Reviews

Review: Philips 55PUS8303 lcd LED TV – for varied viewing habits

The Philips 55PUS8303 is an attractively priced 55-inch LCD television that bridges the gap between Philips’ LCD TVs and OLED TVs. The screen uses the Nano Color technology from LG and is equipped with a 100 Hz panel and the Philips P5 image processing chip.

Philips 55PUS8303 – specifications

What: Ultra HD LCD TV, Edge Led
Screen size:
55 inch (139 cm), flat
Connections:
4x HDMI (4xARC 2x v2.0a), 1x component video, 1x stereo cinch, 1x optical digital out, 2x USB , 1x headphones, 2x antenna, Bluetooth
Extras:
HDR10, HLG, WiFi (802.11ac) built-in, Android TV (Nougat), USB / DLNA media player, Multiroom (Client / server), DVB-T2 / C / S2, CI + lock, P5 processor
Dimensions:
1,235 x 759 x 251 mm (incl foot)
Weight
: 25.1 kg (incl foot)
Consumption :
90 / 0.3 watt (Energy label A)
List price: 1.299 euro

A complete overview of all models that Panasonic brought to the market in 2018, can be found in the 2018 Phi lips tv line-up . Here you will also find the complete specifications per model.

Philips 55PUS8303 – design

We love the Philips design language, with its beautiful, light-colored accents and softly rounded corners. Philips explicitly aims at a European design style, which radiates a bit of luxury. The 8303 also succeeds well. The 1 cm wide frame provides a nice frame of the screen.

We make a small reflection at the foot. The footplate is partly made of transparent plexiglass, which we found to give it a somewhat cheap look. Moreover, the foot supports the screen over a width of about 50 cm. This benefits the stability, but breaks the illusion of a light-footed television.

Connections

At the back we find two HDMI connections, the antenna connections, an optical digital output, component video and stereo cinch input and the wired network connection. On the side two additional HDMI connections (these are equipped with HDCP 2.2 for Ultra HD sources), two USB and the headphone connection.

The connections at the back point downwards so you can get a tight wall mount can choose. The device also has a wireless network connection and Bluetooth (for wireless keyboards).

Philips 55PUS8303 – ease of use

The 2018 Philips models are equipped with Android TV version 7.0 ( Nougat ). This brings support for the HLG format for HDR which may become important for HDR TV broadcasts. You can now also log in with multiple Google accounts. When you set up a Google Account, you have to type a username and password. On previous versions you could simply ask via your smartphone to configure your television. That is now no longer possible. Of course, you only install one time, so we do not count that as a real negative.

Remote control

The included remote uses the most classic Philips version. A sturdy, relatively heavy zapper, pleasantly in the hand with a good layout, and easy to press keys. The d-pad used to serve as a touchpad, but that is disabled on this version, a good decision because the touchpad made the use rather confusing. The ok key is central to the d-pad and because there is no perceptible relief, it may well be that you press the ok key, and thus use one of the arrow keys.

At the back of the remote is a keyboard, which is useful for typing searches, but a better choice is to say it. The voice key has been replaced by a Google Assistant button. The speech recognition is excellent, and is currently a very useful way to search.

Please note that the remote does not work fully with bluetooth. The commands on the front of the remote work with IR. The remote bluetooth is used for both voice commands and the rear keyboard.

Philips 55PUS8303 – features

Smart TV platform

The Mediatek MT5891, with its quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 and Mali-T860 GPU has 2 GB of memory and 16 GB of internal storage. This is the standard chipset for Android televisions. It is enough for a smooth and pleasant experience, but you should not expect top performance.

The Amazon and YouTube app do not deliver any HDR images unfortunately, with Netflix that was not a problem.

Smart functions

The interface Android TV is still unchanged. The Home screen takes over the screen, although you can see what you were looking at in the background. Recommendations are prominently at the top, and below them are several rows of apps and TV functions. At the bottom of a row of institutions

The Android Home key is located under the d-pad on the right. Philips also still uses an alternative menu that you activate with the button above the d-pad. That is the fastest way to choose another input, start the media player, or view other functions for live TV like the channel guide, or recordings.

