It’s honest to say we’ve been quite shocked by simply how good Philips’ OLEDs have been this 12 months. With many manufacturers utilizing the identical LG-sourced panels, competitors is fiercer than ever, however Philips stands out because the producer that has come closest to beating LG’s personal fashions.
That’s partly due to Ambilight, however primarily as a result of Philips has nailed the image efficiency, making it higher than that of the LGs in some methods.
So, with the corporate able to delivering a number of the finest photos in the marketplace, the one apparent space to enhance for a step-up mannequin is the audio. And in case you’re a TV producer wanting so as to add a critical sonic enhance, it’s logical that you just’d staff up with a hi-fi model reminiscent of Bowers & Wilkins.
The Philips OLED903 then (additionally referred to as the OLED903+), right here in its 55in model, combines Philips video with B&W sound. That seems like a match made in heaven to us.
Merely put, the OLED903 is an OLED803 with a soundbar connected to the underside. Which may sound like an inelegant proposition, nevertheless, in actuality it’s something however.
The skinny, gray, fabric-covered speaker part on the backside of the 903 doesn’t detract from its smooth design. In truth, it provides a bit by lifting the underside of the display screen off the furnishings upon which the TV is positioned.
That cloth soundbar part accommodates two oval-shaped, glass fibre midrange cones and two 19mm titanium-dome tweeters, whereas the enclosure itself is stiffened to scale back resonance.
The brand new sound system provides only a millimetre to the general depth of the set, and with the elegant toes eliminated, it’s simply over 5cm deep. That will not sound ‘razor slim’, as Philips describes it, however it’s much like most OLED TVs, which have to mix the OLED panel itself with a casework containing connections in addition to processing bits and items.
With a Philips OLED, that casework can be ringed with little LED strips that type the Ambilight system. Philips’ proprietary tech extends the perimeters of the image you’re watching with colored gentle on the wall across the TV. It seems like a gimmick, however not solely does it look stunning, it additionally attracts the attention into the image and makes the picture appear larger.
B&W’s affect isn’t restricted to the soundbar, both. The rear-mounted bass unit right here has been upgraded, and now boasts larger inside quantity, additional stiffness and bass radiators derived from these utilized in B&W’s premium T7 wi-fi speaker.
Whereas the characteristic set of the OLED903 is similar to that of the 803, there are some points. The choice to make use of Android TV because the working system is a slight disappointment as a result of, whereas it continues to enhance with every replace – the most recent of which is Android Oreo – it nonetheless falls wanting the bespoke software program you’ll discover on a Samsung or LG TV by way of presentation, slickness, intuitiveness and customisation.
Android TV additionally lacks the ITV Hub and All 4 apps. Sony reinstates them by itself Android TV units by including YouView, however Philips hasn’t adopted go well with.
There are nonetheless loads of apps to take pleasure in on the OLED903. Netflix is current in full 4K HDR, as is Amazon Prime Video. Subscription-free 4K motion pictures can be found to hire or purchase by way of Google Play Films & TV, though these lack HDR. These with motion pictures and TV reveals saved on a NAS gadget or transportable exhausting drive will likely be happy to see each Plex and VLC are on board, and people trying to check the B&W sound system with streamed music will recognize Spotify, Tidal, Deezer and TuneIn being obtainable.
You may add Alexa voice management by connecting an Alexa-enabled speaker by way of the TV’s built-in Amazon Alexa app. This may be discovered within the ‘apps’ record accessed by clicking on the purple circle within the prime left nook of the display screen – do that, and the app will stroll you thru the easy set-up course of. We simply related an Amazon Echo Dot which may then be requested to show the TV on or off, change the channel or quantity.
Philips 55OLED903 tech specs
Display sort OLED
Working system Google Android TV 8.0
HDR codecs HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
The Philips helps HDR10, HLG and HDR10+, however not Dolby Imaginative and prescient. That’s not at present an enormous situation, however because the weeks and months move with out HDR10+ correctly materialising, we might properly rethink.
There are 4 HDMIs across the again, all of which can deal with 4K HDR alerts and two of that are Audio Return Channel (ARC) appropriate. There’s additionally an optical output to attach a non-ARC sound system, in addition to a headphone socket. For TV, you should utilize the aerial or satellite tv for pc connections, though the TV doesn’t comprise a Freesat tuner.
The panel itself is similar used on LG’s personal 2018 units, which suggests it’s 10 per cent brighter than final 12 months’s OLEDs and boasts a extra refined pixel association. Telling the panel what to do is Philips’ personal P5 chip, first seen on the OLED803. The corporate says this improves virtually each factor of the image, from the colors and distinction to sharpness and movement.
