While prices of gadgets such as graphic cards are out of reach for many consumers, you can still get a decent-sized smart TV for less than $1,000. Take the Xiaomi Mi TV P1 for example. The 55-inch model that I tested costs around S$700 to S$800, depending on whether it's on sale. It won't blow you away with its visuals or design, but the P1 offers excellent value with its good picture quality and easy access to popular video streaming apps.
- 4K resolution with HDR10+ and Dolby Vision
- 2x HDMI 2.0 ports, 1x HDMI 2.1 (eARC) port
- Comes in 32″, 43″, 50″ and 55″ (tested) sizes
- Android TV platform with Google Assistant and Chromecast built-in
I was pleasantly surprised by the P1's image quality. Colours look balanced and not overly saturated. Blacks looked properly dark, not grey. Despite the screen's glossy finish, the viewing angles were better than expected, with just a slight colour shift when viewed from the sides. It even has a HDMI 2.1 eARC port for connecting to the latest audio devices, which I was definitely not expecting. The TV also does a decent job at upscaling lower-resolution (e.g. HD) content to its native 4K resolution. There are four picture modes (Standard, Vivid, Sport and Movie) with slight variations in the resulting image. You can tweak these modes by adjusting the brightness, contrast and saturation etc. I ended up mostly using the Movie mode for its warmer appearance. But I feel the P1 could do with a Game mode to turn off the image processing and reduce input lag.
Its peak brightness is far lower than a premium TV. My eyes barely flinched during the sun-lit scenes in Netflix's Our Planet documentary. But you shouldn't expect brilliant HDR performance from a TV in this price range even if the P1 technically supports both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. Overall, the P1 offers good visuals for its price. I prefer it over the similarly-priced Prism+ Q65 Pro Quantum Edition. The P1 has a 60Hz refresh rate, but I wouldn't recommend using its motion smoothing feature. None of the three options available (Clear, Standard and Smooth) looked good to me. I would rather tolerate some stutter — we are already used to it in movies — than the weird and unnatural soap opera effect from the motion smoothing.
The P1's interface should be familiar to most, seeing as it runs the Android TV platform. Unlike the older Xiaomi TVs, you don't have to worry if you can't read Chinese — it's all in English. PatchWall, Xiaomi's own interface customisation that offers content recommendations based on your viewing habits, isn't supported in Singapore. So you'll get a mostly vanilla Android TV implementation. There's the Google Play Store with its thousands of apps, as well as key streaming apps like Netflix, Disney+, YouTube and Spotify. Even Apple TV is available. The interface is not the fastest to transition between screens or open apps, but at least it was stable and didn't crash during my testing.
Perhaps the least impressive aspect of the Xiaomi Mi TV P1 is its rather functional design. Sure, it may have narrow bezels, but its plastic build and bland appearance reflect its budget leanings. But I'm probably nitpicking here because after all, the P1 is less than S$800 for its 55-inch version. Note that the cheapest 32-inch P1 is not a 4K TV and lacks HDR. Get the 55-inch if your budget allows, since you'll get more out of the 4K resolution with a larger screen. Buy it now at Lazada or Shopee.
Note: Review unit provided by Xiaomi.
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