Is there more to this 43-inch full-HD TV than slim borders?
By Ali Pardiwala | Updated: 4 November 2020 18:08 IST
The Horizon Edition of the Mi TV 4A is available in 32-inch and 43-inch sizes
The Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition runs on Android TV 9 Pie
There are small tweaks to the software, including quicker booting
The 43-inch version supports up to full-HD resolution content
For various reasons, the vast majority of the televisions we review at Gadgets 360 are high-end; you'll find that most of our recent reviews are for big-screen 4K HDR TVs. However, there are a huge number of buyers who want smaller screen sizes, particularly 32 inches and 43 inches, for reasons such as space restrictions, availability of content, and price. There are plenty of options available for this kind of buyer, but few promise quite as much as Xiaomi does with its latest TV series in India.
The Xiaomi Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition is available in two sizes and resolutions – 32-inch HD for Rs. 13,999, and 43-inch full-HD for Rs. 23,499. As the product name suggests, this is a variant of the Mi TV 4A, with what Xiaomi refers to as a ‘Horizon Display', which means it has slim borders. What else is different about the Horizon Edition series, and are these good televisions to consider if you have budget and space restrictions? I review the 43-inch Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition to find out.
Mi TV 4A 43 Horizon Edition design and specifications
Although this is a variant of the Mi TV 4A, the Horizon Edition branding means that there's a bit more going on when it comes to design. The television has a ‘Horizon' display, which is Xiaomi's terminology for slimmer bezels around the screen. The top, left, and right of the Mi TV 4A 43 Horizon Edition's screen do indeed have very slim plastic borders. It's worth pointing out that there are also small strips of glass that extend past the screen, so this TV is far from the screen-only design that you might typically expect when the term ‘bezel-less' is mentioned.
A big advantage of the design is that buyers with space restrictions might find that they can get a larger screen than they might have thought possible. The bottom is a fair bit thicker than the rest of the sides, but still isn't too thick. There's a small Mi logo in the centre of the bottom, with a small module for the standby light, IR receiver, and power button right below it. The TV isn't too thick, and weighs just 6.6kg without the base stands.
Although the borders at the top and sides are slimmer, the bottom bezel isn't too thick either
The sales package has stands included. These attach easily near the corners of the TV but it still won't occupy too much table surface. You also have the option to wall-mount the TV using standard VESA-compatible hardware. Although a wall-mount kit isn't included in the box, the installation technician from Xiaomi will have one and can install the TV on a wall if you choose. The wall mount is a chargeable extra, though.
The Mi TV 4A 43 Horizon Edition has a 43-inch full-HD (1920x1080-pixel) LED screen with a refresh rate of up to 60Hz and a claimed viewing angle of up to 178 degrees. There are two bottom-firing box speakers outputting a total of 20W of sound. The TV is powered by an Amlogic quad-core Cortex-A53 processor with a Mali-450 MP3 GPU. There's 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage for apps and app data. 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 are supported on the TV.
When it comes to connectivity, the Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition is pretty good compared to the competition in this price segment. The TV has three HDMI ports (one supports ARC), two USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, 3.5mm audio out, an S/PDIF socket, an antenna socket, and a single composite AV In socket to be used with an adapter.
Mi TV 4A 43 Horizon Edition remote and features
Although this TV looks different, the Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition has the same remote that we've seen bundled with most of the company's recent televisions and streaming devices. It's a small, simple remote with just a few buttons, including a power and volume buttons, a D-pad for navigating the interface, hot keys for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and a Google Assistant button. Unlike on Xiaomi's streaming devices but like on its televisions, the remote has a ‘Mi' button which quickly starts the PatchWall launcher.
Batteries aren't included with the remote on the Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition, which is quite bothersome
The remote uses both IR and Bluetooth to communicate with the TV. The pairing process is quite easy and takes place when setting up the TV for the first time. The remote requires two AAA batteries, which aren't included in the box, like with other Xiaomi products. I've said this before and I'll say it again – Xiaomi needs to start including batteries with its televisions. The remote is simple and comfortable to use, but lacks some useful buttons including Mute, Source Select, and Quick Settings.
Google Assistant can be accessed through the remote and works as expected. Google Chromecast is built-in, and so is Google Data Saver, which optimises data usage when the TV is connected to a mobile hotspot or any other limited bandwidth connection.
Mi TV 4A 43 Horizon Edition software and interface
The Mi TV 4A 43 Horizon Edition runs Android TV 9 Pie at its core, and like other recent TVs and streaming devices from Xiaomi that we've reviewed, delivers the full Android TV experience. All major apps and services are available to download from the Google Play Store for Android TV, while some including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube are pre-installed.
