Android Central Verdict
Bottom line: The Mi QLED TV features a svelte aluminum frame with thin bezels, and offers excellent picture quality at 4K. You get Dolby Vision, the new AV1 codec, HDMI 2.1 connectivity and a low-latency gaming mode, and Android 10 with all your favorite streaming services pre-installed. Combine that with standout value and you get a great overall TV.
Excellent 4K picture quality
Dolby Vision, HDR10, AV1 codec
Android 10 out of the box
Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+ Hotstar pre-installed
Low-latency gaming mode with HDMI 2.1 ports
Viewing angles aren't great
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To say that Xiaomi has turned the TV segment on its head in India would be an understatement. The brand sold over five million TVs in the country following its entry into the category back in February 2018, and it has been the number one smart TV brand for ten consecutive quarters.
Much like its phone business, Xiaomi's momentum with the Mi TV comes from value-focused offerings. With its TVs starting off as low as ₹14,499 ($196), Xiaomi has lowered the bar to entry for those looking to pick up a smart TV in India.
While it dominates the budget segment, Xiaomi doesn't really have a premium option to go up against the likes of Samsung, LG, Sony, OnePlus, and others. The manufacturer is now fixing that with the launch of its first QLED TV, the Mi QLED TV 4K 55. The 55-inch TV is now available in India for ₹54,999 ($745), and Xiaomi is significantly undercutting Samsung here.
Xiaomi says that the entire segment for QLED TVs in India is 40,000 to 50,000 units, and that it sees a lot of potential to make a dent in this category — much like it did with smart TVs in general. So let's take a look at what the Mi QLED TV brings to the table, and whether you should pick it up over what Samsung and OnePlus have to offer.
Xiaomi Mi QLED TV 4K 55 Design
Xiaomi did a decent job differentiating the Mi QLED TV from its budget offerings. The TV has an aluminum frame, thin bezels with a 96% screen-to-body ratio, and a carbon fiber pattern at the back. The aesthetic is very refined, and immediately makes the TV stand out in Xiaomi's portfolio.
There's also a laser-engraved "Designed by Xiaomi" moniker on the right side, and the HDMI ports are located on the left side at the back. You'll find two metal stands enclosed in the package, and it's straightforward enough to attach the stands to the TV or wall mount it. The wall mounting kit isn't included with the box, but you can opt for it during installation.
While it's great to see thin bezels and an aluminum chassis, the Mi QLED TV isn't as thin or sleek as the OnePlus U1 or the Q1 series, nor is it as distinctive as Samsung's The Serif. That said, the design is elegant, and you won't mistake this for a budget TV.
Xiaomi Mi QLED TV 4K 55 Display
The Mi QLED TV features a 10-bit VA panel and has HDR10+ along with Dolby Vision — a first for Xiaomi. Having used all models in the Mi TV range so far, I can confidently say that the picture quality of the Mi QLED TV is better than anything Xiaomi has delivered to date.
As a refresher, QLED is essentially a way to get better contrast levels from LCD TVs. With OLED TVs still costing a significant premium, manufacturers have turned to quantum dot tech in recent years to boost the contrast and brightness. So a QLED TV still uses an LCD panel with LED backlighting, but you get a transmissive quantum dot layer in the middle that facilitates much better color vibrancy and brightness.
The difference is immediately noticeable, and QLED tech now forms the middle-ground between regular LED and the costlier OLED TVs. The panel on the Mi QLED TV offers excellent colors out of the box, and you get an exhaustive set of customization options that let you tailor the colors to your tastes.
As this is the first Mi TV with Dolby Vision, I turned to Netflix to put the TV to the test. Titles like Our Planet and Night on Earth are the ideal showcase for Dolby Vision, and the Mi QLED TV produced outstanding colors and brightness. The only downside in terms of picture quality is that the viewing angles aren't particularly great — even a little distance off-axis and you'll be able to notice discoloration.
The backlighting is also inconsistent at times, and there was some light bleed around the edges. That said, the Mi QLED TV is much better than the rest of the Mi TV portfolio in this regard, and it holds up well to the OnePlus Q1.
The Mi QLED TV has motion smoothing, but you get granular control over the feature. There are three levels of motion smoothing to choose from, and you can easily disable it if you don't want the soap opera effect. Motion smoothing is ideal for sports, so if you watch a lot of football or cricket, you can always toggle it on.
On that note, customization is an area where the Mi QLED TV excels. There are 14 picture modes in total, and Xiaomi gives you extensive control over each facet of the mode. You can also change the picture settings for Dolby Vision, and in terms of customizability the Mi QLED TV has a distinct edge.
The Mi QLED TV has a low-latency gaming mode that makes it ideal to use with your PS5 or Xbox Series X (once they're actually available to buy in India). The switch to HDMI 2.1 gives the Mi QLED TV a leg up in this particular area, and with 5ms grey-to-grey latency, the TV is great for 4K gaming at 60fps.
You also get decent onboard audio, with the Mi QLED TV offering 30W output. Of course, if you're buying a TV in this segment, you should definitely invest in a good soundbar — the Polk Command Bar would be my recommendation.
Xiaomi Mi QLED TV 4K 55 Hardware
The Mi QLED TV is powered by a MediaTek chipset, and has 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. I didn't notice any issues or lag when navigating the user interface, but Xiaomi should have offered 3GB of RAM just to make that TV a little bit more future-proof.
