Realme Smart TV 4K 43-inch review: checks the right boxes
In a little over three years, Realme has established itself as a prominent player in the Indian smartphone market. What’s more, the company’s dominion isn’t just limited to phones anymore and the brand has expanded its portfolio across a slew of other categories including audio, and smart IoT devices. Well, keeping in line with its multi-pronged strategy, the brand recently launched yet another smart TV in the market, dubbed the Realme Smart TV 4K. Available in two sizes, the company’s latest addition brings a slew of features to the table (or to the wall), including an array of microphones to seamlessly talk to Google Assistant, as well as support for Dolby Vision HDR. I managed to get my hands on the smaller, 43-inch version of the Realme Smart TV 4K and in this review, let’s see if it’s worth your bucks.
Design and ports
The garden-variety looks of the Realme Smart TV 4K won’t draw any second glances. As such, the unit has been constructed in its entirety using plastic and looks the part of most modern, affordable TV sets. That said, the design is fairly polished and you won’t find any uneven, protruding bits across the unit’s chassis. The TV sports a sleek frame too and touts minimal bezels which add to its minimalistic, understated appeal. I also appreciate the company roping in consumer feedback and incorporating the same with its latest launch. To that note, you’ll notice that, unlike its predecessors, the Realme Smart TV 4K’s footrests don’t encroach beyond the unit’s frame. Consequently, you should be able to fit the TV on a tabletop without having to worry about leaving some headroom to accommodate the legs too.
I’d also like to point out that the TV feels sturdy and the chassis didn’t creak or flex when subjected to pressure from the back. Moreover, unlike some competing TVs, I was able to screw in the legs without much hassle either, which is great. With that said, my biggest qualm with the design of the Realme Smart TV 4K is the LED indicators positioned at the bottom, below the company’s branding. For the uninitiated, the Realme Smart TV 4K ships with four far-field microphones that enable hands-free voice control, akin to a smart speaker.
While the functionality paves way for a seamless navigation experience, amongst other things, the downside is that the LED indicators flash bright green whenever the microphones are muted. Ergo, watching movies with the hands-free functionality disabled can get quite distracting, as your attention will inadvertently be diverted to the LED indicators.
Speaking of which, the Realme Smart TV 4K ships with a physical toggle towards the back to switch the microphones on or off. The toggle sits below a joystick of sorts, which can be used to access various functions of the TV should you misplace the remote. As for the I/O, the unit features three HDMI ports, of which the HDMI 1 socket supports ARC as well. The unit also has two USB Type-A ports, a LAN port as well as an AV connector. Oh and while the latest TV set from Realme doesn’t ship with a cable organiser, the unit somewhat makes up for it by offering side-mounted ports that are easier to access should you wall-mount the unit.
Performance, Software, and Remote
The Realme Smart TV 4K is powered by a quad-core MediaTek SoC, which has been paired with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of built-in storage. As such, I didn’t run into any performance-related issues with the device, and be it navigating through the UI, or running various OTT apps, the TV could do it all without breaking a sweat. Software-wise, Realme has opted to furnish its latest offering with Android TV (v10), and correspondingly, you will be able to leverage the Google Play store to install your preferred streaming apps, games, and everything in between.
Now, much like the TV, the Realme Smart TV 4K’s remote features a sleek design too, and offers hotkeys for popular services like Netflix, Prime Video, and YouTube as well. All the buttons were sufficiently tactile as well, and as an added bonus, Realme even bundles AAA batteries with the remote, which is great.
Picture and Sound Quality
Depending on which side of the fence you’re on, the Realme Smart TV 4K can be considered as an upgrade over the company’s Realme SLED TV launched a while ago. I say this because, unlike its predecessor, the Realme Smart TV 4K comes with support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. While you will need a dedicated audio relay to make the most of Atmos-enabled content, you can benefit from the former from the word go, thanks to the plethora of Dolby Vision content on various OTT services. Specs-wise, the TV makes use of a VA panel which offers a satisfactory contrast ratio and uniform black levels. The panel offers a typical brightness of 280 nits and a peak brightness of around 325 nits.
Coming to the picture quality, the Realme Smart TV 4K offers quality visuals for Dolby Vision content. I recently started watching the second season of Ragnarok on the TV, and scenes capturing the wilderness of the protagonist’s hometown Edda looked remarkable, to say the least. Furthermore, with the picture mode set to Dolby Vision Dark, the TV captured the grim and bleak setting of the show admirably too. I should also point out that despite not having any local dimming zones, the darker elements of a scene didn’t appear washed out or greyish either, which is great.
Turn the page over to something more bright and vibrant like Formula 1: Drive to survive and you’ll have a similarly pleasing experience. Interestingly, the Realme Smart TV 4K doesn’t offer any motion smoothening out of the box. However, that didn’t take anything away from the experience of watching fast-paced car races of Formula 1, or whenever I was tuning in to watch my team play a football match. That said, the quality of HDR 10 content wasn’t the best and I could see noticeable noise in movies with a lot of dark scenes, the likes of which include Tom Clancy’s No Remorse and Justice League. Also, the colours seemed a bit off and I had to manually bring down the saturation levels. The same was true for 1080p videos via services like YouTube too and I noticed that the TV favoured punchier tones when upscaling media as well.
Lastly, you should know that the Realme Smart TV 4K offers very sleek bezels bordering the display – so much so, you won’t even notice them after a while. The viewing angles weren’t all that bad either and the screen could hold its own even in a well-lit room, which is great. As for audio, the Realme Smart TV 4K features two sets of speakers, each comprising a full-range driver and a tweeter for a combined output of 24W. The speaker setup can get quite loud and the pair retains clarity even at higher volume levels, which is great. In fact, I noticed that the Realme Smart TV 4K’s audio output was richer and airier compared to say, the recently-launched Redmi X55 Smart TV (review). That said, I would advise you to turn off the Dolby Atmos preset when listening to tunes on the TV as it subdues the mids quite a bit.
The Realme Smart TV 4K starts at Rs 27,999 for the 43-inch variant I reviewed and for the price, comes across as a rather compelling buy. For one, the TV offers support for popular HDR codecs and it also gets top marks in the audio department. Add to that hands-free support for Google Assistant and a sleek design and the Realme Smart TV 4K will undoubtedly stand out from the herd of other offerings. That being said, the TV isn’t perfect and buyers eyeing the set should keep their expectations in check for HDR 10 and 1080p content. It’s also noteworthy that the LED indicators for the Google Assistant can get quite distracting whilst consuming media on the set. Regardless, for the price, the Realme Smart TV 4K hits more than it misses and consequently, gets a recommendation from me.
Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5
- Sleek design
- Admirable performance for Dolby Vision content
- Good-quality speakers
- Hands-free Google Assistant
- HDR 10 and 1080p performance not up to the mark
- Dolby Atmos preset interferes with normal audio playback
- LED indicators at the bottom can be distracting
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