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Xiaomi Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition review: an affordable smart TV that ticks most boxes

On: October 4, 2020

Xiaomi has an extensive line-up of smart TVs in India and has been the number one brand in the Indian smart TV market for eight consecutive quarters. The combination of commendable spec sheets, a content-rich PatchWall UI and attractive price tags has worked in favour of the brand. Among Xiaomi’s most popular offerings in this segment is the Mi TV 4A, which was launched back in 2018 with a 32-inch model priced at Rs 13,999 and 43-inch variant costing Rs 22,999.

Also read: Xiaomi Mi TV Stick review: complete Android TV experience at a pocket-friendly price

Now the company has refreshed the same TVs under its Horizon Edition lineup. The new TVs features bezel-less displays, Mi Quick Wake and Vivid Picture Engine as its highlights. I have been using the top-end Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition 43-inch model for a while now to find out if it has the same winning formula as its predecessors.

Design

The Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition looks very sleek with its minimal bezels around the display. The smart TV is constructed out of plastic, and the material also extends to the legs. If you aren’t wall mounting the TV, it’s fairly easy to pull out of the box and screw on the legs on your own, given that it’s quite light at just 6.65kg.

On the flip side, the lightness of the TV makes it wobble quite a bit, but the legs are firmly planted and there’s no risk of it toppling over. In case you want to mount the television on the wall, you’ll have to invest in a VESA mount since Xiaomi doesn’t provide one in the package.

As is the case with most smart TV’s these days, there’s only a single physical button, which can be used to turn the unit on or off. It’s cleverly hidden at the bottom underneath the ‘Mi’ branding. For any other controls, you’ll need to rely on the bundled remote.

Ports and connectivity

Coming to the ports and connectivity, the Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition is equipped with three HDMI ports (one with ARC support), two USB-A ports, an Ethernet port and a 3.5mm audio output. These are all located on the left side of the TV on the back and are easy to reach.

As for the wireless connectivity, the Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition supports Bluetooth 4.2/BLE and 2.4GHz 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, dual-band Wi-Fi isn’t supported, so you’ll only be able to connect to the lower frequency range.

Initially, I had set up the TV in my home office. While the TV connected to the Wi-Fi quickly, it tended to buffer content streamed online. This resulted in me having to move the TV to my living room which is where my router is located. Doing this solved the issue, but keep in mind that you’ll need to have the TV fairly close to your router if you want to stream content from OTT apps.

Display and audio

The Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition 43-inch features an LED panel with full HD+ resolution, 178-degree viewing angle and 60Hz refresh rate. The highlight of the TV is the bezel-less display panel and Xiaomi claims that the Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition has a screen-to-body ratio of 95 percent, which is an impressive number.

Additionally, the TV is equipped with Vivid Picture Engine (VPE), which is a proprietary image processing tech designed to deliver vibrant colours, significant depth, and deeper contrasts. However, given that it’s a budget TV, there’s no HDR support.

The TV offers various preset modes to tweak the picture quality, letting you choose between Standard, Movies, Vivid, Sports, and Custom. The last option lets you adjust the brightness, contrast saturation, sharpness and hue, as per your liking. However, if you don’t want to fiddle with those settings, the Standard mode is pretty good by itself. There’s also an option to set the colour temperature to warm, cool, and standard. I found cool settings more to my liking since I tend to watch TV in a dark room and it’s easier on the eyes.

The TV also features a dynamic backlight option, which adjusts the display intensity to make darks appear darker. This is particularly effective when watching TV shows with dark visuals like Game of Thrones, Dark, Daredevil, Gotham and the likes. The panel has good viewing angles but there’s a noticeable colour shift — albeit a very slight one — after a point. In a nutshell, the Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition provides an immersive viewing experience with sharp colours and vivid picture quality. There’s also an anti-reflective coating, which keeps glare and unwarranted reflections at bay.

As for the audio, the Xiaomi Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition is equipped with two speakers of 10W each tuned by DTS-HD technology. As with the picture options, you can choose between several preset modes for audio including Standard, News, Movie, Game and Custom.

