What is the electriQ 55 OLED?
electriQ are a relatively new brand in the UK and were founded in 2013. The aim of the company is to produce the same quality of products offered by more established brands, but to do so without the ‘brand premium’ attached, saving money for the consumer. The representative from Appliances Direct described the approach is much like shopping in Aldi, you don’t get the premium brands and premium pricing, but you do get the performance and value for money.
Now this approach will certainly be attractive to a very wide market of users, but can AV enthusiasts and forum members still get the level of image performance they expect from an OLED at such an amazingly low price point? We have been living with and testing the electriQ 55 OLED for a few weeks now and have been pleasantly surprised with what is on offer for the money.
This review is based on a retail sample of the electriQ 55 OLED TV kindly provided by Appliances Direct. It was a sealed retail sample that is exactly the same as you would buy from their store or website. Please support our reviews by considering Appliances Direct for your next TV purchase.
So let’s see if we can answer the two key questions of whether it's too good to be true and can you really get a quality OLED TV for just £850?
The screen has a 2mm metal bezel around it on all four sides, but the actual image area is 10mm from the edge with a black border. The bottom of the screen houses a 20mm striped metal edge that looks like a soundbar and which does house the two speakers at either end of this strip.
Overall the electriQ 55 OLED TV is very well built and has a nice contemporary design which looks very similar to the much more expensive LG TVs of the last year or so. We doubt anyone would be disappointed with the slick look and slim chassis, although the stand feet are a misstep for us.
All three HDMI inputs will accept HDCP2.2 signals at 4K/60p with HDR10 compatibility. There is no support for HLG or Dolby Vision on the electriQ 55 OLED. There is also built-in Wi-Fi but no support for Bluetooth connections and no control app.
It is certainly not as slick as the magic remote that comes with LG's OLED TVs and it does feel a little plastic and cheap, but then it is a budget remote with a budget TV and it is perfectly adequate for its use, while the build quality is such that it should last a few years in the typical family home.
Functionality and User Interface
Switching the TV on takes around 60 seconds for it to boot up correctly and go to the last input used. Navigation is easy enough using the remote control and commands are completed quickly. The Smart TV system is opened via the dedicated button and you can more or less do everything possible with the TV, Apps and settings in this area. In here you can access the picture controls, sound, channel set up and functions, such as the frame interpolation system. It is a little annoying that this isn’t under the picture settings. Also it is worth pointing out that the picture controls on the electriQ are very basic indeed, but more on that later. You can also set up USB TV recording through the various menus and also access the latest Apps through the Google store, such as Netflix, Amazon and so on.
If you have used an Android device in the past you will be familiar with the page layout with What’s Hot at the top, Featured apps under this and then input selection with TV and HDMI inputs first in the list as they will be used the most. You then have more app selections and stores before the final layer that includes the settings, network settings, memory usage, message centre and the help function. Within the app store you can download more items and have them within this section for easy access.
Finally we have the TV EPG under the guide button on the remote that opens a page with the current channel playing in a small box to the top left and under that is the channel list. To the right you have the program listings for the selected channel and you can exit by pressing the back button. We would have liked a more intuitive menu bar selection with use of the direction keys like on some YouView boxes and Panasonic TVs, which is a far more intuitive way to channel surf. But everything here works as it should and at good speed. We didn’t have any instances of the OS crashing or hanging at any point in four weeks of testing this TV.
It may be basic Android and not have the slick expensive looking user interfaces of the far more expensive TVs out there, but it works, is solid and fast to use. So thumbs up electriQ.
electriQ 55 OLED Features
The 6M60 motion chip uses the MEMC frame interpolation technology that can be found in the function menu and not the picture menu where you might expect to find it. It has a number of settings which all add some degree of soap opera effect (SEO) to content. You have choices of Standard, Cinema, Sports, Game & Off.
While the TV has an Android TV V6 smart platform that has the usual mix of popular apps such as Netflix, Amazon, All 4, ITV player and BBC iPlayer you can only view HDR material from You Tube. However Netflix has 4K Ultra HD content for viewing.
We did have a few little niggles with the smart TV system with no way to sign in to BBC iPlayer as the interface wouldn’t allow us time to type in our account details. We also found buffering took a little longer than other platforms we have regularly used, but this didn’t put us off using the apps. With the use of Android there are some apps here you won’t see on most other smart systems, such as Kodi, and the Google app store is massive with plenty to choose from.
