Vu Premium Android TV review: Solid budget 4K television with Dolby Vision

The Vu Premium Android TV comes in 43-inch, 50-inch and 55-inch screen sizes. The 55-inch model, which we have reviewed, is priced at Rs 31,999
Not too long ago, it had begun to be perceived by many, especially the younger lot, as a piece of useless article hanging idly on the wall. But now, televisions are back to being a favourite in most households, thanks to ‘smart’ abilities like support for streaming app content in newer models. Available in all shapes and sizes, the new breed of smart televisions are intuitive, flexible and addictive. While most smart televisions offer similar utilities, there are some that take the experience a notch above. The VU Premium Android TV is the latter type.

The Vu Premium Android TV comes in 43-inch, 50-inch and 55-inch screen sizes. The 55-inch model, which we have reviewed, is priced at Rs 31,999. At this price, it is one of the most affordable 55-inch smart televisions currently available in India. It is also a decently built television for its size – it neither has big bezels around the screen nor does it protrude too much at the back. The television’s slim profile makes it convenient to mount on the wall without wasting much of your room space. However, it is not easy to access ports once the TV is mounted on the wall. So, it is helps to connect all accessories before mounting. For ease of use, you can also put it on a table top, but you will need a wide table for that, as its legs fit on extreme ends at the bottom side of the television.

The VU Premium Android TV is easy to set up and there are two ways to do it – through a smartphone or directly through television. Using a smartphone minimises the set-up time, if you have a Google account, as the television syncs the information from your account. You will need to approve the request by entering a code that appears on your smartphone. The set-up process takes a few more steps if you decide to go ahead without using the smartphone.

Being an Android television, the television boots Android TV 9 Pie. There is no custom skin here and you get stock Android launcher with most of the apps and their prime content visible on the home screen. There is a Play Store for TV to download apps, if you need to. The television comes with Amazon Prime Video, Neflix and Disney + Hotstar apps, and some others, pre-installed. There is also a built-in Chromecast – a common feature in Android televisions to allow you to cast content from supported mobiles, tablets or PCs on to the television screen.

The VU Premium Android TV (55-inch) is one of the most affordable smart televisions to support Dolby Vision, besides HDR10 and HLG. There is no dearth of compatible content as over-the-top platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video now offer a good library of 4K content that supports Dolby Vision. The television has 400 nits of rated brightness levels, which is good enough to render HDR10 or Dolby Vision content. However, the screen panel struggles to render deep blacks affecting the dynamic range due to limited variation in contrast. Interestingly, the screen seems to have better algorithm tuning for 1080p (fullHD) HDR content than 4K HDR (ultra HD). Content with standard dynamic range (SDR), however, does not show such variations and renders equally well in both fullHD and ultraHD resolutions. The television screen would have been perfect if it had some interpolation technology to upscale content frame rate.

Complementing the screen is the Dolby-tuned 30W stereo speaker set-up – two bottom-firing speakers of 15W each. Though loud and crisp, the speakers seem underpowered to deliver the experience that match the majestic on-screen content. An additional sound bar here would bring a balance between visuals and acoustics.

To navigate the television, the VU Premium Android TV ships with voice-enabled Bluetooth remote control. The remote also has infrared sensor, which it needs for powering the television on and off. The television has built-in Google Assistant for voice commands. The remote has a dedicated microphone to register voice commands, and it does so without faltering. The remote has hotkeys for Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, YouTube, Hotstar and Google Play and all buttons you need to manage the television, including volume and channel keys.

Verdict

The VU Premium Android TV (55PM) is an affordable smart television with features that you mostly get in premium televisions. It falls short in terms of screen and audio performance, but not so much as might hamper the overall experience. The television’s ability to play content in ultraHD HDR and support for almost all commonly used OTT apps make it a good pick among affordable 4K smart televisions. Not to forget, the television’s design is premium and there is possibly no other television in its segment that looks so good.

Consider this smart television if you want a no-frills budget smart 4K TV that delivers on most counts. If you have a little extra cash to spare, you might like to go for the Nokia Smart TV 55 (review), which is one of the best televisions under Rs 40,000.


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