CloudWalker, a television manufacturer that you may have never heard of, has its roots in India since four years now. However, the company’s recent move into the electronics home-entertainment segment has got the competition worried. With aggressively priced smart 4K televisions within an affordable price range, CloudWalker’s Smart televisions are definitely worth a consideration.
The brand has portrayed into the market with a few large-screen smart TVs that differ in size and type. While the company has full HD and 4K, flat and curved models in store, the 4K smart TVs are worth considering as they are priced well within the affordable range and are something that one could consider to be ready for 4K content ahead. We had a hands on experience with the 55SU-C Smart 4K TV for a while and we would definitely state that if you are looking for a 4K TV, you can opt between the flat or curved models. The price difference is around Rs 20K as the curved models don’t come cheap.
The CW 55SU-C sports a 55-inch curved LED display panel with a 4K UHD resolution of 3840 X 2160 pixels. The curved model also comes on a 65-incher panel if you wish buy a larger TV. Both televisions feature XLuminous display panels with Dolby Digital sound in common and feature a smart Super Remote that incorporates almost all functions within a regular sized form factor.
The TV also incorporates dual band Wi-Fi for high speed connectivity needed for streaming up to 4K content. Additionally a physical LAN cable can also be connected to the Ethernet port for a hassle-free and high-speed network connection. Bluetooth 4.0 is an additional advantage that comes with the TV. This feature helps you connect Bluetooth input peripherals, such as mouse or keyboard for easier operation for playing games or browsing the internet, and one can also connect a Bluetooth speaker or headphone to playback the audio on a larger speaker system or watch videos in private without disturbing your family members.
Other connectivity options include 3 x HDMI ports, 1 x USB 2.0 and 1 x USB 3.0 high-speed ports, a basic TV Tuner RF antenna input for cable TV and CCTV cameras, RCA input for DVD players and alike, Co-axial input, VGA input to be used as a monitor for your PC/laptop, an SD card reader for photos/music/videos and a line-in for stereo audio coupled with VGA. A headphone jack is also provided for you to connect a pair of wired headphones or for use with external speakers.
Getting down to the smart features, this TV is based on an Android 4.0 platform with a custom user interface for an easy-to-operate television experience. It runs on a Cortex A53 dual-core processor, supported by a MALI 450 quad-core GPU and 1GB of RAM. Additionally, an internal storage of 8GB is provided if you wish to store some content, such as movies, music or photos, onboard. The TV is also power-efficient, with around 108Watts of maximum power consumption.
The build-quality of the TV looks rugged. It has a strong brush-finished, dual-tone black and silver metal frame, and is pretty heavy too — it needs to be as the TV is large and it would otherwise easily tip off when used with a stand. The TV comes with a stylish metal stand that can be used for keeping on a desk/TV cabinet. You can also have it wall-mounted using the bundled wall-mounting bracket, which is provided with the unit for free. Installation is free too and the company will get it done within 24 hours of delivery. All necessary screws and attachments are included with the television.
Bundled with the TV is a fully functional wireless + IR-based remote control that works like an air mouse. However, it takes up one USB port for operation as the USB transreceiver unit needs to be plugged in to operate the remote controller.
The TV panel is pretty glossy — so make sure your room lights are positioned high above and not against the TV panel to avoid all reflections when viewing. If you have a window opposite the TV, you may have to probably change the location of your TV too in order to reduce the glare reflecting off the screen. However, we did not find it much of a problem as the TV is bright enough to help reduce the disturbance.
The rear panel connection zone is odd though — the one area where we don’t like what TV manufacturers do when designing the system. The connection panel is placed like an L shape with few connections on the right and the others on the bottom. The card reader, USB ports and the HDMI ports are on the right, while the rest of the connector ports are bottom facing. All these connections are located towards the centre of the rear panel. So if you are wall-mounting the unit, connecting cables could be a hassle and struggle if you are constantly plugging devices in and out. However, though this is not a daily chore, it is still a hindrance as not every user may like it — we don’t for sure. The company should have make provisions to mount most used ports, such as the HDMI, USB and SD card reader, towards the outer end so that the user can reach it easily. The same case with the other connectors too.
