Xiaomi may have brought some hype to the affordable television industry in India over the years, but Indian television brand Vu has been selling affordable TVs long before the Chinese company entered India. Vu typically offers large-screen, feature-packed TVs at affordable prices, giving traditional brands like Sony, Samsung and LG a run for their money.
Vu’s range of products varies greatly in price, starting from Rs. 20,000 and going up to Rs. 8,00,000 for the 100-inch Vu 100 Super TV. Today, we’re reviewing a product closer to the lower end of that range – the new Vu Ultra Android Smart TV 43GA. 22,999, this 43-inch full-HD smart television runs Android TV and promises value for money. It targets size and performance that most television buyers in India would be happy with. Here’s our review of the new Vu television.
Vu Ultra Android Smart TV 43GA Design and Specifications
We are used to seeing fancy designs on high-end televisions, but the budget segment largely sticks to the basics. The Vu Ultra Android Smart TV keeps things simple when it comes to design; Nothing special here. The borders around the screen aren’t thin but not too wide either, with just a Vu logo at the bottom. The television itself isn’t particularly thin, with a wide curved back that’s noticeably thicker at the bottom—if you have it mounted on a wall, the TV will hold out quite a bit even with a low-profile mount . However, these measurements are perfectly acceptable considering the price.
The box also comes with a table stand as well as a wall-mount kit for the Vu Ultra Android Smart TV. The wall-mount kit is different from what you’ll find on most TVs, with its own mechanism. However, you can attach a standard VESA wall mount instead, which we did when setting up this TV for review. The four-point table attaches near the corners of the TV, so you’ll need a table that’s almost as wide as it is to hold the TV.
The back of the TV is made of plastic and is quite simple to look at. Most of the ports are on the left, only the AV In sockets are on the back. The thick back means that the ports are easy to access even when the TV is wall mounted. You get two HDMI ports (three would have been ideal), two USB ports, Ethernet, headphone out, antenna, and digital audio out. One of the HDMI ports is ARC compatible, so you have plenty of options for connecting external audio devices. Of course the TV also has Wi-Fi for wireless connectivity to the Internet.
Vu Ultra Android Smart TV 43GA It has a 43-inch full-HD screen and supports Dolby Audio and DTS sound formats. The TV weighs just 7.1kg, which makes it easy to set up or move around when needed.
Vu Ultra Android Smart TV 43GA Remote & Features
We’re used to seeing modern Bluetooth remotes even with affordable TVs, but Vu has kept things simple here. The Vu Ultra Android Smart TV has a standard infrared remote that needs to be pointed at the TV in order to work, reminding us of simpler times. The lack of Bluetooth also means there’s no voice command support, which is a bit sluggish. However, the remote looks quite nice and is well built.
It has buttons for anything you need, including hotkeys for Google Play, YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hotstar. There are also easy playback controls, a button for quickly accessing media on connected USB devices, a proper number pad and D-pad for navigation, and quick access buttons to switch between sound and picture modes. We liked how easy it was to access the most important functions on the TV via a short sequence of button presses on the remote.
The Vu Ultra Android Smart TV has built-in Chromecast functionality, like other Android TV devices, and also supports Bluetooth 5 for pairing with other devices. HDMI-CEC is supported, and we were able to use the Vu Remote just fine with the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K that we connected to the television during our review.
Vu Ultra Android Smart TV 43GA Software and Interface
While some manufacturers like Samsung and LG have their own smart TV platforms, many brands find it easier to go with Android TV. The Vu Ultra Android Smart TV runs stock Android TV 9 Pie with no changes to the core experience, which we appreciated. It provided a familiar feel and we were able to find our way around quickly. We also liked the Chromecast-powered screensavers.
Interestingly, the TV interface has a Google Assistant button, but it is not possible to use it as neither the TV nor the remote has microphones. Even if the TV you think is ready for a command, you can’t use it. You can or do use Google Assistant on other devices in your home (such as Google Home smart speakers), and they’ll communicate with the TV, assuming both are signed into the same Google Account.
