Decent panel for the price, dismal UI

Decent panel for the price, dismal UI

Budget TVs these days offer an interesting feature set ranging from smart capabilities, Android UI, 4K HDR support, and more. There are some compromises a TV has to make to maintain a low price. This can also be related to the build quality of the TV, the user interface and the picture performance. Today we have with us a 55 inch TV from Kodak, the 55 4K XPro costs Rs 28,499. Is it worth your consideration?

Key specs at a glance

Panel Size: 55″ (also available in 43 and 49″ options)
Panel type: IPS
Panel Resolution: 3840 x 2160 – 4K
Panel Refresh Rate: 60Hz
HDR 10 support: Yes
Dolby Vision support: No
HDMI ports: 3
USB ports: 2
Bluetooth: No
Wi-Fi: Yes
Ethernet: Yes
Speakers: 2 x 12 W
CPU: Quad Core A53 CPU
GPU: Mali-450MP Penta Core
RAM: 1GB
Built-in storage: 8 GB
Operating System: Android 7.1.2 (AOSP)
Price: Rs 28,499

Build and design

Starting with the build and design of the TV, it’s what you would expect from a sub 30K TV† It is all plastic and is not very thin. The panel of the TV has black borders around it and they have a glossy finish. The glossy edges can become annoying if you have a well lit room and when light bounces off the edge it can disrupt the viewing experience. This isn’t a problem if the light isn’t bouncing off the bezel, but it’s something to keep in mind. The table stand is made of metal and keeps the TV in place. The legs of the table stand on the Kodak TV are not too short, giving you enough space to comfortably place a soundbar, set-top box or game console under the TV.

Overall, the build of the TV is what you would expect on a budget. It’s plastic, but shouldn’t be a hindrance if you don’t move the TV. The feet of the TV are sturdy, so know that the TV feels quite safe when placed on a table top.

Ports and Connectivity

When it comes to connectivity, the Kodak 55UHDXSMART 4K TV has 3 HDMI ports that are all on the side, along with ARC support on HDMI 3. On the side you also have the good old antenna port and 2 USB ports. The TV goes to the back and has the headphone jack, ethernet port, optical audio port, audio output and 2 AV inputs. The location of all the HDMI ports on the side makes it easy to get to and if you plan on using a Fire TV stick or Chromecast with the TV then the placement of the USB port on the side is handy too.

Display panel and image quality

The screen on the Kodak 55-inch 4K TV is a 4K panel with support for HDR 10. Despite HDR being enabled, many budget TVs produce images that are darker than we’d like, making it a better experience to watch the content in SDR. That’s the same feeling here. If you’re looking for a great HDR experience, you won’t find it here. But the TV’s panel is only good for a 4K experience if you connect it to a good source. Let’s elaborate on it in the next section.

4K content HDR

For 4K HDR content, we resorted to our trusted Xbox One X† Know that to get 4K HDR output from the TV, you will need to go into the TV’s settings and manually enable HDMI 2.0. After enabling HDMI 2.0, you have the option to switch HDR on or off separately. We saw shows like Altered Carbon, Our Planet and more from our test catalog and the output was a little darker than we’d like. Switching HDMI 2.0 back to 1.4 made the sequences clearer. Keeping HDMI 2.0 on and turning HDR off made the image look blurred. It was not a great experience. When you watch 4K content in HDR, you lose brightness while keeping the colors as they should be. Turning off HDR made the colors look washed out. Consuming content by keeping the HDMI configuration at 1.4 was the best experience.

In general, you can enjoy 4K content, but the HDR performance of the TV is dismal.

1080p content

The image quality here again depends on your source. If you play movies like Mission Impossible or Spiderman Into the Spiderverse, you’ll notice that the picture is clear and the colors look good, even in the default picture preset. But try streaming similar content from YouTube or any other streaming service native to the TV and you’ll be in for a disappointment. Event, the Watchmen trailer was much better when played from an external source compared to the TV’s native apps. Once you have a good source, you can always jump to Vivid mode to spice up the colors, if you want.

One good thing about the TV is that you can access settings like backlight, brightness, contrast and more, allowing you to tweak the settings to your liking.

