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Kodak 43UHDX Smart TV Review: Crisp and Vivid 4K panel but half-baked UI
Kodak 43UHDX Smart TV is available on Flipkart at Rs. 23,999
Kodak recently refreshed its smart TV line-up in India. The company added some new features and updated the user interface to make the company's smart TVs more user-friendly for users. We have recently reviewed the 55-inch UHD Smart TV from Kodak and the company has now unveiled a new model with similar specifications, software but with a smaller 43-inch UHD panel.
The new 43-inch UHDX Smart TV from Kodak is priced at Rs. 23,999 and targets price-conscious consumers in the Indian market who are looking for affordable Smart TVs with latest features. We tested the TV for over a week and here's what we have to say about it in our review.
43-inch UHD Panel (3840 x 2160 pixels)
Let's start with the star of the show, the 43-inch UHD panel, which makes the new Kodak TV ideal for most of the Indian households. The UHD panel is manufactured by the display leader Samsung and offers a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. The display is bright and has good color reproduction. The 1080p videos at 60fps streamed via Chromecast looked brilliant. The video playback sans Chromecast at standard refresh rates also looks decent on this panel as the brightness and contrast levels are fairly good.
The UHD LED screen utilizes Auto Depth Enhancer technology to improve visual experience. The brightness levels are good and the panel used by Kodak does a slightly better job in showing details in darker areas than displays used by Xiaomi TVs. The video resolution maxes out at 1080p on YouTube, which is a letdown as the TV panel comes with 4K resolution support. I had to download some 4K content to stream via USB to evaluate the full potential of this 43-inch UHD panel. The 4K videos downloaded online looked crisp and vibrant; however, the TV was unable to smoothly play the 4K videos shot from my phone. Overall, the 43-inch UHDX TV from Kodak does a good job at playing 1080p video content but the lack of native 4K playback is badly missed.
Lightweight body and very basic design
The 43-inch UHDX Smart TV by Kodak is surprisingly lightweight, thanks to the plastic body. The TV does not bring any major modifications in design and follows the company's old yet functional design format. The moderately sized bezels around the screen have been given a glossy Black finish to make them blend easily with the UHD panel for a wider screen view.
You can mount the TV on the wall or just keep in on the table as per your preference. Kodak has tweaked the design of the legs (table stand units) to make the panel rest more firmly on the base. The two units of table stand are extended further in opposite directions to offer a better hold on the base, which is a small yet clever design change.
New updated UI but still far away from being perfect
The biggest letdown of the budget UHD TV from Kodak is its user interface. While the company has updated the UI and has made it more colorful and easy-to-use, it is still unable to offer a smooth user experience. The UI lags a lot, app crashes too often and the bundled remote is not designed to support a smart TV interface.
On the other hand, Xiaomi has done a great job in UI department. The company's latest 43-inch Full HD TV running on latest Android offers far better user experience. It is basically the same UI that Sony offers with its premium smart TVs.
Kodak's TV, on the other hand, runs on dated Android version 5.1.1 deployed over a Linux layer which is not very well optimized to deliver a
smart TV user experience. Moreover, Xiaomi's Bluetooth enabled smart remote is a delight to use and makes Kodak's approach look dated.
Some good things about Kodak's UI and Remote
Various Sound and Picture modes to choose from even while streaming content
Dedicated buttons on TV Remote to enable Eco mode, Sound and Picture mode, Input mode to select source, etc.
Easy navigation to access external sources like microSD card, USB, etc.
Menu button to access in-app settings
Runs most of the apps- Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Facebook, etc.
Pre-loaded apps such as Netflix, YouTube, VLC player, etc.
Interestingly, the 43-inch TV from Kodak is able to stream content from two widely popular apps such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. These are two apps that even the Xiaomi's recently launched MI TVs cannot run natively. You have to install APKs on Xiaomi TVs via USB drive to run the app. The Netflix and YouTube come pre-loaded on Kodak's 43-inch UHDX TV, while Amazon Prime Video can be installed from Google Play Store once you signed in from your Gmail account. Besides, the TV can also run other popular apps such as Hotstar, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, MX Player, VLC, etc. The apps can be installed from Aptiode TV, which is essentially a hub for apps for smart TVs.
And while the TV supports and runs a good number of apps, these applications crash quite often. Content streamed on Netflix and Amazon Prime freezes too often and I had to restart the apps to continue watching the same content, which was not a good experience. Kodak needs to work a lot in the software department to make the company's TVs actually smart for end-users.
Hardware and Sound delivery
The 43-inch 4K UHD Smart TV is powered by a dual-core 1.4 GHz processor paired with just 1GB RAM. The low RAM and dated CPU makes the new Kodak TV feel sluggish and less responsive as compared to the competition. The TV has an internal storage of 8GB that allows you to download media content via apps such as Amazon Prime and Netflix. I am not very impressed with the audio delivery. The 20W speakers powering Kodak's smart TV do not generate room-filling audio and even the sound delivery is quite underwhelming. Above that, there's no in-built Bluetooth so you can only connect the external speakers via Aux-in cable or with the help of other ports placed at the back panel of the TV.
For connectivity, Kodak's 43-inch UHD TV has Wi-Fi, LAN, Miracast, HDMI ports, 2 USB ports, an SD card slot, coaxial TV antenna slot, an Ethernet port, two AV ports, and an S/PDIF port. And as mentioned above, the TV does not support Bluetooth which means you cannot connect Bluetooth enabled speakers wirelessly.
Kodak has provided basic controls on the TV unit itself. The on/off, volume control and other important functional buttons are located at the bottom left corner of the TV unit and are fairly accessible even if you have mounted the TV on the wall.
Kodak 43-inch UHDX Smart TV's biggest strength is its crisp 4K panel. The screen is better at producing colors and offers bright and crisp video output than rivals. The TV‘s UI is a letdown and audio performance is also not very good. You have to connect an external source for audio if you really want to experience good sound delivery. Besides, the TV misses important features like Bluetooth and the latest Android flavor. At a price-point of Rs. 24K, the Kodak's TV is not a bad deal if your priority is a crisp 4K enabled screen. If a good user interface and Bluetooth is what you want, Xiaomi's 43-inch 1080p smart TV is a better option and also costs Rs. 1,000 less.