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Kodak 55-inch 4K UHD Smart TV Review: Cinematic experience at affordable price-point
Smart TV segment is booming in the Indian market. Consumers now have options to buy wide-screen LED and OLED panels in multiple price segments that can easily turn their living room into a private theatre.
- Vivid display with good color reproduction
- Affordable price-point
- Dedicated keys to play popular streaming apps
- Sturdy built
- Value for money deal
- Audio could have been better
- No 4K video support in YouTube app
- No support for Amazon Prime
- Navigation with bundled remote is difficult
While Sony, Samsung and LG sell top-of-the line pricey smart TVs, some Indian and global brands aims to offer similar big-screen entertainment in affordable price-points. We have recently reviewed Intex's 43-inch UHD TV that which is priced at Rs. 52,990 and operates on Android 5.1 Lollipop. You can check the review here.
Today we are going to test Kodak's new 55 inches 4K Ultra High Definition Smart TV that runs on an older version of Google's OS- Android 4.4. The TV is available at Rs. 43,999 on Flipkart and comes pre-loaded with Netflix, YouTube, Hotstar and a couple of other applications.
Kodak is quite new to this segment and is selling its smart TVs under Super Plastronics Pvt. Ltd. (SPPL) branding, a Kodak brand licensee. Let's find out what this affordable smart 4K TV has to offer.
The 55-inch 4K UHD Smart TV runs Android 4.4 and comes pre-loaded with Netflix, YouTube, Hotstar and a couple of other applications. The 55-inch panel comes with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels and supports 4K video playback. The 55-inch wide panel has a contrast ratio of 6000000:1 and offers 178 degrees viewing angles. The refresh rate is standard 60 hz and TV has 2 speakers with 20 Watts output power.
The TV is powered by a dual-core 1.4 GHz Cortex A53 processor and comes with 1GB memory and an internal storage of up to 8GB. The TV has a built-in Wi-Fi requires AC 220 V to get started. The power consumption is 155W. There's just 4.50 GB storage available as internal memory for apps installation.
Connectivity Features and Service Support
For connectivity, Kodak's 55-inch UHD TV has Wi-Fi, LAN, Miracast, 3 HDMI ports, 2 USB ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack and AVx2 input. The TV is not RF capable which is a weak point and surprisingly I did not find the Bluetooth connectivity option anywhere in the settings menu and was unable to play audio from external wireless speakers.
Moreover, the TV also skips VGA connector. The TV comes with Vesa wall mounting brackets and has a smart remote control to navigate throughout the UI.
As per Kodak, the company has over 350 service centers to serve the consumers. Kodak offers 1 year warranty on its product line-up that includes TVs with 30-inch, 40-inch, 50-inch and 55-inches screen sizes.
Design: Playing safe with tried and tested design
Priced aggressively for a smart 4K UHD TV, Kodak's 55-inch smart TV fails to appeal at first sight. However the design team has taken care of basics very well and has managed to deliver a decent looking big-screen TV that will not spoil your living room's look.
The TV has thick bezels on all four sides around the panel. The bezels have been given glossy Black finish that managed to seamlessly blend with the UHD panel to give a wider screen view. The TV has dimensions- 1244.6 mm x 711.2 mm and comes with a Tabletop stand.
Kodak's smart TV is also not the sleekest in town. The panel's back has a noticeable width when you compare it with the latest high-end UHD TVs from Samsung, LG and Sony. However, we don't mind such design conflicts at his price-point. Overall, the affordable price-point works in Kodak's favor, big time.
Controls on TV panel
The on/off, volume control and other buttons are located at the bottom right corner. The remote control sensor is placed at extreme right corner of the lower bezel and not in the centre. This is quite inconvenient in practical usage as TV ships with a standard remote control which is extremely directional and should be in exact line of sight to switch on/off and navigate throughout the UI. A smart Air controller would have simplified the navigation process to a great extent.