Xiaomi has outfitted the TV with three HDMI 2.1 ports, and you get eARC with the ability to stream up to 24-bit audio. It is particularly great to see Xiaomi offer HDMI 2.1 as standard, but the one omission is VRR (variable refresh rate): as the TV is locked to 60Hz, Xiaomi hasn't enabled the feature.
Other connectivity options include optical out, 3.5mm jack, two USB 2.0 ports, and an Ethernet port. On the wireless side, you get dual-band 2x2 MIMO Wi-Fi ac (there's no Wi-Fi 6 here) and Bluetooth 5.0. I had zero issues streaming content over Wi-Fi, but if you're going to use the TV in a location that's close to your router, I'd recommend plugging it in over Ethernet.
Continuing on the hardware front, you get the AV1 codec — which is becoming the de facto standard for streaming services. There's also Dolby Audio, DTS-HD, the ability to play FLAC audio files natively, and AAC. The Mi QLED TV ticks all the right boxes on the hardware side of things, and you aren't really missing out in this area.
Xiaomi Mi QLED TV 4K 55 Software
The Mi QLED TV comes with Android 10 out of the box, and it holds its own against the best Android TVs in the market today. It includes all the streaming services you'd want — there's Netflix and Prime Video, and Disney+ Hotstar is a new addition.
Hotstar's bitrate is atrocious in India, and its focus on mobile-first streaming doesn't make it a decent choice for consuming content on a smart TV. That said, the service is looking to make amends, and it is streaming marquee shows like The Mandalorian in Dolby Vision.
Over the last two years, Xiaomi struck key partnerships with leading content providers in the country, and you'll find most of the local streaming services tied into Xiaomi's own interface, PatchWall. This dual-interface strategy has worked well for Xiaomi; I prefer the clean UI of Android TV and use it by default, but PatchWall has plenty to offer if you're looking for recommendations.
The PatchWall home screen includes a grid with all the input options laid out, making it that much easier to switch to a console or dongle that's connected over HDMI. Its standout feature is the ability to search across 24 streaming services, and it also integrates well with live TV and has an excellent recommendation engine.
As the Mi QLED TV runs Android TV out of the box, you get the ability to search for content or control your smart home devices using Google Assistant. There's also Chromecast built-in, and you can easily cast content from your phone to the TV.
Xiaomi Mi QLED TV 4K 55 Remote
Xiaomi is bundling the same Mi Remote as earlier versions of the Mi TV, but there are a few nifty additions on the software side that make it a more interesting option. While there's still no dedicated mute button, you can now double-press the volume down button to mute TV audio.
The remote has dedicated buttons for Netflix and Prime Video, and a button to invoke Google Assistant. The Mi button takes you to the PatchWall interface, with the home button switching to Android TV. You can also hold down the Mi button to change picture quality settings on the fly, and this is a nifty way to adjust colors or enable motion smoothing without having to delve into the TV's settings.
Xiaomi Mi QLED TV 4K 55 Competition
The obvious challenger to the Mi QLED TV is TCL's 55-inch C715. The TV also has a QLED panel and offers an identical feature-set, and runs Android TV out of the box. TCL's offering also has a metal design, 30W audio, and is available now for ₹54,999 — the same as the Mi QLED TV. You miss out on the HDMI 2.1 ports, but other than that the TCL is a solid alternative.
The OnePlus Q1 debuted over a year now, and the TV is now down to ₹62,900. The regular model has a lot going for it; it has a fantastic QLED panel, a unique design, and Android 10. It's annoying that you have to pick up the stand as an accessory, but the TV is one of the best in this segment, and the regular model has the same panel as the Q1 Pro.
Samsung's The Serif series is a pretty distinctive TV if you're looking for something that stands out a bit more. The TV has a QLED panel and all the features you'd want from a high-end TV, and is available for ₹94,990.
Xiaomi Mi QLED TV 4K 55 Should you buy?
You should buy this if ...
You want a QLED TV on a budget
The Mi QLED TV offers one of the best panels you'll find for the asking price. The TV delivers vibrant colors and excellent contrast levels, and you get exhaustive customization options.
You want the latest software
With Android 10 out of the box, the Mi QLED TV has a clean interface that includes your favorite streaming services out of the box. If you want more customizability, Xiaomi's PatchWall interface has a lot to offer.
You want a TV with HDMI 2.1 ports
With three HDMI 2.1 ports and eARC, the Mi QLED TV delivers 4K gaming at 60fps. There's no variable refresh rate, but if you're looking at a TV for gaming, this is a great option.
You should not buy this if ...
You want a standout design
While the Mi QLED TV looks premium in its own right, there are more distinctive models in the market today.
Xiaomi says it witnessed a 65% increase in sales in 2020, and that's accounting the logistical issues with a two-month lockdown. The introduction of the Mi QLED TV sees Xiaomi going up against Samsung and OnePlus in the high-end segment, and the positioning of the TV should give Xiaomi an edge.
4.5 out of 5
Overall, the Mi QLED TV 4K 55 gets most things right. The picture quality is great for what you're paying here, you get a design with thin bezels, and the customizability is unmatched. You also get the option of using both Android TV — if you're like me and like a clean interface — and Xiaomi's PatchWall, which has a great recommendation engine.
For ₹54,999 ($745), the Mi QLED TV is one of the best options in this category. If you're in the market for a new TV and want to make the switch to a QLED panel, you'll love what the TV has to offer.
Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.