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Kodak 55” 4KXPRO Smart TV Review
Kodak recently expanded its smart TV range in the Indian market with the launch of three new smart TVs. The new series offers 4K TVs in three different screen sizes- 43" 4KXPRO, 50"4KXPRO and 55" 4KXPRO. The price for the 43" 4K TV is Rs. 22,999 and the 50" 4K smart TV is available at Rs. 28,499.
- Big 4K Panel In Budget Price-Point
- Decent Picture Quality
- Minimal Design And Good Build Quality
- Audio Delivery Has Slightly Improved
- No HDR Support
- Sluggish Hardware
- Substandard Software User-Experience
- No Bluetooth Connectivity
- Poorly Designed Remote Controller
The flagship variant with 55" 4K panel costs Rs. 32,999. It is worth mentioning that Xiaomi has also announced the company's new range of Mi Smart LED TVs. The 50" variant with the 4K HDR 10-bit panel costs Rs. 29,990. Xiaomi TV has an advantage that it offers a seamless Android user-experience, whereas Kodak's 55" TV offers a slightly bigger 4K panel.
The pricing for both the smart TVs is quite aggressive because these 4K-enabled smart TVs can stream multimedia content over popular streaming applications such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar to name few. Kodak shared the 55" 4K variant with us. Let's find out if it's better than the 50" Mi TV 4X.
Design And Build Quality
Kodak hasn't made any design modifications. The new 55-inch smart TV looks identical to the company's 55-inch 1080p smart TV which we have already reviewed in the start of the year 2019. In fact, the entire new smart TV range from Kodak is built on the same design language.
The Kodak smart TVs have black colored bezels around the panel with a glossy finish. The 55-inch 4K smart TV panel has a considerable thickness. The built quality is quite decent and the plastic used in constructing the TV is of good quality. A tabletop stand and wall mount bracket are offered inside the package to help you install the TV as per your requirement.
Overall, Kodak's smart TV's design and build quality justify the price-point; however, some other TV manufacturers offer better looking smart TVs in the same price segment.
TV Panel- Decent For The Price-Point
The highlight of Kodak's new smart TV is undoubtedly the big 55-inch 4K panel. It is indeed a 4K panel and not just a 1080p screen with a fake 4K moniker. The HDR support is not offered on any of the three smart TVs launched by Kodak. Xiaomi's 50" variant offers HDR support at lower price-point.
Having said that, the 4K and 1080p content look slightly better on the Xiaomi's smart TV. The 55" 4K panel on the Kodak TV does face some issues to stream pitch dark content. The blacks could have been deeper and colors more vibrant; however, with some tweaking in picture modes, you can fine-tune the image/video output.
There are four picture modes- Vivid, Soft, Standard and User. Opposite to its name, the ‘Vivid mode' reduces the color vibrancy and adds a whitish tint on the panel. I got the best image/video output with ‘Soft' mode but it makes the overall output slightly dark. Surprisingly, Kodak smart TV does not allow you to tweak basic display output features such as contrast, brightness, sharpness, etc.
How To Stream 4K Content On Kodak Smart TV?
There are multiple ways to stream 4K content on Kodak's smart TV. You can natively stream 4K videos on YouTube, which is the easiest way. You can also play 4K files stored on USBs, and can also use an Xbox to play 4K content. While there's no HDR support, the 4K panel still manages to produce bright visuals, especially if you are streaming content from an external source.
Half-Baked Smart TV User- Experience
Kodak has made some cosmetic changes in the user interface for the new smart TV models. However, these new smart TVs still use Linux as Kernel and run the dated Android Open Source 7.1.2. Technically, these are not full-fledged Android TVs. The underlying OS is Android Nougat there's no Google Play Store. All you get is an in-house app store called TV Store.
The app store allows you to install popular media streaming app like Amazon Prime, Netflix, MX Player, VLC, TED, etc; however, these are just mobile versions of the applications which crash too often leaving you with half-baked smart TV experience. You can directly install APKs from the browser to stream media content but that also fails to deliver a good smart TV experience.
One-Directional Remote With No Air-Support
The bundled TV remote lacks voice support and a real ‘Air Mouse' control, which makes it difficult to interact with the big screen. The mouse feature is provided but it is very annoying as the one-directional remote does not support air-motion. Overall, Kodak hasn't made any improvements in the software part and with the bundled remote controller.
Hardware- Sluggish Performance
The 55" 4K smart TV has 8GB of internal memory out of which only 4.53GB is available for actual use. It runs on Mali450MP GPU (750 MHz) and utilizes a 1.5GHz quad-core CPU with four Cortex A53 cores. The chipset name is not revealed by the brand.
The hardware on the 55" smart TV is not very powerful and leaves you with slow and sluggish user experience. Some commands take forever to execute and you will often find yourself stuck on a frozen screen. I had to restart the TV multiple times just to play media content on the mobile version of Netflix and Amazon Prime. The best possible way to use this smart TV is with a media streaming device like Amazon Prime, Google Chromecast, etc.
Audio And Connectivity
There are minor improvements in audio performance. The 24W speakers are tuned slightly better to produce improved audio. The audio is loud and can fill up a big room. But for an immersive audio experience, you would still need an external audio system.
Now when you try to connect an external audio setup, you will realize that the Kodak smart TVs don't offer Bluetooth connectivity, which is downright disappointing. Kodak hasn't managed to offer Bluetooth connectivity on its Smart TVs even after launching three to four generations. You can only connect external audio systems via an audio port placed behind the TV's panel.
Besides the audio In port, the TV offers Wi-Fi, LAN, Miracast, 3 HDMI ports, 2 USB ports, SD card port and AVx2 input ports.
Should You Buy It?
Yes if you already have an Amazon Fire TV stick or any other media streaming setup because Kodak's smart TVs' software fails to offer a smart TV experience. The 4K panels are the only good thing about Kodak's smart TVs as they offer decent picture/video quality for the price-point.
The fact that the very basic feature like the Bluetooth connectivity is missing, is very disappointing. Overall, the Indian market offers better smart TVs than the new TV series from Kodak. We will soon review the Xiaomi's latest 50" smart 4K TV and will compare the performance with Kodak's smart TV.