Philips OLED+986 (65OLED+986) TV Review
- Filmmaker Mode out of the box is accurate
- Calibrated image quality is superb in SDR and HDR
- High brightness OLED panel
- P5 AI+ Processor is very powerful
- Excellent motion performance
- Bowers & Wilkins speaker offers superb two channel sound quality
- Four-sided Ambilight is excellent as a bias light
- Impressive design and build quality
- Looks and feels like a luxury item
- The design can be limiting for placement within a room affecting the ease of use
- No 4K/120 full resolution support now or in the future
- Some black crush out of the box
- Some slight floating black and flashing issues with certain bit starved content
- The smart TV feels dated as do the menus
What Is the Philips OLED+986?
The Philips OLED+986 is the flagship product from the company for 2021/22 with a high-performance OLED panel married to a Bowers and Wilkins high-quality speaker bar fixed to a floor stand design with cable management to the rear. The panel used in the Philips has effective heat control, which means you should be less susceptible to any image retention issues, and it offers brightness that is up to 20% more compared to conventional OLED panels. This is paired with the Philips 5th generation P5 Intelligent Dual Picture Engine processor which adds new AI functionality to the picture processing capabilities. A new feature for the OLED+986 is Film Detection which automatically switches the TV to Filmmaker Mode or Home Cinema picture presets when it detects movie content being played.
The OLED+986 features all currently available HDR formats including the new HDR10+ Adaptive standard which uses the intelligent light sensor to adjust the image brightness based on room and ambient light conditions. Other AI features include Smart Bit Enhancement 2.0 to improve colour gradation issues on lower bitrate content, AI Machine Learning Sharpness and an improved Perfect Natural Reality feature. Philips is well known for its advanced picture processing performance, which is not always in line with how the creator intended images to be seen, but it is nonetheless impressive in action.
... Ambilight is certainly a feature that adds to the viewing experience however you decide to apply it
As you would expect from a Philips TV there is four-sided Ambilight present on the OLED+986 with the ability to add accurate bias lighting behind the screen to aid with eye fatigue when watching in dim surroundings. There are also the usual expanded features such as ‘follow video’ and ‘follow sound’, where the light behind the set mimics what is onscreen to add more immersion to your viewing experience. While we would always recommend the bias light approach when watching movies and TV drama, there is no doubt that with gaming and other uses the ‘follow’ settings do add a certain amount of immersion and this will appeal to some users. The plus point here is that Philips gives you the choice and Ambilight is certainly a feature that adds to the viewing experience however you decide to apply it.
The speaker bar is completely separate from the panel and is housed on the floor stand that helps to decouple it from any unwanted vibrations, and of course, stop it from causing any such vibrations too. The speaker bar features Continuum cone drivers and Bowers & Wilkins' iconic tweeter-on-top that lets you know this speaker means business and offers high-end audio performance. Where the OLED+936 is touted as the ‘cinephile’ TV by Philips, the OLED+986 is the ‘audiophile’ version, with more emphasis on music as well as movies.
There are three independently isolated speaker enclosures inside the speaker bar, with the left and right-hand enclosures also featuring decoupled, baffle-mounted tweeters positioned to the far ends of the speaker system for a wider sound stage. The centre speaker enclosure is partnered by the tweeter-on-top, which ensures that high-frequency performance is delivered without the blurring associated with cabinet diffraction – caused when tweeters are mounted in larger cabinets. There is no doubting the R&D that has been put into the design and performance of the speaker bar but be aware that there are no up-firing speakers for Atmos.
... lets you know this speaker means business
Philips has upped its gaming performance this year with a better performance when it comes to input lag and most HDMI 2.1 features, with a dedicated gaming mode. The dual-chip featured in the OLED+986 does mean that 120Hz performance is at half resolution for 4K gaming. However, this doesn’t affect the vast majority of users as things stand, so Philips is pitching this TV for the film and music fan who wants the best picture quality for film and TV sources with superb audio quality and gaming features that are relevant to how things stand now. If you need better support for your gaming needs, then the OLED+986 and OLED+936 are obviously not the TVs for you as things stand. We would encourage Philips to be clear in its description of the TV's ability to display 4K 120Hz content in the sales brochures and website for the OLED+ models.
