Long-term impressions of OnePlus TV: Much-needed updates improve user experience

Long-term impressions of OnePlus TV: Much-needed updates improve user experience

In five years, OnePlus has gone from selling a single smartphone model online through a much-maligned invite system to launching its first television. The OnePlus TV launched in September 2019 with two variants – the Q1 (Rs. 69,900) and the Q1 Pro (Rs. 99,900). The company has seen significant success in the smartphone segment and hopes to replicate that with its first television products as well.

However, early reviews – including our own – criticized several aspects of the TV, such as its buggy software, the lack of useful buttons on the remote, and issues with HDR10 performance. While we liked the overall package, we still felt it was an unfinished product that had been released perhaps a little too hastily.

As has been the case with its smartphones, OnePlus has already released several updates for the Q1 and Q1 Pro. They promise to fix what was incomplete or missing from the release. There’s also a little hardware addition now – a new remote with handy new buttons. We decided to explore the OnePlus TV again a few months after our review to see if the experience really is any better, and so we spent a few weeks with the Q1 Pro again. Here’s what we think.

oneplus tv q1 pro review interface

Software updates galore

If there’s one thing OnePlus has always proven to be very good at, it’s software updates. Three major software updates have been released since the launch of the TV series.

The first was released in October, bringing some urgently needed fixes to TV shortly after release. The second, released in December, was a more significant update that brought native support for Netflix. The third update in February brought new content partners as well as bug fixes and optimizations.

Some of them really made a difference to the experience, particularly the addition of Netflix and Spotify in the form of official apps built specifically for the Android TV operating system on the OnePlus TV. They’re the same ones we’ve seen on other Android TV devices, and they work well on TV. As expected, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos are functional (if your streaming service plans support it) and the user experience was pretty much perfect for us. The overall Android TV experience was definitely less complicated than before.

While we were a little skeptical about the Spotify experience on TV, we were surprised at how smooth and fun it turned out to be. We were very impressed with the OnePlus TV Q1 Pro’s built-in soundbar when we reviewed it, and it handled our Spotify music collection capably. We’ve found the sound to be on par with some of the recent wireless speakers and soundbars we’ve tested, and indeed the Spotify integration gives the TV a whole new use case.

oneplus tv long term impressions remote oneplus tv oneplus

The new remote has handy new buttons, including a Netflix hotkey

New and improved remote control

We don’t expect hardware changes to a product mid-life; usually, a successor product is released a little sooner than we expected. However, OnePlus has tried to fix its much-maligned remote in a rather original way: just make a new one. The ‘Netflix’ remote, as OnePlus calls it, is different from its predecessor in many ways.

Visually, the biggest change is the fact that it’s plastic, as opposed to the brushed aluminum of the older remote control (which still comes with the TV even with new purchases). It also runs on regular AAA batteries, a change from the old remote’s built-in lithium-ion battery. There are also some new buttons and button layout changes on the Netflix remote.

There are now hotkeys for Netflix and YouTube, in addition to the existing Amazon Prime Video button, a source selector button, and a volume mute button. The volume buttons have been moved to the front of the remote. While the new remote certainly doesn’t look as premium and modern, it’s undeniably more useful, functional and practical.

The new remote comes with every OnePlus TV unit currently being sold, so new buyers will get it. If you’ve previously purchased OnePlus TV, don’t worry – you’re eligible to get the new Netflix remote for free.

Image quality is slightly better

We tend to take claims of ‘optimizations’ in software updates with a pinch of salt, but some of these tweaks are visible on the OnePlus TV after software updates. We found the image quality to be a little better than before, with colors looking more accurate and the upscaling of full-HD content a little better.

However, these improvements are incremental at best, and we barely noticed any difference when watching 4K and Dolby Vision content. There are still some artifacts visible with fast movement, as was the case before. There weren’t any big changes in sound quality either.

oneplus tv q1 pro dolby vision review

final thoughts

Is OnePlus TV a better television now than it was at launch? Yes. Software improvements, a new remote, and minor performance tweaks make this a better product that largely fixes some of the most critical issues that existed at launch. Providing the new remote to new and existing users at no cost will help OnePlus keep its user base happy.

Is it still worth buying given that there hasn’t been a significant price reduction in the months since launch? Perhaps less than before. The segment has changed significantly since then, mainly thanks to the launch of the Vu Cinema TV range, which costs less than half the price of the OnePlus TV Q1.

On paper, the Vu Cinema TV comes close to the OnePlus TV Q1, with Dolby Vision, 40W sound output and Android TV with support for all popular apps and streaming services. What the OnePlus Q1 TV series offers in addition is its QLED screen, Dolby Atmos certification and better design. Do these things justify their higher price? We think so, but there’s no denying the value for money you can get with the Vu Cinema TV right now.

The OnePlus 8 leaks sound exciting, but when will the phones launch in India? We discuss this on Orbital, our weekly tech podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or simply hit the play button below.

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