Shopping for a new big-screen TV is anything but simple, with new brands coming in and the online space allowing for competitive pricing. Brands such as Xiaomi, Vu, and TCL have made a huge impact through their distribution strategies and pricing, and traditional brands are fighting to stay relevant as a result.
Although we might immediately think of brands such as Samsung, Sony, LG and Panasonic as typical examples of ‘traditional' brands, we tend to forget about another well-known name — Philips. Not too many know that Philips exited the Indian market, only to return in late 2018 with a new strategic partner. One of the brand's new launches is the Philips 55PUT6103S, which is priced at Rs. 79,990.
For the price, there's a lot on offer: a 55-inch 4K HDR screen, smart connectivity, and the promise of quality that an established European brand brings. While this TV isn't quite as affordable as some of the online-focused brands, it isn't very expensive for what's on offer either. We review the Philips 55PUT6103S to find out if this TV can live up to expectations.
While many TV manufacturers make a bigger effort with design, Philips sticks to the basics with the 55PUT6103S. There are no super-slim bezels or fancy finishes here; what you get is a functional design that keeps your focus on what's on the screen, with a black plastic frame around the display panel. The TV isn't very slim either, getting quite thick near the bottom. If you're looking for a TV that can double up as a showpiece for your home, the Philips 55PUT6103S isn't it. A small and discreet Philips logo distinguishes it, but otherwise it looks a lot like any generic TV.
While wall mounting is an option, we chose to position the TV on a table for our review. The detachable stands fix close to the bottom corners of the TV, and you'll need a wide table or platform to fit. In our case, the TV didn't fit on our table, and we had to improvise. Once you have the room for the stands, the weight of the TV sits on four points and it is stable enough.
When it comes to connectivity, the Philips 55PUT6103S is well equipped. You get a total of three HDMI ports and two USB ports, along with inputs or outputs (as the case may be) for RCA audio input, component video, Ethernet, digital audio out and 3.5mm analogue audio.
One HDMI port, one USB port and the 3.5mm headphone jack are in the first cutout facing the left side of the TV, while the rest face downwards in a second cutout on the rear. The size and shape of the second cutout is quite inconvenient, and you may need HDMI or USB extenders to make some of your cables fit, if you intend to use all ports at the same time.
Additionally, the HDMI 1 port is limited to a 30Hz refresh rate at 4K, while ports 2 and 3 support up to 60Hz at 4K.
The Philips 55PUT6103 has a 55-inch 4K HDR LED-backlit LCD display panel, with a resolution of 3840x2160 pixels. It's also a smart TV, and features a built-in media player to play content from USB drives.
The remote that comes with the TV is a standard infrared unit, but it is bulky and has far too many buttons, considering that most TV remotes are going the minimalist way now. Useful options are the playback controls which work with the media player and apps, as well as the navigation buttons at the centre. There is also a Netflix button.
The remote isn't very good though, and on occasion did not elicit a response from the TV even when pointed directly at it. However, when you're using a different source device such as a set-top box, gaming console or streaming device, you won't need the remote for more than to control power, source selection, and maybe the volume. For these functions, it's acceptable.
The Philips 55PUT6103S is a smart TV and runs on Philips' own Saphi OS. To be a bit blunt, it isn't very good compared to the competition, in our opinion. It does let you sort apps and has some key basics in place, but we found it clunky, slow, difficult to navigate, and frustrating to use with the remote.
However, it is easy to operate the basics on this TV, such as getting access to different sources and connected devices, or browsing media on a connected USB drive. Once you have content running on the media player, things go smoothly even with heavy files such as 4K HDR videos.
The interface is tiled, while keeping a view of what's playing on screen in the background. You also have easy access to Miracast for screen casting and mirroring, and the settings do give you enough control over picture and sound levels. However, we'd recommend that you get yourself a media streaming device for smart connectivity and ignore the smart TV interface on the Philips 55PUT6103S.
If you do choose to use Saphi OS, it has the YouTube and Netflix apps pre-installed and these work well, and you can also access the in-built app market to download more apps. However, Indian streaming services like Hotstar aren't present.
While the design is average and the smart TV interface is too clunky to be taken seriously, the Philips 55PUT6103S does have the right specifications in place, and when it comes to performance, it capitalises on them. We used the Philips 55PUT6103S with multiple source devices and types of content across various resolutions for our testing, including the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, Apple TV (4th Gen), a USB drive with HDR, 4K, full-HD, HD and SD content, a smartphone connected using Miracast, and a MacBook Air connected via the HDMI port.
