Product review: Philips 65OLED856 TV

With the maturity of technologies such as OLED and QLED every year the competition for best all round television gets more competitive. Over the last few years Philips has been on a staggering rise to join this conversation so when I had the chance to sit down with their newest OLED model I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Read on as we examine the new Philips 65OLED856 and see how it fits into a very competitive market.

One of the reasons I find Philips TVs so compelling is their decision to offer as much choice as possible to the consumer. Be that through a range of OLED models, of which the 856 is the popular middle ground, or their decision to support as many HDR formats as possible in the vast majority of their TVs, Philips makes decisions that other manufacturers have avoided.

The Philips 65OLED856 shares all the characteristics of every other OLED panel in the form of incredible colour accuracy and range. Blacks are still inky and colours pop from the screen even with everyday broadcast television. This is truly one of the best panels on the market and I found when sitting down with the 856 that Philips have really brought the most from the technology.

Where Philips has tried to push the boundaries of this technology is through their OLED+ brand, this brings support for the widest possible range of high dynamic range (or HDR) content. This isn’t just your Netflix or Amazon originals but also plenty of content from mainstream suppliers like BBC iPlayer. Both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ are supported plus the obligatory HDR10 and HLG formats.

I found viewing the new BBC series Vigil in HDR to be a very enjoyable experience which worked in combination with the OLED panel to deliver the murky depths of the Royal Navy submarine Vigil in glorious majesty. Shadow depth was fantastic with plenty of detail even in the corners of dark corridors and the outside of the submarine without being washed out.

Expand your viewing horizons, with the 4-sided Ambilight-equipped Philips 65OLED856.

Of course, the picture is only as good as the processor managing the image and the new P5 AI picture perfect engine did a great job during my viewing time. It controls image sharpness, motion handling and colour realism and unscaled ITV1 from standard definition to 4K in amazing quality. Lesser 4K panels suffer from poor quality upscaling but this wasn’t a problem here, programming was sharp and smooth as you would expect from a top end television.

Having recovered from the rollercoaster drama Vigil, I decided next to connect up my Xbox Series X to see how the new HDMI 2.1 ports on the Philips stack up. There was full support here for 4K @60Hz for enjoying fast paced games like Forza Horizon 4 without any juddering in action. The 856 switched nicely into Game mode thanks to ALLM to take some of the fiddling out of enjoying your gaming experience. I personally find 2 HDMI 2.1 ports to be plenty as there aren’t many devices taking advantage of the features yet but it may have been a nice extra for all 4 to be capable if needed.

Throughout my viewing experience I kept find the Philips’ sound quality catching me off guard. The 856 has a 2.1 speaker array powered by a 50W amp and the extra subwoofer on the rear of the TV makes a huge difference over the competition. Most OLED TV’s would benefit from an additional soundbar but the Philips presented a good argument for trying at home first before making that leap. Dialogue was clear and didn’t disappear in busy scenes, while not surround sound quality, it’s certainly better than average.

Continuing the theme of wide support and usability features is the Android TV smart system and general design of the 856. Android brings with it one of the best smart platforms around now and the inclusion of Freeview Play means the presence of all the broadcast channels catchup services.

There’s also both Airplay and Chromecast support for either Apple or Android phone users. It’s a good choice as I find many apps now may only support one and makes throwing a quick picture or album up on screen incredibly easy.

The other aspect which really impressed me about the Philips was the quality of the construction and premium feel to the materials used. The metallic T shaped stand bucks the trend of wide feet and offers the choice of placing the TV on a unit smaller than the TV itself. The remote is slick with clear placement of buttons and a leather back for improved ergonomics.

Clearly the 65OLED856 is one of the best TVs on the market today thanks to its vast array of features and almost faultless design. However, where does it rank in a competitive field? The design decisions around making this one of the most flexible TVs in its category certainly do it no harm. I personally found it incredibly hard to find fault with this TV and when you consider all it can do, I think it certainly has to be a contender for TV of the year for most people. To see for yourself just how complete a package modern TVs have become, why not contact your local Richer Sounds store today for a demonstration?

Learn more about the Philips 65OLED856 TV.

Author: Robert, Reigate store