Redmi Smart 4K Ultra HD LED Android TV X55 Review: Plenty to Like, at a Reasonable Price
Redmi Smart 4K Ultra-HD LED Android TV X55 Review: Plenty to Like, at a Reasonable Price
Is this the best affordably-priced 55-inch TV you can buy right now?
By Ali Pardiwala | Updated: 25 March 2021 13:27 IST
The Redmi Smart TV X55 is priced at Rs. 38,999 in India
The Redmi Smart TV is available in three sizes: 50, 55, and 65 inches
There is support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+, as well as Dolby Audio
The smart television runs on Android TV 10
Xiaomi entered the television segment in India back in 2018 with the Mi TV range, and now some significant changes are brewing a little over three years later. While the Mi TV range has always been competitively priced, it seems to go against the philosophies and positioning that the company has set for the Mi brand with products such as smartphones and audio accessories. Mi is meant to be a premium brand; Xiaomi's more value-for-money offerings are now represented by Redmi, which was spun off as a separate brand in 2019.
The first sign that the Mi TV range was going the premium way was the launch of the Mi QLED TV 4K (Review) in December 2020. This strategy now goes a step further with the launch of the Redmi Smart TV range. The first product in this new brand range is the X Series of big-screen Ultra-HD HDR LED TVs, including the Redmi Smart TV X55, which I'm reviewing today.
Priced at Rs. 38,999, the Redmi Smart TV X55 is well-equipped and promises the same competent, affordable smart TV experience that the Mi TV range has offered over the past three years. In an increasingly competitive segment, is the X55 the best affordably-priced 55-inch TV you can buy right now? Find out in this review.
The Redmi Smart TV X55 remote (left) and Mi TV Stick remote (right) are functionally interchangeable
Redmi Smart TV X55 design and specifications
The Redmi Smart TV X Series is a much-needed update for Xiaomi's mainstream television range, slotting into the very popular and competitive affordable big-screen TV segment. It goes up against competition from AmazonBasics, Hisense, and Vu, among others. There's no 43-inch Ultra-HD option, unlike what most of the competition offers. Xiaomi has launched this TV in 50-inch (X50) , 55-inch (X55) , and 65-inch (X65) sizes.
The range starts at Rs. 32,999 for the 50-inch model. Priced at Rs. 38,999, the 55-inch Redmi Smart TV X55 may seem a bit expensive, but a closer look at recent price corrections in the market suggests that this is about right for a television with these features and specifications now.
It's an Ultra-HD LED TV with a resolution of 3840x2160 pixels, and support for the Dolby Vision and HDR10+ high dynamic range formats. The TV has a rated sound output of 30W, and Dolby Audio is supported on its box speakers, while Dolby Atmos is supported for pass-through when a compatible soundbar or speaker system is connected.
It's not a very fancy-looking television, but the Redmi Smart TV X55 doesn't seem shabby either; it has a simple, discreet appearance as you might expect for an affordable television of this size. The body of the TV is all black plastic with slim black borders all around the screen and a small Redmi logo at the bottom, just above the indicator light. There is a power button just behind the indicator light to power up the TV, but you won't be able to do anything else without the remote.
The back of the TV has a large Redmi logo, but you're unlikely to see it much once the TV is set up
The TV is powered by a Mediatek 64-bit quad-core processor, with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage for apps and app data. The Redmi Smart TV runs on Android TV 10, with both the stock launcher as well as Xiaomi's PatchWall 3.6 user interface. The ports and sockets of this television are near the left side of the screen, with some facing to the left and others facing downwards.
All three HDMI ports, both USB ports, and the 3.5mm audio output face to the left, while the Antenna, AV input sockets, Optical audio output and Ethernet port all face downwards. All three HDMI ports are version 2.1, and the second port also supports eARC. There's also Bluetooth connectivity for audio.
Stands for table mounting are included in the box, but these fix on near the two corners of the TV and therefore you'll need a wide table or home entertainment unit to place the Redmi Smart TV X55 on. A wall-mount kit isn't included in the sales package, but the TV supports standard VESA wall mounts. Xiaomi's technician will carry a compatible kit for this TV and be able to sell it to you at the time of installation, if needed.
Redmi Smart TV X55 remote and features
Even though Xiaomi has launched its latest TVs under a new brand, using the Redmi Smart TV X55 feels very familiar in many ways. When it comes to the remote and features, the TV closely matches up with the Mi QLED TV 4K which was launched recently. The Redmi TV has the same remote, save for a Redmi logo at the bottom instead of the much more common Mi logo. Another rather annoying point is that the company STILL doesn't include batteries for the remote in the box.
Some software features linked to the remote have stuck around, including the ability to invoke quick settings even within content by long-pressing the PatchWall button, and to quickly mute the TV by double-pressing the volume down button. It's the familiar, minimalist remote that I've written about in detail on multiple Xiaomi products. Some love the minimalism and simplicity, while others (like myself) may find the button-filled, full-fledged remotes offered by much of the competition much more flexible and comforting.
It's also worth mentioning here that the remote included with the review unit sent to me inexplicably stopped functioning one day after setting up the TV. After I had diagnosed the problem and narrowed it down to the remote, I was able to quickly pair the remote of my Mi TV Stick with the Redmi TV, and use that in the same manner as the television's own remote. Although the buttons on the Mi remote have different icons, they're mapped to the same functions and work identically.
Other features of the Redmi Smart TV X55 include Google Assistant access through the remote, which is extremely useful for quickly finding content on the TV itself, as well as for accessing information or controlling IoT products. Google Chromecast and Miracast will come in handy for those who like to use their smartphones to select and control content.
