Philips 50PUS6703

FOR Pop­ping, dy­namic im­age; great de­tail; Am­bi­light AGAINST Dull user in­ter­face and re­mote; dif­fi­cult to set up

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

If TV man­u­fac­tur­ing were a sport then Philips’ 50PUS6703 would be a Bolt, or a Wil­liams or a Pelé. Com­pared with the com­pe­ti­tion, it’s al­most un­fair that they’re in the run­ning.

The 50PUS6703 is a su­perb spend at a sur­pris­ingly small cost. For £600, you get a 4K HDR panel with three-way-am­bi­light thrown in for good mea­sure. And it looks darn good too. We’d love to go straight to the 'pic' de

ré­sis­tance, but Philips doesn’t make it easy. There’s a mul­ti­tude of menus to go through to get this screen look­ing its best. You’ll have to turn off the de­fault ‘Eco’ mode, undo all the noise-re­duc­tion set­tings and ad­just the con­trast and bright­ness. Then you’ll have to do it all again for HDR con­tent, be­cause the tele­vi­sion treats that sep­a­rately from the rest.

For non-hdr con­tent, we use the Movie pre­set, push­ing up the colour a lit­tle while ton­ing down sharpness, con­trast, and bright­ness. Colour En­hance­ment gets put on min­i­mum and Con­trast Mode is best at 'Op­ti­mized for Pic­ture'. When the TV de­tects an HDR source, we pre­fer the 'HDR Vivid' mode for top-notch per­for­mance.

En­dur­ing qual­ity

All that tweak­ing is well worth it, though. The 50PUS6703 has the same great qual­i­ties as its pre­de­ces­sor, the 50PUS6272. We be­gin with a 4K HDR disc of Kings­men:

The Golden Cir­cle and there’s a dis­tinct punch and pop from this tele­vi­sion that com­pet­ing sets have trou­ble match­ing.

When the cy­ber­net­i­cally en­hanced Charles Hes­keth (Ed­ward Hol­croft) stands in front of the neon signs adorn­ing an am­phithe­atre, the glow­ing yel­low and red are both strik­ing but nu­anced. This tele­vi­sion walks that fine line of bring­ing you bold colours while also of­fer­ing a range of hues within those colours.

Nat­u­ral and tex­tured

It’s that same qual­ity that makes its han­dling of skin tones so good too. Against the bright whites of a padded cell, Harry Hart (Colin Firth)'s puffy, pink com­plex­ion looks nat­u­ral and well han­dled.

There’s a great deal of tex­ture to fabrics, hair, and back­ground de­tail; the fluffy white clouds that sail around the moun­tains both stand out against the sky­line and show off the dif­fer­ences be­tween their thick bod­ies and wispy outer strands. Drop­ping down a notch in de­tail with

Spi­der-man: Home­com­ing on Blu-ray, the close-ups on Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton)’s face as he drives his daugh­ter (Laura Har­rier) and Pe­ter Parker (Tom Hol­land) to the home­com­ing dance show off the pores on his skin and the fur­rows of his brow while he mulls over whether this young child is in­deed a su­per­hero. Last year’s 50PUS6272 does all of those things too, but there’s no deny­ing that this tele­vi­sion sim­ply does it bet­ter.

Broad­cast­ing rights

With broad­cast tele­vi­sion, the 50PUS6703 up­scales and ren­ders to a per­fectly en­joy­able im­age. It’s not the last word when it comes to de­tail or def­i­ni­tion – more ex­pen­sive tele­vi­sions are bet­ter at up­scal­ing – but you won’t need to up­date your DVD col­lec­tion just yet.

If there’s one slight crit­i­cism we have with this set, it’s that its black lev­els – while strik­ing – can oc­ca­sion­ally ob­scure de­tail a lit­tle bit. With Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol.

2, and the first shot of the planet Sov­er­eign, some of the faint lights of the stars are lost among the vast black­ness of space.

How­ever, this is more than a fair com­pro­mise; the greater sense of depth and

“If TV man­u­fac­tur­ing were a sport then Philips’ 50PUS6703 would be a Bolt, or a Wil­liams or a Pelé. It's al­most un­fair that they're in the run­ning”

rich­ness of colour that comes from the Philips’ black lev­els more than make up for any mi­nor loss of de­tail.

Com­pared with its pre­de­ces­sor, the 50PUS6703 has im­proved sound qual­ity. It’s more au­thor­i­ta­tive on both a small scale with di­a­logue and on a larger scale when cars crash through mounds of un­dead flesh or into gas sta­tions in Zom­bieland.

At this price the au­dio is cer­tainly ac­cept­able, but should your bud­get al­low it we would al­ways rec­om­mend pair­ing this tele­vi­sion with a sound­bar such as JVC’S TH W513B (£60).

Am­bi­light en­hance­ment

Top of the fea­ture list is the three-sided Am­bi­light, which projects the colour pal­ette of what­ever’s on screen to the sur­round­ing walls through lit­tle LEDS. The ef­fect helps make the ac­tion look more dra­matic, but you can turn it off if you don’t like it.

Much like Philips’ other tele­vi­sions, the 50PUS6703 comes with the ex­pected stream­ing apps, Net­flix and Ama­zon Prime Video. Only the for­mer gives you full 4K HDR though, as Prime still lacks HDR.

On the catch-up side, iplayer, ITV Hub, All4 and De­mand5 all make an ap­pear­ance, with apps housed in a newly de­signed hor­i­zon­tal panel that pops up when you press the home but­ton on the re­mote.

In­ter­face pros and cons

This is def­i­nitely eas­ier than the user in­ter­face on older models, but it’s still not as smooth as the An­droid TV ver­sion the com­pany’s more ex­pen­sive tele­vi­sions en­joy. And it's def­i­nitely less colour­ful. Search­ing the range of con­tent in the golden age of stream­ing TV should be ex­cit­ing, but the 'Saphi' op­er­at­ing sys­tem this tele­vi­sion uses (which is based on Linux) makes it too dull.

The re­mote has a ded­i­cated Net­flix but­ton, so you can skip straight to the con­tent, but we’d still like some­thing a bit bet­ter de­signed. The ar­range­ment of but­tons is clut­tered and they feel a tad too spongey for our lik­ing.

While those small flaws can’t be en­tirely ig­nored, the qual­ity this tele­vi­sion pro­vides means that, on the whole, it re­mains a great choice at a rel­a­tively low price. For com­pet­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers, the 50PUS6703 will be the one to beat.

“Strik­ing but nu­anced, this tele­vi­sion walks that fine line of bring­ing you bold colours while also of­fer­ing a range of hues within those colours”

Net­flix and Ama­zon Prime Video are both in­cluded Am­bi­light works well for most but you can turn it off

Spend time tweak­ing the pic­ture and you’ll be richly re­warded

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