The 55PUS8303 is equipped with a single tuner and CI + lock. Recording to a USB disk, but recording while watching another channel is impossible.

The media player is very complete and played all our video test files, including HDR video. The music player only fails with ALAC, Apple’s lossless format. All other popular formats, including tags, are played correctly.

Ambilight

Of course, the unique Ambilight should not be missing on this device. The small LEDs spread their glow on the wall behind the television on three sides. You can let the Ambilight LEDs follow the image, quickly or relaxed. You can use them as mood lighting, or let them collaborate on the music. With the World Cup in prospect, Philips will again make the Wave your Flag app available, allowing Ambilight to let the colors of your favorite team shine on the wall.

Philips 55PUS8303 – Image quality

The device is equipped with a edge led backlighting without local dimming, IPS panel, and the NanoColor technology from LG. A special filter layer removes unwanted light frequencies in the yellow-orange area, so that basic red and green become much purer, resulting in a richer color range. The display provides 400 nits of peak luminance and of course uses the new P5 image processing chip.

Main settings

In our article on the professional calibration of a TV you can read all about the possibilities of working with a professional. to achieve the best picture settings. Here you will find an explanation of the most important picture settings and tips for setting up your TV. With the basic settings we have come to the following settings for this TV.

Image Image Advanced Image Advanced
Image Style: Films

Color: 50
Contrast: 70
Sharpness: 1-2 *
Brightness: 50

Computer: From
Color / Color Enhancement: Off
Color / Color Temperature : Warm
Contrast / Constrast mode: Optimized for images
Contrast / HDR Upscaling: Off / On *
Contrast: HDR Premium: Off-Maximum / auto *
Contrast / Dynamic Contrast: Off
Contrast / Video contrast: 100
Contrast / light sensor: Off
Contrast / Gamma: 0
Sharpness / Ultra Resolution: Off / On *
Sharp Image / Noise Reduction: Off
Sharp Image / MPEG Artifact reduction : Off
Motion / Motion Style: Movies / Standard
  • The Movies setting provides the best start. The ISF-preset are an alternative for those who want day and night versions.
  • If you want to see the effect of Ultra Resolution, you have to set sharpness at least 1, but 2 we also found very good.
  • HDR Upscaling: gives a very light HDR effect. Because the IPS panel is missing some punch, we enabled it.
  • HDR Premium: This affects the tone mapping of HDR images. At Low-Maximum, the image gets a little more impact, but there is a limited risk that you clip away some highlights. The medium or car position is a good starting point.
  • Ultra Resolution: gives a slight boost to detail without false contours. Activate it, but do not forget to set focus at least 1.
  • Noise Reduction and MPEG artefact reduction can best be activated if you start from a bad source (old DVDs or low quality YouTube).
  • Motion style: Off for purists, but the ‘movies’ mode gave a lot of extra detail, from ‘standard’ you can also see flowing pan images.

General image and image processing

The P5 image processing chip is the pride of Philips, and that is right. The improved results with respect to 2017 that were already seen in the OLED973 can also be found here. This means that the device quickly and reliably recognizes all the most important frame rates for video and film, which almost completely eliminates the risk of jagged edges.

He removes any noise very well, as well as block formation in highly compressed video files disappears, although in the latter case it is slightly less strong. We left the noise reduction for both settings at Minimum. The reason is simple, whoever wants some extra sharpness in his image, must set the sharpness setting at least 1 (up to 2 we found it okay). Then with the Ultra Resolution setting you get a little extra definition from the image. But if you do not activate noise suppression, the screen also gives you a better picture of all the noise.

This television has a very good motion sharpness. You hardly lose detail, a great achievement. Those who want to show pan images fluently, choose ‘standard’ or ‘fluent’ in ‘Motion Style’, even if the latter delivers a little too many artefacts. Movies is a good choice for the purists, which delivers all the detail, without or with minimal motion interpolation.