The picture presets are named Dynamic, Vivid, Standard, Soft and User. Within all the presets except User are no controls for brightness, contrast, colour, tint, sharpness or gamma. Within user there are only brightness, contrast, colour, sharpness and tint. However, when fed a 4K signal, colour, sharpness and tint are greyed out in the user menu. All presets have colour temperature controls with choices of Standard, Cool and Warm. There are also controls for aspect ratio and noise reduction. When fed a 4K signal the noise reduction is greyed out on the medium setting – more on this later.
So because of these limitations, there will be no calibrated measurements section of the review. When we first assessed the TV, there should have been an Over The Air (OTA) update of the operating system, but this never happened when we started assessing the TV. We were unaware that there was an update due as the engineer who sent us starting notes said it had been updated a number of week previously.
Our initial assessment of the TV with the lack of picture controls and the initial out of the box image was scoring at around the 3 or 4 out of 10 area. It was very poor. It looked like a 10 year old budget LCD set with blown out and bleached skin tones, clipped detail throughout the image and garish colours with no detail. It didn’t possess the strengths of OLED image quality at all. This was all down to a gamma track of 1.5 throughout the image, which is too bright and blows out all detail in the blacks, mid-tones and highlights.
As we always do when assessing a display we fed back our findings to electriQ as our aim is to always encourage manufacturers to implement changes that make their products better. On doing this, we were made aware of a download that needed to be applied to the operating system, so we set about finding that on the TV and then applying it. Thankfully that update improved things drastically to the point we are at now. It sadly didn’t add in the picture controls we want to see in the user menu, but image quality is vastly improved from our initial testing and we were happy to go about retesting and assessing this TV. electriQ say they are open to user feedback and where they can they will apply changes requested. So we really do hope that they will take on board the feedback regarding user menu controls for picture quality.
So with all that background out of the way, we set about measuring the best settings out of the box for SDR picture quality and seeing how close that comes to the long standing industry standards. This allows a display to get as close as possible to the image intended by the content creators. We used our trusted Klein K-10A meter, CalMAN Ultimate software and Murideo Fresco Six-G pattern generator for SDR and 4K HDR patterns. We found the best setting for 1080p SDR content was the Soft preset (there is nothing soft about this image, so we have no idea why it is named as such). This had the best gamma curve response, adding much needed detail back into the image compared to the original assessment state. We used the warm colour temperature and as stated there are no other controls available, but contrast and brightness were correct, noise reduction switched off and while there is no sharpness control, there did appear to be some artificial sharpening going on with the image. Our feedback to electriQ is to add all these controls missing, to all the image presets and for them to add an off switch with all material.
Gamma was the real issue in our first assessment of the TV, and while it is still far from perfect following the update, it has brought back so many of the missing details in the mid-tones that image quality is now far more acceptable. There is still a little washout in the highest parts of the image brightness scale, in very white or bright scenes, but overall image quality and luminance is far more acceptable and if electriQ can add in some gamma curve selections to the user menus, that track 2.2, 2.4 and 2.6 along with BT.1886 they will improve the image quality yet again, especially if our results here with a retail example are replicated with all other models of this TV. We would like an advanced menu added, that has white balance controls, a Colour Management System, gamma and enough processing for these to work correctly without adding in artefacts.
When it comes to Rec.709 colour tracking (shown above on the right) there is more for electriQ to learn here and apply to the TV. There is no apparent rec.709 gamut for SDR material playback and if you look at the chart you can see that it is set up to follow the DCI-P3 gamut for 4K UHD material. This does cause issues with colour looking over-saturated for content that is mastered to the rec.709 standard (SD and HD TV in the UK, along with Blu-ray). Skin tones do look a little overly rosy in some material, although image luminance (not shown in the graphs) is lower than it should be, so some of the oversaturation issues are not as severe as you might expect looking at the tracking graph, but there is certainly work to be done here to gain accuracy for SD and HD material.
For HDR viewing we found a slightly different picture preset was required to get the desired results, so we used the User preset with controls for contrast and brightness present and colour temperature set to Standard as opposed to warm with SDR. Unfortunately the noise reduction setting of medium is greyed out, as is the sharpness control. Again there are no calibration controls on the TV.