Coming down to the control panel, though you may not need it at all, it is the one main element of any TV that needs to be present. These physical controls can be operated should you lose or damage the remote controller. However, the control panel on the CloudWalker TV is awkwardly placed and you need to memorise the positions of each button in order to use it. The control panel is placed on the rear panel, towards the bottom right, and is way too small. Unlike other TVs that have these buttons a bit larger and towards the edges of the panel (right or bottom) this one is far behind the panel on the rear. The control panel is also too small and the buttons are very close to each other, making it difficult to know which button is for what function as you cannot see it at all, especially when wall mounted. We hope these issues are noted by the company and they make the needed changes in their future models.
Lastly, the TV is powered by a regular 2-pin power cable, that is non detachable. So should you damage the cable, you may have to call in the service personnel and have that replaced as it is not user-serviceable.
The remote controller, as mentioned above, is fairly sized and fully functional. As earlier stated, it is an RF cum IR based remote for complete control over the TV. It features large rubber buttons and has almost all the controls, for all modes on it. Each button is neatly marked for its functions and anyone can use it with ease, and master it within a few days. Additionally, one can also use a smartphone app to control the TV. The top of the remote controller features two large power and mute buttons. Below it are a set of nine buttons for changing the modes for the picture, sound, aspect ratio, source, analog TV, AV and HDMI, and also take screenshots and head to the settings menu. Below that are the number buttons to change the channel or use it to type numbers on the user interface when needed. Getting lower, you will see a D-pad with additional buttons for apps, mouse, back and multi-tasking — almost similar functions for a smartphone interface. Below the d-pad are the channel and volume buttons along with the home button and CDE, the company’s own designed content management system interface. Additional buttons for help, network and menu are also featured below the D-pad. Lastly, to use the multimedia mode for photos, music and videos, a complete set of 12 buttons are arranged. The remote is pretty slim, and fairly long, but is ergonomically designed for ease of use. However, one would wish there was a QWERTY keypad available on the rear side to make it easier to type when using the smart TV features on the internet or when searching for specific content. You have to make do with an onscreen keyboard and use the air mouse, which is painful. The remote controller features two IR LEDs upfront and runs off two AAA cells. If you wish, you can also use a regular USB keyboard and mouse with the TV for your convenience.
The user interface is pretty simple, user friendly, very easy to operate and resourceful. It features Google’s Play Store app, which additionally allows you to download and install Android apps for your needs. You can use internet browsers, media players, social media and even games to keep you connected and entertained.
When we switched on the TV initially, we heard a very loud welcome sound, which was pretty annoying. This sound is present every time you turn on the TV. However, it can be turned off from the internal settings.
When you turn it on for the first time, you may need to set it up with your network. Head to the settings and enter the details for your wireless network or your Ethernet LAN cable. When an internet is connected, you will see the Wi-Fi icon up in the notification panel, which also shows indications for Bluetooth and mouse connectivity apart from the weather and the current date and time. Once setup with the networking, you may need to adjust it according to your preference. These include the brightness, contrast and audio tweaks. When done, your TV would inform you about new firmware updates from the company. If available, it will download it automatically and alert you to restart the TV to complete the update. Make sure you update the product on a timely basis, as and when the company releases an OTA for the product. These updates will help you patch the firmware for any bugs, or vulnerabilities, apart from feature updates.
When all is done, you are ready to use the TV. The initial screen that welcomes you is the custom user interface, designed by CloudWalker. The first interface has a large black box on the top left, which will play the videos, while three large tiles on the right highlights the new content that is trending online. The bottom five tiles highlights content from other partner apps such as Netflix, Hotstar, YouTube and more; Scrolling to the right, with the mouse, will give you more trending and recommended content in approximately three pages. Lastly, on the bottom are icons for analog TV, your personal media content, apps you installed, settings and CDE. My Media will take you straight to your content from a pen drive or hard drive that you can connect to the USB ports on the rear panel. Clicking on the Apps will take you to all the apps installed on the TV. While the initial Apps are shown on the first screen, hitting the ‘All Apps’ button will show you all the apps you have installed on it. Settings lets you take control of the backend, where you can setup the network, reset the TV settings, update firmware and adjust a lot more areas, apart from the display and sound settings. Lastly, hitting the CDE button will take you to Cloudwalker’s own designed Contend Discovery Engine, where you can create a free account and hunt for video content around the internet. CloudWalker has confirmed that they will constantly be churning out tweaks and features to make more content easily available on the TVs in their future OTA updates.
