Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
Does crazy price equal crazy good for the Kogan 55" TV?
- Crazy cheap
- High quality image
- Good upscaling
- Responsive remote
- Sound is a bit muddy
- Some graphical distortion at low res
Outstanding value and generally-great picture performance. Kogan is the latest to disrupt the TV market with this relatively-cheap, high-value model. Just note you’ll need a set-top box or media streamer to go with it.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
Read more: Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
We’ve been testing TVs for many years and long ago came to the conclusion that running formal benchmarks was a waste of time. Not only can they give completely false sense of what a TV can and cannot do but ultimately nothing compares with living with at TV set and watching a variety of different types of content.
That said, we started with the best show we know - the amazing 60fps 4K Costa Rica showreel on YouTube. This glorious short film is a feast of colour and detail with challenging panning shots that tells us a lot about a TV. In this instance detail was really very impressive (as we’d expect on any 4K TV). Despite several colour setting adjustments, though, it was clear that the colours were never going to pop out of the screen the way they do on the likes of the more-expensive Hisense ULED, LG OLED and Samsung Quantum Dot rivals. This isn’t a fail by any stretch but we’re not talking about a breathtaking picture here. Just a very good one.
Cheap TVs can struggle when displaying areas of uniform colour – reverting to colour-soaked, blocky artefacts – but there was none of that here. Even detail when panning was impressively smooth with no aberrations. We were impressed.
Another stalwart test is The Martian on 4K HDR Blu-ray. The opening scenes give us a great sense of the TV’s ability to display true blacks, display vibrant colours, detail in dark areas and ability to pan without juddering. We were actually quite impressed with black performance. Only in pitch black room did the letterbox bars become visible and distracting (at times).
While there are some halo effects where light from the scene bleeds into the bars, it wasn’t particularly annoying or distracting. Panning shots were impressively smooth but the red colours we’re used to popping out of the screen weren’t quite there. Also, the detail in shadowy and light areas wasn’t quite as good as with the High Dynamic Range (HDR) panels we’ve seen in recent times, but only real enthusiasts would notice this. All in all we were impressed again.
Watching Narcos in 4K on Netflix was a joy. Detail was great, colours were fine and even rapid movement wasn’t an issue.
Watching a DVD quality movie showed that upscaling wasn’t much of a problem and details didn’t look too soft.
The picture was generally good when watching HD channels on broadcast TV. We occasionally experienced areas of picture shimmering – almost underscan-type effects – which could be a little annoying on occasions but it depended on what was being broadcast and most shots were fine. However, graphics and small writing did appear to vibrate on screen in many instances. Some of us paid no heed to this but others found it unbearably distracting. It was worse in standard definition.
Nonetheless, standard definition (i.e. low quality) TV was dealt with impressively. We’ve seen expensive Samsung TVs struggle badly here – displaying blocky artefacts in detailed areas to an annoying degree – but the Kogan did very well. Even our terrible-quality Father Ted test, which plays the video in its native 480i resolution, wasn’t unwatchably terrible and while jagged lines appear onscreen with all TVs playing this content much of the detail was smooth and distinct.
So all in all, we were very impressed. While it’s not up there with the Hisense ULED in terms of picture quality, it’s not too far behind. Bright colours aside, it’s comparable to Samsung levels of quality. Common-or-garden TV buyers won’t mind the slightly-muted colours and not-quite-black letterbox bars. They may have issues with fine details, logos and graphics shimmering and vibrating if they watch a lot of those kinds of low-quality channels, but it’s a minor thing that doesn’t show up with high-quality content. The all-round picture quality is really very good.
As TVs have got smaller and thinner we’d have thought sound would have got worse, but we’ve been tremendously impressed with the output coming from impossibly small TVs like the LG OLED, Sony, Samsung and Hisense ULED. Having switched from the latter, it was clear that the Kogan’s audio wasn’t as clear and distinct as the Hisense. It’s passable to most people and rescuable with a sound bar if you can’t bear it. All in all despite dialogue sounding a bit muddier than the competition, it’s acceptable to most people.
After being wowed by Hisense and remembering that the last Kogan TV was a bit of a letdown, we really were very impressed with this. It punches well above its price-tag-based weight and will suit anyone on a budget that really wants a 4K UHD TV – especially a curved one.
Previously, our choice in this area has been Samsung’s 7000 series which, while not as colourful as it’s more-expensive siblings, offered decent value as a curved option. But it’s now on clearance sale at Harvey Norman for $1495- that’s almost double the $799 price of what we have here and we’re inclined to say that picture quality is better on the Kogan (although the Samsung’s sound is a bit better and it has some Smart TV features).
Our verdict on which TV to buy now has an added dimension: as before, if money is no object you buy a 2016 LG OLED TV, otherwise you buy the Hisense ULED 7000 series at (what was until now) a giveaway price of $1295 for a 55-inch model (there are often some great deals for larger screen sizes). If that’s still too expensive then you buy one of these, it’s just as simple as that.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei P30 Pro review: A photography powerhouse that leans into and elevates its natural strengths
- 2 HP Envy x360 13 (Ryzen): Full, in-depth review
- 3 Dell G5 review: Easy to live with
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Ring Video Doorbell review
Latest News Articles
- The BlackBerry Key2 has finally landed in Australia
- Nvidia says something "super" is coming...
- The Playdate gaming handheld is a Game Boy-Model T mashup by Firewatch's publisher
- Amazon's rumored wearable device reads your emotions by listening to your voice
- Acer's latest laptops go all-AMD with Ryzen and Radeon inside
PCW Evaluation Team
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
- Google Pixel 3a review: Less is more
- Huawei P30 Pro: Australian review
- Samsung Galaxy S10 review: Messy decisions mar smart evolutions
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies