 55-inch smart TVs? The QLED display technology and the impressive audio performance themselves make for a compelling reason to spend more. If you are investing in a next-gen Xbox or PS5 console, or watch a lot of high-quality content on Netflix and other OTT platforms, and seek the ultimate levels of immersion, the Mi QLED TV 4K 55 makes sense. If you just want a decent 4K TV for simply catching on with the online content, you can always consider the Mi TV 4X 43-inch 4K TV.