As for the performance, we were at a stand-still in the beginning. With almost no 4K content out there, we were left with just simple demo videos and short films and trailers to watch. Since 4K content requires a high-speed internet bandwidth, make sure you are physically connecting the TV to an Ethernet or using a 5GHz dual band wireless router along with a high-speed and almost unlimited internet bandwidth. Else, all you need to rely on is 4K content on your pen drive or eternal storage or use a Blu-ray player or a high-end PC/laptop for 4K videos, latched to the HDMI port.
We tried streaming 4K videos using the onboard YouTube app, but with a slower internet connection and an unavailable YouTube for 4K TV app, streaming of 4K content from the internet is presently impossible. However, in time, we are slowly moving ahead to obtaining 4K possibilities as internet ISPs will soon increase their internet connection speeds with Fibre optics and unlimited plans. If you have a high-speed gateway and manage to use a 4K streaming service from abroad, you could be lucky to enjoy UHD content as India currently does not have any 4K streaming service ready for use. Netflix, USA, presently holds 4K content apart from YouTube and a few more streaming services.
We then managed to download some 4K content on a pen drive to test out the playback possibilities for UHD content. And it worked without any flaws. However, one should know that if you want to play 4K on the TV, you should have the content packaged in the right container for best compatibility with the system. The CloudWalker TVs are compatible with video container formats such as H264, H265, MPEG2, VC1, VP6, VP8, VP9, MVC, DIV¬X, MJPEG, AVS and AVS+. 4K videos are compatible with .mp4 and H.264 format files.
Playback of full HD content (1080p) and below is absolutely no issue. However, we would recommend staying away from the casual 720p and SD video as they will show up really bad on this large 4K panel. 1080p and upwards are the best formats to enjoy on this large TV.
Playback of 4K content is outstanding. The TV managed to play the 4K content from a pen drive with ease, and with the built-in stock video player. We also managed to play the same content with MX Player. Sadly, VLC was not compatible and was only running on software decoder, which was almost difficult for it to run.
4K playback was smooth and clear. Details are pretty good and you won’t complain. We did notice fast moving and panning videos having a tad jitter because of the refresh rate (60Hz). But this is barely visible (though slightly noticeable) while watching 4K videos.
The audio quality is at par with most TVs out there. The Dolby Digital audio is good, clear and pretty loud. But we did notice a lack of bass, which is pretty much required when watching movies or playing music. You can use a better multichannel receiver to overcome this need, but it is an additional investment that needs to be taken care of.
Streaming from your smartphone is simple — if you have an iPhone, you won’t need any app to be installed. However, if you install the CloudWalker app on your phone (iOS or Android), you can get additional feature benefits that allow you to connect and stream your content and also control your television from a distance.
As for the functionality, the CloudWalker TVs are very easy to operate, configure and enjoy. The simplistic user interface and controls make it a cakewalk for even those who are not well versed with tech. For the price of Rs 84,499, the 55-incher curved CloudWalker Smart 4K TV is a worthy investment. As for after sales, the TV will be taken care of by the company in case you happen to have issues with the product in the long run. The company has tied up with a third-party service provider who will take care of everything — from delivery to installation and service. If you are looking for a 4K television in a tight budget, the CloudWalker TV is worth a consideration.
The CloudWalker TVs are available in Full HD and 4K versions in both flat, and curved and starting from a screen size of 24-inches. Prices start at Rs 10,998 for the 24-incher and goes all the way upwards to Rs 1,35,990 for a 65-incher curved 4K smart panel. You can shop for one online on Flipkart.com....