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Kodak CA Series 50” 4K Android TV Quick Review: Design, Display, Software And Audio Performance Test
The Noida-based Super Plastronics Private Ltd. (SPPL) has finally upgraded its smart TV product range with the goodness of Google's Android OS. The company's new 'CA Smart TV' range launched under Kodak branding offers four different screen size variants- 43", 50", 55" and 65", and are aggressively priced at Rs. 23,999, Rs. 27,999, 30,999 and Rs. 49,999 respectively.
The aforementioned smart TVs flaunt 4K LED panel with support for HDR10 and come equipped with Dolby Vision and DTS TruSurround. Importantly, all these smart TVs are capable of running popular streaming applications such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos, YouTube, etc. natively, which was long missing from Kodak branded smart TVs. That said, we tested the 50" screen variant to evaluate its software, display and audio performance. Can Kodak finally take on the budget Mi Smart TVs? Let's find out.
Design: Narrow Bezels, Improved Build Quality
There's not much to expect from the budget smart TVs in the design department as most of the investment goes into the display, software and the audio delivery. Hence, most of the sub-45K smart TVs end up looking similar. Kodak's previous smart TVs lacked a premium design and mostly looked bland. Thankfully, Kodak has made some good improvements with the new CA Android smart TV series. The 50" 4K Android TV variant that we are testing technically offers a 49" panel.
The most notable difference is the width of the surrounding bezels. It has been reduced to almost half as compared to the company's previous smart TVs resulting in a seamless bezel-less design. You can either wall mount the TV with the help of bundled wall mount frame or simply put it on a tabletop or on a TV cabinet.
The quality of the tabletop stand and the TV unit has improved. The metal tablet top stand feels more robust and reliable in terms of carrying the overall weight of the TV unit. Overall, Kodak has managed to improve the design without increasing the price-point.
49” 4K LED Panel With HDR 10 Support
The smart TV flaunts a 49" 4K (UHD) LED panel with 3,840 X 2,160 resolution. The 4K panel offers a peak brightness of 550 nits. It is HDR10 compatible and has a refresh rate of 60Hz. The panel supports Dolby Vision and can play supported content on apps like Netflix. I streamed Our Planet, Altered Carbon and various other shows that are Dolby Vision-enabled, and also 4K videos.
The content looked sharp and vivid. The picture quality is impressive and is complemented by good audio delivery. The colors pop out well on this budget smart TV; however, the contrast could have been better. The black levels are pretty underwhelming too.
Contrast ratio And Black levels Could Have Been Better
In comparison, the panel on the Mi TV 4X (50) offers better contrast levels, deeper blacks and better color vibrancy, mostly because Xiaomi has used a 10-bit panel. The Kodak's CA 50" Android TV probably flaunts an 8-bit panel, which explains slightly lacking visuals. You can play around with ‘Picture mode' to fine-tune the colors but there's not much to do here.
I would recommend you to set it to ‘Vivid' and ‘Dolby Vision Bright' (in supported content) for better visuals. We would spend some more time in testing the display on the Kodak smart TV to better evaluate its performance in our comprehensive review.
Good Audio Performance
I am quite impressed by the audio performance of the Kodak CA 50" Android smart TV. It comes equipped with Dolby Digital Plus with DTS TruSurround. The two built-in speakers churn out 30W audio, enough for a medium to a big-sized room. In comparison, the Mi TV 4X (50) is powered by 20W stereo speakers. I found the Kodak CA 50" to be a better sounding TV than the Mi TV 4X (50).
The audio produced is clear, definitely loud and immersive. The ‘Castlevania' on Netflix sounded pretty engaging on this budget TV. There are four different audio modes to choose from. The movie mode sounded the best among the four modes.
Kodak CA 50” Android TV Connectivity And Remote Controller
The new remote controller is a definite step up when compared to the company's previous remotes. The company has tried to offer all important functions, which makes it quite bulky but then you get better control on the TV's features. The remote controller has dedicated hotkeys for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and Google Play Store. There's also Google Assistant button, a menu key that makes it convenient to change picture and sound modes at any point of time while streaming content.
There are hotkeys for easy access, a subtitle key, number keys, mute button and direction keys. As far as connectivity is concerned, the Kodak CA 50" Android TV comes equipped with USB 3.0, HDMI ARC/CEC and Bluetooth v.5.0. There are three HDMI ports, 1x Ethernet, 2x USB ports (2.0x 1 and 3.0x 1) and L/R Audio Input.
Hardware And Software
The Kodak CA 50" Android TV works on MEDIATEK CA 53 quad-core CPU and uses a MALI-450MP GPU. The smart TV has 2GB RAM and 8GB of onboard storage. It's pretty decent hardware to ensure smooth performance. However, I have noticed long startup times and slight delays in opening apps and basic navigation. The Mi TV 4X (50) is slightly fluid and responsive than Kodak's Android TV. As far as software is concerned, the smart TV runs on Android 9.0 Pie.
The Chromecast is built-in and the smart TV also comes pre-installed with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, the two most popular streaming apps. You can also install apps and games from the Google Play store. We did not face any app crashes or content streaming issues. The Google's Android runs everything without any glitches on this budget smart TV. Having said that, the native Android support is the biggest upgrade to Kodak's smart TVs.
Should You Buy?
Kodak has been selling half-baked smart TVs in India since 2016. Finally, the company has managed to introduce some real smart TVs with Google Android support. The new Kodak smart TVs are priced aggressively and offer good features. The audio performance is good and thanks to Google's Android support and some efforts, the TVs can run the most popular streaming apps natively. The audio performance is impressive, even better than the Mi TV 4 (50), and the newly designed remote controller is a welcome change.
Where Kodak's CA 50" lacks is the picture delivery. The 4K LED panel on the Kodak's TV is good but fails to match the color vibrancy, contrast ratio and black levels on the Mi TV 4X (50). The Mi TV 4X (55) selling at Rs. 29,999 offers slightly better overall picture quality and some intuitive software features such as data saver and Xiaomi's Patchwall UI.