Philips 803 OLED (65OLED803) evaluation: OLED mastery from Philips

Philips has a formidable lineup of LCD TVs, however it wholeheartedly believes that the way forward for premium TVs belongs to just one expertise: OLED. Now, the model has launched its newest top-end televisions for 2018 – the Philips 803 and flagship Philips 903 – and so they look able to tackle the cream of the OLED crop from rivals akin to LG, Sony and Panasonic.

Philips 65OLED803 evaluation: What you want to know

Key options on the 803 collection embody LG Show’s 2018 OLED panels powered by Philips’ second-generation P5 video processing engine, Extremely HD Premium certification, three-sided Ambilight built-in bias lighting expertise, and it runs on an Android-based Good TV platform. HDR help for the HDR10, broadcast-friendly HLG and HDR10+ codecs is current and proper, however Dolby Imaginative and prescient is a notable omission.

The Philips 803 lacks the superb-sounding Bowers & Wilkins audio system of the flagship 903, however image high quality ought to be related between the 2, which makes the 803 the extra good choice if you have already got your individual sound system. Our evaluation pattern is the £3,000 65in 65OLED803, however there’s additionally a smaller 55in 55OLED803 which prices £2,000.

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Philips 65OLED803 evaluation: Value and competitors

At £3,000, the 65in Philips 803 is priced competitively versus different OLEDs – particularly the LG OLED65C8 (£2,700), the Panasonic TX-65FZ802B (£2,800) and the Sony KD-65AF8 (£2,800) – all of which have loved value cuts since launch earlier within the yr. The just lately launched Sony KD-65AF9 stays the most costly mainstream OLED at £4,000.

Philips 65OLED803 evaluation: Design and connections

From the entrance, the styling is the epitome of minimalism. There’s solely a pair of shiny cuboid ft peeking from beneath the panel, considered one of which is etched with the Philips brand. It’s so low-slung, nevertheless, that there is not sufficient clearance to place even a low-profile soundbar in entrance with out obscuring the display screen. Fortunately, although, the 65OLED803’s onboard audio system are very first rate, producing enough presence and dialogue readability for run-of-the-mill viewing.

The display screen itself is wafer-thin however protrudes on the rear to accommodate the inner elements, energy provide, audio system and, extra importantly, the LED lights chargeable for Philips’ nifty Ambilight function (extra on which later). The connections are discovered on the best aspect of the tv, together with 4 HDMI inputs. Nevertheless, solely HDMI 1 and HDMI 2 are full-bandwidth HDMI 2.0b ports that may help 4K HDR movies at increased bit-depth, body fee and chroma, so you may have to hook up your Xbox One X, PS4 Professional or Apple TV 4K field to considered one of these two sockets.

The Philips OLED803 ships with two distant controls, though neither are typical within the strictest sense. The one with extra buttons has a QWERTY keyboard on the again, making it simple to sort in your Wi-Fi or Netflix password on the TV, however it’s infrared-only and so requires you to level it pretty precisely on the distant sensor on the telly. The second distant is a extra futuristic-looking instance, with solely six keys, Google Assistant help and a touchpad that does not seem like a touchpad in any respect.

Philips 65OLED803 evaluation: Image high quality

The Philips 65OLED803 is provided with considered one of LG’s 2018 WRGB OLED panels. We’ve usually discovered these to be extra uniform than final yr’s panels and that is actually the case on our evaluation pattern. Skinny vertical streaks had been barely seen on our 5%-above-black slide (that’s very, very, very darkish gray, when you’re questioning), and never noticeable to us even in difficult low-light scenes from the film Arrival. Brightness uniformity is incredible, too: we checked the display screen with full-field gray slides and there was no apparent color tinting or soiled display screen impact to spoil your soccer viewing – one thing that affected earlier generations of LG’s OLED panels.

Good blacks, vibrant colors and extensive viewing angles are traits frequent to all OLED TVs, so right here we’ll deal with different points of image processing that separate Philips from the remainder. What we like most on Philips TVs, together with the 803, is that there’s one explicit set-and-forget movement setting that allows you to get pleasure from each excessive movement decision and clean 24p playback with out undesirable unwanted side effects. In different phrases, you possibly can watch 24fps movies with out judder or soap-opera impact, in addition to 50Hz or 60Hz sports activities content material with excessive movement readability and minimal interpolation artefacts, all without having to alter the movement settings after they have been set appropriately. This can be a refreshing departure from different TVs that require a level of faff if you’d like all the things to look its finest.

The Philips OLED803 excels at making the most effective of grubby, standard-definition broadcasts – it’s one of many highest on this regard – however unsurprisingly UHD (extremely high-definition) HDR content material is the place the TV shines. After calibration, HDR peak brightness on our 65OLED803 evaluation unit got here in at 875 nits (10% window), the best we have measured from any 2018 OLED. This helps the TV ship a few of the most impactful HDR we have seen on a client OLED, regardless of minor clipping of brilliant specular highlights in 4000-nit films and occasional posterisation at excessive color luminance.
Enter lag is a little bit of a disappointment, nevertheless. We measured 39ms in each 1080p SDR and 4K HDR Recreation modes, which whereas solely playable, places the Philips a good manner behind the gaming responsiveness supplied by high-end OLED fashions from different TV manufacturers.

Philips 65OLED803 evaluation: Ambilight

No evaluation of a Philips TV is full with out mentioning Ambilight. Put merely, that is an array of LED lights positioned across the high and sides of the TV that illuminate the rear wall. This isn’t as gimmicky because it sounds, nevertheless, and to a point, it’s really extensively utilized in skilled circles. The technical time period for it’s “bias lighting”.

You may set Ambilight to alter colors and brightness in response to the image or sound, and watch as colors onscreen spill out from the TV onto the wall behind however, whereas spectacular, this may be relatively too distracting. As an alternative, we desire to make use of it in an analogous method to how skilled grading suites use bias lighting, particularly by setting it to a single secure white color (ideally calibrated to excellent D65 white). This provides a delicate glow the rear wall and environment, and the fixed low degree of illumination prevents your eye muscle tissue from having to work time beyond regulation as scenes transfer from gentle to darkish, decreasing eye fatigue and selling eye consolation. Our recommendation? Simply be sure to tone down the default Ambilight brightness degree, in any other case it tends to crush shadow element – and particularly so throughout HDR viewing.

Philips 65OLED803 evaluation: Verdict

In brief, it’s one other exemplary OLED TV from Philips. As with its predecessors, Philips’ picture processing engine serves up stunningly refined movement throughout sport, films and video games. The one slight disappointment is the upper enter lag in comparison with the class-leaders.

Add Ambilight to the combo, and the Philips 65OLED803 is a novel and extremely credible different to different top-performing OLEDs in the marketplace.

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