While most of the TV’s settings are controlled through the Android TV interface, some controls work through an overlay that you can call up using the remote. This leads to the Android TV settings, and so it’s possible to change most of the settings, even if you’re in the middle of watching something.
Some problems logging on to Amazon Prime Video on Vu Ultra Android Smart TV have been reported via reviews on the device’s Amazon.in product list, but we were able to log on to the TV once we reset it. Netflix and YouTube worked as expected. All streaming services on the Smart TV platform support video streaming up to Full-HD.
Most of the useful apps are available to download through the Google Play Store, with no significant omissions. We sometimes found its response while navigating the TV’s interface to be slow, but generally we had no trouble getting around the UI. Fortunately, booting was fast when the TV was in standby, taking less than five seconds and restarting with the last-used source. A complete restart (that is, when the main power is turned off) took a while, similar to what we’ve seen on other Android TV devices.
Vu Ultra Android Smart TV 43GA Performance
The Vu Ultra Android Smart TV series sticks to the basics in terms of features as well. The 43GA version has a full-HD resolution and supports only standard dynamic range content, which is enough for most people who will be watching cable or DTH television and some streaming video. We used various streaming services and some of our own high-quality test files for review with the Amazon Fire TV Stick and TV’s own apps.
Starting with full-HD content, we watched The Spy on Netflix. Performance was good for the most part, though colors sometimes looked so slightly inaccurate. The skin tone was red, while other scenes in this 1960s spy thriller also looked like they had a slight splash of sepia. We liked the sharpness, which was excellent considering the 43GA variant’s 43-inch full-HD screen and our viewing distance.
We were also impressed by the motion, as seen in the various episodes of Our Planet and Love, Death and Robots. Even during particularly shaky documentary-style scenes from The Office, we were quite impressed with how the Vu Ultra Android Smart TV handled motion.
Blacks were a bit dull, but we were satisfied with how they looked, considering the price of this TV. However, we did have issues with contrast levels; Whites often appeared too bright and washed out on other colors, negatively affecting sharpness and detail in the picture. This TV is capable of getting very bright and colors can be vibrant, but we found that the green elements on the screen looked a little too bright and bright for our liking.
Moving on to low-resolution content, we found that performance was great with 720p and standard definition video in a variety of genres. We watched a bunch of YouTube videos and streamed NDTV news through apps on an Amazon Fire TV Stick, and found that motion quality and sharpness were decent, even with a relatively low resolution and required upscaling.
Coming to the sound quality, we did experience a slight unevenness in the audio levels. While the TV can get loud, we found that we needed to turn the volume up quite a bit to get some uniformity in the sound. The Vu Ultra Android Smart TV sounded somewhat good with the volume up, but the low volume often meant we couldn’t hear dialogue clearly.
Affordable televisions usually have several caveats you’ll have to live with, and the Vu Ultra Android Smart TV is no different. This television isn’t perfect—colors can be a little odd at times, contrast is iffy, and sound is inconsistent and uneven at low volumes. Other minor issues include only two HDMI ports and a non-Bluetooth remote, which is also a compromise for a TV that costs less than Rs. 25,000.
However, the Vu TV compensates for those factors in a number of ways, including its sharp picture, good motion handling, and a smart TV interface that doesn’t have any significant drawbacks. It is an easy television to use, getting the basics right and providing a viewing experience that is largely positive.
While you can get the 4K HDR 50-inch Mi TV 4X 50 for just a few thousand bucks more, it might be worth picking up the Vu model for its proficiency in handling the basics, assuming it’s full of what you need. -HD 43-inch screen. Alternatively, the Vu 40GA is priced slightly lower at Rs. 19,499, but we think the slightly larger 43-inch 43GA variant costs just Rs. Better to get. 3,000 or more.
worth: Rupee. 22,999 (43GA)
Mi TV 4X vs Vu Cinema TV: Which is the best budget TV in India right now? 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.