So does the Philips OLED+986 live up to the billing as a flagship audiophile TV that also offers superb picture quality? Let’s find out…
Design, Connections and Control
The Philips OLED+986 looks are very much a love it or loathe it approach to TV stand design.
The floor-mounted stand with the speaker bar halfway up and then the panel on top is certainly unique and there is full cable management to the rear of the stand to help with routing those source cables. There are also covers for the rear panel once everything is connected to the panel to help yet again. The only issue then is where do you put your source devices and how long do your cable runs need to be. And if your storage is away from the bottom of the stand, you will have cables running out of the bottom of the stand leg and thus visible.
... it looks every inch the flagship with the excellent build quality and a nice weighty stand that anchors the set to the floor
However, one of the plus points of this stand design that I hadn’t considered before is with the use of Ambilight and seeing the bottom lighting of the panel. This is usually hidden away with the normal stands used for the OLED806 for example, but with the space below the floor stand we get the full-on effect of light all around the panel, and it is very effective. Ambilight is definitely one of those features that you don’t really consider until it is gone, it really adds to the viewing experience, even if used as a static bias light.
The overall design is elegant and it looks every inch the flagship with the excellent build quality and a nice weighty stand that anchors the set to the floor. It is also incredibly heavy to lift in its packaging, something I get to do twice!
Around the back of the set are the connections and they comprise sideways and rearwards facing inputs. Sideways we have a CI slot, service port, three USB slots, a headphone jack and two HDMI 2.0b inputs. Downwards facing we have a digital audio output, a subwoofer phono lineout, two HDMI 2.1 (48Gbps) inputs, RF and Satellite antennas and a LAN port.
The remote control provided with the Philips OLED+986 is the large and impressively designed unit seen with the OLED+936 that is also backlit. It’s a largely plastic affair and a full-size length with all the keys laid out in a sensible manner and it is intuitive to use. Some users may not like the button feel, but overall it sits neatly in the hand and is easy to use.
Out of the Box
As we do with all TV reviews, we factory reset the panel and then measured the picture presets to find which is the most accurate to the industry standards, out of the box. The best preset is Filmmaker Mode (FMM) which switches off all unwanted processing with accurate colour and white balance retained. It is a one-button press solution that has no video processing or motion interpolation applied and it follows the industry standards for SDR and HDR content playback
The Filmmaker Mode remains fairly accurate on this example of the OLED+986 with a decent track of the greyscale but gamma is slightly dark in the black area of the scale, which does result in some visible black crush out of the box. Our DeltaE errors are good for the most part and are at or just below the visible threshold of three.
The Rec.709 colour gamut results are good with a decent level of accuracy, but there are a few obvious errors in the graph above. Red is oversaturated and we have slight hue errors with green, yellow and magenta, but these do not exceed the visible threshold of three. Red errors are seen within the content with skin tones and reds looking a little more saturated as a result, but overall the errors are not that obvious in actual film and TV content. For an out of the box preset, Filmmaker Mode on this Philips was accurate enough to the standards for decent movie and TV viewing without any obvious errors.
The Philips OLED+986 features a suite of calibration controls and will also support Calman AutoCal in the near future. We used a manual calibration on this occasion, testing all the options within the menus to dial in an accurate reference level image.
We managed to achieve reference level tracking of the greyscale with all our DeltaE errors well under the visible threshold of three, with an average error of just 0.4, which is excellent. Gamma also tracks well with just a slight brightening at 90% stimulus, but this is not visible or noticeable with actual viewing material such as film and TV.
The Rec.709 HD colour gamut is also very good with no major issues to report. Red is a little oversaturated at 100% stimulus, but this is not an issue at all and our DeltaE errors are well under the visible threshold of three, with an average of 0.5 overall. Once again we were able to dial in accurate images with the OLED+986.
