The Realme 43-inch 4K TV is a good offering for what it brings to the table. For its asking price, it has a good panel for consuming content in HDR and SDR, and offers a smooth UI as well. It also comes with a sleek easy to use remote control. The addition of far-field mics is nice and they work well in letting you switch the TV on or off. On the flip side, the audio performance feels bleak at low volume and the ‘game mode’ seems to have little effect on the performance on the TV. Overall, if you are looking for a 43-inch 4K tv in the 30K price bracket, the Realme TV can definitely be on your list.
The 43-inch 4K HDR TV we have for review today isn't Realme’s first foray into the TV space. We have reviewed Realme’s 55-inch SLED TV (review) and also the Realme 43-inch FHD TV (review) that the company launched last year. Now, Realme has launched the 43-inch and 50-inch 4K HDR TV with support for HDR 10 and Dolby Vision. The 43 and 50-inch TVs are identical when it comes to features and specifications with the only difference being the screen size. Today, we have the 43-inch TV with us for review. It boasts of some impressive features and specifications such as support for Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, and HDR 10. Priced under Rs 30,000 the 43-inch Realme TV faces competition from the likes of the Hisense 43A71F, AmazonBasics 43-inch 4K HDR TV, TCL, and many more. Does it stand out from the crowd or is it lost in a sea of homogenous TVs? Let's find out.
Realme 43-inch 4K Smart TV specs at a glance
Panel Size: 43-inch (available in 50-inch variant as well)
Panel Type: VA with D-LED backlighting
Panel Resolution: 3840×2160 – 4K
Panel Refresh Rate: 60Hz
HDR 10 support: Yes
HDR 10+ support: No
Dolby Vision Support: Yes
Weight: 6.5 kgs
HDMI Ports: 3
USB Ports: 2
Built-in storage: 16GB
Price: Rs 27,999 for the 43-inch variant, 39,999 for the 50-inch variant.
Realme 43-inch Smart TV 4K Display Panel and Picture Quality
Kicking things off with the display, the Realme Smart TV has a 4K panel with support for HDR 10, and Dolby Vision. Realme tells me that the TV has a peak brightness of 280 nits which is really low for HDR content. We will elaborate on this in the performance section. The TV has DLED backlighting with no dimming zones. It also claims to support 90% of the DCI-P3 colour space.
4K and HDR performance
We played our usual slew of Dolby Vision and HDR 10 content on the TV and found the overall experience to be good despite the lower peak brightness of the TV. Let me explain. In the past, budget HDR TVs have had the issue of making content look too dark offering a lackluster experience. We have seen this on the FHD Realme TV and Xiaomi TV in the past. However, over the past year, we have seen a degree of homogenization, a new baseline if you will, for all budget 4K HDR TVs. The good news is that this baseline makes HDR content consumption a good experience even without hitting a peak brightness of around 400 nits. While this doesn't give you a true HDR experience, it is a decent enough experience to enjoy watching content.
In the case of the 43-inch 4K Realme TV, HDR content was quite enjoyable, even though there is a loss of details in highlights, and the punchy HDR sequences aren’t as punchy as we’ve seen on some other TVs. So, when we watch a show like Our Planet or Altered Carbon on Netflix in HDR on this Realme TV, we aren't met with the “dark” experience we had earlier. We also aren't met with burning your eyes out brightness either. What we are met with is good enough colour reproduction and contrast that anyone on a budget watching this TV will enjoy.
The same goes for Prime Video. The built-in Prime Video app is recognised as an HDR source and you can enjoy shows like Jack Ryan and The Grand Tour in HDR without any hiccups. While the brightest highlights of these shows get clipped way before they should, you won't notice it as the rest of the screen offers you the visuals you will focus on.
However, all isn’t perfect with the HDR performance of this TV. We need to talk about some of the picture presets. For Dolby Vision content, we have Dolby Vision Bright, Dolby Vision Dark, and Dolby Vision Vivid. We have seen the Dolby Vision Bright and Dolby Vision Dark modes in other TVs; their performance here is the same. However, all Dolby Vision Vivid seems to do is increase the sharpness of the content. For consuming Dolby Vision content, I suggest you leave it in Dolby Vision bright. While the blacks do have a hint of grey in them, considering the price of the TV, the performance is acceptable.
With HDR 10 content, however, the Standard and Movie preset seems to have very similar settings and, in some cases, the content can look too warm. In this case, I suggest you leave the preset to Movie or Standard, based on your preference and toggle the colour temperature between Warm and Neutral.
SDR playback of the TV is once again pretty good. We have seen our standard slew of movies and TV shows like Mission Impossible, Young Sheldon and more on this TV. While you will be inclined to use the Movie preset here, once again know that the movie preset makes the entire colour palette too Warm. You can switch the colour temperature to neutral. In movies like Mission Impossible and Shows like Young Sheldon, the Movie preset with the Neutral or “Standard” colour temperature offered the best results.
