OnePlus first launched its smart TVs in India with the Q series lineup. Despite the fact that the Q series TVs offered excellent borderless design and superb image quality, the premium price made them unappealing to the vast majority of people in India. OnePlus is trying to fix that with its U series smart TVs, starting with the U1. The U1 is targeted to compete against the best-selling TV brands in India, which are Xiaomi and Vu.
Xiaomi’s Mi TV lineup has been selling at competitive prices in India for some time now. While it cut down on offline sales, the Mi TV lineup still offers exceptional value for money, and now OnePlus is following the same footsteps.
With the addition of OnePlus’ Y series, the company is now offering entry-level smart TVs starting from only ₹12,999, making OnePlus a worthy competitor in the Indian TV market. The U1 is priced at ₹49,999, and it brings a lot of high-end features from the Q series while hitting an affordable price point.
Speaking of the Q series TVs, OnePlus had a hard time addressing the issues at launch — Netflix was unavailable due to certification disputes, the remote had an unconventional button layout, and the design didn’t appeal to everyone. However, OnePlus is trying to make things work once again with its U series, and it is focusing on design as a selling aspect on the newer smart TVs. So, let’s take an in-depth look at the OnePlus TV U1, and see if it can compete against Xiaomi’s offerings.
OnePlus TV U1: Design
OnePlus has taken design seriously for its U series — which is imminent when you look at the official product page on OnePlus India’s website. The OnePlus TV U1 comes with a sleek design, with a thickness of only ~6.9mm. The internal hardware is tucked under the wider part at the back of the TV, but the slender bezels make the TV look as premium as more expensive options from traditional TV manufacturers, such as LG, Sony, and Samsung.
The carbon fiber pattern spread across the bottom part of the rear is also an underrated choice. There’s also a removable cover for hiding messy cables, but you will have to get rid of it when plugging in a thick HDMI cable, as it completely blocks the routing space.
Many would prefer the OnePlus TV U1’s design over last year’s Q1 series TVs. The chrome base didn’t match the overall aesthetics of the TV, and the proprietary mounting mechanism wasn’t the best option. With the U1, OnePlus went back to the drawing board and added the feet on two sides of the TV, giving it a simpler and cleaner look that doesn’t draw a lot of attention. The feet also have a brushed metal finish, which looks much more premium.
OnePlus has apparently taken a lot of feedback from its user community to make U1 appealing to the customers, which is one of the reasons why they went for the slim aluminum chassis and an aesthetic carbon fiber pattern at the back. The gunmetal finish also results in an overall premium feel, which many of you will definitely appreciate. In terms of design, OnePlus has done a great job addressing the flaws of its Q1 TVs.
The OnePlus TV U1 isn’t shipped with a wall mounting kit, but customers can ask for it during installation without paying additional fees.
OnePlus TV U1: Display
The OnePlus TV U1 boasts a 55-inch 4K (3840×2160) LED panel that supports HDR10+ and Dolby Vision enhancements. Following the same slender design, the bezels around the panel are super-thin, which gives the TV an excellent borderless look.
The panel itself covers 93% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. OnePlus’s Gamma Engine comes with the usual image enhancement modifiers, such as noise reduction, resolution upscaling, dynamic contrast, etc. It can also boost color saturation, giving the image a vivid look. The upscaling feature is great for watching lower-resolution content without a noticeable loss in clarity.
OnePlus TV U1 even has MEMC technology, which stands for Motion Estimation, Motion Compensation. When enabled, the feature interpolates every frame of the video output, resulting in smoother video playback. While it is great for watching fast-paced sports content, users should turn it off for other content to avoid the “soap-opera effect.” Fortunately, the TV does have a gaming mode, which turns off all post-processing features and decreases image latency to just 22ms.
In terms of daily usage, the OnePlus TV U1 does perform exceptionally well in almost every department. Although the VA panel can’t produce greater contrast and color levels than the QLED panel on Q1 series TVs, it still is one of the best display panels you can have in this price range. Viewing angles are also great for a VA panel, and support for Dolby Vision content is a welcoming addition. Although the company didn’t specify the peak brightness of the panel, watching HDR content on the OnePlus TV U1 provided a decent experience. It is marginally better than what Xiaomi and Vu offer in this price segment.
OnePlus TV U1: Audio
The four built-in speakers on the OnePlus TV U1 consists of two full-range units and two high-frequency tweeters, which delivers an output of 30W in total. Unlike the front-firing soundbar on the Q1 series, OnePlus has decided to rotate the speakers by 90 degrees in the bottom enclosure of the TV.
You do get Dolby Atmos support, but don’t expect to get your mind blown with the onboard presets. The speakers produce loud audio, punchy bass, and clear dialogues. They also provide a decent dynamic range, but definitely lacks the immersive surround sound of the integrated soundbar of the Q1 Pro TV.