The 8303 uses an IPS panel, which means moderate contrast and good viewing angles. In the fashion fetching mode, we get another contrast of 1.111: 1. You can improve the result slightly by using the ‘Constrast mode: Optimized for images’ and possibly even set Dynamic Contrast to minimum. Nevertheless, the moderate black value remains a limitation for dark scenes. You do not look at full eclipse, then any bands above and below a film are visible. The screen shows neatly all black detail and has good uniformity.

The Movies mode is our choice for the best image. Just like on the 7502 series, we see good, but not perfect calibration. The midtones are a little too warm (red), and colors are a bit too dark. The gamma curve makes the brightest whites slightly brighter than necessary. By setting the gamma value to 1 you get a slightly more cinematic picture. All errors are around the visible border, so you do not have to doubt, this Philips delivers very nice images.

HDR

Philips supports HDR10 and HLG on this device. You can expect decent HDR images from this subtopper. The color range is good, with 92% of DCI-P3 and 69% of Rec.2020. Of course, this is below the figures of an OLED model, but it provides clear added value. The peak luminance reaches 443 nits (both in a 10% Window and on a full screen), in the Movies mode, and that’s just below the limit of what we still consider to be real HDR rendering (500 nits).

The screen is well calibrated in the Movies HDR image mode, with beautiful, intense colors. The tonemapping allows the brightness of the image to drop quite quickly to keep all the details visible. By adjusting the HDR Premium setting, you can change that behavior. In the lowest position, the image becomes considerably brighter, but you also lose a lot of white detail. The middle and maximum position gradually provide clearer midtones, but they also cleave some white detail. On this model there is also an automatic mode for HDR Premium, with which Philips analyzes the images live to achieve more dynamic tonemapping. We recommend experimenting, the Off mode seemed too dark, but the loss of white detail in the higher classes is a shame. Which setting you choose depends on your image material and ambient light, but the medium mode or automatic mode seems to be a good starting point.

The HDR upscaling function gives all your existing content a soft layer of HDR effect. Especially the bright shades get a slight boost. Because the screen still comes into its own when ambient light is left on, we usually leave it on.

Reflections and viewing angles

The screen refrains reasonable reflections. The IPS screen provides a fairly wide viewing angle. Who goes too far aside can see some IPS glow on the screen (a slight haze), but that is mainly a problem for dark images.

Gaming

In film mode we measure a lag of 52, 8 ms, which is pretty decent, and for a casual gamer is still perfectly ok. In game mode the lag drops to 34.4 ms which is a good result. The screen is a decent choice for gamers.

Philips 55PUS8303 – Audio quality

The sound performance of the PUS8303 leaves something to be desired. Dialogs are clear and clear, but it is mainly the bass reproduction that needs a lot better. With a lot of music, the sound is generally too sharp. And as soon as we turn the volume open you hear the bass heavily against their limit. Switching to music mode could make the problem worse.
The sound is a bit sharp for daily viewing, but not really problematic, but with movie soundtracks and music where things get a bit rougher you hear the limitations very quickly. For the lay-measurement we use a Leo Bodnar Display lag meter.

For all other measurements we rely on a Spectracal C6 HDR2000 Colorimeter Xrite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, a VideoForge Pro pattern generator, and the Spectracal Calman for Business software. To analyze any HDR problems we use HDFury Vertex.

Philips 55PUS8303 – Conclusion

The 55PUS8303 can not boast about its sound quality. Combine it with a good sound solution for the best results. And Android does offer possibilities, but in the meantime it’s really up to a modern and more coherent interface.

But with that the weak points of the 55PUS8303 are listed. Yes, the contrast is limited, that is inherent to the IPS panel. But this television does not aim at hardcore film lovers, but rather at the large family and their varied viewing habits. It provides a clear and very colorful image, ideal for the living room. The movement sharpness is excellent and makes him a good choice for sports. The HDR performance is just in the range of where you really start to see the difference. The price we find particularly good for this 55-incher, which undoubtedly gives you a lot of viewing pleasure.

Negatives

  • Sound quality
  • Contrast

Pros

  • Image processing
  • Motion sharpness
  • Color rendering HDR performance
  • Ambilight
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