There is also a digital noise reduction (DNR) feature, which removes noise from the signal and is particularly useful if you’re using a set top box. Overall, the audio from the speakers is pretty loud with the TV easily filling my living room at 35 (the maximum level is 50). The sound quality is pretty good for regular content like web series and shows, but if you are a fan of action movies and games with bassy soundtracks, you will need to connect an external soundbar or speaker.

Software

The software is what separates Mi TVs from other budget TVs in the market and the Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition is no exception. The smart TV boots Android TV OS 9 out of the box, but also has Xiaomi’s proprietary PatchWall interface baked in. There’s an option to quickly switch between the Android TV interface and PatchWall UI. However, during my stint with the TV, I had the latter set as the default interface of the unit.

This is because the PatchWall OS is a content-forward interface that aggregates all your OTT apps and their content in an organised manner. The main USP of PatchWall is that it also supports set-up boxes and seamlessly integrates content from both DTH service as well as OTT apps. This makes the process of finding what next to watch pretty convenient.

Xiaomi has pre-loaded several OTT apps in the Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition including Disney+ Hotstar, Netflix, Prime Video and YouTube, among others. There’s also an integrated Google Chromecast, which allows streaming of content from a smartphone.

PatchWall neatly organises the content of various OTT apps in separate cards, which can be scrolled for browsing the relevant content based on your usage. Additionally, you can head over to the TV guide app if you have connected a set-top box and you will see content cards for various shows being telecasted. There’s also a Universal Search feature that searches for content across all OTT apps as well. You can also use Google Assistant to voice search for content as well as general queries.

As for the Android TV OS, it’s a stock Android affair and lets you access and download a myriad of applications from the Google Play Store. Users can access all stock Google apps like YouTube, Play Music, Play Movies and other apps from the Play Store. What’s more, switching between Android TV and PatchWall is as easy as pressing a button on the remote.

Performance and remote

Coming to the Bluetooth remote, Xiaomi has followed the same minimalistic design as all its other TVs. The remote comes with a standard set of buttons including power, navigation wheel, home, back, Google Assistant, Mi button for PatchWall, home button (takes you to the Android TV interface) and volume keys. There are dedicated hotkeys for Netflix and Prime Video as well.

Powering the Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition is the same 64-bit quad-core Amlogic Cortex-A53 processor with a Mali-450MP3 GPU present in most Xiaomi TVs. The Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition ships with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. This configuration is more than enough to run the Xiaomi Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition smoothly. During my stint with the unit, I didn’t face any lags or stutters whilst navigating through the UI. The apps open and close quite fast, and are also installed quickly from the Play Store.

Xiaomi has introduced a new feature called the Mi Quick Wake with the Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition. The new feature is touted to let users wake the new Mi TV in just 5 seconds. The feature works as intended and when you turn the TV off and back on, it takes just a few seconds to power up. However, it doesn’t resume the playback of your last watched show or movie and you will have to browse and resume this manually.

Bottomline

Xiaomi has once again managed to deliver a value for money smart TV just ahead of the festive season in India. With the price starting at Rs 13,499 for the 32-inch model and going up to Rs 22,999 for the 43-inch variant, it brings a whole lot of features to the table.

While there are some drawbacks like the lack of a bundled wall mount and no dual-band Wi-Fi support, the overall package is quite compelling for its price. If you are in the market for an affordable smart TV with a content-rich UI, the Mi TV 4A Horizon Edition is an excellent choice.

Pricebaba’s rating: 8 / 10

What works:

  • Immersive display
  • Easy switching between Android TV and PatchWall
  • Support for most major OTT apps

What doesn’t:

  • No dual-band Wi-Fi
  • Wall mount not included in the package
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Abhiman Biswas

Abhiman is obsessed with all things tech. His hobbies include reading on his Kindle and clicking random pictures on his phone. His secret superpowers happen to be mixing great cocktails and lip reading. In his spare time, you are likely to find him cleaning his aquascape, researching new species of aquatic fishes and planning which aquatic plants to buy next.