Gone are the days when you can head to your nearest electronics store and buy a 4K Smart TV for less than ₹30,000. With the pandemic-induced inflation, you can only get a Full HD TV from leading brands such Xiaomi, Samsung, Sony and others. Kodak, which is one of the many brands owned by Indian firm Super Plastronics (SPPL), is trying otherwise by going super aggressive with its CA Pro series of smart TVs.
Take a look at the Kodak CA PRO 43. It costs ₹27,999 and is one of the few 43-inch smart TVs running on Google’s Android TV OS that has a 4K display. For someone looking to spend this much on a TV, this seems tempting, doesn’t it? So how does it fare in the real world? Should the lead brands be worried of SPPL’s latest affordable smart TV lineup?
I found out after living with the Kodak CA PRO 43 for two weeks and here’s what I think.
The Kodak CA PRO 43 is tailored to a budget and as a result, you aren’t getting top-class fit and finish. The plastic bits on the bottom bezel isn’t pleasant to behold, especially with the “too-bold” Kodak logo. However, this has the frameless design where the other three sides end abruptly; you will still see the bezels. For a smart TV costing ₹28,000, the Kodak CA PRO 43 looks nice as home décor, except for that Kodak logo breaking its minimalism.
SPPL offers two table legs in the box as well as the wall mount. Along with the remote controller, you get a pair of batteries too. You will also find AV cables for connection to set-top boxes/DVD players. How nice of SPPL!
The remote controller looks modern with just the required amount of buttons you need to operate a smart TV. I appreciate the presence of a dedicated mute button and quick access to basic TV settings apart from the usual array of keys (Google Assistant, Home key, back key, navigation keys and more). Shortcut keys for Netflix and Prime Video are present along with those for YouTube and Google Play. This is one of the smartest TV remote controllers I have seen in this price range.
The I/O ports are easy to access from the side, especially when it is wall mounted. You get 2 USB-A ports and 3 HDMI ports for connectivity along with an Ethernet port and RF port. The USB-A ports are placed too close to each other and often makes the other port inaccessible while you have plugged your thumb drive, or external storage drive.
The highlight of the Kodak CA PRO 43 is its 4K display, which is a rarity in this price segment. It supports HDR10 and 10-bit colours, although there’s no support for Dolby Vision. There’s MEMC tech that kicks in to make things look smooth up 60Hz.
Compared to Full HD TVs at this price, the Kodak CA PRO 43’s 4K resolution panel impresses with its sharpness. Watching 4K videos on YouTube, or web shows on Amazon Prime Video is generally a pleasant experience. On this 43-inch panel, 4K content looks sharp and pixel-peepers may have nothing to complain about. The 10-bit panel makes for lively colours, although the blacks lack the contrast you get to see with similarly priced LED TVs from Samsung and Sony. For general TV viewing, it is good enough.
The MEMC performance is fine but you may often witness the motion blur to be uncomfy. Upscaling on 1080p video is decent but on lower res-720p, you will need to be content with not the sharpest picture quality. With its rated 450 nits of brightness, the TV is easily visible even when placed next to windows on sunny days.
Sadly, I did not have any gaming console or a gaming laptop at disposal to test the HDMI compatibility and performance. Note that the TV lacks ALLM, which could be a negative point for console gamers.
With its overall output of 40W from its stereo speaker setup, the Kodak CA PRO 43 does a good job with the audio in small rooms. The soundstage is clear with a good amount of emphasis on highs, mids and lows. In fact, the low end frequencies may often sound a bit bassy, which is good while watching movies. That said, enthusiasts may still need to attach a separate soundbar for better results.
Out of the box, the Kodak CA PRO 43 comes with Google’s stock Android TV 10 OS. Apart from the stock Google apps such as YouTube, YouTube Music, Play Store, Google Play Movies, and Assistant, you get Netflix and Prime Video pre-loaded.
Kodak also pre-loads its first-party apps for watching Live TV via a set-top box, a web browser, file manager, and another app for casting your phone’s display. I have concerns regarding the data privacy policies of the web browser and file manager, hence proceed with caution if you decide to use them.
Relying on an Amlogic Quad Core processor with 2GB RAM, the Kodak CA PRO 43 has delivered fluid performance so far. I did not have to wait any longer for the apps to open and load content that they would normally do. Navigating around the interface is easy and the voice recognition works as nicely as you’d expect Google Assistant to do on your smartphone.
When left on standby, the TV defaults to a quick wake up on the press of the power key; usually takes a second or two to start. Regular Android TV features such as Chromecast and app-based remote controller app work nicely.
At ₹27,999, the Kodak CA PRO 43 is undoubtedly good value for those who seek a 4K TV experience without compromising on the smart TV experience. The display is enjoyable for catching up with 4K content while upscaled 1080p content from OTT apps and YouTube looks fine. The speakers are nice too for regular TV viewing, although investing in a soundbar should certainly help.
The smart TV bits work well too, with the performance being consistently smooth and lag-free. I wish SPPL had not pre-loaded its bloatware apps and gone for a completely stock interface. Moreover, the USB-A port placement and the lack of ALLM on the HDMI ports could be a deal breaker for console gamers.
Nonetheless, for less than ₹30,000, the Kodak CA PRO 43 is a great smart TV to consider if you value 4K streaming and a fast Android TV experience.
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