Not long ago, televisions were known as an idiot box — an entertainment unit that would probably display what the broadcasters would like to show. Things have changed recently and televisions evolved into smarter idiots, which are now considered as an important appliance in most homes. A few years ago, televisions brought to mind a bulky CRT tube that needed a huge table to rest on. The birth of cheaper and more energy efficient LCD panels made that television larger, and even lighter and thinner. Now, with the internet becoming faster and with OTT platforms booming, the idiot box is no idiot anymore. It is more of an extension to your existing smartphone or laptop.
With a plethora of televisions from various brands, cheaper LCD and LED to massive OLED televisions are being retailed. And with emerging technology and its production getting even cheaper, large-screen televisions are now as cheap as mainstream to flagship smartphones. In the midst of cheaper televisions, you will find many new entrants into the television segment. Such is a brand called Daiwa, which has been around for a while, but hasn’t been as well known as before. We take a look at its full HD Smart television which is a 48-incher — the DAIWA L50FVC5N 122cm, which is manufactured in India.
At first look, the DAIWA L50FVC5N (48) looks smart — a good looker which will definitely impress your family and friends. It does not have any fancy coloured frames or weird brandings around it. A simple large black frame with a name brand on the bottom is all you can see. A complete black frame helps with the viewing experience as there are no reflections or irritating colours when watching in low-light or dark rooms.
The build quality of the 48-incher is sturdy. Built with a black glossy frame and a matte finished rear panel, this one measures around 9cm in depth and weighs just over 10kg. While the control panel for the unit takes its place on the bottom right corner, the I/O panel for all the connections are situated on the rear in the centre (bottom and left). The rear panel consists of t2 x HDMI ports, an RF in (wonder why these ports even exist), 2 x USB ports, an Ethernet port, AV inputs and PC audio and VGA input ports. Sadly, this TV does not sport a headphone jack or SD card reader, but it does not matter anyways. The ports could be a bit hard-to-reach if you are connecting external peripherals such as a PC, laptop or media player from time to time. So ensure that you are remembering the positions of the same to avoid getting your hand stuck between the wall and the TV. However, the USB ports are visible on the left side, which makes it easier to plug in media storage devices. Bundled along with the television is a fixed wall mounting bracket, a smart rechargeable air-mouse remote and a standard IR remote with two AAA batteries. The power cord is fixed to the unit, unlike the older televisions, which would have them detachable so that you can use longer cords.
Getting down to the internal guts, this DAIWAA TV is built around an Android platform. To support the smart element, the Android OS is powered by an ARM Cortex A7 dual core processor clocked at 1.3GHz and clubbed with a Mali-400MP2 GPU, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. Network connectivity supported is Ethernet and Wi-Fi, but Bluetooth seems missing here. A smart air remote, which can be used with the TV, works as a wireless mouse-cum-keyboard, so typing and clicking around the user interface is easy. However, do note, the smart remote occupies one USB port, which leaves you with just one port for your media files via an external drive. This issue also leaves you with an issue should you opt for connecting external Android sticks or media players which require a USB port for power. Lastly, to compliment the ‘smartness,’ is a large 48-inch full HD display panel with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The company claims that the panel has a viewing angle of 178-degrees in all directions, has a response time of 6.5ms and is an A+ Grade. And on the audio output, the TV has two built-in 10W+10W speakers that give you a good audio quality for basic multimedia entertainment, along with a built-in equalizer at your fingertips.
Once you setup the unit on the wall, or using the bundled stands, you are almost ready to hop on to your favorite online shows or your stored pile of downloaded movies and serials. The TV also features a built-in browser and a few social media apps, which allows you to almost-work on your television itself. Do note, this one also has a Google Play Store app to download your other favorite apps. Sideloading of apps is also possible, so go ahead and dump your ‘Popcorn’ on it.
The video output is fairly good. The TV has good brightness and contrast levels with a decent colour gamut. It also features noise reduction, picture enhancement, colour temperature settings (cold/warm/normal) as well as various preset modes for Eyesafe, Cinema and Dynamic. The audio mode also has presets for music, movie, sports and standard flat. Both the audio and picture options can be tweaked for user preference. Lastly, the TV also sports power saving features and can consume a maximum of 95 Watts or as minimum as 0.5 Watts when in standby mode.
Turn on the TV and you will be greeted to a pleasant interface that has almost all the information you would need on your initial startup. Well, that comes after the white noise screen from your TV tuner. You need to plug in the air remote/mouse to get to your ‘Smart’ mode. Press the home button and the smart area pops up with a human hand as the mouse pointer. The home section comes in as basic, with a file manager, a few apps and a few pages of the most used apps on your screen. Navigate through the apps and you can install a few to get yourself started. Towards the top is the notification bar which highlights the network connectivity apart from the time and other notifications — similar to the Android platform on a smartphone. You can head to the settings to make changes to your network and even hunt for system updates that the brand would offer from time to time to make sure your television software is up to date and free from bugs.
Speaking of bugs, we did not find the DAIWA TV error free — well, no operating system is completely error-free today. We did see minor issues and faults around the operating system on this one. For starters, the white noise remains existent from the TV mode to the smart mode, which gives a weird background to the smart zone. Then you will find the mouse being a bit erratic as it does not always appear on the screen when you need it. You have to give it a strong tug and it would then show up. Probably this is a feature of the mouse to put the pointer into sleep mode and off the screen when not used for a while or when you press the directional buttons on it. And then the back button sometimes plays up with no response.
Using the air mouse is sometimes a pain since it is directional — not to the TV, but in the direction you point. This makes it weird to operate it as many times we ended up doing yoga-like gestures with our hand to get to the icon we needed. Apart from this, you will find few errors and mistakes in the firmware text and messages, with bad grammar — hope the developers of the UI are listening here. Well, the issues here are not as bad as one would think. In time, we hope that the system updates will take care of these minor glitches.
Coming to the performance, the TV did do its job well. The viewing angle is as described and the clarity is at par. The blacks are deep and the contrast level makes the pictures pretty easy on the eye. Watching movies on the large real estate display is bliss. Motion blur is expected in certain areas as the response time is more than 6 seconds here.
So if you are watching some movies or episodes which have fast moving pan areas, you will witness a considerate amount of blur or stuttering in its motion. This is normal, and can be ignored. We did manage to playback a few too many videos to analyse the full HD playback and we must say that it is pretty satisfactory. The larger screen will definitely be an enjoyable experience for you and your family.
Overall, the entire experience with the DAIWA TV was good and we have not much to complain. However, the complain areas should be addressed by the manufacturer to make sure the firmware updates are in time, and the user interface is tuned for the best experience. To sum up the whole, if you are looking for a full HD LED TV on a large panel, the DAIWA is a definite recommendation....