We were impressed with what the TV was capable of here and moving to the wider gamut tracking (shown above on the right) kept us impressed. Once again the electriQ 55 OLED gives it a good go at tracking to the DCI-P3 gamut within Rec.2020 and apart from some off-hue instances seen on the tracking chart, for the most part it manages to try and get 75% and under as correct as it can, and even at 100% it’s not far away in most cases. And again with actual onscreen HDR viewing content you would have to have a reference point to really notice any obvious errors with hue and saturation of the primary and secondary colours. That doesn’t mean we don’t want electriQ to try harder, we do, but on what we have seen so far, this is promising indeed. Other measurements not included in the graphs were the DCI-P3 coverage of 94% using XY and 97% using UV and coverage of Rec.2020 (which is still pretty irrelevant at this point in time), was 70%.
Considering the price point we were very pleased with the efforts made by the manufacturer to try and get close to being accurate at this level of the market. We are sure that with a little more hard work and adding in the items we have suggested in the feedback so far, they could really be on to a winner with a little more accuracy for SDR content and the added picture control options to get everything bang on.
*Disclosure – it is important at this point to tell you that electriQ did give me access to the factory service menu to have a look around. I could have calibrated and changed some of the presents based on the controls available in that menu system. However, consumers buying this product would not have access to these controls and only professional calibrators with the correct equipment and contacts would be able to take advantage of these. Plus, the controls even in the service menu were not complete and still basic in some regards, with no CMS or gamma adjustment available. So with this in mind I didn’t calibrate the electriQ for this review, as it would have been unfair and not truly representative of what the consumer purchases. Plus we really want the company to take on the feedback and add the requested advanced menu options into the consumer side of the TV and that includes WB and CMS controls. We believe they will try to do this as they have been keen to add features and updates in the past.
electriQ 55 OLED General Performance
Viewing angles and UniformityOne of the biggest advantages of a self-emissive technology such as OLED is that it works on a pixel basis and doesn’t require a backlight to illuminate the screen. As such viewing angles are excellent with very little contrast change or colour shift when viewing the set from very wide off-axis angles. Indeed there are no obvious changes until you are almost 70 degrees off and even then, it’s very slight. So for use in a family room with seating not directly on centre with the screen, this electriQ OLED is ideal for such an environment.
In terms of panel uniformity we saw no issues from 10% brightness all the way to 100% brightness. There were no dark edges or vignetting seen at all with this test panel and no visible banding at those stimulus levels. With a 2% and 5% full field pattern we did see the usual just above black bands that are visible on all OLED panels, however we never once saw this when watching onscreen content during our testing period with the electriQ.
As we noted back at the beginning of the review the electriQ 55 OLED doesn’t appear to have a filter on the screen to reject ambient light or reflections from the screen. We didn’t feel this was an issue in our living room where we tested the OLED, but you should also avoid placing the TV anywhere close to a window or where direct light can fall on the screen. An OLED is definitely better suited to a room where light can be controlled throughout the day, so don’t set it up in the conservatory.
Black Levels and Contrast PerformanceYet more strong points for OLED TVs are black levels and contrast. We measured zero for black and it easily handled the SDR target of 120nits for peak white, which gives an on/off of infinity. ANSI contrast was the same, as we expected with an OLED panel like this, meaning it has superb dynamic range and depth to SDR and HDR images.
Video Processing and Motion HandlingWhen compared to the more expensive OLED TVs on the market the electriQ is more basic in its available features. So there is no Black Frame Insertion (BFI) technology or de-contouring features but there are some frame interpolation modes hidden away in the menu system. Under functions in the smart menus you will see an option for MEMC. Within this setting you have choices of Standard, Cinema, Sports, Game & Off with each looking like the last in terms of motion handling and Soap Opera Effect (SOE). With video based content like TV entertainment programs and sports broadcasts you can experiment to find one which suits your tastes, but in the time we tested each setting we found each has artefacts and due to the limited nature of the processing, there is no custom mode for judder and blur reduction settings. As always we would advise leaving this off for 24fps content.