Gaming

When it comes to gaming, our Xbox One X recognized the TV as a 4K TV with HDR. We ran our standard range of games including: Gears 5, Forza Horizon 4 and Doom. The results are the same as in the performance of the movie/TV show. A game like Doom in 4K SDR looks good with the HDMI 2.0 setting turned on and the TV’s HDR TV turned on. This makes the planet Mars look orange and bright as it should. Turn off the HDR switch and the colors will look faded. A game like Forza Horizon looked good with details and colors when played with the HDMI 2.0 and HDR settings.

The worst experience was with our 4K HDR benchmark game, Gears 5. In the dark sequences, the game looked very dark with the HDMI 2.0 and HDR switches on. Turn off the HDR switch and we have decent brightness with faded blacks. The best experience was when we switched back to HDMI 1.4.

If 4K HDR gaming is a priority for you, you’d better look elsewhere. But if SDR gaming is what you want, the TV will work just fine.

Audio from the built-in speakers

The TV is quite loud even at 45 percent volume and that’s a good thing. It won’t crackle until you twist it up a bit. It will fill the average living room with loud noise. Watching news and soap operas on this TV should be fine. Film and music, however, miss the expected thump. With movies, dialogue can be heard, but when mashed with a background score, they sound a bit muffled. If you want to enjoy an immersive movie experience, you should invest in speakers or a soundbar to enjoy movies. Fortunately, the audio connectivity options available on the TV are good.

Built-in services and user interface

The Kodak 55-inch 4K HDR TV runs Android 7.1.2 (AOSP) out of the box, but has been tweaked. The UI is exactly the same as the one we saw on the 43″ Kodak TV and you can check out our review of that TV here† Press the home button on the remote and you will be greeted with a detailed user interface. You can access Home, Video, Music, Sports, App Store and more. The video, music and sports section will recommend popular videos from YouTube while the app store will show you popular apps like Netflix, Twitter, Skype, Facebook, YouTube and more. The Netflix app on the TV is the mobile version of the app and to get the most out of Netflix we recommend using it through a device such as a game console or a Chromecast or a Fire TV Stick† The mobile version of a streaming service on a TV is not acceptable.

The App Store gives you access to almost all apps available for Android and you don’t need to sign in to your Google account to download the apps. Speaking of Google account, some of the content on YouTube is age-restricted (game trailers, in case you were wondering) and for our lives we couldn’t log in. It could be an issue with YouTube at the time, but on another TV we have for review, the YouTube login was seamless. Nevertheless, the TV’s user interface is its weakest element and I highly recommend a streaming device like the Fire TV Stick to get the most out of this TV.

If you go into the settings, you have the option to control things like brightness, contrast, backlight and more in the settings, which is nice. You can also control the treble and bass which is good along with CEC controls. The user interface for the settings is simple to use and easy to navigate, which is good for those of you who want to tinker with the picture and sound settings yourself.

Overall, the TV UI is something we’ve seen on Kodak TVs in the past and AOSP just isn’t acceptable, especially when other brands offer a full Android TV experience.

A special mention to the person who made the spelling mistakes in the user interface. We let you find the errors in the image below.

Remote control

The remote control that you get with the TV is plastic, traditional and functional. It has a small dimple at the back, in the middle, which adds to the grip. You have the traditional channel controls and the home button sits right in the middle of the volume and channel controls. You also get playback controls. Overall, the remote is plastic, the buttons are rubbery, and the design is functional.

What it comes down to:

In the 30k budget, there are a myriad of options to choose from including Thomson, iFFALLCON, TCL, Xiaomi and more, with a variety of options in screen sizes, resolution, UI and more. The Kodak TV has a good 4K panel when used with an external source, the audio is acceptable but the user interface is frustrating. You’ll need to invest in a Chromecast or Fire TV stick or other streaming device to get the most out of this TV. The HDR performance of the TV is mediocre.

Burak Bilginer
Burak Bilginer bir bilgisayar dahisidir. Seyahat etmeyi sever ve birçok farklı ülkeye gitti. Burak, seyahat etmediği veya programlama yapmadığı zamanlarda Oyun ve Teknoloji Ürünlerinin yeni parçalarını incelemeyi sever. Oyunla ilgili herhangi bir sorunuz varsa, Burak cevaplamaktan mutluluk duyacaktır!