Tech

REVIEW: 55-inch Xiaomi Mi TV P1

We tried Xiaomi's brand-new TV model: the Mi TV P1 55 inches and it's big and visually appealing!

Just in time for the launch of its latest TV model last September, Xiaomi lent Cinema Bravo a review unit of Mi TV P1 55″ for almost a month, through their PR agency, ComCo Southeast Asia. This is in line with their Product Review Program for the Mi TV P1 Series.

It is the first time that we tried a device offered by Xiaomi in the Philippine market. Recently, we have been impressed with the many good things we heard about the brand, as well as its outright intention to bring affordable products to Filipino consumers. Their new smart television has many good things to be proud of while having an equal part of opportunities to consider for their future updates. Check out our honest review of the borrowed unit below.

Unboxing the 55-inch Xiaomi Mi TV P1

This model comes in a big box from where it has to be carefully removed during unboxing. It would take minimum of two persons to take out the unit from the box. It is best to observe extra caution so as not to damage the fragile frame of the unit, let alone the screen itself.

Included in the box are the following:

  • Mi TV P1
  • 360º Bluetooth remote control
  • Two stands
  • Two types of power cables
  • User manual
  • Warranty card

Setting Up the TV

The 55-inch model of Mi TV P1 has a dimension of 1243.9 x 782.2 x 285.3mm (including the base). Since we did not have any other available table that could mount it, we used our only dining table. It does not seem to have a provision for wall mounting on its back.

Other than having a dedicated table for this, you must also have a couple of spare AAA batteries for the remote control. The package inside the box does NOT include them, so it’s best to be prepared.

Installing the stand to form the base of the TV is something we strongly dislike. While other TV units have easy ways of inserting the stands (seamless and barely with efforts), Mi TV P1 requires a durable screwdriver for all the force needed to attach the stand to the bottom part of television. Since we had no prior knowledge that it was necessary for the setup, we sufficed in using the only tool we have: a small screwdriver. With a little help from the neighborhood, we mustered all the efforts to drive the screws into place while some folks kept the unit as still as possible. A special shoutout goes to our neighbor who lent a bigger screwdriver when we asked for help on whether the screws were actually meant for the stands.

As if there’s no stopping the hassle, another dilemma we encountered was the actual powering on of the TV. We had a hard time figuring out how to turn it on because of its unusual procedure. Upon plugging it in, the light below the logo in front of the base flashed. However, when we turn the TV on using the remote control, it does not do anything. We bought the necessary pair of batteries for the remote — only to fail on our first attempt to open the device using the ON/OFF button of the remote control. We also used the two kinds of power cable (and bought an adapter for one of them). After several attempts and failures, we just gave up and reported the issue. We were told that the unit would just be replaced the following day.

On Day 2, we have readied the review unit only to be given an instruction on how to actually power on the Xiaomi Mi TV P1. There happened to be an inconspicuous button in the middle of the base of the TV. It had to be pushed forcefully to switch on the TV for the first time. Upon booting up, it was just there that you could pair it with the remote control. This explains why we were unable to turn the unit on right away with a simple press of the ON/OFF button. It’s just weird that there were these multiple, wearisome steps to take right before you could enjoy watching. We had to reassemble the TV to try again for the nth time. It was later on a success but the trouble was quite disengaging — especially since we were immediately coming from a previous review unit.

Ports and Buttons

Mi TV P1 55″ has a number of ports on its back — if you’re particular in the number of consoles and external storages that you might want to connect to this TV. Here are the ports available:

  • One HDMI eARC 2.1
  • Two HDMI 2.0
  • Two USB 2.0
  • 3.5mm Audio Output
  • Optical Output
  • AV Input
  • Antenna/Cable Input

Going back to that circular button below the Mi icon on the base, it only becomes usable when you want to open the TV ahead of using the remote control to navigate through your apps and features.

To the left of that power button is the mic mute switch. This is helpful if you want to turn off the built-in mic feature of the TV. But then again, it comes with a cost because of the three light indicators that turns on when you switch off the mic. This is the same light indicators that shows up when you use the voice assistance feature. The flashing lights, however small they are, turn into an inconvenience — and not to mention a distraction — in one’s viewing experience.

Mi TV P1 55″ Display

Without any doubt, the “55 inches” appended to the unit’s name is so evident to its physical appearance. Our review unit takes pride in its bezel-less LED and frameless design. The black border (so to speak) of the screen gives an elegant look — adding to the sophistication Xiaomi is putting on.

After the standard setup of Android TV, we are welcomed by the vibrant colors it offers. Its a visually appealing product that delivers its promise (as long as you are looking at movies and shows that can really cater to its display specifications and capabilities).

