Chinese technology brand LeEco was recently in the news as it had reportedly laid off 85 percent of its Indian staff. Seniors including Atul Jain, COO of Smart Electronics and Debashish Ghosh, COO of Internet Applications, Services and Content had reportedly put down their papers.
However, the company in an official statement had said that it won’t exit from business operations in India. This seems likely, as the company has just introduced its new Super4 smart TV range in India. The range includes three models, the X40 which is a Full HD model and two UHD models, the X43 Pro and the X50 Pro.
I got my hands on the 40-inch model, the Super4 X40 and took the sleek looking TV for a test drive.
Build and Design: 7.5/10
LeEco has my approval when it comes to build quality. Not just their television range, even their smartphones have been good looking. The new Super4 X40 offers a very thin profile, just like its last series. It has a minimalistic design approach. The unique stand (basically like feet) has two parts that can be attached easily and come with handy screws that even require a screwdriver.
The panel is super slim, and has a thickness of just 7.9mm. The back panel only occupies the lower half and if you include that,the thickness goes up to 32.7mm. The bezels are very slim, which doesn’t come as a surprise as we’ve seen the previous generation having the same.
The back panel cover is made of plastic, but it feels premium. The panel and the stands come with an aluminium finish and overall construction is strong and sturdy.
This model comes with a 40-inch LED panel with a 1920x1080p resolution. It offers 5000:1 contrast ratio and refresh rates can go up to 60Hz. Now the panel looks great. Colours look good, in fact it offers 85 percent NTSC.
But there is a big issue that I noticed. The TV is claimed to offer HDR. However the implementation is not done right. The HDR ‘effect’ is achieved by dynamic backlighting which is a bit annoying as it increases the contrast and blacks between frames. One can switch off the Dynamic Contrast Adjustment via the settings. The calibration is clearly an issue here. Honestly speaking, HDR with a 1080p panel doesn’t make any sense anyway.
Apart from the HDR issue, you can tweak the brightness, contrast and saturation and get a pretty good experience. I watched a couple of movies and I was quite happy with its capabilities. There are better panels out there, but this is not a bad panel at all. Keeping almost all picture settings around 50 percent felt quite apt.
The Super4 X40 features a stereo speaker system with two speakers placed at the back with Dolby Audio 16W sound output. I usually like to divide my audio tests into two sections, quality and level of volume. I was surprisingly satisfied, and in all fairness the sound is loud enough even if you use it in a large living room.
As for the quality, I wasn’t expecting much. I have mentioned in the past how slim LED TVs usually don’t come with high-end speakers, and its fair. This one however is not bad at all. It offers a certain level of thump to it and audio is clear. There are a few audio presets as well that you can fiddle around. If you aren’t in the mood to spend extra on a speaker system, then you wont be disappointed.
User Interface: 6/10
I was disappointed to be greeted with the same OS that I saw on the Super3 series. The Android 6.0 Marshmallow based EUI 5.8 UI was impressive in terms of performance, but it lacked app support. There is no Google Play Store or Google Framework support, restricting you to the apps that are on its own LeTV Store. Forget Netflix, there isn’t even the YouTube app available for the TV. If the company expects the consumer to have the knowledge of side-loading apps, then it is probably targeting the wrong audience.
The UI is primarily divided into three tabs – Input, Live and App. The first tab is for the standard HDMI and AV inputs while the Live tab opens up Yupp TV which offers a bunch TV channels that are streamed online. The last tab shows all the applications installed, a browser, a file explorer, and some settings. You also get the Levidi app that offers LeEco’s so-called package that it offered with the last generation. Somehow, I had no content on my unit. It seems that the company has stopped it’s free offering of movies and videos which in any case was quite poor.
Features and Ports : 7/10
Let’s talk about the hardware. The TV is powered by a 64-bit Mstar 6A938 Smart TV chipset. The chipset features a quad-core processor with two ARM Cortex A72 cores and two A53 cores clocked at 1.7 GHz. This is paired to a Mali-T820MP3 GPU and 3GB of RAM. There is also 16GB of internal storage out of which about 9.2 GB is available to install apps.
As for ports connectivity, the TV offers two HDMI ports, a USB 3.0 port, AV Input, optical audio, audio out, and an ethernet at the back. There is also separate a USB port on the top of the panel where you can connect a web camera accessory which is sold separately from LeEco. Apart from that there Bluetooth as well as Wi-Fi 2.4GHz and 5GHz support.
This is pretty neat package and all ports are easy to access.
Considering how LeEco surprised me last year with its Super3 series, I have to give it to the company for making an attempt. It offers a neat and slim looking design and the overall build and construction is solid. While the HDR feature is gimmicky, the panel itself is not bad and has a good refresh rate. Just like last year, the UI and so-called free subscription package is an area where the company has clearly put in no effort.
I wasn’t completely disappointed by this TV, but then I wouldn’t recommend this especially at Rs 46,990.
There are more options in the market from Samsung and Sony both under the Rs 50,000, all offering smart features. There is also the LG 40UF670T which offers UHD resolution and better panel than this. Now why would you invest in a comparatively new brand if you can get almost all the features from a more reliable and established brand? It is a good alternative, but probably not advised as a first choice.
Publish date: March 20, 2017 11:18 am| Modified date: March 20, 2017 11:20 am
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