Haier C11 OLED is more than ready to battle with LG, Samsung and Sony’s TVs - Hindustan Times

Haier C11 OLED is more than ready to battle with LG, Samsung and Sony’s TVs

May 13, 2024 01:11 PM IST

Beyond the audio and visual spec, Haier’s tuning of the OLED panel and Harman Kardon’s audio expertise, are doing more than enough to piece together a value proposition for a large screen TV

When you are buying a premium, big-screen TV, the last thing you’d want is a compromise. It’s likely a long-term purchase, and is good practice (budget permitting, of course) to tick off as many specs on the checklist as possible – Dolby Vision, HDR10+, Dolby Atmos audio and so on. With it, an OLED, or organic light emitting diode, display panel. An OLED screen is the benchmark experience for consumer TVs, and now increasingly so in computing devices too. LG, Sony and even Samsung may have a worry to contend with now. Haier’s new C11 OLED TVs, in 55-inch and 65-inch options, are delivering impressive visuals and audio.

The Haier C11 OLED television. (Official handout image.)
The Haier C11 OLED television. (Official handout image.)

Haier has priced the C11 OLED around 1,58,990 for the 55-inch and 2,15,990 for the 65-inch screen sizes. Samsung’s S90D OLED TVs (also in these screen sizes) do match the price tags quite closely, but LG may have a reason to be worried with the premium you’d still be paying for the Evo C3 OLED range. Sony’s A80J OLED TVs are priced 2,49,900 onwards. The advantage of an OLED panel compared with a QLED or any other form of LED displays, is the lack of any separate backlight layer.

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An OLED panel uses electric current to light up, which means the blacks are theoretically deeper and contrast ratios much better too. The drawback? A static image on an OLED, left unchanged for a sustained period, can lead to ‘burn-in”, a way to describe an imprint. That makes for an incredibly thin TV panel, and to be fair, it makes for a better visual experience with the table stand that’s been designed very well and has a more traditional mid placement (rather than the edges of the frame).

Before you can get the best visuals from the 65-inch Haier C11 OLED, you must spend some time tweaking the picture settings. A bit of a warning here, the default settings that emerge out of the box are tuned purely for high illumination, and you’d see appalling skin tones as well as sharpness. The good thing is, detailed controls are waiting to be tweaked, and can get the picture quite aligned with how you prefer it. That’s when this OLED panel really begins to show its strengths.

This OLED panel delivers fantastic colours (once tuned right), and the deep blacks should be relevant for most content. Quite impressive is the depth with detailing, quite apparent as you either play video games or watch Live Formula 1 races. This panel retains sharpness quite well for streaming apps and Ultra HD content with HDR, even when noise reduction algorithms are set to their most aggressive settings – however, Full HD sources such as direct-to-home set-top boxes (STBs) tend to exhibit some softness around most subjects on screen (some points of troubleshooting include the STBs output resolution, and the quality of the HDMI cable).

Fast moving visuals are handled well (good news in equal measure for sports and movie buffs), though my only complaint really is that it is really difficult to get the perfect balance between the backlight and contrast setting for most comfortable viewing in a home setting. That takes time, but you must persist. It is an effort you must repeat with each source change (each HDMI, and then streaming apps), and even within a source (non-HDR content, versus when HDR is streaming through). In the future, we could hope a software update adds an option to replicate the picture settings across more than one source, but then again, this is a one-time process you’d undertake.

Sound is a spec where most TVs tend to struggle, particularly the ones as slim. Not the Haier C11 OLED though, and that’s for two reasons. First, the soundbar implementation sees more physical space opening up for the stereo setup. Haier hasn’t tried any experimentation with direction or surround sound perception, but it is a conventional front direction placement that simply delivers on clarity, depth and audibility. Secondly, the sound is tuned by audio brand Harman Kardon.

That’s before you get to the integrated dual-subwoofer towards the middle of the back panel. This won’t make any windows vibrate but adds just that enough lower frequency layer to sound, which largely negates a need for a separate soundbar system that people usually complement premium TVs with. That said, if movies comprise your primary TV viewing exercise, then you’d arguably still hope for a more focused sound system to be paired with this panel. In the sound settings, you’ll be able to manually tweak the equaliser for more lower frequencies, but the trade-off is Dolby Atmos needs to be turned off to enable the EQs. I wouldn’t recommend that, because Harman Kardon and Haier’s default tuning of the sound is quite impressive.

The one aspect where Haier could have done a little better, is match the remote control to the C11 OLED’s premium experience. While the design and ergonomics are in place (the smartphone-esque side controls for volume, a nice touch), responsiveness is often inconsistent, and needing a second stab at the keys to get the desired results.

Haier, with the C11 OLED in 65-inch and 55-inch size options, is effectively putting the big three, that is Sony, Samsung and LG, on notice. It is evident a lot of work has gone towards refining the overall experience, for which the OLED panel provides a robust foundation. The audio experience is more than an equal for the visual proposition, as does the snappy performance of the Google TV platform. It all is coming together nicely, to lend weight to the argument about spending your money on this TV. As I said before, the rivals should be worried.

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    Vishal Mathur is Technology Editor for Hindustan Times. When not making sense of technology, he often searches for an elusive analog space in a digital world.

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