Naturally, the best performance is drawn out with 4K HDR content, which makes optimal use of the number of pixels on the display panel and the HDR capabilities. Starting out with 4K HDR videos on the USB drive, the first thing we noticed was surprisingly good black levels for an LED TV. While we've obviously seen better black levels from OLED panels, the HDR brought out deeper blacks that are among the best we've seen on an LED screen. The colours were never excessive, and always stuck to the right levels. The opening scenes of Pacific Rim: Uprising were enjoyable to watch, with plenty visible even in the darkest parts of the frame.
Moving on, The Grand Tour, streamed using the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, showed equally good results. Dark zones were excellent, as was the ability of the TV to contrast between areas that are dark and bright in the same frame. The gradients in colours were particularly visible, and were most noticeable when going from black to grey, and in varying levels of white. Naturally, having a good 4K screen helped in bringing out the best in HDR content, and visuals looked smooth, detailed, clean and pleasant.
We noticed that with the right content, colours tended to pop without coming across as excessive or overly pronounced. Greens and yellows were brilliant, as was the way the sun played on natural elements such as leaves, water, and snow. Furthermore, bright sunlight looked excellent, particularly as it was able to brighten up specific parts of the frame without causing the rest of it of appear too bright. Even edges were smoothened out, and motion was clean despite us turning off most of the ‘assists' on the TV, such as noise reduction and motion processing.
The Fire TV Stick 4K also gave us a good idea of how HDR works with lower-than-4K resolution content, on the occasions when slower Internet speeds would lead to a drop in the stream resolution. Watching shows such as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Gymkhana Files at lower resolutions proved that while HDR does function and benefit colours even at full-HD, it's best enjoyed at 4K on the Philips TV. At anything below full-HD resolution, it felt the same as watching standard dynamic range (SDR) content.
With full-HD video in general, the Philips 55PUT6103S holds its own thanks to excellent upscaling. As with 4K, motion remains clean, but a bit of jarring at contrasting edges is visible as you see the TV trying to keep the video feed clean. We watched some Better Call Saul on Netflix on the Apple TV, and found the picture quality to be excellent, with motion playing out smoothly. Colours were decent even with SDR content, thanks to what Philips refers to as its Pixel Precise Ultra HD engine. It's just a fancy name for its upscaling engine, but we did see it doing a good job with motion and colours.
As with any 4K TV, performance on the Philips 55PUT6103S tended to drop as the resolution of content used got lower. While a lot of more affordable 4K TVs cannot reproduce adequate picture quality when used with 720p and standard definition content, more capable upscaling engines can be good enough . This Philips TV does an admirable job with upscaling standard definition content.
Watching videos on Hotstar using the Apple TV, as well as SD content on YouTube from a laptop using an HDMI cable for screen mirroring, picture quality was impressive to say the least. Watching NDTV 24X7 through the official app on the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K was a pleasant experience, with a clean picture that felt as sharp as an SD feed on a 4K TV could. This also has much to do with the quality of the source device.
While the processing settings do help in some cases depending on how you like to watch TV, we found performance best when these additional settings were kept at low levels or switched off. Setting the noise reduction and artefact reduction to High or keeping ‘Motion Style' on Smooth did tend to cause a bit of over-processing that led to occasional texture flaws and jagged edges. Picture quality tweaks are best left to the source device, and a good source device goes a long way in helping with good picture quality on the Philips 55PUT6103S.
The Philips 55PUT6103S has a rated 20W sound output, which is good enough if you like to keep the volume a bit low like us, or tend to focus more on the picture. However, when you consider the size of this TV, the sound is a bit inadequate for movies. It is well tuned for cinematic content and you do have the option to tweak it a bit to your preferences, but it would be best to use a good soundbar or speaker system with this TV.
The Philips 55PUT6103S, at Rs. 79,990, sits in the middle of the spectrum when it comes to TVs in India. Equivalent 55-inch 4K TVs from brands such as Samsung and Sony typically retail at around Rs. 1,00,000 — setting aside the new online-only series from Samsung that we haven't tested yet — so this price advantage from a well-known brand does come across as a good value proposition. Although it's nowhere as affordable as similar options from Xiaomi or TCL, Philips has been around for longer and is known for its quality.
The design and software interface are not this TV's strong points, but the specifications, connectivity options and picture quality more than make up for those flaws. The Philips 55PUT6103S delivers where it matters the most, with good picture quality across resolutions and sources. It's an affordable 55-inch 4K HDR TV with very good picture quality, and is definitely worth considering if you can stretch your budget beyond what the online-focused brands go for.
Price: Rs. 79,990