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Philips 6500 series review (55PFT6510/12)

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £800
inc VAT

Take the time to perfect its picture settings and the Philips 6500 series will reward you handsomely


Screen size: 55in, Native resolution: 1,920×1,080, Video inputs: 4x HDMI, SCART, Component, Tuner: Freeview HD, Dimensions: 726x1239x279mm 

Ultra HD and OLED technology might be grabbing all the headlines, but for the next few months it’s Full HD sets where you’ll find the biggest bargains. The Philips 55PFT6510/12 from Philips’ 6500 series is one such set, a 55in Full HD, Android-powered TV with a huge arsenal of features, all for just £800.

For this review we tested the 55in model in the 6500 series, but it’s also available in 40in (40PFT6510/12) and 50in (50PFT6510/12) screen sizes. All models have identical specifications except for their dimensions and power usage. We’re confident that image quality will be practically identical across the range.

Image quality and sound

It’s one of the most user-friendly TVs I’ve come across, with a very simple quick setup guide that gives you a few options to pick from including basic colour saturation, contrast and audio tweaks. However, none of these choices were particularly satisfactory in the long run, pointing me towards the fine image adjustment controls found in the Advanced settings menus.

Beyond contrast and gamma settings, there are also individual colour tweaks, along with noise reduction and smooth motion controls. Out of the box, the TV displays 81% of the sRGB colour gamut, which is far from ideal – it leaves the brightest colours in colourful TV shows and films looking a little washed out. The first step was to activate ISF calibration, and with colour calibrating hardware in hand I set about improving colour accuracy. After switching to the ISF Day pre-set and tweaking colour levels, the sRGB gamut coverage was boosted to a much more impressive 97.5%, which did bright colours a lot of favours without making things looking unnatural.

Of course, most buyers won’t have a colour calibrator to hand and will stick with the presets. This is fine, but I’d urge you to spend a little time adjusting settings while watching your favourite TV channel or movie when you first get the TV so you start off on the right foot; 20 minutes’ preparation can dramatically improve your experience.

Away from colours, image quality elsewhere is good. Blacks are super dark and, as a result, contrast is sky-high at 4401:1. Even dark, space-based movies such as Gravity are easy to watch. The only real image quality concern is backlight uniformity, which is way off: the extreme right and left edges of the TV are around 15% darker than the centre at maximum brightness. Most of the time it isn’t noticeable, but with very bright colours, a dark border is just about visible, which is disappointing.

Motion is handled exceptionally well for 24fps content, on which pans and moving objects can appear jerky. Philips’ Natural Motion image interpolation creates its own frames between each video frame, making everything much smoother. The medium setting made everything look silky smooth without appearing unnatural.

With picture enhancements switched on, this is not a TV for anybody who wants to play games. Input lag was measured at a very high 138ms, which makes even fairly casual gaming nearly impossible. Philips does include a game mode, however, which switches off these enhancements and drops lag to a much more palatable 38ms, which will be fine for those playing on games consoles.

The 20W speakers in the TV are clear and fairly loud, although there are a number of preset audio options that will depend where your TV is positioned. You’re given three options when you first switch on the TV, but it’s never explained what each option is for. It’ll be down to luck and personal taste as to whether you select the correct audio setup for your room.

Android TV

The 55PFT6510/12 runs the Android TV operating system. This is quite exciting; when I last looked at Android TV in the form of the Nexus Player, I was impressed by the user interface but underwhelmed by a thin range of content. That was months ago, though, and things are now looking a lot healthier, with a wide range of apps available including BBC iPlayer,, Google Play Movies and Netflix.

^Android TV’s interface is clean and easy to use, and movie rentals are just a few clicks away

These apps run smoothly and load quickly, although I initially had problems getting any apps to work because Philips’ terms of use document failed to load, and I wasn’t permitted to run most of the apps until the document finally appeared on screen.

The real boon of Android TV is that you get access to Android games and other apps – the same software you’ll find on your Android smartphone and tablet – if the developer has chosen to make it TV-compatible. I was looking forward to a quick game of Crossy Road but after downloading it, I was left very disappointed. Games do not run smoothly on the 55PFT6510/12, and while Philips was careful not to claim gaming prowess in its marketing material, it’s still disappointing to have access to such a wide variety of games but to be thwarted by an underpowered processor.

The way in which you control the TV isn’t consistent, though. Android TV handles all the smart TV functions, while Philips’ own software deals with TV settings, terrestrial TV and inputs. It’s a little confusing to begin with as there are several menu styles to get used to, and I had a few issues with Philips’ menus not performing particularly well, freezing and stuttering as I tried to change settings.

Connectivity & Ambilight

For a £800 TV, there’s a generous array of ports and connections, including four HDMI ports, three USB ports including a USB3 connector, dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi and an Ethernet port. There are connectors for both satellite and terrestrial TV, a 3.5mm audio jack and an optical S/PDIF port, too.

You can also use the TV as a Chromecast, streaming YouTube, iPlayer Netflix and more from your phone, which might be preferable to using the fairly large, double-sided remote control to search and play content.

Another headline feature, although perhaps less useful to many, Ambilight mounts bright LEDs on the rear of the TV, changing colour based on what’s on screen and projecting onto your wall. It’s an interesting effect and while it’s certainly nice to have and increases your TV’s presence in the room, it’s not a deal-clincher by any means. I’ve yet to live with an Ambilight TV so remain unconvinced, but others in the team that have swear it makes a big difference to immersion in films and games.


The 55PFT6510/12 is a good-value TV for £800, with lots of extra features and respectable, if slightly fiddly, image and audio quality. Android TV is a great addition and is a massive improvement over Philips’ own clunky smart TV offering, although poor game performance is a bit troubling. If you want a large Full HD TV for your living room, I’d pick this over the Panasonic Viera TX-55CS520B largely because of the flexibility of Android TV. See our Best TVs and buying guide for other options.

Screen size55in
Native resolution1,920×1,080
Aspect ratio16:9
Contrast ratioNot stated
Speakers2x 20W
Video inputs4x HDMI, SCART, Component
Audio inputsDVI
Audio outputs3.5mm, HDMI ARC, Optical S/PDIF
TunerFreeview HD
Streaming TV servicesBBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All4, Demand5
Media StreamingDLNA
Price including VAT£800
WarrantyTwo years RTB
Part code55PFT6510/12

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