It’s safe to say that Polaroid aren’t exactly a company known for their TVs. They’re a brand for whom instant photography is more commonly associated than home entertainment. Thus, the arrival of Polaroid’s new UHD TV range in major Australian retailer Big W marks a pretty considerable milestone for them. Major retail players like Big W and K-Mart have gradually shifted away from selling televisions over the last 5-10 years and the fact that they’re bringing the category back with Polaroid says a lot about their confidence in the quality of what’s on offer here.
And that confidence isn’t misplaced. These UHD TVs don’t just commemorates the company’s move into Big W stores, they deliver an experience worth taking notice of. Through both the picture quality and price-point attached to it, Polaroid’s new UHD TV range make a compelling case for the company’s place in the home entertainment space – even if it does come with a handful of caveats.
There are seven sizes of display on sale here from the low end 19-inch up the larger 65-inch models. However, regardless of which model you pick up, you’ll get the same high-end experience.
TVs in the range larger than 40-inches in size also come Smart-Enabled. The functionality here is a very bare-bones in addition to being hampered by the remote design. While boasting a neat dual-sided design with a traditional remote on one side and a keyboard on the reverse, the reciever on the TV isn’t quite responsive enough for you to actually get much use of it. The TV’s basic smarts and you can load and play a media library using a USB or through Youtube but what’s on offer here can’t really compete with what you’d get out of a $60 ChromeCast or FetchTV. All this said, it’s not so much of a deal-breaker. Just something that you’ll want to keep in mind going in.
It’s more a matter of what size fits your home entertainment setup than anything else. They’re all 4K-ready and if you’ve yet to graduate from 1080p, that’s an exciting thing.
4K Ultra HD has fast become the new standard for TVs but once you make that jump any additional technical investments and expenses quickly become a case of diminishing returns. It’s easy to imagine how much of a difference a quadrupled resolution will make and easier still to see it in motion. Anything beyond that is incremental. They’re less visible and riddled with technical detail that isn’t easily explained, let alone seen – except when it comes to the price tag. It’s hard to imagine the difference that backlighting or motion smoothing will make. It’s easy to imagine the difference an extra five grand will make to your bank account balance.
The Polaroid TV isn’t exactly the high-end luxury display you’d find on the floor of IFA or CES but, for what it costs, it still manages to acquit itself well as gateway to the world of Ultra High Definition. Colors carry more depth, environments more details and images a greater degree of fidelity. When it comes to Ultra 4K video content (available through Netflix, Youtube or select Blu-ray releases), Polaroid’s TV range absolutely delivers on the potential of the tech and is up there alongside the models that do appear at CES.
Unfortunately, there are a few caveats. The range can play older resolutions at an upscaled rate but the difference is very apparent. Motion smoothing also feels like another weak link for the TV. Our mileage with the display varied a bit here but there were times where it definitely varied.
Meanwhile, the speakers on the TV managed to fare a bit better. They sound better-than-you’d expect out of the box – though those looking to really push what these TVs are capable of will likely want to pair them up with some wireless speakers or a new Polaroid soundbar.
Polaroid’s new TV range delivers quality 4K Ultra HD video experiences at a benchmark that’s immediately visible. Best of all, it does so at a pricepoint that’s hard to ignore. Once you’ve slipped across the threshold, from traditional high definition video content into 4K Ultra HD, it becomes hard to understate just how important price-point becomes. Sure, price-points are always going to matter – but the way in which they matter has shifted somewhat with the leap forward in tech. While the Polaroid range isn’t quite a game-changer, it’s definitely a strong showcase for a brand at the top of it’s game.