When at the dawn of writing a test, it is difficult to remember the defects of a product, it is generally a good sign. When in the case of a TV, the only vague regret concerns its remote control, be sure that it is a superior screen, one that will undoubtedly end up in the options at the end of the year. An unnecessary distress, the Philips OLED936 is of this character. Based on solid previous models, adding the correction of small repetitive defects and increasingly relying on a highly powerful processor, TP Vision has managed to offer a TV with almost no defects.
Philips latest OLED TV incorporates an LG panel from last year, exactly what launched the Evo technology, which also equips the LG G1, one of our favorite TVs of 2021. The other important feature of this model is that it is equipped with a Bower & Wilkins signature sound bar held directly to the foot. Finally, like any self-respecting Philips TV, this flagship series is equipped with the Ambilight system that makes the manufacturer unique.
Design: the audio bar for screen enhancement
It is very rare for a TV to have a design that sets it apart from the crowd. We must say that form has something limiting and that it is anything but easy to get out of this context. Philips offers nothing more than a 55-inch rectangular screen, of course, but it comes with a nice sound bar that accentuates its features and adds a lot of originality to the whole.
It is a pity that Philips did not manage to control the thickness of its TV anymore. This is not a problem, far from it, but the TV is still slightly larger than the average in its class.
For the rest, it is, as often, a really serious construction job, with a special attention to detail and a perceived first-class quality. Our only regret is the new remote control, very successful from an aesthetic point of view, but which does not really inspire solidity.
Image quality: close to perfect
Although it does not offer the brightness it promised when it was made official, last year’s OLED Evo panel remains the best in this area (of course waiting for the 2022 panel and who knows Samsung’s QD-OLED). You still need to know how to use it. In this little game, Panasonic and Sony are a point of reference, but now we need to add Philips to this duo. Indeed, in this OLED936, the Dutch brand has achieved a great feat in terms of image quality.
With a Delta E measured at 1.76 (at rec709), the Philips OLED is simply one of the best ratings in our lab, surpassing only last year’s LG G1, Samsung’s QN95A or Panasonic JZ2000. Recall that below 3, the human eye can not distinguish color shades. The color temperature is quite close to the 6500K reference point, but most importantly, it is stable.
The light peak is 996 cd / m2, again one of the highest values of all our measurements. On the other hand, despite numerous efforts, we have not been able to achieve reliable measurement of viewing angles. These are great, OLED requires, but our test does not accurately quantify their value.
Finally, there is Ambilight. We no longer present the Philips lighting system that displays an extension of the colors on the screen on the wall. Whether you like the process or not, the fact remains that it is a brand exclusive and a factor of loyalty for its customers.
Android TV: the new benchmark?
We will quickly look at the operating system part of this Philips OLED936. On the subject, TP Vision OLED continues to trust the truck keys to Google and Android TV. This is the same system we discovered during the testing of Sony, TCL or Xiaomi TVs.
It is not only the most complete ecosystem on the market, but also the one that offers the most applications and perfect compatibility with smartphones, tablets or even computers (thanks to the Chromecast or Google Assistant function).
Obviously, Android TV beats Tizen only in liquidity, but even at this point, it seems to be one of the most efficient operating systems.
Philips is finally playing the game (video)
To say that Philips has snubbed video games in the past is derogatory. The TP Vision brand almost discovered consoles last year when it decided to finally reduce its input latency and offer an HDMI 2.1 port. With the OLED936 the mistake is definitely forgiven. Admittedly, the input latency measured by our lab is only 21 ms, while the average OLED we tested in recent months is 16.36 ms. The numbers do not lie, but that would be forgetting how far Philips has come. In any case, this is an area that can still be advanced.
For the rest we go from one to two HDMI 2.1 ports, as for the support of ALLN and VRR both are sure. The OLED936 even allows you to be greedy in this area by displaying G-Sync compatibility (in case you want to make it your screen for PC playback) and even Free Sync. Finally, in general, the image quality in the video mode does not suffer from any defect.
Sound: Bower & Wilkins, it makes a difference
The B&W 3.1.2 audio bar that equips the OLED936 is definitely one of the most important advantages of the TV. This consists of two 10W speakers as well as a 20W speaker dedicated to bass and two others of 12.5W pointing upwards to ensure the Dolby Atmos effect. Externally, the chrome section corresponds to a “tweeter on top”, a distinctive Bower & Wilkins brand, both aesthetically and acoustically.
But a nice technical sheet is not always synonymous with sound quality. However, this is the case with Philips TVs, which show impeccable performance and which prove to be as interesting as an audio speaker for music as well as an audio bar for the TV. The only slight drawback is the Dolby Atmos performance which, although it remains honorable, has little to do with what some audio bars offer. At this point, no TV has been able to find favor in our eyes. Admittedly, the Panasonic JZ2000 is slowly approaching the expected standards, but for the real Dolby Atmos, the audio part of a TV still seems a bit limited.