Android TV is among the best platforms for smart televisions, and Xiaomi continues to stick with this familiar experience even with the Redmi range. Like on the Mi QLED TV 4K, the Redmi Smart TV X55 runs Android TV 10, with both the stock Android TV launcher and the PatchWall user interface. You can choose to use either or both; switching between them involves only pressing the appropriate button on the remote.
The software experience will be familiar if you've already used a Mi TV. All major apps and services are available; the Android TV interface has an app-first approach while PatchWall features curated content and lots of recommendations based on categories, new releases, and more. According to Xiaomi, a lot of people prefer PatchWall as their default launcher over Android TV, and I see the appeal in both interfaces.
The television runs on Android TV 10, and you can choose between the PatchWall and stock Android TV launchers
While I personally prefer the stock launcher for its simplified and to-the-point style, PatchWall's colourful, visual approach is definitely worth trying out. What particularly appealed to me were PatchWall's lists for Dolby Vision and HDR10 content, giving me quick access to the best-looking content available across streaming platforms and services.
Once again, it's worth pointing out that PatchWall doesn't offer any content of its own; it simply curates media from major streaming services and places multiple options in front of you. You would still need to be subscribed to the services to be able to view content. All major apps and services are available to download on the Redmi Smart TV X55 with no significant exceptions, and navigating around both interfaces was largely smooth and hassle-free.
Interestingly, Xiaomi has included its Mi Home app with the Redmi Smart TV X55, which can be installed and used through the PatchWall launcher. Once set up, you can use it to control any Xiaomi IoT devices you have at home. I was able to control my smart lights and Mi Air Purifier the same way as I ordinarily would using the Mi Home smartphone app. It's a niche use case, but a nice one to have nonetheless.
Redmi Smart TV X55 performance
Xiaomi is no stranger to the effective use of affordable LED panels in its TVs, and the Redmi range expectedly puts those panels to good use. That said, performance on the Redmi Smart TV X55 is reasonable for the price, but falls short of the quality I've seen on some of the key competition, including options from AmazonBasics and Hisense.
The Redmi television is technically and practically superior to the Mi TV 4X which it spiritually replaces. A big reason for this is its ability to display Dolby Vision content in addition to HDR10+, which makes a marked difference in the viewing experience with supported titles. Indeed, the Redmi Smart TV X55 performed reasonably well with Dolby Vision content, and decently with standard definition and 720p content as well. For everything else in the middle, the viewing experience was just about ordinary.
As always, I started with Dolby Vision content, watching a few episodes of season two of Snowpiercer on Netflix. I liked certain colours such as skin tones, and the picture was sharp and largely smooth, without any noticeable artefacts from quick motion. Bright scenes, including the outdoor, ice-filled setting of one of the episodes, looked very good, and were engaging and fun to watch even with the brightness on the TV set to a moderate level.
Standard definition content looks decent on the TV, and Malcolm In The Middle was fun to watch
Where the Redmi Smart TV X55 doesn't quite match up is in reproducing black levels. The LED backlighting tends to shine too bright, giving blacks a dull grey tone and somewhat rough texture. The typically dark interiors of the train in Snowpiercer, as well as night vision footage in Night On Earth on Netflix, looked very ordinary and too grey, even compared to competition such as the AmazonBasics Fire TV Edition television.
Although black levels can technically be improved by reducing the brightness and backlight levels, this wasn't really a workable solution as I found myself needing to keep switching picture settings from scene to scene, or for different shows. Sticking to a single calibration setting made for a workable viewing experience with most content, but I wouldn't call it exceptional even with top-quality Ultra-HD HDR shows and movies.
For HDR10 and HDR10+, I watched Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm on Amazon Prime Video, and also looked at some of my usual sample video clips. Good HDR content looks nearly as good as Dolby Vision, but I found the colours and definition a bit too punchy with other HDR formats. Dolby Vision, even on an entry-level television such as the Redmi Smart TV X55, makes a considerable difference to the viewing experience thanks to its dynamic metadata and ability to adjust colours for the scene on the fly.
Watching full-HD, 720p, and standard definition content was a mixed experience on the Redmi Smart TV X55. Oddly, SD and 720p content was a lot easier to watch than full-HD, despite the obvious reduction in sharpness. Artefacts with fast motion were visible across resolutions, but seemed to be more intense and distracting with full-HD content, particularly in episodes of New Girl on Disney+ Hotstar. Standard definition content such as Malcolm In The Middle, while obviously looking a bit hazy given the upscaling and the size of the TV, was still a pretty good watch on the Redmi Smart TV X55, thanks to the smooth, easy picture.
Full-HD content exhibited a lot of artefacts on the Redmi Smart TV X55
While Xiaomi's televisions don't produce the best sound even in the affordable television space, they have typically been loud and reasonably well tuned. The Redmi Smart TV X55 is no exception; I had no complaints with this TV when it came to sound. In fact, the company has gone a bit further this time and improved on the volume moderation as well. Even at reasonable volumes, dialogue and music are clear, and I didn't hear any sudden spikes that are usually common in this price segment.
The introduction of the Redmi brand in the television space might sound like a big deal, but the Redmi Smart TV X55 is practically the same as the Mi TV range at its core. That's not a bad thing at all, and the Redmi Smart TV X55 is a much-needed update for a range that was looking increasingly dated in the face of impressive competition. At Rs. 38,999, the 55-inch model might seem a bit expensive, but a price correction for the TV space has been due for some time now, and this is actually quite reasonable for what's on offer by today's standards.
The overall experience is decent thanks to good software, decent sound, and reasonable UI performance. However, picture quality falls a bit short on the whole as compared to some recent launches such as the AmazonBasics Fire TV Edition) television, so you might want to look at competing options before you make a purchase decision, particularly if you intend to watch a lot of full-HD content.