Redmi’s new 43-inch smart TV: Is it worth it?

Redmi’s inaugural Fire TV smart TV was a 32-inch model that delivered considerable value earlier this year. Now, the company has unveiled a larger 43-inch model with upgraded hardware specifications. Priced at an introductory rate of £269.99, this TV faces stiff competition from rivals like OnePlus, Hisense, and even Xiaomi’s own offerings. Does the new Smart Fire TV 43 have what it takes to compete? Let’s delve into it:

Design: At first glance, the Redmi Smart TV 43 closely resembles the Redmi X series of televisions introduced some time ago. The front sports slim bezels around the 43-inch display, with a thicker lower bezel bearing the Redmi logo, a white LED, and a physical power button. The all-plastic back houses all the ports: a bottom-facing LAN port (100 Mbps), a 3.5mm audio jack, AV input, antenna and optical inputs, and side-facing 3 HDMI 2.1 ports (one of which supports eARC), along with 2 USB-A 2.0 ports. Weighing approximately 7kg, attaching the two tabletop feet is straightforward with the required screwdriver. For wall mounting, it’s compatible with standard wall mounts, although you may need to purchase one separately if you don’t already have it.

Display and Performance: The TV boasts a 43-inch 4K (3840×2160) LED LCD panel with up to 60Hz refresh rates and HDR support. Most content tested on the TV was handled satisfactorily. The picture is sharp and detailed, with vibrant blues and reds and minimal issues with grays during high-bitrate video playback. In SDR, the TV performs well, but it reveals its budget nature when it comes to HDR, especially in terms of contrast and brightness in dark scenes. Even at 50 to 60FPS, you can expect smooth playback for live sports without frame drops or jarring effects.

Powered by a quad-core CPU and Mali G52MC1 GPU, along with 2GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage (with only about 2.5GB available out of the box), the TV runs on Fire OS with Xiaomi’s Patchwall. The operating system, even for those unfamiliar with it, is relatively user-friendly. It’s divided into Input, Find, Live TV sources, and your purchased or rented content. You can also press the Apps button on the remote control to access your list of installed apps and long-press the Home button for quick settings, regardless of your location within the OS.

Streaming content through apps like Apple TV, SonyLiv, and Netflix is a smooth experience. The TV not only navigates these apps seamlessly but also moves between menus and settings without glitches or lags. Bluetooth 5.0 and WiFi consistently maintain good performance and connectivity during usage.

Audio: The TV features a dual-speaker setup with a total output of 24 watts, supporting Dolby Atmos and DTS: Virtual X. It delivers loud and punchy sound suitable for a 15×15 room with a couple of viewers. However, for significantly larger spaces with more people, it’s advisable to connect dedicated speakers to the TV. It handles dialogue reasonably well but excels in background and foreground audio. Lows and mids are adequately handled unless the volume is cranked to its highest level.

Notably, there’s a horizontal ad bar near the center of the display under the Home tab, sponsored by Amazon. It’s not overly intrusive but is almost always present. The TV supports Miracast and AirPlay 2, allowing you to cast YouTube from any smartphone and mirror content from Miracast-compatible and iOS devices without any issues.

Long-pressing the Alexa voice button provides options for issuing commands or controlling your Alexa-enabled devices on the same network. Xiaomi has also added a picture-in-picture mode (PiP) that enables you to view the live feed from an Alexa-enabled smart security camera alongside your main content. This eliminates the need to switch between apps to access the security camera feed, a handy feature for those with a full security camera setup.

Verdict: The Redmi Smart Fire TV 43 presents itself as a value-for-money smart TV that doesn’t disappoint in handling basics – offering snappy performance (a challenge for many smart TVs in this price range), good SDR video playback quality, and a decent speaker setup suitable for small to medium-sized rooms. Additionally, it includes thoughtful features like AirPlay support and PiP mode for security cameras, alongside a user-friendly remote control. This makes it a commendable package overall.