Redmi Smart Fire TV 4K
Redmi Smart Fire TV 4K: Amazon Fire OS has probably been the first proper smart TV platform in India, courtesy of the Fire TV Stick that could turn any TV smart. That platform deserved a far better adoption rate from TV manufacturers than it actually got, as it remains one of the best TV OS around. Almost four years ago, when we reviewed our first TV based on Fire OS, there was barely another option or two in this market dominated by Android TV, Tizen and WebOS.
Cut to 2023, while things haven’t turned on their head, you do get a handful of TVs from a few manufacturers that run Fire OS. It is great to see a popular brand like Xiaomi jump onto the bandwagon too. We got a chance to test their latest 4K TV from the F series which offers some impressive features for a budget TV. Time to tell you everything you need to know about the Redmi Smart Fire TV 4K 43.
Redmi Smart Fire TV 4K 43 – Design and Connectivity: 8/10
You get a bezel-less design on three sides of the screen and a more prominent bottom bezel with the Redmi and Fire TV branding. It has a tiny chin at the centre that hosts a power LED and a power button. While a bezel-less design cannot be termed as a novelty in 2023, it is good to see one on a budget TV. The edges are smartly designed to make the TV look a lot slimmer than it actually is from certain angles. It can be placed on a desk using the bundled plastic stands and screws.
Typical of Xiaomi, a wall mount is not provided in the package and may need to be purchased separately if you intend to hang it on a wall. Though the ports aren’t placed closer to the edge of the TV for easier access, they aren’t too hard to reach given the size of the TV. I am talking about the three HDMI ports, two USB 2.0 ports and the 3.5 mm headphone out that are present at the side of the TV. Reaching the AV input, LAN port or optical out can be a task as they face downwards.
What pleased me more is the use of newer HDMI 2.1 ports on this TV with support for features like ALLM and eARC; the latter being available on the middle HDMI port. On the wireless connectivity front, you get Bluetooth 5.0 and dual-band WiFi with support for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks.
Redmi Smart Fire TV 4K 43 – Features and specifications: 7.5/10
This Redmi TV has a 43-inch 4K panel with a resolution of 3840X2160 pixels. The panel type isn’t specified, and some batches may have an IPS panel with a VA panel on the rest. It has a 60Hz refresh rate and 6.5 ms response time. On the specifications front, this TV is powered by a quad-core processor with four Cortex A55 cores and a Mali G52 MC1 GPU. You get 2 GB RAM and 8 GB of internal storage, a chunk of which is taken up by the Fire OS.
HDR format support is limited to HDR10 and HLG. Unlike a Fire TV Stick 4K, this TV isn’t compliant with Dolby Vision. Audio output is rated at 24 Watts RMS with support for Dolby Audio, DTS-HD and DTS Virtual:X. It supports Miracast and Apple Airplay 2 for screen mirroring/casting. You get a wireless remote control that’s a cross between the usual Xiaomi remote and the one you get with a Fire TV Stick 4K with a few extra buttons and hotkeys. It is better than the barebone Xiaomi remote, and believe it or not, this one has a mute button too!
It could have used a couple of extra keys for input source selection and settings. This remote is voice-enabled, and you can summon Alexa by keeping the corresponding button pressed and issuing voice commands. Things are quite responsive on this front. The build quality of the remote is perfectly fine, and a pair of AAA batteries is bundled along to power it. The remote communicates with the TV over Bluetooth, so you need not point it towards the TV when pressing a key.
Redmi Smart Fire TV 4K 43 – OS and User Interface: 8/10
This Redmi TV runs the latest Fire OS version 7.6.6.x. The user interface here is pretty much like what you get on a Fire TV Stick with a few additions like input sources, media player and some extra settings for the TV. There is no additional UI layer like Patchwall that you get on Xiaomi’s Android and Google TVs. You need to log in with your Amazon ID to access all the functions of this TV. If you don’t have one, you will need to register and create one for free.
You get apps for all major streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+Hotstar, Sony LIV etc. In fact, the app count for Fire TV has gone past 12,000 now. All the apps and content are neatly organised and you have settings for sound and picture adjustments among others. The Redmi Smart Fire TV 4K lets you tweak the sound and picture settings on the fly while viewing any content, be it through an app or an HDMI source or even from a USB drive.
However, you do not have a dedicated settings button on the remote and need to keep the Home button pressed for a couple of seconds to bring up the quick settings menu. In addition to that, a dedicated input/source button would have been handy too. Also, certain TV-centric features in the UI could have been more accessible rather than being buried a few layers deep. A Fire TV Stick doesn’t need to bother about these things, but certain tweaks to the same UI on a TV would have made things more intuitive.
Redmi Smart Fire TV 4K 43 – Picture quality: 7.5/10
The picture quality of this TV is pretty good for a budget TV, especially when viewing SDR content. The colour reproduction is impressive and colours feel vibrant without going over the top. There are a handful of picture presets and tweaks to fine-tune them further. The Movie preset is easily the best option on this TV with fairly accurate colours and natural skin tones. But for some reason, if you find it a little dull, try the Standard preset with the colour temperature set to Warm.
The panel here isn’t the brightest I have come across in the segment, and as a result, the brightness and contrast are slightly below par. Details in dark areas in high-contrast scenes in our test videos were just about visible. If you increase the brightness beyond 55 to 60 per cent, the blacks look distinctly grey, which is not good. The black levels are decent here with the colour temperature set to warm, otherwise, they appear bluish. In fact, when watching the MIB trailer on default settings, I couldn’t help calling them Men in Blue.
As I mentioned earlier, you get a lot of picture settings to play with, and after tweaking some, the overall picture quality is quite good. Be it 4K content or 1080p Full HD videos, both look sharp and lively on this TV. Even 720p videos are upscaled reasonably well. While the TV supports HDR10, given the low brightness of the panel, it doesn’t manage to get the best out of HDR content, but that’s the case with most budget TVs. The colours, though a tad boosted, are manageable when using the Movie preset, but the contrast is subpar.
I noticed something unusual about the presets here. Most of them, except Standard, tend to disable certain picture settings. For instance, when using the aforementioned Movie preset, the motion smoothing is set to zero and disabled. Speaking of which, it is best to keep the motion settings closer to zero or certainly below the 50 per cent mark, as anything higher tends to induce motion artefacts. I also noticed a bit of backlight bleeding around the edges of the TV. Though it doesn’t impact the viewing experience much, such issues need to be addressed during quality control itself.
Redmi Smart Fire TV 4K 43 – Audio quality: 7/10
This TV has a pair of stereo speakers with a total rated audio output of 24 Watts RMS. The speakers are fairly loud and produce a reasonably balanced output on the standard sound preset. The output is tuned for vocal clarity and it does well on that front. While there is a touch of warmth to the sound, it obviously cannot match that of a dedicated soundbar or a speaker system with a subwoofer.