With the Philips OLED+986 sporting the same panel used by the latest Panasonic and Sony high brightness models with heat dissipation, the performance here should be very similar in that respect. As always, we measured the peak brightness over a series of window sizes in an automated run ending with full screen 100% brightness. And, as always, there is more to an HDR image than peak brightness so these measurements are for information only and you really shouldn’t benchmark a TV on specs like this as differing peak brightnesses are hard for the human eye to accurately compare, due to how poorly our eyes see brightness levels.
We measured the OLED+986 in the Filmmaker Mode with D65 white balance and on a 10% window the Philips managed 797 nits, with slightly higher measurements at 2 and 5% in the low 800 range, however, your eyes would never see this difference. Full field white measured in at 166 nits.
There are a few HDR Perfect settings to be aware of on the Philips OLED+986 with Minimum and Medium the most useful for the correct PQ EOTF tracking to ST2084 depending on the existence of metadata within the HDR content.
With 1000 nit metadata enabled content in the HDR Perfect Min settings (above) we have a good track and hard clip at the peak brightness.
4000 nit metadata enabled content in HDR Perfect Min settings (above) has a good track with a slightly earlier roll-off to try and retain as much detail as possible before a hard clip at the peak brightness.
Using the HDR Perfect Medium setting (above) gives a gentle roll-off for 1000 nit content that has no metadata present until it hard clips at the peak brightness.
The same is true with 4000 nits mastered content (above) with no metadata trigger in the HDR Perfect Medium settings with a gentle roll-off and hard clip at peak brightness.
The Wide Colour Gamut results for DCI-P3 within BT.2020 (above) are also very good with just a slight hue error for magenta, but all other points are there or thereabouts with decent saturation tracking. The gamut coverage is not quite 100% and colour volume has always been a weak point of WRGB OLED, but colour performance is very good for HDR.
We measured BT.2020 at 70% XY and 72% UV with P3 coming in at 96% XY and 98% UV.
Picture Settings Video
The picture settings out of the box are identical to the OLED+936 and OLED806 in the video above.
While the OLED+986 is one of the flagship models in the Philips line-up it is aimed at the end-user who values audio quality as well as picture quality for movie and TV viewing. While it has gaming features, which are an improvement over previous years' models, if you want a gaming TV that can do 4K/120 at full resolution, this is not the TV for you; we would suggest you go and buy an LG instead. If you want an accurate movie, TV and high-quality music playback TV, read on…
Many of the performance traits of the OLED+986 when it comes to picture quality are near identical to the OLED+936 we tested a few months ago, and that should be no surprise as it uses the same panel and image processor.
Panel uniformity is good with no obvious signs of tint or colour shift when watching directly on to the TV with a full white field. Off to the sides, you may see a slight cyan shift, but it is subtle and the vast majority of viewers would never see this, especially with actual film and TV content. Using grey slides we didn’t see any issues with vignetting or banding and there was no sign of Dirty Screen Effect (DSE). With a 5% just above black slide the panel was clean with some incredibly faint bands visible with the pattern, but these were never seen in darkroom viewing with dark scenes within actual film content, so not an issue at all.
Many of the performance traits of the OLED+986 when it comes to picture quality are near identical to the OLED+936
As always with a Philips TV, the video processing is very good with the P5 AI+ chip providing excellent performance with motion and upscaling. With SD content the OLED+986 manages a decent upscaling performance which, while a little soft, looks clean without any obvious artefacts present. HD content looks much better upscaled to the panel's 4K resolution and motion is also very good indeed. With 24fps material there is good 5:5 pulldown with no induced judder present and motion blur looks natural and as it should be within the content. With broadcast material, we also didn’t notice any frame skipping or judder. You can also add in Black Frame Insertion (BFI) via the Fast Motion Clarity banner within the motion menus. This works incredibly well and ups perceived resolution at the expense of some image brightness. We would recommend the minimum setting if you decide to use BFI and don’t use it with HDR content as it will drop the peak brightness results by 100-150 nits.