If necessary, you can use U1’s Bluetooth functionality to use the TV as a soundbar. However, we would highly recommend buying a separate speaker unit for better audio output.
OnePlus TV U1: Remote
One of the serious dealbreakers for OnePlus’s Q1 series was the remote, which resembled the design of the Apple TV remote, but made it much worse and unintuitive for day-to-day usage.
Fortunately, the remote shipped with the OnePlus TV U1 is much better. The tapered and curved edges of the remote provide a comfortable grip in hand, and there’s finally a dedicated volume up, volume down, and a mute button. You also get quick access to Netflix, Prime Video, and Google Assistant, as well as a shortcut to OnePlus’ Oxygen Play platform for content discovery. The primary directional pad is situated at the top of the remote, along with dedicated home and back buttons.
Instead of using USB-C for charging the remote (found on the Q1 series TVs), OnePlus has opted for two AAA batteries on the U1’s remote as a cost-saving measure. Unlike Q1’s remote, the remote shipped with the OnePlus TV U1 has a plastic body, but it doesn’t really matter considering that Q1’s remote is a pain to use.
OnePlus TV U1: Connectivity
The OnePlus TV U1 doesn’t sacrifice connectivity options. You get not only three HDMI 2.0 ports but also one USB 3.0 port, a single USB 2.0 port, an Ethernet port, an optical out, RF connector, and an AV Composite port. The labels for the ports are properly visible on the back, making it easier to plug cables or USB-powered devices when mounted on the wall.
In terms of wireless connectivity, you get Bluetooth 5.0, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (2.4GHz/5GHz), as well as DLNA and Chromecast built-in for casting content over the local network. As previously mentioned, you can connect your smartphone to OnePlus TV U1 over the Bluetooth Stereo mode and use it as a wireless soundbar.
During our testing, we didn’t encounter any sort of network issues over either Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection.
OnePlus TV U1: Android TV Experience
OnePlus TV U1 is powered by Android TV, similar to most other smart TVs in this price range. This build of the software is still based on 9.0 Pie, which is currently the industry-standard for Android TVs. Apart from the annoying aspects of Android TV, OnePlus is offering a clean software experience with a few tweaks of their own. Based on the company’s exceptional track record in terms of major software updates, the OnePlus TV U1 should last you the next few years without any issues.
In regular usage, the OnePlus TV U1 glides through the Android TV interface without hiccups, thanks to OnePlus using the same MediaTek chipset found on the Q1 series and 3GB of memory. It also comes with 16GB of onboard storage.
OnePlus has added a Dava Saver mode to the Android TV, similar to what we find in Xiaomi’s Mi TV lineup. It’s great to see OnePlus adding features that are essential to the Indian customers, especially when most people are still on a limited data cap. With the Data Saver mode, you can limit bandwidth usage and universally lower the stream resolution across all streaming services.
The OnePlus TV U1 also comes with the OnePlus Connect features, which makes it simpler to control the TV with your smartphone. You can switch between apps, launch your favorite streaming services, and cast content to the TV without touching the remote.
Similar to every other smart TVs with Android TV certification, you get Google Assistant and Chromecast built-in. Just like select Sony BRAVIA TVs, the OnePlus TV U1 lets you control the TV with Alexa as well, in case you have an Amazon Echo device ecosystem set up in your house. You can get the OnePlus TV skill from the Amazon Appstore to get started.
Unlike the Q1 series, the OnePlus TV U1 does support Netflix and Prime Video out of the box. With Oxygen Play, you can also browse through curated lists of exclusive series and movies from different streaming services, similar to Xiaomi’s Patchwall service.
OnePlus has promised to deliver more exciting features with software updates in the upcoming weeks, as well as several tweaks and optimizations to the standard Android TV experience.
OnePlus TV U1: Is It Worth The Premium?
The OnePlus TV U1 is OnePlus’ successful attempt to enter the mid-tier segment of the Indian TV market. The slim aluminum body and super-thin bezels blow away its competitors, and the 4K 10-bit VA panel offers a decent HDR10+ and Dolby Vision experience. The 30W integrated audio solution produces fairly good audio, and the powerful chipset provides a solid and smooth Android TV experience.
The closest competitor to the OnePlus TV U1 is the Mi TV 4X (55”) from Xiaomi, which costs ₹15,000 less. However, the panel on the Mi TV 4X can’t deliver the same image fidelity as the OnePlus TV U1, and the built-in audio solution is lackluster compared to OnePlus’ offerings.
If you are looking for a feature-packed, Ultra-HD Android TV in the sub 50K price segment, then the OnePlus TV U1 might be a worthwhile investment for your content consumption needs.
In case the OnePlus TV U1 is out of your budget, you can also go for the OnePlus TV Y1, which comes in 43-inch (₹22,999) and 32-inch (₹12,999) variants.