The only downside to playing with the presets is there is no way to go back into the settings and return to the factory default, which is a bummer. You may want to take a picture of the default settings before tinkering in case you want to reset the presets back to factory default.
There is no default game mode in the picture presets. There is one in the settings of the TV. However, engaging it didn’t really have a noticeable effect on the TV. The game mode needs to switch off all forms of picture processing on the TV and reduce the input lag. While the game mode does something on the TV, it isn't clear what this is. To get the picture settings just right, I switched the picture preset to User and switched off all forms of picture processing. I kept the backlighting at 100 with other settings like Brightness, Contrast and Saturation between 50 and 55 based on the game being played.
We played games like Dirt 5 (review), Spider-Man Miles Morales (review) and Returnal (review) on this TV using a PS5 (review) and the experience is acceptable. A game like Dirt 5 is a great example of HDR gaming and the overall brightness of the game was quite low. We had to manually increase the HDR brightness of the game from the settings of the game to get an acceptable experience.
A game like Returnal has enemy projectiles that glow giving you a beautiful HDR experience, especially on a high-end TV. However, here the difference between the scene brightness and the enemy projectiles wasn't too wide.
This doesn't mean games are unplayable or a bad experience. The games are very much playable and enjoyable. You must calibrate the HDR settings from the PS5 to let the console know the upper and lower limit of the brightness of the TV to ensure you can see all the relevant highlights and details on the TV.
Audio is where the TV falters a bit. While it has 24W of sound output, it is at the lower volumes where you may be disappointed with the audio output of the TV, especially the vocals. Below 30 the audio from the TV is audible but the dialogues are not clear. So, if you will watch this TV late at night and don't want to disturb the family, I suggest a pair of headphones. It’s above the 45 mark that the volume becomes clear and it can get quite loud as well. There is no way to reduce the dynamic range for better clarity at lower volumes.
Apart from that, the audio output of the TV works for everyday TV viewing. We saw a lot of movies, TV shows, news and played games on the TV, and acceptable is the best way to describe the speakers.
There is a toggle in the settings to switch Dolby Atmos on and off and this essentially lets you toggle between a regular Sound Mode and a Dolby Sound Mode and I could only tell the difference between these two different modes in a handful of content pieces. Suffice to say, choose the one that sounds best to your ears.
Realme 43-inch 4K TV UI
The UI here is stock Android through and through just like we’ve seen on the Hisense TV, for example. No added flavours like Xiaomi has with PatchWall or OnePlus has with OxygenPlay and whether that's a good thing or not depends on how much you enjoy these alternate UI’s. While I appreciate the features they offer, I’m more of a stock Android person, myself. Stock Android works well and you do have the option this time around to change the settings when consuming content from the built-in apps which is great.
The unique thing about the Realme TV is that it comes with hands-free controls, something we saw on the TCL C715 (review) and the Mi QLED TV 75 (review). In this case, you can say, “Ok Google, Switch on the TV” and as long as the TV is in standby, it will obey your orders. The hands-free controls on this TV work about as well as it does on the Mi QLED TV. It responds to all my queries, although it still believes that Falcon and The Winter Soldier isn't available on Hotstar.
You have a toggle to switch off the mic, but this leaves a yellow LED array on at the bottom of the display and that can get annoying.
Realme has gone with an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" policy with the remote control. It's the same one we saw on the SLED TV and the 43-inch FHD TV. It is one I really like. It has a teardrop design – extremely thin up-top and getting slightly thick at the bottom where you have the battery housing. This design gives the remote a good grip. It has dedicated hotkeys for Netflix and Prime Video, and also has a dedicated button to change the source, bring up the settings. There is also a dedicated Google Assistant button.
Build and design
The Realme 43-inch 4K TV has slim bezels on three sides. Only the bottom bezel is slightly thick. The bottom also has the LED indicator for the Google Assistant. The back of the TV houses a toggle to switch the assistant mic on and off. The TV has a plastic frame and the feet have a metallic-like finish to them. The feet are quite wide apart, but that may be a good thing for those looking to house a soundbar or a gaming console like the PS4 and a set-top-box below the TV.
The ports on the Realme 43-inch smart TV are facing out. For connectivity, the TV has an AV-in port, two USB ports, three HDMI ports, of which HDMI 1 is ARC enabled, antenna port, ethernet port and optical out. It does not have a 3.5mm port. The TV also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0.
The Realme 43-inch 4K TV is a good offering for what it brings to the table. It has a good panel for consuming content in HDR and SDR for the price and has a smooth UI. It also comes with a sleek easy to use remote control. The addition of far-field mics is nice and they work well letting you switch off the TV and switch it on if it is in standby. The audio performance feels bleak at low volumes and the ‘game mode’ seems to have little effect on the performance on the TV. Overall, if you are looking for a 43-inch 4K tv in the 30K price bracket, the Realme TV can definitely be on your list.