The rear side of the TV has matte finish. A 3.5mm audio output, one SD card slot, HDMI 3 port, RF Connectivity Input (TV -in) port and two USB ports are placed on the rear-left side. Besides, other HDMI ports, Ethernet port and cable ports are provided at back of the TV panel. This is certainly not the ideal spot as it gets quite tricky to plug in a USB drive if the TV is mounted on wall and has very little or no space at all.
Silver finish Y shaped Table top stand
Unlike the Black colored TV frame, the Y shaped tabletop stand has a silver finish and is made up of aluminum. Overall, Kodak's smart TV is not a design marvel but certainly not a bad product in any sense seeing its affordable price-point.
Display: Samsung made UHD panel delivers cinematic experience
The 55-inch UHD LED panel is the star of the show. The Samsung made panel has a brightness of 550 nits and offers a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. The panel handles external light quite well and the wide viewing angles (178 degrees) enhance movie watching experience.
The UHD LED screen utilizes Auto Depth Enhancer technology to improve visual experience. The brightness levels are good and even dark scenes show decent amount of detailing. There were no light leaks experienced and TV panel produces vivid colors, especially while streaming animated movies and bright scenes.
The TV panel has a refresh rate of 60 hz and I did not come across any blurriness while watching some of the best action movies in my review time. I only wished for deeper blacks and better contrast levels like we see in OLED panels from TV leaders in the market, but seeing the pocket friendly price-point, the Kodak smart TV's UHD panel is a steal. You can certainly experience cinematic visual experience in your living room with Kodak's 55-inch UHD smart TV to watch your favorite series and movies.
Now if you compare the Kodak's smart UHD TV to a pricey OLED or AMOLED TV from LG or Samsung, you will be disappointed; however the price difference is huge which makes Kodak's UHD TV a good deal.
4K or not 4K?
It is worth mentioning that the Kodak's new smart TV comes with 4K UHD support on papers; however there was no option to scale the resolution to 4K in YouTube. I also tried to play 4K videos downloaded from online sources and some videos shot from my phones, but the playback was not smooth and videos didn't work well. There were frequent judders and some videos just couldn't play. Surprisingly videos set to maximum resolution worked quite well in Netflix and the viewing experience was really immersive. The content played through the setup box and USB (1080p) looked crisp and were free of stutters.
Audio and Remote control performance
Kodak's smart UHD TV has 2 speakers of 20W each that gets loud but delivers unimpressive audio output. The sound is flat and the built-in audio equalizer is also not of much use. The audio is good for vocals but the lack of bass and substance spoils the movie viewing experience while watching action scenes or streaming bass heavy music videos.
Navigation on Kodak's smart UHD TV is a big task. The TV does not come with a smart Air remote which makes things extremely difficult. You have to live with the bundled remote that comes in the package which is very directional and is just not build for a smart TV ecosystem. The only good thing about this remote is the dedicated buttons to stream content through media applications.
Software: Dated Android 4.4 but clean UI and good app ecosystem
As we all know, user interface is one of the most crucial part of a smart TV, I was delighted to see the simple UI that drives the Kodak smart TV. While the 55-inch UHD Smart TV runs on dated Android 4.4.4, the user interface is quite clean and easy to use. The TV also supports almost all the required streaming apps that will keep you hooked to your TV. The smart TV comes pre-installed with Netflix, Hotstar, YouTube, Facebook, web browser, etc. Sadly, Kodak's smart TV does not support Amazon Prime.
Kodak's in-house App store
Sadly, there's no Google Play store which is a bit disappointment. Thankfully, Kodak has shipped the TV with a built-in app store Aptoide that offers a sensible number of applications. Moreover, you can also download Android APKs to install them as per your requirement.
Kodak has managed to deliver a value for money deal with the latest smart UHD TV. Yes, the TV is not perfect but seeing the affordable price-point, we can say that the company is going in the right direction. We would like to see improvements in audio department, app ecosystem, remote control and 4K content playback in the next generation of Kodak's Smart TVs. For now, you have to compromise on certain aspects but the overall deal will not leave you disappointed.