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Onida 32HIF Fire TV Edition review: an affordable 32-inch TV with slick software

On: February 3, 2020

Amazon’s Fire TV stick, a plug and play HDMI dongle, was launched in India back in 2017. At the time, smart TVs weren’t as ubiquitous as they are now, and if you did manage to pick one up at a reasonable price, chances are it wouldn’t support at least a couple of your favourite streaming platforms. That’s where the Fire TV stick stood out. With support for the holy grail of streaming apps – Netflix, Prime Video, Hotstar and YouTube – plus a whole lot more, it turned your existing dumb TV into one that was smarter than most. Over the years, Amazon’s Fire TV stick has grown in popularity in India, with additional features being added, including a 4K version, Alexa support, universal voice search across apps and more.

It therefore came as no surprise that Amazon decided to launch Fire OS-powered smart TVs in India. Amazon has partnered with Onida for the same, with the latter launching two affordable Fire TV Edition models in 32-inch and 43-inch sizes. I’ve been using the former for the last few weeks, and here’s what you need to know.

Design and ports

My television at home is a 50-inch unit, so this 32-inch TV seemed tiny at first glance. That said, there’s a huge demand for compact TVs in India, and Onida is clearly targeting the masses with these screen sizes. Onida’s TV is constructed out of plastic, and as a result, is very lightweight. It’s easy to assemble on your own if you want to place it on a table – you just need to screw in the bundled plastic feet. A wall mount is also included, and Onida provides installation and demos should you require it.

The 32-inch TV features HD resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels, with a standard 60Hz refresh rate and 300 nits of brightness. The bezels around the TV are fairly slim, but sport a shiny finish that could pick up scratches in the long run. The rear panel features dual 8W box speakers. Just behind the display on the bottom right you’ll find a physical power button, while the left is where frequently accessed ports are placed. These include three HDMI ports, a single USB port, optical out and a 3.5mm port. Towards bottom centre of the back panel, you’ll find additional ports, including the power socket, RJ45 (ethernet), composite inputs and antenna. The ports are easy to reach when placed on a table, but if you wall mount the TV, the ones on the side will become harder to access since they’re slightly recessed.

Remote

The TV ships with a single remote which is quite similar to the one you get with the Fire TV stick. Apart from the Alexa-activated voice button, you get the familiar circular dial, play/pause, rewind/fast forward, back, home and menu buttons. Volume and mute buttons are present, in addition to a live TV button. Additionally, there are four hotkeys on the remote to access Netflix, Prime Video, SonyLIV and Zee5. Long-pressing the home button brings up settings for inputs, display mirroring, apps, sleep timer, picture and sound. It’s a nifty way to access these functions without adding extra button clutter to the remote.

The remote is powered by two AAA batteries which are included in the retail package. It’s worth mentioning that the remote is both Bluetooth and IR enabled, with the latter being used only to power on/off the TV. This means that you don’t need to point the remote at the TV for any remaining functions.

Interface

If you’ve used a Fire TV Stick, you’ll feel right at home with this TV, which features a nearly identical interface. The homescreen features tabs at the very top for Search, Home, Movies, TV shows, Apps and Settings. Below this, you’ll see banners with featured content across streaming services. After this comes your recently accessed apps and content, and installed apps and games. There’s also a dedicated row for the various inputs, including Media Player (USB), HDMI 1, HDMI 2, HDMI 3, Antenna and Composite. This lets you switch between various inputs from the homescreen itself, which is convenient.

All apps and games you get on the Fire TV stick are also available on the Onida Fire TV Edition, with the only exception I could spot being Apple TV. With the Alexa voice button on the remote, you can search for content across and within various apps, including Prime Video, Netflix, Hotstar and YouTube. You can also ask Alexa any general questions, and given that this is a TV, get a visual representation, such as a weather forecast.

Performance

The Onida Fire TV Edition is powered by a quad-core ARM Cortex processor, paired with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of onboard storage. During my usage, I found scrolling between the many tiles and rows of the interface to be as smooth as the Fire TV Stick, with no lags or freezes.

The display is clear with ample brightness levels. While I didn’t have many expectations given the small display size and affordable price, the TV offered surprisingly good contrast, while colour reproduction was natural as well.

The audio quality on the other hand was a big letdown. The Onida 32-inch TV features two 8W speakers, with a total output of 16W. While the volume get loud enough to fill the room, the audio is disappointingly toneless, with no depth or bass. Conversation is clear, but any background audio lacks detail, so TV shows, movies and music videos sound flat. I would recommend connecting external speakers or a soundbar to this TV if you purchase it.

It’s also worth mentioning that I couldn’t get the Miracast display mirroring feature to work on the TV. I tried using it with a few phones, but it always timed out after a few minutes.

Bottomline

At its asking price of Rs 12,999, the 32-inch Onida Fire TV Edition is priced similarly to the competition, including the Mi LED TV 4C Pro and Vu 32-inch Ultra Android TV. And while the hardware itself is nothing to write home about, the software is where this TV stands out. The Fire TV Stick costs Rs 3,999, and you’re getting the same functionality on a TV that costs Rs 12,999, without sacrificing an HDMI port in the bargain. The slick software is a gamechanger on TVs in this price bracket, and the interface is simple enough for even tech-fearing family members to use. Amazon has multiple Fire TV Edition partners in the US, so we can expect the company to collaborate with additional brands in the future, with the result being larger screen sizes, better display and audio quality and 4K resolution. For now though, Onida’s Fire OS TVs offer excellent value in the budget segment.

Pricebaba’s rating: 8 / 10

What works:

  • Seamless, intuitive interface
  • Good picture quality
  • Alexa integration via remote

What doesn’t:

  • Flat audio quality
  • Only 1 USB port
  • Display mirroring is glitchy
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Ketaki Bhojnagarwala

Ketaki has over 10 years experience writing on tech, having worked at the Hindu Business Line and 91mobiles earlier. When she's not editing copies or reviewing the latest gadgets, she spends her time binge-watching Netflix and reading fantasy fiction.