The Xiaomi TV Q1E is a step-up from the P1 model. While the latter offers excellent value, the Q1E gives a more premium experience, from its HDR10 and Dolby Vision presentation to its shiny aluminium bezels. However, it could perhaps benefit from a processor upgrade — its Android interface often feels sluggish and apps stuttered at times. It's not what I was expecting from a 55-inch TV with an official retail price of S$1,499.
- 4K resolution with HDR10+ and Dolby Vision
- 2x HDMI 2.0 ports, 1x HDMI 2.1 (eARC) port
- Comes in 55″ only
- Android TV platform with Google Assistant and Chromecast built-in
Compared to the 75-inch Mi TV Q1 that was launched several months earlier, the newer Q1E has a 60Hz refresh rate instead of 120Hz. This and the screen size are the main differences between the two models. The Q1E is currently available only in 55 inches — I would have liked a 65-inch option. It has narrow bezels made with aluminium alloy for a more premium look and feel. The Q1E also has dual 15W stereo speakers that sound acceptable for TV speakers. But a soundbar like the Sonos Beam would be a clear upgrade. More importantly, the Q1E uses a QLED screen with quantum dot technology for deeper, more vibrant colours.
QLED TVs are still backlit, albeit the Q1E has 192 local dimming zones that should improve its performance. But it doesn't come close to matching the inky blacks of an OLED TV. The Q1E shows some backlight leaking around the sides when viewing a dark image. But there isn't much blooming around bright objects such as subtitles. Getting HDR10 videos to display properly from an external HDMI source like the Sony PS5 is also quite a hassle. Out of the box, the Q1E's HDMI ports are not set to the full colour depth for 4K HDR. To do so, you have to disable HDMI-CEC, switch to the HDMI input (e.g. PS5) then press Setting > HDMI to switch from the default HDMI 1.4 to HDMI 2.0. You have to do this separately for all three HDMI ports, unlike other TVs that let users set all the HDMI inputs at once.
Of course, there's no such HDMI issue with HDR or Dolby Vision streaming videos from Netflix or Disney+. But the HDR effect in streaming videos is definitely not as pronounced on the Q1E as a 4K Blu-ray movie. For example, the glint of the sun in the Grasslands episode of my Planet Earth II 4K Blu-ray disc was appropriately bright. The black performance in the dark night scenes in the Cities episode was also decent for an non-OLED TV. Skin tones and colours look accurate enough in the 4K Blu-ray version of 1917. I watched these movies on the Q1E in a dark room. The HDR effect will be less impactful in a bright room. In addition, the screen is glossy and reflective — especially in a well-lit room — which is rather distracting. Viewing angles, too, are middling and images look washed out from the sides.
Xiaomi's PatchWall custom interface doesn't work in Singapore, but you do get the full Android TV experience. There are tons of apps and plenty of storage (27GB free) to install them. But the interface feels sluggish, especially while within the apps. I often find myself pressing the same button on the remote control repeatedly because the TV appeared unresponsive. But this only leads to more frustration as after some delay, the TV ends up executing all my button presses, even the extra ones. Overall, the user experience on the Xiaomi TV Q1E is akin to that of an entry-level model. The picture quality, though, is pretty decent with the right source. The Q1E is often discounted — it's around S$1,299 now on Lazada. You can also find it on Shopee.
Note: Review unit provided by Xiaomi.
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