Ameya DalviApril 27, 2020 5:38:13 PM IST
General evaluation: 4/5
Price: Sao Paulo
Soon after the launch of the impressive TV Vu Cinema, a premium series of smart TVs from the company appears. This time, Vu sells some features on TV Cinema with an increase in specifications and strives to offer comparable performance at an even lower price. Let's find out if he really achieves this and how this TV compares with some of his popular competitors from Xiaomi, TCL etc., as well as with his cousin.
Vu 55PM Premium Android TV – Design and Connectivity: 8/10
Although its design is not as impressive as the cinema TV, the 55PM is quite elegant. This TV is almost frameless on all three sides, with a not so thick gray bottom frame. This model does not come with a sound bar attached and the lower firing speakers are well hidden. The power LED and the infrared receiver are placed on a small chin below the Vu logo on the bottom panel in the center.
The TV is quite thin and can be mounted on the wall or placed on a table using the corresponding gray brackets. The necessary screws and brackets are provided in the package, along with a wireless remote control and a pair of AAA batteries. In the connectivity department, you have three HDMI ports – one of which supports ARC, two USB 2.0 ports, optical audio, headphone output and a LAN port, all placed along the left edge of the rear module. The AV input ports are placed at the rear of the TV.
Although most connectivity ports are positioned on the side of the TV, they are 20 inches from the edge, making access difficult if you mount the TV on the wall. I would have preferred to see them at least 20 to 30 cm closer to the edge. There are also some wireless connectivity options – Bluetooth 5.0 for connecting wireless speakers or headphones and dual-band Wi-Fi.
Vu 55PM Premium Android TV – Features and specifications: 8.5 / 10
The Vu 55PM features a 55-inch Hisense VA panel with an Ultra HD (4K) resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels and a refresh rate of 60 Hz. The panel has a nominal brightness level of 400 nits, a drop of 100 nits compared to the Pixelium glass panel on TV Vu Cinema. This TV also supports HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision for HDR content. Like all smart TVs, there is built-in Wi-Fi and, unlike Cinema TV, the Vu 55PM supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz dual band Wi-Fi networks with support for a / b / g / n / ac standards .
At the front of the specifications, this TV is equipped with a quad-core processor with ARM Cortex A55 cores and Mali GPU – 470 MP. Each of the four CPU cores can accelerate between 1,100 MHz and 1,400 MHz. There is a jump in the numbers of RAM and storage, and you get 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage here, a chunk of which is taken up by the operating system. Android Pie 9.0. The sound output is rated at 30 W RMS, with support for Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus audio.
Like all official Android TVs, it has Chromecast built-in and allows you to stream content to the screen from compatible apps on your phone or tablet. It comes with a complete remote control that supports IR and Bluetooth. The on / off button on the remote communicates with the TV using IR when turning on, and then everything works via Bluetooth. The remote control is activated by voice, so you can call the Google Assistant by pressing the corresponding button and issue voice commands; works without problems.
In Vu Cinema TV's analysis, I mentioned that the company should have provided a remote control similar to what you get with the OA series of TVs, and that's exactly what we have here. The remote control has shortcut keys for Netflix, Prime Video, Hotstar, YouTube and Google app store, along with the navigation keys, an input key, volume control, a mute button, a settings button and a directional pad. All the other unnecessary keys have been touched and the remote looks minimal, but complete. The only minor issue here is the layout of the keys in the center. The buttons above and below the directional merge almost perfectly with the directional, and you often end up pressing the wrong button when you are not looking at the remote.
Vu 55PM Premium Android TV – User interface: 9/10
The Premium TV Vu 55PM runs the official Android Pie 9.0 and has the standard user interface that you see on most official Android TVs without any third-party launcher. It's simple and easy to use, even for a novice user. You have a line of your favorite installed apps, the shortcuts to which you can add, remove or shuffle. Other lines display the content that was last played or suggested by various online streaming services. The TV comes preloaded with the Google Play Store and provides access to thousands of popular apps. Apps for Netflix and Prime Video are pre-installed.
Like most Android Vu TVs, the Vu 55PM allows you to change the sound and image settings in real time while viewing content from any source, whether while viewing something in an app like Netflix or Youtube, or an HDMI source like DTH, or simply when watching something via USB. All you need to do is press the settings button on the remote control to open the menu and make the necessary adjustments. You can have different settings for each input source or common settings across the board. Interestingly, when playing HDR content, the list of image presets is different.