According to its product specifications it can cater to the following:

  • 3840 x 2160, 4K UHD
  • 1.07 billion colors3
  • Color gamut: 85% NTSC (min)
  • HDR10+
  • Dolby Vision®
  • MEMC

Its 4K Ultra High Definition display gave off an engaging feel into the very movements on the screen. On Netflix, we browsed through contents with Dolby Vision and saw a different range of color enhancements. While not all contents have this Dolby Vision feature where “a more realistic representation of content” is supported, the 4K (Ultra HD) feature is fair enough for the regular couch potatoes who simply want to benefit from high quality display. If you’re into watching HD movies and shows, this is something you can fairly enjoy.

Easy-to-Use Remote Control

There may be a lot of things going on when you look at the multitude of buttons of its remote control, but they are easy to use and it is so light to carry. Like other Smart TVs nowadays, it is a 360º Bluetooth remote that users do not necessarily have to point to the TV screen in order to navigate or communicate a command. As long as you are near the television and you press a button, it sends off the signal on what to do in a snap! Just be cautious when you’re sitting on the sofa with your remote. It could be annoying to get interrupted when you accidentally hit a button of the remote beside you!

For easier access, this Bluetooth remote also comes with dedicated buttons for Google Assistant, Netflix and Prime Video. Remember: be careful not to hit these special buttons — given that they are situated immediately next to the UP button. Careful, careful, careful!

Their website also states that the Bluetooth remote layout may vary between markets.

Hands-Free Google Assistant

Speaking of the remote control, this handy tool has a microphone on its top side where you can speak to give command through the Hands-Free Google Assistant built-in feature of this TV. Just say, “Hey, Google” to activate Google Assistant and then you can straightforwardly give any command it can recognize. We have tried opening apps using it as well as checking the weather and even cracking a joke and singing a song!

Whenever Google Assistant is summoned, the four circular yellow lights on the bases of the TV flashes. These lights are the mentioned earlier as located a little off to the left of the Mi logo. You can simply turn off this feature by toggling the physical switch underneath those lights (this one is located beside the push button used to turn on/off the TV itself).

We tried calling out “Hey, Google” in different voice volumes and discovered that it’s a hit or miss for this new model when it comes to recognizing various commands. It’s not also 100% accurate in terms of speech recognition.

There were also difficulties on commanding the Google Assistant whenever we were inside a particular app. For instance, whenever we were inside YouTube, the artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant has a hard time processing a command as it appeared to be expecting commands that are specific to YouTube and not from the entire ecosystem of the TV. Checking the temperature within YouTube, for one, takes a hard time in being a feat as compared to when you are outside the app.

Hopefully, it has its own way of adapting to the users’ voice in the long run.

Audio does not optimize the volume

Visual is one thing, audio is another. As they come hand in hand in bringing the ultimate viewing experience, having either (or both) compromised would not leave a good mark. This might be most especially true for people who have been watching their entire life across several platforms and environment. In as much as we want to love the built-in speakers of Xiaomi Mi TV P1, we found it lacking in every single day of use.

By and large, this new model of Xiaomi TV does not optimize the volume of what you are watching. This is so evident whenever YouTube is playing. After adjusting the volume to your liking, the TV drastically shifts to a lower or higher volume level out of the blue. This happened to us many times in basically every single day. We had to keep our fingers close the volume buttons of the remote control — just so we can swiftly turn down the volume once it suddenly increases the volume on its own

This was something we rarely experience in TV viewing so it made us wonder if there could be any way that Xiaomi can update their hardware for it to learn how to optimize the volume based on the audio components of what you’re watching. We think is the biggest opportunity that Xiaomi must be able to address as soon as possible.

Downloading of apps

Another technical aspect to consider is the RAM + ROM of the TV unit. This model has 2GB of RAM and 16GB of ROM. We were not able to fully maximize the storage since we just use it before and after we go to work. If you are into downloading multiple applications, 16GB of storage is not a bad capacity.

Apart from the built-in apps like Netflix, Prime Video and YouTube, you can easily download applications to your TV in just a few clicks. The remote control even has a dedicated Mi button where you can access everything upon opening your TV. You can quickly browse your download apps or move from one source of connection to another — say, from HBO GO or iQiyi to AV or USB.

We did not find any problem in the switching of apps as well as downloading of new apps. There are also available games for download that you can control using the remote control. If you’re Wi-Fi is down and you don’t have a cable or antenna for free TV, enjoying these games to pass the time is more than a breeze.

Price

Based on the product briefing document sent to us, the biggest model of Xiaomi Mi TV P1 costs P24,990 — that’s a reasonable price for a 55″ television that has a lot of features.

Xiaomi Mi TV P1 is indeed a model to check out for its key features and affordability. The above-mentioned points are things you may or may not consider when buying your new television. It pays a lot to know what you like to have and work from them. It’s still all up to you depending on your home entertainment needs.

Again, we would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Xiaomi and ComCo for letting us have the first dib on this new model for four weeks.

For more information, visit the webpage of this product here.

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