August 13, 2022
OnePlus TV Long Term Impressions: Much-needed updates improve user experience

In five years, OnePlus went from selling a single smartphone model online through a much-anticipated invite system, to launching its first television. OnePlus TV was launched in September 2019 with two variants – Q1 (Rs 69,900) and Q1 Pro (Rs 99,900). The company has seen significant success in the smartphone segment, and hopes to repeat the same with its first television products.

However, early reviews – including our own – criticized various aspects of the TV, such as its buggy software, lack of useful buttons on the remote, and issues with HDR10 performance. While we liked the overall package, we still felt it was an unfinished product that might have been launched a little early.

As is the case with its smartphones, OnePlus has already rolled out several updates for the Q1 and Q1 Pro. This promise to fix what was incomplete or missing at launch. There’s now a small hardware addition too – a new remote with useful new buttons. We decided to revisit the OnePlus TV a few months after our review to see if the experience really got better, and so we spent a few weeks with the Q1 Pro again. Here’s what we think.

oneplus tv q1 pro review interface

Plenty of software updates

If there’s one thing that OnePlus has time and again proved to be very good at, it’s software updates. Three major software updates have been pushed out since the launch of the TV series.

The first was released in October, bringing some urgently needed improvements to the TV shortly after launch. The second, released in December, was a more substantial update that brought native support for Netflix. The third update in February brought new content partners as well as bug fixes and optimizations.

Some of these have really made a difference in the experience, most notably the addition of Netflix and Spotify in the form of purpose-built official apps for the Android TV OS on the OnePlus TV. These are what we’ve seen on other Android TV devices, and work well on TVs. As expected, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos are functional (if your streaming service plans support it), and the user experience was largely flawless for us. The overall Android TV experience was definitely less buggy than it was before.

While we were a little skeptical about the Spotify experience on TV, we were surprised by how smooth and fun it turned out. We were very impressed with the OnePlus TV Q1 Pro’s built-in soundbar when we reviewed it, and it handled our Spotify music collection efficiently. We found that the sound is similar with some of the wireless speakers and soundbars we’ve tested recently, and the Spotify integration really gives the TV a whole new use case.

oneplus tv long term impression remote oneplus tv oneplus

New remote has useful new buttons, including hotkeys for Netflix

new and improved remote

We do not expect hardware changes on a product in the middle of its lifecycle; Usually, a successor product is launched a little sooner than we expected. However, OnePlus has tried to fix its much-anticipated remote in a unique way: just create a new one. The ‘Netflix’ remote, as OnePlus calls it, differs from its predecessor in several ways.

The biggest change in appearance is that it’s plastic, unlike the old remote’s brushed aluminum (which is still bundled with the TV, even with new purchases). It also runs on regular AAA batteries, a change from the older remote’s lithium-ion internal battery. There are also some new buttons and changes to the button layout on the Netflix remote.

In addition to the Amazon Prime Video button there are now hotkeys for Netflix and YouTube, a source selector button, and a volume mute button. The volume buttons have been moved to the front of the remote. While the new remote certainly doesn’t feel premium and modern, it is undeniably more useful, functional and practical.

The new remote comes with all OnePlus TV units currently being sold, so new buyers will get it. If you’ve bought a OnePlus TV before, don’t fret – you are eligible To get the new netflix remote for free.

Picture quality is ever so slightly better

We often take the claim of ‘optimizations’ in software updates with a pinch of salt, but some of these tweaks show up on the OnePlus TV after a software update. We found that picture quality was slightly better than before, colors appeared more accurate, and full-HD content was slightly better.

These improvements are incremental though, and we can barely tell any difference when watching 4K and Dolby Vision content. As before, there are still some visible artifacts with high speed. There is no major change in the sound quality either.

OnePlus TV Q1 Pro Review Dolby Vision

final thoughts

Is the OnePlus TV now a better television than it was at launch? Yes. Software improvements, a new remote, and small changes in performance make this a better product that largely fixes some of the most pressing issues that were present at launch. Giving the new remote at no cost to both new and existing users will help OnePlus keep its user base happy.

However, is it still worth buying, considering that there hasn’t been a significant reduction in prices in the months since the launch? Maybe less than before. The segment has changed a lot since then, especially thanks to the launch of the Vu Cinema TV range, which costs less than half the price of the OnePlus TV Q1.

On paper, the Vu Cinema TV is a close match with the OnePlus TV Q1 with Dolby Vision, 40W sound output, and Android TV with support for all popular apps and streaming services. Apart from this, the OnePlus Q1 TV series also offers its QLED screen, Dolby Atmos certification and better design. Do these things justify its high price? We think so, but there is no denying that what is the value for money you get now with Vu Cinema TV.

OnePlus 8 leak looks exciting but when will the phones launch in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts either RSSDownload the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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