The panel used here has a 120Hz refresh rate and it handles 24fps material well with no induced or telecine judder, visible. We also didn’t notice any obvious issues with 50Hz broadcast material with no sign of frame skipping or dropping. Ticker tapes on news channels look fine in the testing we did.
Scaling of 1080 images to the TVs native resolution was good with no obvious errors seen but there was some evidence of edge enhancement being applied that we had no control over, so we did see some light ringing. With 4K UHD material noise reduction is set to medium and greyed out and some fine detail is lost within content. This needs to be changed so that the menu can be accessed and a choice made by the end user. There is also no sharpness control available, but we did see slight edge enhancement issues with 4K content that it wasn’t possible to switch off. This again robbed the image of some fine detail. Again we would ask electriQ to make the sharpness control available to end users and also to remove or have an off mode for edge enhancement features. Like we suggested in the Picture settings area of the review there needs to be additional controls implemented here to keep video purists happy by allowing users to make choices on how they want the processing to work with their viewing content.
Input LagWe were unable to get our HDFury Vertex to inject HDR and scale the Leo Bodnar lag tester for 4K gaming lag, we just got a screen full of snow. So sadly we have no result there. With 1080p gaming the TV has to apply scaling and as such the result was 62ms, which is just a tad slow for most reaction games, and most gamers would probably notice that. We did some gaming on our Xbox One X in 4K HDR and it felt responsive, but that could just be our inept abilities and it is not scientific at all.
Sound QualityWith the built-in soundbar like area under the screen, which houses the drivers at either side, the sound quality was passable for such a thin screen. There are some options in the menu for changing some parameters and dialogue was always clear and concise in all modes we tried, it was the mid range and what bass you could get from the speakers that changed between options. Given that the TV has ARC capabilities and you are saving quite a bit against the next OLED in the price range, you should splash out on at least a half decent soundbar to improve on the adequate and functional audio from the electriQ.
electriQ 55 OLED Picture Quality
HD SDR Out-of-the-BoxStarting with standard dynamic range content from TV broadcasts and Blu-ray we found the electriQ to be an excellent performer in most areas, but with room to improve in others for the image purists amongst us. As all the presets more or less do the same with a similar gamma curve, we did find that Soft and colour temperature Warm was the best for this type of content, as explained in the measurement section above.
The built-in TV tuner performed well enough with just the odd occasional picture break up, which we put down to our reception and not the TV. With SD channels things are never great with soft looking picture and gaudy colours thanks to the many poor channels now on air, but HD channels do look very good with just the odd colour issues. This is mainly with sports coverage, like football, where the green pitch can look a little ‘hot’ and off hue, compared to a more natural look. Plus skin tones can also be a little on the rosy side thanks to over saturated reds and magenta that veers towards the red spectrum but luminance is low, so it is noticeable but not garish and in your face. We find the same is true with Blu-rays and while it is not a deal breaker for the vast majority of viewers of this TV, those who want accurate images will be disappointed with the SDR image quality. It would be good if electriQ could get the Rec.709 gamut for HD and SD material more accurate out of the box with correct luminance and add in the menu controls we need.
Our usual favourite Blu-ray test discs do for the most part look very detailed with good motion and superb black levels and shadow detail. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is now on constant test cycle these days and apart from tree moss looking a little on the off side of green and some rosy cheeks (of the humans), image quality is certainly a vast improvement on what we originally tested here, and at £850 it kills off any similar priced LCD for black levels, shadow detail, viewing angles and image quality in normal viewing conditions.
4K HDRGiven the very good results for the EOTF tracking, tone mapping and wide colour performance we were impressed with how the electriQ 55 OLED handled HDR content. It tone maps to keep image brightness as consistent as possible, clipping highlights to preserve the APL. Black levels and shadow details are superb with a lovely dynamic nature to images with excellent colours and skin tones. Where the electriQ gets things wrong with SDR content, it makes up for it with some excellent HDR images, which do try hard to remain accurate as the creator intended. While highlights, especially in 4000nit content like Pan are clipped, OLED does have the advantage of pixel level accuracy for specular highlights against the inky blacks, which can produce some stunning looking images that you wouldn't get at this price point on an LCD TV.