It's classic Android TV for all intents and purposes, but a couple of drawbacks that I've encountered before on Xiaomi devices are still present on this TV, including the lack of quick access to settings from the remote. You'll have to exit whatever content is playing and go to the Settings menu through the Android TV home screen, which has always been quite bothersome for me. I prefer tweaking picture and sound settings while watching content and actually comparing the changes in real time.
Xiaomi has fixed one major shortcoming with the Mi TV 4A 43 Horizon Edition, though – boot time. Previous televisions from the company would take around 45 seconds to start up from standby, but the Horizon Edition finally has a quick-wake mode which has the TV up and running in less than five seconds. In my case, this came in particularly handy when I had a cranky two-year-old waiting for the cartoons to start. Of course, if you've switched off the main power or restarted the TV through the Settings, it will still take around 45 seconds to boot up.
Apart from the Android TV launcher, you also have the option to use Xiaomi's PatchWall launcher. You can set the TV to boot up to PatchWall or switch to it at any time. I saw PatchWall 3.0 out of the box on the Mi TV 4A 43 Horizon Edition, which has some improvements over previous versions. It now includes some new streaming services, deeper integration with Hotstar, and improved universal content search. As before, PatchWall has a content-first visual interface, unlike the app-focused layout of Android TV.
PatchWall lets you access apps and content just as you would through the Android TV launcher
Most of PatchWall's new features are quite useful, although the universal search doesn't quite manage to search through all available streaming services (Netflix is a notable omission). I still find PatchWall a bit cluttered, but the content-first approach to streaming will have some appeal to a lot of users.
Whether I was using Android TV or PatchWall, navigating the Mi TV 4A 43 Horizon Edition was a bit slow. It took up to two seconds to respond to commands from the remote in some cases. Apps loaded slowly, and navigation was a bit sluggish. This likely has to do with the processor and the fact that there's just 1GB of RAM on the TV, but it was never painfully slow, and the system was quite stable despite the sluggishness.
Mi TV 4A 43 Horizon Edition performance
While larger screen sizes have almost entirely moved to 4K and HDR, 43-inch TVs are widely available in both Ultra-HD and Full-HD resolutions. The obvious choice for a 43-inch TV might seem to be one with a 4K panel, but many buyers might still prefer the affordability and ease of use of full-HD 43-inch TVs like the Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition, especially if they don't have easy access to Ultra-HD content.
Indeed, if your viewing habits have you stick to full-HD content for the most part, the Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition is a pretty good option to consider. It's a bit more affordable than the 43-inch Ultra-HD Mi TV 4X, and will work well if your viewing material is largely cable TV or DTH, along with some streaming. I used the TV largely with streaming services including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Disney+ Hotstar, and the NDTV app.
Quality full-HD content on Netflix looked decent enough, with the Adam Sandler starrer Hubie Halloween looking sharp and detailed for a 1080p standard dynamic range stream. Although I found the colours on the Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition to be a bit dull even for SDR content, the picture was largely in line with what I've seen on other similarly priced and specified TVs, including the Realme Smart TV 43.
Shows such as The Big Bang Theory on Amazon Prime Video actually looked a bit better on this TV than on some of the recent 4K TVs I've reviewed, because of the smaller screen and not needing to upscale content to fit a higher-resolution panel. Where the Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition did fall a bit short was brightness, with the picture not quite as striking or easily viewable in daylight as I'd have liked. Viewing angles were decent though, and it was possible to watch comfortably even from far to the sides of the TV.
Standard definition and 720p content was about as good as you can expect on a 43-inch TV, with the Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition handling upscaling and motion well enough. Whether watching children's cartoons, music videos, or NDTV 24X7 through its app, the TV did a good job of keeping the picture as clean as possible. There were the obvious artefacts and a lack of definition because of the low-resolution source material, but the Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition did a good job of smoothing things out, reducing picture noise, and improving motion.
With 20W of sound output through two box speakers, the Mi TV 4A 43 Horizon Edition provides just about adequate sound for its size and price. Although not excellent, the sound was clean, uniform, and generally comfortable for most kinds of content, with only few volume level issues to complain of. An affordable soundbar would definitely help, but the Horizon Edition provides good enough sound that you don't necessarily need to buy additional audio equipment.
Performance is decent across resolutions and content, but colours still seemed a bit dull
In a price segment where not much attention is paid to design, the Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition is a fresh, good-looking television that does its job without too much fuss. Software, features, picture quality, and sound are all capable enough, making this perhaps the most reliable and easy-to-recommend 43-inch full-HD television that I have reviewed recently.
The Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition is not without its flaws; the user interface is a bit sluggish, the remote is too minimalist, and the picture doesn't get very bright. It's also worth pointing out that the Ultra-HD, HDR-capable Mi TV 4X 43 is available for just Rs. 2,500 more, and might make more sense in the long run, even if you don't have access to a lot of 4K content right now. However, if you have a firm budget of under Rs. 25,000, and want something for full-HD or lower resolution content, the Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition is definitely worth considering.