OnePlus TV 50Y1S Pro review: A no-nonsense 4K smart TV
From the Q series, we moved to U and then to Y as OnePlus TVs started getting more affordable. In that sequence, the company has cut down on the frills to keep the price in check. That's not particularly a bad thing as the different series have managed to appeal to a broader audience. The Y series has typically been part of OnePlus' budget line-up of TVs, but with the Pro suffix, the specifications are a lot closer to the U series, which makes things more interesting. The OnePlus 50Y1S Pro is an affordable 4K TV that at a quick glance may seem like their 50U1S model without a couple of features like far-field microphones and Dynaudio's audio tuning. While those are cool features to have, a lot of people would let those go if the price tag were to drop by almost 20%. Are those the only features lacking or has the company cut more corners to make this TV affordable? Time to find out.
Though not as good as the U1S, the Y1S Pro looks quite stylish for a budget TV with a near bezel-less design on three sides, and a prominent bottom bezel. Draped in all black, it has a tiny chin at the center of the bottom bezel in place of the long trapezoid chin that the U1S sported, and hosts a power LED and IR receiver. One can either wall-mount the TV (mount not bundled) or place it on a desk using the bundled plastic stands. They don't feel as sturdy as metal stands, but get the job done. The necessary screws are present in the package. The remote is similar to the one you get with the U1S, which means it still lacks a dedicated power button. I will rant a bit more ahead in the review, and for good reason. The remote is compact, voice enabled and the company bundles a pair of AAA batteries to power it. Moving on to connectivity, all ports are placed along the left edge of the TV, but closer to the center than the edge, making them hard to reach if you hang the TV on a wall. Speaking of ports, this OnePlus TV is equipped with three HDMI 2.1 ports, one of which supports eARC. This newer version of HDMI is a welcome addition on a budget TV. You also have two USB 2.0 ports, Optical audio out, A/V input and a LAN port. The only popular connectivity option missing here is an analogue audio output like a 3.5mm Aux port or a coaxial A/V out. Bluetooth 5.0 and dual-band Wi-Fi with support for 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks round off the wireless connectivity options.
The OnePlus TV 50Y1S Pro has a 50-inch panel with an Ultra-HD (4K) resolution of 3840x2160 pixels and a 60Hz refresh rate. Though the company doesn't specify the panel type, it seems like a VA panel. The TV supports popular HDR formats like HDR10/10+ and HLG, but just like the U1S, it doesn't support Dolby Vision. You do get 10-bit color depth here, and as a result, the TV can display over a billion color shades. It is powered by a 64-bit quad core chip with four Cortex A55 cores that can go as high as 1.5GHz. You also get 2GB RAM, but the internal storage has been reduced from 16GB on the U1S to 8GB here, more than half of which is taken up by the Android TV 10 OS and preinstalled apps. Sound output is rated at 24W with support for Dolby Audio. Dolby Atmos is available via HDMI passthrough. Like all certified Android TVs, it has Chromecast built-in and lets you cast content to the TV from compatible apps on your phone or tablet. The wireless remote control operates over IR and Bluetooth both. Once paired, you can bring up the Google Assistant by pressing the corresponding button and issue voice commands. The build quality of the remote is quite good and so is the key layout. Barring a dedicated power button, it has other necessary keys and hotkeys for Prime Video, Netflix and Disney+ Hotstar. Some keys perform additional tasks when kept pressed for a couple of seconds.
The OnePlus TV 50Y1S Pro runs the official Android TV 10 OS with a Google TV like user interface. While Android TV 11 would have been better, we can live with version 10. It is simple and easy even if you haven't used an Android TV before, and if you have, the new UI is not very different from the older one, but just a bit more polished. You have a row of your favorite installed apps, the shortcuts for which can be shuffled around. Other rows display last played or suggested content from various OTT services. The UI is smooth and lag-free. One thing I did not like was the amount of bloatware on this TV. There are far too many preinstalled apps here. Apps for Netflix, Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar are understandable, but you also get apps for every other OTT service in India like Zee5, Voot, Sony LIV and a few more. Yes, you can uninstall most of them to free up space, but given that this TV only has 8GB internal storage, OnePlus should have gone easy with the preloaded apps. You also have the OxygenPlay 2.0 launcher here, which aggregates content from various streaming services. Of course, you need to have an active subscription for the given service to watch a particular video. This OnePlus TV lets you adjust sound and picture settings on the fly while viewing content from any source. There is no dedicated settings button on the remote, but keeping the menu button (with 3 horizontal lines) pressed for a couple of seconds brings up the quick settings menu to make the necessary adjustments.
