MiTV 4A Pro review: Best option for large screen at Rs 29,999
This TV has the same hardware inside as the more expensive 55-inch TV.
Price: Rs 29,999
Specifications: 49” Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) LCD, 64-bit Amlogic quad-core chipset with Mali-450 GPU, 2GB RAM, 8GB storage, WiFi n, Bluetooth 4.2, 20 watt stereo speakers (10w + 10w), 2 x USB 2.0 ports, 2 x HDMI inputs, S/PDIF out, Ethernet, dual interface (Patchwall + Android TV) based on Android 8.1 Oreo, built in Chromecast, Bluetooth remote with mic + voice button
Pros: Incredible value, slim design with slim bezels, certified Android TV, built in Chromecast, Bluetooth for pairing headphones, keyboard or mouse
Cons: Ports hard to access when wall mounted, power plug permanently attached to TV, USB ports too close to each other, no 3.5mm audio out
Xiaomi needs to take more credit for shaking up the TV industry. When the Mi TV 55 was first launched for Rs 39,999, 55-inch 4K TVs from big names could cost more than 5 times as much. The company could barely keep up with demand but by August 2018 (six months into launch), they sold 5,00,000 Mi TVs in India thanks to even lower priced options.
Now consumers have many more choices when it comes to affordable TVs (brands like iFFalcon, Cloudwalker, Kodak and others) while the big players like Sony, Samsung and LG have been forced to lower prices and offer deals to compete better.
Xiaomi has recently started local manufacturing of Mi LED TVs at a plant in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. Their plant is scaling up and will have the capacity to manufacture 1,00,000 TVs per month by Jan 2019. Things are looking up for consumers even more thanks to the Pro series of LED TVs. Xiaomi has launched three new TVs in the Pro series and you have to look closely at the names because of the odd naming scheme.
The Mi LED TV 4C Pro is the 32-inch (Rs 14,999), Mi LED TV 4A Pro is the 49-inch (on which this review is based; Rs 29,999) and the Mi LED TV 4 Pro is the 55-inch (with the premium, ultra-thin glass-metal design; Rs 49,999). All of them are Android TV certified but they also have Xiaomi’s own Patchwall interface. What this means is that you can switch between two different smart interfaces, kind of similar to having an additional launcher on your Android phone.
With Android TV, you get other advantages like the slick wallpaper called Backdrop (cycles through Google featured photos), tight integration with Google services and built in Chromecast.
When viewed from the front, you can see that the bezels on the 4A Pro are quite thin (1cm on the sides and top, 2cm at the bottom). There’s only one button on it for power (hidden underneath) while the front gets the Mi logo and LED light. Around the back it has a plastic panel which is fairly conventional. That being said, the TV is still slim and quite lightweight (10.8kg) for its class. It’s actually quite pleasing to look at though it doesn’t have the frameless design and metal-glass construction of the 55-inch MiTV.
From a cold start, it boots into the Android TV interface. If you’ve seen any other Android TV, the interface is the same. However, Patchwall is actually a little better designed than the stock Android TV interface when it comes to lean back viewing. The icons/ text are large enough to be comfortably seen from a distance. There’s a dedicated button on the remote that lets you switch between these two interfaces.
Patchwall gives you access to a lot of curated content (some free, some paid) from partners like Sony LIV, Zee5, Eros Now, Hungama Play, ALT Balaji, Voot, Sun Next and so on. The Hotstar app is built in too though Amazon Prime Video is not (and it doesn’t show up on the Play Store). You can actually download Amazon Prime Video’s Android TV app and install it from a USB drive — we tested it and it works just fine. Netflix can also be installed the same way but it doesn’t work because the TV has not been Netflix certified yet (we’re told it’s in the works).
The supplied Bluetooth remote is fairly similar to the one on the previous TVs with the exception of a new microphone and voice command button. If you plan on searching with voice or asking the Google assistant something, you don’t need to speak loudly at the TV or point the remote at your mouth. Just keep the remote in your hand and speak normally.
It’s interesting to note that this TV has the same hardware inside as the more expensive 55-inch TV. So even though the panel is full HD, it is capable of 4K video playback over USB and on YouTube. The interface is fast (with both Patchwall and Android TV) plus you also have the old Android trick of enabling developer options and increasing speed of animations.
On the side, you get access to the three HDMI inputs (1 is ARC), two USB 2.0 ports (one can be used to expand storage) and the antenna jack (for old school connections). A second bank of inputs underneath includes S/PDIF (digital audio), Ethernet and composite video (yellow, white, red RCA cables).
In terms of quality, there are no light bleed issues and the panel offers even brightness throughout. There are options for dynamic backlight and colour temperature adjustment. The panel offers generous viewing angles (178 degrees), fast response time (6.5ms) and 60hz refresh rate. This makes it great for all types of content including gaming.
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Audio output is loud and clear for daily use – no need for additional speakers unless you want surround. The only slight niggle is the claimed HDR capability which doesn’t always give you a better image with streaming HDR content.
More than anything, Xiaomi is once again playing the price game. Official Android TVs from other manufacturers can cost a lot more for the same size and panel resolution. For instance, VU is Rs 39,999, Samsung Series 6 is Rs 55,000 while Sony costs a whopping Rs 75,000. This is plenty of screen for the money and in our opinion - the best option for anyone who needs a large screen on a budget.