Philips 55PUS8601 – Sound Quality
So now to those fancy
detachable speakers – do they perform as well as hoped? Actually, yes.
They’re particularly excellent when it comes to delivering every last
bit of detail from a good-quality movie or TV show, sounding practically
hi-fi in their finesse and subtlety.
They’re also powerful
enough to push their detailing forward at decent volumes without
suffering distortions. Dialogue always sounds clear yet believable and
contextualised. Bass levels don’t stretch particularly far downwards,
but what there is sounds well integrated with the mid-range and easily
outguns the puny bass efforts of the vast majority of other TV sound
systems out there.
The audio can start to sound a little
dislocated from the pictures if you opt to detach the speakers and mount
them away from the screen, but overall Philips’ bold audio experiment
can be counted a success.
Related: Best TVs 2016
Other Things to Consider
The remote control supplied with the 55PUS8601 is, well, interesting. Its most stand-out feature is the fact that it’s two-sided – a full qwerty keyboard on the rear aids with that modern day TV phenomenon of routinely typing in passwords and online search fields. Having buttons on the back and front makes the remote a little tricky to hold though, especially since it’s unusually heavy; I dropped it a couple of times while trying to type.
The other side of the remote is dominated by a touch pad area with a Select button in the centre. While this isn’t a bad idea in principle, in use the touch pad wasn’t particularly responsive and I also routinely missed the rather small Select button when I tried to press it. In addition, a regular source of frustration is how easy it is to accidentally shift to an option you didn’t want to select when trying to press the Select button.
Note that the way other key buttons are arranged around the touch pad area – with precious little tactile information to help you find them in a darkened room – isn’t helpful either. There is one nice touch, though: the introduction of a decent voice-recognition system to help you enter text into search engines.
The 55PUS8601 performs surprisingly well as a gaming monitor. I measured its input lag at just 33ms when using its Game or Computer mode.
Should I buy a Philips 55PUS8601?
With its striking, super-slim, Ambilight-boosted design and innovative, high-quality speakers, the 55PUS8601 certainly has its charms. There will be some who are attracted to its Android TV smart system, too.
Android TV won’t suit everyone though, and the set’s flawed picture quality – especially with non-4K content – stops it from earning a resounding recommendation. In addition, with what I’ve seen so far, I have my doubts over whether the 55PUS8601 will be particularly well equipped to do a great job with HDR when the update goes live.
The 55PUS8601 gets off to a great start with its stellar looks and innovative, beautifully engineered detachable speaker system. It takes a considerable step up from previous Philips TV generations thanks to its use of the latest Android TV engine. However, in the picture quality stakes it can’t quite deliver.
Score in detail
Smart TV 7
Image Quality 7
Sound Quality 9