With Pan as an example the clouds do have details missing within them and the sun is clipped in the Arriving at Neverland chapter, which is mastered at 4000nits, but detail elsewhere is retained and colours look excellent. Flames still hold brightness and effect against the dark surrounding and water sparkles as they ride a raft into the caves. OLED's strengths shine through with Pan and Blade Runner 2049 showing superb screen uniformity and no signs of posterisation in the New Vegas arrival scene. The hue of the orange looks consistent and natural with no obvious gradation and again detail is strong. There does appear to be some light edge enhancement being applied by the TV and some noise reduction, which is just taking away the slightest of fine detail in the image. However from normal viewing distances this isn’t as noticeable. Skin tones are utterly convincing along with the colour palate on offer, making this an absolutely sumptuous image. You have to keep reminding yourself that this is an £850 TV you are looking at.
Sadly we can’t offer you a round-up of the calibrated image as there are no calibration settings to allow a full-on detailed set up, even in the service menu. If electriQ could fix the accuracy of the SDR picture mode and Rec.709 colour gamut, add in the requested advanced menu system and allow us to switch off greyed out noise reduction and edge enhancement settings, this set would be getting a best buy award, easily.
- Decent SDR image quality with superb black levels
- Very Good HDR picture quality and colour reproduction
- 4K Resolution and decent scaling performance
- Nice design and build quality
- Good value for money
- Great value family TV
- Ease of use and decent smart features
- Not to AV Enthusiast levels of picture performance
- Limited picture settings and modes with no calibration controls
- No gamma control for SDR
- No sharpness control and some added sharpening and noise reduction
- Colour gamut follows DCI even in SDR mode
electriQ 55 OLED TV Review
Final Verdict on the electriQ 55 OLEDAs things stand this TV is not for image purists or those who hanker after perfectly calibrated image accuracy to the industry standards. It doesn’t have the picture menu controls to make those kinds of adjustments or a full on calibration. Even in the service menu things are limited. However after feeding back our findings we are hopeful that electriQ will take on board what we have highlighted and if they can, they will add everything we have requested. Let’s face it, if they did that then this TV would be getting a best buy award.
So what do we have and why have we given it a recommended badge? It’s simple really, we have a TV that is just £850 and destroys any LED backlit/edge lit TV at this price point (and quite a bit above) for black levels, shadow details, image detail, dynamic range and viewing angles. It also has a superb HDR image, which tries hard to be accurate and provides genuine wide colour and dynamic range performance that can rival far more expensive screens.
Where it falls down is with the limited menu system and picture controls, and SDR performance that needs to be far more accurate. Rec.709 colour is out by a mile and the only saving grace here is that luminance is also low, so colours are not quite as garish as they could have been. Gamma is also an issue and we need far more control over that aspect in the user menu. With accurate Rec.709 colour and gamma selections of 2.2, 2.4, 2.6 and BT1886 the electriQ could start to genuinely challenge the more established brands at much higher price points.
If you are looking for a second screen or are not that interested in absolute SDR image accuracy, but want the plus points of OLED and can overlook the slightly limited menu system and slightly wonky SDR colours, this is something we can recommend you take a look at. Plus it does have decent HDR capabilities and the company are adamant that where they can introduce and update features they will. If they do and send the TV back with all the changes we would be happy to re-assess to see if it can hit the AV enthusiast and image purist expectations. There are no perfect TVs out there and at £850 the electriQ does far more right than it gets wrong, so with that in mind we are happy to give it a recommendation with the caveats already mentioned in great detail within this review.
What are the alternatives?At £850 there are none that we can genuinely see. This is the cheapest OLED TV in the UK at the time of writing (May 2018). We could recommend you look at an LCD TV but you will be limited to edge lit models that can’t go much brighter with HDR or as accurately with the wide colours. You can get a few that are slightly more accurate for SDR Rec.709 colour, but without the black levels, viewing angles or dynamic range. So it’s a tough one to call and ultimately comes down to your environment, viewing habits and budget to find which technology suits you.
If you have more budget and can reach the current price points of the LG B7/C7 OLED then they become the best option out there for image accuracy in SDR and HDR along with the best OS and smart TV system available and full menu systems. But then again that is almost twice the cost of the electriQ, so you are paying for all those extra bells and whistles.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
SDR Picture Quality
HDR Picture Quality
Picture Quality Out-of-the-Box
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
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