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Philips 6400 Series (43PUS6401/12) review: Now with HDR

Richard Easton Katharine Byrne
19 Oct 2016
Philips 43PUS6401/12 android tv
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
599
inc VAT

Now with HDR support, the Philips 6400 is a much better buy for those after a small 4K TV

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Specifications

Screen size: 43in, Native resolution: 3,840x2,160, Video inputs: 4x HDMI, Component, SCART, Tuner: Freeview HD, Dimensions: 623x968x204mm 

Buy the Philips 43PUS6401/12 now from Argos

The Philips 6400 Series is available in 43in (43PUS6401/12), 49in (49PUS6401/12)  and 55in (55PUS6401/12) variants but there isn’t any difference between models aside from the size of the display (and power consumption). The same specifications and technologies are shared across the range, which should mean image quality will be practically identical.

Whichever screen size you choose, the 6400 range delivers an Ultra HD resolution, an Android TV interface and Philips’ trademark Ambilight illumination - where lights mounted behind the TV project colours in tandem with the onscreen images. On test here was the 43in model and the slender-bezeled TV was incredibly easy to set up, both physically and in terms of the Android TV interface.

Two pleasingly-simple feet just slot into the base and are fixed with just one screw each. The silver finish is unassuming and overall it’s rather charming to look at. There aren't any embellishments, just the Philips logo at the bottom.

The feet provide 47mm of vertical clearance, enough for slender soundbases and soundbars, but on our 43in model you might struggle to fit many such devices between them - not a problem on the bigger screen sizes where there's more room between to be found.

Philips 43PUS6401/12 angle ambilight

The Android setup process is very approachable in terms of visual design, with clear instructions and easy to read menus. It first takes you through the stages of connecting to your home network either through wireless or the Ethernet port on the rear. Once that’s done you can sign into your Google account, which you’ll want to do if you plan on taking advantage of Android TV.  

The actual process of inputting text through the on-screen keyboard is laborious and sluggish. Moving between characters using the remote control’s incredibly clicky direction pad often saw presses not recognised or suddenly done in quick succession, resulting in missing the character you’re looking to type. You'll encounter the same problem when entering text to make searches in Netflix and the like.

After this, you’re taken through some basic settings for adjusting the TV’s image and sound settings. It’s a reasonable jumping off point but you’ll likely want to make finer adjustments at a later time.

With all that done, you'll get to experience the slightly disjointed menu system for Philips’ Android-based TVs. While the Android TV elements will be familiar to anyone who has used an Android device before, whether that’s a tablet or Android TV box, the rest of the TV menus, including the Live TV’s EPG, are of Philips’ own design.


Philips 43PUS6401/12 remote control

While they look pleasant enough, it’s still a little unsettling to move between the two and the TV’s remote control is a testament to the many different menus and functions of the set. There’s quite a number of different buttons so it’ll take a while to remember their functions as the button icons aren’t particularly obvious. The remote control feels light and plasticky, too.

The EPG is detailed enough but I found changing channels slow. There’s a longer delay than I would like as the channel changes, and then the EPG appears horizontally across the centre of the screen displaying the current programme and what’s coming up. It’s irksome that it’s not placed lower down as not to immediately block your view of what's on. There’s also no Freeview Play or other timeline based catch-up system. Combined with the lack of catch-up apps from the Android TV and it’s a disappointing package.

Android TV

The Android TV experience remains largely unchanged from when I saw it on the Google Nexus Player and Nvidia Shield TV, which means it still feels lacking. While the Shield TV and Nexus Player’s shortcomings could be overlooked if you were interested in Android gaming, this isn’t the case here as performance on even basic games like Crossy Road felt sluggish and unresponsive. Then there’s also the lack of a proper gamepad to make it something you would want to play games on in the first place. There are other apps available on Android TV, but you’ll struggle to care about most of them. There's also no microphone built into the Philips TV's remote control to take advantage of Android TV's voice recognition, which is a shame.

There are other apps available on Android TV, but you’ll struggle to care about most of them. There's also no microphone built into the Philips TV's remote control to take advantage of Android TV's voice recognition, which is a shame.


Philips 43PUS6401/12 android tv

But it’s the paucity of terrestrial catchup services that remains the glaring issue - there’s essentially just BBC iPlayer. As for streaming on demand, there’s currently Netflix but no Amazon Prime Video. When smart TVs from the likes of Samsung and Panasonic have the full stable, one begins to wonder why Philips still opts to keep using Android TV for its TVs. There is at least built-in Google Cast support, which opens up additional options for getting access to content on your big screen but it's more a sticking plaster than a fix. Continues on Page 2

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