There’s no shame in releasing a less-than-perfect first product. Plenty of successful companies from Apple to Samsung and Sony to LG have messed up majorly when they dove into a new category for the first time. Despite getting the first one wrong, however, all of these companies have come back with something better the next time.
It’s with that in mind that we can confidently recommend avoiding the $1,399 LeEco Super4 X65 – one of the Chinese electronics manufacturer’s first panel for the US market – and waiting for its inevitable sequel coming next year.
Before we paint too terrible a portrait of LeEco’s 65-inch screen however, there are a lot of redeeming features here including a colorful, fun and functional user interface that uses Android TV and crazy high peak brightness levels that enable some truly beautiful images under the right circumstances. It also supports the most common format of HDR, HDR10.
Moreover, it’s not a terrible-looking screen either. The slim silver bezel gives it a picture frame-esque appearance. Setup takes mere minutes and involves matching the legs up to the proper side before tightening a few screws. It’s fast, which we definitely appreciated.
Spin it around to the back and you’ll find three HDMI ports, composite connections, two USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port – that’s not enough to string together your whole home theater setup, but enough to get you connected to a receiver, cable box and a game system of your choosing. (Side note about connecting a game console: make sure you’re using the TV’s game mode, otherwise lag input is upwards of 100-plus milliseconds versus a more reasonable 30 milliseconds.)
Screen sizes available: 65-inch | 4K: Yes | HDR: Yes (HDR10) | Panel technology: LCD with edge lit LED | Smart TV: Yes, Android TV | Curved: No | Dimensions: 57.3 x 33.2 x 10.6 inches (W x H x D) | 3D: No | Inputs: Three HDMIs, three USBs, optical digital audio output, 3.5mm audio, VGA, Composite inputs, Wi-Fi, Ethernet port, Tuner input
Turn it on and you’ll be met with a LeEco-branded version of Android TV. Apps and recommended videos are set in tiles with all the major players (Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV and Hulu) present and accounted for. Opting to use Android TV here instead of a proprietary smart TV system was probably the right choice as it offers a large selection of apps in a relatively familiar and easy-to-use interface.
Even performance, the X65’s weakest category, things aren’t all bad. Bright 4K HDR scenes look absolutely gorgeous on LeEco’s screen and colors come across as natural as can be. Color-filled, bright images are exceptionally clear and look like they’re being displayed on a TV that costs twice as much. Unfortunately, however, tune into some darker content (say, a horror film or Netflix’s Daredevil) and detail gets lost completely.
The X65 also has some real problems with motion (we recommend going into settings and turning motion handling off completely) and upconverting SD and HD content to 4K UHD. In a perfect world where everything we watch comes in at a super crisp resolution this wouldn’t be as big of a problem. But that’s just not the world we live in right now.
Thankfully, in terms of audio, there’s a lot to like about the Super4 X65. The screen’s down-firing speakers are powered by Harman Kardon and can really kick – especially in the mids and highs. You’ll still want to buy a soundbar for a more immersive movie and TV watching experience, but we were relatively impressed with what we heard.
The last feature worth calling attention to is the remote, which offers a dedicated Netflix button and voice search support. It’s medium-sized and fits well in the hand, however it will need to be synced to the TV out of the box – but that process doesn’t take long.
Despite some great features, an easy-to-navigate interface and really solid color reproduction, LeEco’s Super4 series has some serious flaws. Namely that includes awful contrast and poor black reproduction, as well as some nauseating motion handling.
If you’re someone who doesn’t mind the occasional missed detail this may not bother you as much, but most potential buyers with over $1,000 to spend are better served looking somewhere else. That said, if you’re looking for a TV that offers better black level performance for a few hundred dollars more, check out Samsung’s introductory SUHD screen – the series.