The dual-chip featured in the OLED+986 does mean that 120Hz performance is at half resolution for 4K gaming
You can add in frame interpolation and smoothing and the P5 AI+ processing has several levels of settings, but the higher you go in strength the more artefacts you will start to see with fast-moving objects breaking up at the edges. If you must add smoothing to your viewing then I suggest using the lower Movie setting which adds some deblur to get around the sample and hold effect of OLED without adding obvious Soap Opera Effect (SOE). There are also AI settings if you want to hand complete control over to the TV to identify and process images, colours, edges and motion, and just like the OLED+936, there is the off switch for the purist.
The performance with SDR and HDR content is identical to the previously reviewed OLED+936 with excellent accurate image quality out of the box with just a few minor gripes. Black crush is present with all SDR and HDR content with shadow detail lacking in some well-used demo scenes. This can be calibrated out with the OLED+986 looking incredibly cinematic after a full calibration. Colours are vivid yet natural and accurate, with excellent life-like skin tones on show. Motion is also very good and overall, SDR and HDR content looks superb as you would expect.
The OLED+986 is a niche TV that is designed for a specific market and not as a modern high tech gaming set. It does perform well with most console gaming systems and employs HDMI 2.1 inputs, but that also adds a slight issue for those looking for 4K/120 support along with VRR for gaming, as the OLED+986 does not support the format at full resolution and will not be updated going forward, as the hardware is not capable. Those who are looking for an ultra-advanced gaming TV that supports full resolution 4K/120 would be better looking elsewhere.
For everyone else, the Philips gaming performance is pretty good with input lag measured at 20.4ms (which is oddly higher than the 16ms we measured on the OLED+936). Feeding the set a 1080/120 signal dropped that input lag to 11ms.
The main selling point of the OLED+986 is the sound quality factor with that custom-built Bowers & Wilkins speaker bar being front and centre. The sound quality is distinctly Bowers with excellent mid and high-frequency clarity pushing forward a precise musicality that brings sound to life. Bass is also very good with surprising weight and musicality but, without any separate external subwoofer being employed, it’s all coming from the drivers in the speaker bar. Music is the strong point here with excellent separation and distinct, clear and precise vocals projecting far into the room. The sound stage is also wide thanks to the 65-inch screen width and overall it really is a pleasure listening to your favourite music and artists on this TV.
It produces the best speaker bar performance I have heard yet from a dedicated all-in-one package without a subwoofer
Of course, you will also sit down to watch everyday TV and films with the OLED+986 and while it does support Dolby Atmos tracks, there are no upward-firing drivers for overhead effects. The OLED+986 and Bowers & Wilkins approach here is audio precision and clarity instead of surround effects with a wide sound stage that offers a good degree of realism to sound designs within the content but without the full surround envelopment. This is a rather niche approach being taken by Philips and Bowers, but if this is what you’re looking for from a TV, the OLED+986 is undoubtedly a success, as the performance is excellent.
Philips OLED+986 (65OLED+986) TV Review
The Philips OLED+986 is a unique flagship TV that is aimed at a niche audiophile audience who also wants high-end picture quality. The design is superb and the sound quality reaches the levels you would expect from a Bowers & Wilkins product. It is not a cinema tour de force as there are no upward-firing drivers or surrounds. This TV is designed for the highest audiophile levels of music and TV sound playback, where two channels are the goal.
In terms of picture quality, the OLED-986 borrows the excellent high brightness OLED panel from the OLED+936 and marries this with the uniquely designed stand and Bowers and Wilkins speaker bar. The materials used are excellent and the overall design exudes quality and performance.
Audio quality is superb with high fidelity two-channel playback the goal and the OLED_986 smashes it out of the park in this regard. It produces the best speaker bar performance I have heard yet from a dedicated all-in-one package without a subwoofer. Is a separates system better? Probably, but that misses the point.
If you want high-quality TV images, mixed with two-channel Hi-Fi and a high-end design, the OLED+986 certainly fills that niche to perfection and you should add this to your demo list. It comes recommended.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
SDR Picture Quality
HDR Picture Quality
Picture Quality Out-of-the-Box
Picture Quality Calibrated
Ease of Use
Value for Money
The games console used in this review was kindly supplied by our gaming partner Smyths Toys Gaming, the No.1 choice for next-gen Gaming