Polaroid P55D600 review

Polaroid has launched its first cut-price UHD TV. Is this good news for bargain hunters looking for cheap 4K?

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Our Verdict

Those looking for a cheap UHD television will find the Polaroid 6 Series ticks most of the right boxes. It does a grand job with hi-def TV and Blu-ray, given the price, and looks as crisp as kettle chips with a native 4K source. But there are, of course, catches.

For

  • Sharp, colour-rich HD
  • Mightily impressive 4K
  • HDCP 2.2 compatibility

Against

  • No HEVC decoder
  • So no Netflix 4K
  • Smart portal not so great
  • Thin sound

Polaroid, the TV brand, tends to make headlines only once a year. When prices are slashed in the Black Friday sales, it's invariably a Polaroid panel rabid bargain hunters are photographed squabbling over.

Now the brand has moved up market with its first 4K Ultra HD panel, the 55-inch P55D600.

So should you be mentally counting down the days to this year's inevitable mark down?

Obviously, the Polaroid name comes with decades of imaging credibility. However any link between the TVs wearing the badge here and the American corporation famed for its instant cameras is slender at best.

The rights to use the marque on TV products in the UK is actually owned by retail giant Asda, and the 4K television reviewed here is manufactured for Asda by Vestel, the huge European OEM manufacturer.

Consequently, there's no correlation between Polaroid TVs on sale in the UK and those available in North America.

The screen itself is ostensibly well equipped though. It sports all the badges required by the canny 4K shopper, including Smart connectivity, 2160p resolution and 3D compatibility.

Inevitably though, there's plenty of devil in the detail.

Priced at £699, this Ultra HD flatscreen is aimed unapologetically at the lower end of the nascent 4K market - and I suspect it could end up in quite a few shopping trolleys as a result. If your cart is super-sized, there's a 65inch model as well, the P65D600, available for a mere £1,000.

Feeling flush? Buy both.

Connections and setup

Design-wise the P55D600 succeeds in being both smart and unremarkable.

It looks much like you'd think a modern TV should look. The bezel is moderately thin, but not outstandingly so, and there's a shiny chrome wrap around the edge of the screen which adds a certain bejazzle to the set. The TV stands on two edge-of-screen feet, rather than a pedestal.

Connections

These look like chromed metal but are in fact lightweight plastic.

The remote control is the standard Vestel-made click-wand (yes, it is very noisy to use), curved for ergonomic button-pushing. To save deep menu navigation, there are dedicated buttons for Netflix, YouTube, a web browser and media player.

Connectivity comprises four HDMI inputs. This is a goodly number and will be welcomed by gamers, however of the four HDMIs only one HDMI is 4K HDCP 2.2 compliant. This will likely restrict your options further down the road when 4K content services (such as BT Ultra HD, Ultra HD Blu-ray and SkyQ to name but three) become rather more commonplace.

There's also component AV input legacy support, a minijack for Scart (adaptor supplied), and a trio of USBs.

The screen will timeshift to a recorded USB hard drive hung off one of these ports, although as the set only has a single Freview HD tuner, this would prevent it being used for watching other tuner channels while recording.

In addition to a digital optical audio for use with soundbars and music systems, there's a subwoofer phono output for those that simply want to add a little beef to the box's audio output, by hooking up an active subwoofer. There's also a VGA PC input plus CI card slot for European PPV providers.

The P55D600 can be taken online via Ethernet LAN or Wi-Fi. The TV supports both 2.4GHz and the less congested 5GHz band. If your Wi-Fi reach allows it, opt for the latter.

Media hub options

If you have a large selection of networked multimedia, the P55D600 should certainly keep you amused.

Movie files, music and JPEGS can all be played directly though the set. An integrated Media Browser is presented as part of the main graphical interface. Icons for Videos, Photos, Music, Recordings and Settings make it pretty clear where you're going to end up.

Main menu

The TV's media player will immediately identify compliant DLNA sources on your network, as well as any connected USB thumb drive. It does a fair job with most common video codecs and wrappers. File support covers MKV, MPEG, MOV, WMV and AVI.

The audio player handles MP3, WMA, AAC/M4a, PCM and WAV but it doesn't support FLAC. The latter omission will naturally silence video files using FLAC audio.

Smart TV platform offers limited catch-up

Polaroid's Smart Platform will be familiar to anyone who has auditioned other Vestel made TVs of a similar class (I'm thinking low cost models branded Toshiba and Finlux to name but two).

It combines a live TV window offset by a corral of apps. Headline attractions here include BBC iPlayer, Netflix and YouTube, supported by BBC News and Sport, Flickr, TuneIn radio, iConcerts, Accuweather, Dailymotion, Viewster and others of less interest.

Smart

There are also integrated Twitter and Facebook clients. Rummage around and you'll also find the Opera TV Store, which offers yet more viewing diversions, typically channels proffering movies in the public domain, streaming clients for anime services and so on.

The set's Freeview TV guide is somewhat basic, with no live TV window and no background audio.