Thomson Q55H1001 TV review: Value-for-money QLED TV with sharp picture
Not long ago, QLED TVs were quite expensive. Some even thought of them as an alternative to OLED TVs and were priced accordingly. In reality, they aren't very different from the usual LED TVs. In fact, they are pretty much LED TVs with an extra layer of quantum dot filter in the backlighting. Now with the technology getting affordable, many brands are looking to jump on to the bandwagon, and Thomson has recently done the same. Thomson re-entered India with affordable, entry-level smart TVs. But from time to time, they have flirted with midrange options with good results. The company has now launched arguably the most affordable QLED TV around. We got a 55-inch 4K variant for review that boasts of support for Dolby Vision and Google TV platform among other things. Time to take a closer look.
Good design but connectivity options could have been better
Following the current design norms, this Thomson TV sports a near bezel-less design on three sides. The bottom bezel is relatively thicker with a small chin underneath that hosts the power LED and IR receiver. The aesthetics are perfectly fine for a budget TV, but I wouldn't say the same about the placement of connectivity ports. They are closer to the center of the TV rather than the edge, making them difficult to reach once you wall-mount it. You can wall-mount the TV or place it on a desk using the bundled mount or stands respectively. The stands don't feel as reassuring as some of the metal ones you get, but they do hold the TV firmly in place. A voice enabled remote is present in the package along with the necessary screws and a pair of AAA batteries. The remote is compact but feels a tad plasticky to touch. More on the remote in the next section. In the connectivity department, you get three HDMI ports, one of which supports ARC. However, they do not support the newer HDMI 2.1 standard, which we believe every new midrange and higher-end TV should be equipped with. You also have two USB 2.0 ports, Optical audio out, A/V input and a LAN port. Analogue audio output like a 3.5mm headphone jack or a coaxial A/V out is absent. As for wireless connectivity, there's Bluetooth 5.0 and dual band Wi-Fi with support for 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks, which is good to have.
Good all-round specs have most of the basics covered
This QLED TV has a 55-inch IPS panel with a 4K resolution of 3840x2160 pixels and a 60Hz refresh rate. The company states a peak brightness level of 600-nits. The HDR format compliance is quite good here with support for HLG, HDR10/10+ and Dolby Vision. Sound output is rated at 40W with support for multiple Dolby and DTS surround sound standards. The panel has a 10-bit color depth and can display over a billion color shades. The Thomson Q55H1001 TV is powered by a MediaTek MT9602 processor with four Cortex A53 cores clocked up to 1.5GHz and a Mali G52 GPU. There is 2GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage, a chunk of which is taken up by the Google TV OS and pre-installed apps. You get close to 9GB for your use and to install more apps. As is the case with all Google TVs, it has Chromecast built-in to cast content to the TV from compatible apps on your phone or tablet. The wireless remote control here operates over IR and Bluetooth both. The TV asks you to pair it during the initial setup, and once done, you can issue voice commands too by bringing up the Google Assistant by pressing the corresponding button. The key layout is fine and you do not get many unnecessary buttons, which is good. But more importantly, all the necessary keys are present. There are hotkeys for Netflix, Prime Video and YouTube to start those apps at the press of a button.
Latest Google TV platform with clean UI and lag-free operation
The Thomson Q55H1001 runs the latest Google TV platform based on Android TV 11. If you have used an Android TV in the past, you wouldn't have a problem finding your way around the interface of this TV. Most features are similar to Android TV but with a slightly different UI that assigns a higher weightage to content discovery rather than installed apps. It shows suggested content from various OTT platforms which the AI believes would interest you. Their subscriptions aren't included though. The suggestions feel random at the start, but get smarter over time as you watch more content on it. Google Play Store is available allowing you access to a lot more apps. Bloatware has been kept to a minimum on this TV, which is good. A dedicated settings button on the remote gives you access to picture and other TV settings on the fly from any app or input source. The UI is polished, fairly simple and easy to get a hang of even for new users.
Good picture quality after a few tweaks in picture settings
The color reproduction of this TV is quite lively and the picture is sharp. Something sharper that pierce the eye are the red color shades. They are boosted a bit too much and end up being more vibrant than ideal. The other colors are well tuned though. You can tone the reds down a bit by playing around with multiple picture settings available here—something a bit too much for an average user to deal with. A simpler though not as effective a way is to use the Movie color preset that mellows it down a bit. I would also advise changing the color temperature to warm for a better balance. Post these adjustments, the picture quality on the Thomson Q55H1001 is quite enjoyable. HDR or SDR content in 4K as well as 1080p looks sharp on this TV with lively colors. The panel is quite bright for a budget TV, and the black levels are fairly deep. A special mention for the skin tones that look natural on this screen. The contrast is perfectly acceptable with details in dark areas in our test videos clearly visible. However, a considerable amount of flickering in high contrast scenes was noticeable in HDR10 content. Switching on Dynamic Backlight reduces it to an extent but doesn't eliminate it completely. Dolby Vision content on Netflix looks great on this TV, and so does the stuff encoded in HDR10+ on Prime Video with good contrast and colors. There are quite a few options to fine-tune the picture on this Thomson TV. Other than the usual brightness, contrast, saturation settings, you can also adjust the gamma, white balance and more. This TV upscales lower resolution content admirably with certain 1080p videos looking as good as their 4K counterparts. 720p videos look more than decent, but anything lower looks dull, which is understandable. The viewing angles are fine, but I expect better from an IPS panel.
Above average sound output, other things work as expected
A pair of speakers rated at 40W delivers more than decent audio output. The speakers are compliant with Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS TruSurround, but they are normal TV speakers at the end of the day, so keep your expectations in check. The output is probably the best I have heard on a Thomson TV till date, but not the best in the segment. Having said that, it is quite pleasant and fairly well balanced. The loudness is good enough at 50% volume and the default tuning is mainly vocals centric for better dialogue clarity, but the bass has a reasonable presence lending a bit of warmth and balance to the overall audio quality. It sounds perfectly fine when watching voice-heavy content like news or sports. Music, movies and web series don't sound too bad either. If you seek more thump or significantly better sound quality, you can always plug in a soundbar or a speaker system into one of the audio outputs available here like Bluetooth, Optical and HDMI ARC. The TV takes close to 50 seconds to boot up when you switch on the power, which is a bit slow. It does support quick resume, and the TV comes back on in a couple of seconds from standby mode. The voice assistant generally works well and is prompt to respond. Media playback through USB is smooth with the default media player, and you can always install a different player from the Google Play Store. Things generally work well on this TV with hardly anything unusual to report.
An affordable QLED TV with good picture and better value-for-money
The Thomson Q55H1001 QLED TV can be purchased for Rs. 40,999 with a one year warranty, and with the right credit card, you can even bag it under Rs. 40,000 on Flipkart in the online sales. That is not a bad price at all for a 55-inch QLED TV, and given its sharp picture, broad HDR format support and decent connectivity options, that's a pretty good deal. It does miss out on the newer HDMI 2.1 ports but what you get here is a lot more than what you don't for its selling price. As for alternatives, you have the usual LED TV (non-QLED) options like Redmi X55 and a couple from Toshiba and Hisense that you can consider for a few thousands less. As for more QLED TV options in this price range, we are testing a few currently, and will let you know if they are any good shortly.