Back in 2019, I had a budget of Rs. 25,000 to buy my first TV and I blindly went for Xiaomi’s Mi TV 4X 4K 43-inch model. It was a great deal for the time and it fulfilled two of my major needs — 4K resolution and Android TV experience. Three years since then and the world has changed. For a budget of Rs. 25,000, the best you can get from the big brands is a Full HD TV, while smaller brands are offering 4K TVs with bloated Android TV systems. And Xiaomi now has a new alternative to offer in its already varied range of Redmi and Xiaomi TVs, called the Xiaomi Smart TV 5A 43.
The Xiaomi Smart TV 5A 43 offers a stellar combo of style, features and value. It costs Rs. 25,999 and is offering some of the most desired features in the affordable Smart TV category. It got a slim bezel design, more RAM and storage, and Xiaomi’s own PatchWall UI in its fourth iteration. But the market is full of similar products from Realme, Samsung, and Sony, and if you have got that amount of money to spend on a smart TV, should you pick this up?
To find out, I swapped my trusty old smart TV with this one for a few weeks and this is all you need to know.
Going with the norms of the segment, the Xiaomi Smart TV 5A gets the new bezel-less design that we have seen on some high-end TVs previously. The bezels are there but the TV masks its bulk nicely, despite the stubby chin at the bottom. And this one has got the new Xiaomi logo above the white LED status light. The fit and finish feels premium, which is rare for a smart TV in this price range. However, the glossy finish is a dust magnet and in the dusty ambience of Noida, keeping this TV spotlessly clean is a task.
The rear of the TV is bloated like the TVs of the old days, and the port access isn’t the easiest, especially when it is wall mounted. Hence, if you are accessing the HDMI ARC port, or the standard HDMI port, or the two USB ports, the Ethernet port, the AV ports as well as Optical port, you will need to work on your muscles to squeeze your hands to connect anything. Moreover, the two USB ports are arranged in a weird way — plugging one Thumb drive or a USB accessory prevents the other port from letting any other USB device in. Simply put, you cannot use the two USB ports together.
Xiaomi does not list the weight of the TV but I was able to take it out of the box and mount it on the wall all by myself. You don’t get the wall mounts in the box but you get two plastic legs for keeping it on a table.
The version that I had for review is the 43-inch variant, which offers a Full HD IPS LCD panel with LED backlighting. Unlike the slightly higher priced 4K Redmi TVs, there is no support for Dolby Atmos or HDR10 formats. In fact, Xiaomi does not list any of the modern fancy stuff that decorate the spec sheet of similarly priced 43-inch TVs from Realme or OnePlus. Hence, those looking for a big screen for their PS5 or Xbox consoles should look elsewhere.
For basic TV viewing experience, the Xiaomi Smart TV 5A 43 is satisfactory. The LCD panel is of good quality — it renders vibrant picture with high contrast and adequate brightness. The backlight control is decent and I did not notice any light bleed while watching dark content at night. In fact, compared to the slightly higher priced Redmi TVs, the panel looks better for most kinds of content. The Full HD resolution is restrictive and on a 43-inch canvas, it is fine but I miss the 4K goodness. The viewing angles are pretty wide and there’s no loss in colours or brightness, which could come handy while having a family movie night. For most viewers watching movies or TV channels via satellite TV connections, this TV is more than enough to have a satisfactory viewing experience.
I did not have any gaming console at my disposal to check the gaming performance. However, the HDMI ARC port along with support for ALLM should help in reducing the latency.
Audio performance on Xiaomi’s smart TVs have been the Achilles heel in the past. However, with the new 5A series, Xiaomi has addressed the issue. The 24W rated dual speaker setup sounds better than the previous generation model. Not only can the system get loud, but the sound output holds strong mids and loud highs, while having little amount of bass towards the low end. It is still not good enough for an immersive home theatre-like experience, and you will need to invest in a good sound bar for those movie nights.
This is where Xiaomi pulls out an ace up its sleeves. For years, Xiaomi’s PatchWall UI has been the gold standard in Smart TV OS experience and it continues to be the same even in 2022. Now called PatchWall UI 4, the new interface is well-laid out and categorises content from various platforms and genres effectively — it seems like a Spotify playlist but instead of songs, you get to choose from your favourite movies and web shows. You can browse content via genres, or via channels — there is so much to explore here. You can control smart home devices via the integrated Mi Home app, which sadly did not work in my case. PatchWall, however, may seem too messy for some and hence, Xiaomi gives you the option to switch to the basic Android TV interface (or Google TV interface).
Whether you are using PatchWall UI or Google TV interface, the Xiaomi Smart TV 5A 43 runs fast and smooth, courtesy of its quad-core chip, 1.5GB RAM and the newest Android 11 TV OS. Throughout the two weeks I watched it, this TV has been eager to respond while opening apps or switching between a couple of them. The PatchWall UI exhibits lags in some sub-menus at times but it mostly seems fast. Xiaomi needs to release a few updates to make it more stable.
And then there’s the Xiaomi remote controller, which is now bigger than the controllers on the previous models. The new version has the usual navigation keys along with a. Dedicated button for Google Assistant, power key, PatchWall, Android TV home, and volume keys. You also get dedicated keys for Netflix, PrimeVideo, Disney+ Hotstar and Google Apps. The Apps button by default opens up the app window on Android TV, even if you default to PatchWall — there is no way to change the default app menu. The Quick Wake and Mute functions are present here.
The Xiaomi Smart TV 5A 43 shows once again that Xiaomi’s formula for smart TVs in India continues to check the right boxes. It looks great, runs fast, has a good quality display, packs decent speakers, and offers the brilliantly designed PatchWall UI — what else do you need from an affordable smart TV? For a price of Rs. 25,999, I doubt you can get an overall nicer package in the 43-inch category.
For a little more money, you can get 4K smart TVs from Kodak and several new entrants but in terms of the overall polish, as well as the feature set, nothing beats the Xiaomi Smart TV 5A 43. Our top recommendation for a 43-inch FHD smart TV under Rs. 30,000.
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