Vu 55PM Premium Android TV – Image quality: 8/10
The image quality of this TV is very good for the price, but no better than that of TV Cinema. The 4K panel is reasonably bright, but again, it is no brighter than the Vu Cinema TV panel, which can reach 500 nits. The Vu 55PM has good contrast and the details in dark areas in high contrast scenes in our test videos were mostly visible, but the black levels could have been better. The color reproduction of this TV is very good and the colors look quite natural, even in the standard settings.
This TV supports Dolby Vision, and HDR content encoded in that format looks good on that screen. But I can't say the same about all the playback of HDR content here, which can be a hit or miss. In Ultra HD with HDR content on Prime Video, the image looks a little darker than ideal, with aggressive contrast in some scenes, possibly due to the lower peak brightness of the screen. There are also some fluctuations visible in certain areas in high contrast scenes. These problems were not seen when playing non-HDR content. Unfortunately, there is no option to disable automatic HDR on this TV; at least I couldn't find it.
Normal 4K non-HDR content looks crisp on this TV, with accurate colors and ample details. Most of the 1080p Full HD content also looks good. 720p videos were perfectly viewable, although not as sharp. Anything below 720p seems faded, which is the case with almost all 55-inch 4K TVs I've tested to date. The viewing angles are very good, with only a marginal color change when watching TV from sharp angles. There is a small problem that I would like to highlight. I noticed a little backlight bleeding along the bottom edge of the TV, something I didn't see on previous Vu models. However, there may be a problem with my unit and it does not affect the viewing experience, but it is something that could have been avoided.
The image is calibrated quickly and you also have a good number of image adjustment options, such as brightness, contrast, sharpness, saturation, etc., to adjust it to your taste. In addition, you also have advanced options for adjusting white balance, gamma control, color temperature, MPEG and digital noise reduction and more. The overall image quality is a lower level than that of the same company's cinema TV, but clearly a higher level than other competitors such as Xiaomi's Mi TV 4X 55 and TCL's iFFALCON K31 (55 inches) priced around of Rs 35,000. Given its selling price, there is very little reason to complain.
Vu 55PM Premium Android TV – Audio quality: 8/10
A pair of 15 W RMS rated background speakers each provides up to 30 Watts of Dolby certified audio. Although this TV cannot match the output quality of the sound bar integrated in Cinema TV, it is still quite impressive for a flat screen. There is a fair amount of heat in the sound, with more than a decent frequency separation. There is a good clarity in the vocals and a decent amount of strokes as well. The speakers are well tuned and you have several sound adjustments to further adjust the audio. The speakers can be surprisingly loud and I could be content with the 25% volume level in most parts.
The TV's speakers are compatible with Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus audio, but, as always, you need to be realistic about the expectations of the speakers built into the TV. The sound is better than that obtained on most LED TVs, but it is not as good or better than that of a sound bar with a dedicated subwoofer. Integrated speakers should take care of most of your general audio needs, from watching news or sports to listening to music. If you want an extra thud, you have several audio outputs on this TV to connect a sound bar or a speaker system.
Vu 55PM Premium Android TV – Overall performance: 8/10
The TV takes about 40 seconds to start up when you turn it on, which is the average of Android TVs today. I would like to see them violate the 30 second mark. But after that, if you turn the remote control off and on, the TV will return to just a few seconds of standby. It’s always good to see this instant summary feature on smart TVs.
I had a concern about the excellent TV Vu Cinema, which was the relatively low amount of RAM (1.5 GB) included. This was addressed in this line of Premium TV, with 2 GB of RAM accompanying the same faster CPU and GPU. Internal storage has also been doubled, which is a great long-term option. Thanks to the larger amount of RAM, there was no noticeable interruption in the user interface or during video playback up to 4K HDR content. The TV can also play 4K over USB without any problems with the standard player or using a third party application like VLC.
Vu 55PM Premium Android TV – Price and verdict
The Premium TV Vu 55PM can be purchased at Flipkart for $ 31,999 with a one-year warranty after the lockout ends across the country. The 50-inch variant of the same is sold for Rs 27,999. This is 3K and 2K below similarly sized variants of TV Vu Cinema. Although TV Cinema has better video and audio quality, Vu Premium TVs offer extra RAM and storage for a few thousand lower rupees. Choose one based on your priorities, budget and, of course, availability.
As for competition from other brands, especially the two big Chinese players – Xiaomi and TCL, these two Vu TV series practically keep them apart. But let's not forget that the 2020 schedule is yet to arrive. There is another underdog in the race, namely the new Kodak series of CA (Android Certified) TVs that we will review shortly. Things may change then, but for now, Vu can take advantage of the pole position among economy TVs.
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