Things get a little tricky in this department. While generally the picture quality is perfectly fine for a budget TV, there are a few issues that the company needs to address. Firstly, the motion compensation, which is on by default, leads to noticeable motion artifacts on screen. Best to switch it off, and while you are at it, also switch off or lower the dynamic contrast and auto brightness settings. Post that, there's a noticeable improvement in the picture. The default picture tuning is pretty good on the Y1S Pro, and colors pop well without going over the top. In SDR content, the brightness and contrast are good too, and details in dark areas in our test videos were clearly visible. 4K content looks sharp as expected, but 1080p videos look slightly muted in comparison, but acceptable for a budget TV. When viewing HDR10+ content, especially on Prime Video, 1080p content looks almost as good as 4K with lively colors and excellent sharpness, however the contrast goes nuts at times (not every time though). There is noticeable flickering in certain areas of high contrast scenes, and at times, the entire background lighting flickers from dim to bright and dim again. I would put that down to some HDR rendering bug. When not facing that issue, content on Prime Video and Netflix looked quite good on this TV. This TV is not Dolby Vision compliant, and shows encoded in that format on services like Netflix are rendered in HDR10/10+, and look detailed with good contrast. The black levels here, though nowhere near perfect, are pretty decent for a budget TV. Full-HD videos are upscaled fairly well, and 720p content is watchable too. Anything in lower resolution looks dull, as is the case with most Ultra-HD TVs. The viewing angles are manageable but some color shift is visible when viewing from sharp angles.
I truly missed the Dynaudio tuning in the audio department here. Probably that's too much to ask for in a budget TV but still. A pair of speakers rated at 24W delivers a not-so-remarkable sound output. The output is loud but lacks punch or warmth. In simpler terms, the bass response is quite weak here and the focus is entirely on vocals. The speakers get loud enough at the halfway mark in most cases. You won't face an issue when watching stuff like news, sports or any dialogue heavy content. But it feels a bit too flat in music or action sequences which demand more bass. That's where you will crave for a soundbar or an external speaker system. The good part being, this TV has a number of audio outputs ranging from Bluetooth, Optical to HDMI eARC. Thanks to the presence of eARC port, you can even connect a Dolby Atmos compliant soundbar. Moving on, the TV boots in less than 40 seconds when you turn the power on from the mains, which is decent. After that, the TV comes back on almost instantly from standby mode. Ironically, it takes much longer to go to standby. Remember the power button rant? Now is the time to unleash it. Due to the absence of a dedicated power button, you need to keep the OnePlus key on the remote pressed for a few seconds to switch off the TV or put it in standby. If you press it quickly out of habit or release it too soon, it launches OxygenPlay, leading to a lot of annoyance. Just put a power button on the remote, OnePlus! It won't make it look cluttered or ugly. Rest of the parameters work as expected on this TV. The voice assistant is prompt to respond, and the default media player does a good job of playing content through USB.
The OnePlus TV 50Y1S Pro is available for purchase for Rs. 32,999 with a one year warranty in India. That is not a bad price at all for what it offers. Yes, it does have some contrast issues and the sound output is ordinary, but beyond that there is a lot to like. You get a more than decent 4K TV with good color reproduction and HDR10+ compliance, neat design and modern connectivity options like HDMI 2.1 and eARC. But the competition is quite stiff. The Redmi X50 is currently selling for Rs. 1,000 lower than the 50Y1S Pro. While you do not get a bezel-less design, you do get comparable picture quality with better contrast and Dolby Vision support. That too flaunts HDMI 2.1 ports and runs Android TV 10. If you thought the competition was just external, check this out. The price of OnePlus 50U1S has dropped from Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 35,999 posing a serious threat to the Y1S Pro. For a small premium, you get access to some cool features like far-field microphones, better picture quality and contrast, double the internal storage and much better audio output. For a difference of Rs. 3,000, we would recommend the U series TV over this.