Upscaling can be improved, significantly by way of noise discount, and the P5 introduces a characteristic referred to as Excellent Pure Actuality, which upconverts SDR alerts to HDR-like high quality.
The image efficiency of the OLED903 is sort of similar to that of the OLED803, and is definitely a punchier image than the LG, with which it shares a panel. Play Prepared Participant One on 4K Blu-ray and the brilliant CGI motion pops from the display screen, however with out ever wanting garish or uncontrolled.
The three-dimensionality of the picture is helped by delicate shading and the pin-sharp definition of edges, plus the astonishing distinction afforded by brilliant whites and people vivid colors on near-perfect blacks that solely OLED can recreate.
Element ranges, in the meantime, are distinctive. This can be a largely computer-generated movie, however it’s packed to the rafters with delicate touches and textures that different TVs might miss. However, just like the OLED803, the 903 is usually a little off with pores and skin tones. Through the ‘real-world’ motion, Wade sometimes seems gray and zombie-like. It’s a bit jarring, however removed from a deal-breaker.
The out-of-the-box movement smoothing settings are a bit a lot, with occasional artefacts round difficult bits of motion and a touch of the cleaning soap opera impact. We’d advocate both switching it off, or giving the Film choice a go. The latter reduces judder and blur with out making a movie look much less any much less cinematic.
We’d additionally experiment with the Excellent Pure Actuality setting. To those eyes its upconversion of SDR to HDR-like ranges is a bit synthetic, however it’s possible you’ll like what it does with some content material, reminiscent of animation. We positively advocate turning off Dynamic Distinction and decreasing the Video Distinction, although.
Whereas the 903’s upconversion of SDR to HDR is mildly unconvincing, we’re thrilled by its upscaling of 1080p and even 576p to the panel’s native 4K decision. It’s a noisier image than LG’s super-smooth 2018 OLEDs, but in addition considerably extra detailed and a good bit sharper. The 1080p image isn’t far off 4K, and even DVDs are nice to look at with a shocking quantity of punch.
The wonderful upscaler combines with a succesful Freeview tuner to make the Philips OLED903 an awesome TV. Once more, there’s a little bit of noise to the picture, however that’s a greater than cheap worth to pay for an in depth and dynamic picture.
With the image high quality on the OLED903 being much like the 803, the query is whether or not the B&W sound system is price paying the additional for. Although the 903 does sound loads higher than its predecessor, fluctuations within the worth distinction between the 2 fashions complicates the problem.
Philips and B&W declare that with the 903, dialogue readability, soundfield openness and dynamic vary are all ‘notably elevated’ over the 803, they usually’re proper. Sound is projected successfully into the room, lending voices and sound results a directness that almost all TVs lack. Voices are fuller and extra pure, too.
The soundstage is properly open and spacious, which helps it ship a level of ambiance that’s uncommon for a flatpanel telly. Play an motion film and the crashes, bangs and wallops are loud and distinct. The 803 was already full-bodied, and the 903 is even higher in these areas. Bass is weighty and deep however by no means overbearing, and the richness doesn’t come on the expense of readability or organisation.
Nonetheless, the treble is a contact harsh and voices is usually a little sibilant. It’s sufficient to be distracting, even irritating at occasions. It’s the one large situation we have now with the OLED903’s sound, however there’s additionally the broader query of its sonic efficiency in comparison with that of a soundbar.
In some methods it’s an unfair comparability, B&W has needed to work to a tighter temporary right here than for constructing a standalone sound system, however it’s an inevitable one when the one distinction between this TV and its cheaper sibling is the sound.
The reality is that the perfect soundbars sound higher, even these on the reasonably priced finish of the market. The Sonos Beam (£389), for instance, is extra dynamic, detailed and musical, whereas the Yamaha YAS-207 (£249) is crisp and spacious. We wouldn’t count on a TV to sound pretty much as good as a separate soundbar, however it’s one thing a purchaser is prone to take into account.
When it comes to its image, the Philips OLED903 is among the finest TVs at present obtainable, and there is the added bonus of superior sound. And but our private choice could be to purchase the cheaper Philips OLED803 and a separate soundbar. That stated, for many individuals an all-in-one TV and soundbar answer will little question attraction, during which case the OLED903 is a neat improve choice. Fortunately, each TVs signify nice worth.
- Image 5
- Sound 4
- Options 4
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