Eko is likely a brand you haven’t heard of in the TV space and given this was the first device I’d used form them, I really didn’t know what to expect. The 4K TV is available in 50″, 55″ (reviewed) and 65″ sizes and runs Google Android TV for the operating system. That means you have full access to Google services, like Google Assistant as well as YouTube and more.
In these times of lockdown due to the coronavirus, it’s perhaps more important than ever that you have your entertainment options sorted. Whether this is your first, or your third TV in the house, it’ll do a great job of keeping the family entertained with access to Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Kayo Sports & more, all from a single remote.
Even after the country opens up, having more displays in our home than before is likely an outcome of having lived so close to one another for weeks now. We all have different likes and tastes in our entertainment.
Clean and minimal, as a good TV should be
It’s pretty hard to stand out as a TV maker, when basically your script says, make a big flat piece of black glass and don’t screw that up. Ultimately there’s a couple of nuanced differentiators, being the bezel thickness and the stand. With the Eko, the TV design is great, flat, black and really thin. It does include a bigger back in the base of the display, fairly typical for a mid-range display, while higher end displays have breakout boxes to house the electronics.
The stand is fairly nice and easy to install, just 2 vee shaped legs that sit at either end and have a single mounting position. Of course there’s always the option to wall mount your TV with the standard VESA mounts.
Navigating the display’s on screen menu can be done using a joystick controller on the back side of the display, using your right hand. Of course most of the time, you’ll have the remote to drive the display and your third option is to use your voice, thanks to the Google Assistant support.
How does it perform ?
This TV features on of the fastest boot times of any TV I’ve ever used. Press the power button on the remote and under a second, you the screen is on, that’s kind of incredible.
Once the display is on, you can browse up and down the home screen which is made up of a list of your favourite content sources. Of course you can dive directly into the App of choice and use that UI, but there’s also a great opportunity for content discovery, with Apps like YouTube and Netflix offering a horizontal list of recommended, trending or subscription videos. These channels of content are all customisable, so if you don’t use a particular service, just remove it form the home screen, for the ones you use the most, re-order it to the top.
If you’re someone who used to love the rapidness of switching channels on OTA TV, then you’ll really enjoy the speed at which you can zoom around this content, or in and out of apps.
As with many connected device experiences, the speed of that connection dramatically influences how fast the device feels. This is true with a smart TV like this, with the content selected, its then down to the speed of your NBN as to how quickly it loads. Thankfully I’ve got FTTP and launching videos in 4K is really fast and provides a great experience. If you’re on a slower connection this will take a little longer.
When gaming on the TV, the 60Hz refresh rate is shown up a little with some horizontal tearing during fast racing or FPS scenes. This is definitely very usable display and I’ve really enjoyed using it for iRacing, GRID and Assetto Corsa over the past couple of weeks. If you’re after 200Hz and G-Sync, you’ll need to look elsewhere, but you can appreciat they’re not going to be available at this price point.
Stand out features of this TV.
This TV really packs a great list of features, many you’d expect to pay much more for.
The 55″ EKO 4K TV runs Android TV 9.0 OS. This is a simple, easy to use interface and is fast which makes it a great experience to use. Running Google TV OS means you also have access to the Google Play Store. While Android users will be familiar with it on their phones, on the TV, it contains a filtered view of apps that work great on a display of this size and with a remote control. There’s loads of entertainment applications, but you’ll also find lots of games to play and can connect a controller if you’re serious about it.
Speaking of Applications, this has possibly the largest range of content sources I’ve seen so far. Your IPTV options include Netflix, YouTube (pre-installed), as well as Amazon Prime Video, Google Play Movies & TV, Facebook Watch, Disney+, TED, Spotify, Hulu, HBO Now, Plex, Vimeo, Masterclass, TED Talks, TuneIn to name a few. Many of these offer content in 4K quality and given the selection available, wether you’re after entertainment or education, there’s something here for everyone.
Like Android in your pocket, the TV has Google’s Assistant. Using the voice assistant to interact with your TV allows you to press a button on the remote and say commands with natural language. By adding a smart Google device like this into your home, you can also have your voice control command other IoT devices in your home. Using your Google Home app on your phone will bring this experience together. Turn on the lights, turn up the volume or find shows featuring your favourite actor or actress. For those still home schooling kids, being able to ask your TV (Google Assistant) any question and have it return an answer from Google is a really great help.
Often we’re on our phones and come across a great video, or photo that we’d like to share with family and friends on the big screen. Normally you’d be up for buying an external device to send this content to your TV wirelessly, but this has Chromecast built-in, saving you $50-$60 and making this process really easy.
The TV offers 4K resolution (3840 x 2160) with HDR and a 3000:1 contrast ratio, it delivering really impressive picture quality and colour accuracy. Obviously at this price, we’re not seeing support for all major HDR standards, but unless you’re planning on having another TV directly next to, you’ll really enjoy this show.
The screen is capable of displaying 1.07 Billion Colours, with a massive 1,024 shades of each primary colour which combine to deliver incredible picture quality and details.
On the back, you’ll find a great array of connections that certainly services all my current needs for inputs – 4 x HDMI, 2 x USB, 1 x Optical, 1 x Earphone, 1 x RJ45 (Ethernet). I would have loved to see the ability to pin a HDMI input as a channel on the home screen, but it is only 1 button press away.
Not everything’s perfect
There’s lots to love about this TV, but I do have one complaint. That’s really around the delay launching the voice assistant. When you press the button on the remote, there’s a number of seconds that tick past before the UI indicates the TV is ready to accept your input.
The delay feels like voice is an application that has to be loaded before it is operational, rather than an always on process that’s waiting for your command at any time.
This is likely a symptom of limited processing power inside a TV at this price point which is understandable, but if there’s any possible way to speed things up in a future software update, EKO should absolutely do that.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
How much and when can you get one ?
The EKO TV Range is available exclusively via BIG W in-store or online. While I reviewed the 55″ model, there are a whole range of sizes available from 32″ right up to 65″. At A$799.00 for the 55″ model, the features and display quality easily justify that price and I think that’s actually a great deal. Even the largest model is a great price, at as much as a half or even a third of some of the tier 1 TV manufacturers.
Pricing & models
- 32” HD TV K32HSG – $399.00
- 40” Full HD TV K40USG – $499.00
- 50” 4K Ultra HD TV K50USG – $699.00
- 55” 4K Ultra HD TV K55USG – $799.00
- 65” 4K Ultra HD TV K65USG – $999.00
For more information, head to Eko-entertainment.com.au
While EKO may be a new brand to you, remember Kia was a new brand once and not having seen the brand before, actually has no impact on the design and engineering that went into creating what is a really great product.
It took me by surprised when I first seen 4K content on this TV and I’ve been pleasently surprised at just how good it is. The UI gets a huge head start when you start with Android OS, rather than trying to roll your own, smart decision EKO.
I always reflect on my feelings about a product at the end of a review and consider if I’m going to miss having it, if I want it to stick around longer and if I’ll actually buy the product. I like this TV so much that I do want to buy it. I’ve been searching for a TV that plays double duty in my home office as a display for my racing simulator, as well as give me the capacity to review 4K game consoles etc, when the TV in the living room is being used. This fits the bill perfectly.
If you’re in the market for a new display, don’t automatically go with what you know, consider savings your money and buy something like this that offers exactly what you need from a TV, without the price tag.