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Watch: ROWA 43T61 Review - Legit 4K Android TV for less!

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Back in November of 2020 TCL subsidiary brand ROWA arrived in the Philippine market.
ROWA 43T61 review

Known for making affordable yet high-quality TVs using TCL's technology and research facilities, ROWA aims to bring this experience to Filipino consumers.

Fast-forward in March of 2021, we encountered its latest 43-inch 4K UHD TV in the country—the ROWA 43T61.

ROWA claimed that this TV ideal for regular-sized living rooms or rooms on condos or homes with small spaces.

Let's check it out.

Watch: ROWA 43T61 Review - Legit 4K Android TV for less!


Build Quality/Design

The build is standard on affordable modern TVs.

The back cover is a combination of SECC low-cost steel and HIPS thermoplastic material.

The bottom bezel is a combination of ABS and GF plastic with pretty good thermal resistance.

The base stand is PC + ABS plastic. The screen is glass.

ROWA's use of these materials made the TV lightweight with decent durability.

But obviously, these are low-cost materials. The materials used on higher-end TVs will be better and that's why they are more expensive.
Feet, wall mount, remote
Feet, wall mount, remote

The feet or base stand for me is okay. It can handle the weight of the TV nicely. Just make sure that you will place the TV in a secure spot.

When forced, the feet could be a bit wobbly.

We also liked that ROWA included a FREE VESA wall mount bracket in case you just want to install your TV on the wall.

In terms of design, it looks like a modern TV. 

The TV, as a whole, is also generally slim.

For the price, bezels are reasonably slim. It's not the slimmest we've seen at this price point, but it is just fine.

The result? The TV is not that big despite its large screen size.

This is a nice space-saving feature.

Multimedia Experience

Crisp display
Crisp display

This is an HDR10-ready display that allowed us to enjoy crisp content on 4K.

It boasts the Dynamic Color Enhancement that automatically optimizes colors for a more vibrant video experience.

ROWA also added the Atmospheric Micro Dimming tech that optimizes picture quality and brightness levels, especially in the dark.

We think that most of what ROWA describes works.

By default, it is never too bright even when you turn off the lights. Older-gen TVs could hurt your eyes from too much brightness when the light is off.

ROWA also highlights that it has a Color Gamut with 68 percent NTSC coverage.

Overall, the picture quality is impressive and the viewing experience is immersive for the price. 

It even has respectable viewing angles even if the display is flat.

For audio, it has 2x 9.5W speakers. This is quite loud.

If you have a small living room or averaged size room, it is more than good enough.

Based on what we heard, even if you do not have external speakers, sound quality is rich and detailed most of the time.

This even has Dolby Audio support that enhances the experience further.

In particular, bass response is acceptable with average tightness and hearable sub-bass.

But don't expect it to be as deep as speakers with subwoofers.

Mostly, the audio is clean. Mids are alright and highs have enough sparkle.

The soundstage is pretty wide too. But, it is the more in your front type of soundstage, not 3D-one.

Based on our usage, 25 percent is already quite loud. 35 to 40 percent is ideal in a small room. Distortion is minimal.

At max loudness, distortion is present. But, it is not that bad and we consider it acceptable at this price point.

Its display and speakers are capable enough to let you enjoy binge-watching your favorite Netflix videos and listening to Spotify via TV.

Performance

Inside, the device is powered by the 1.1GHz Cortex-A55 quad-core processor with Mali-470 GPU. It is paired with 2GB DDR3 RAM, 16GB eMMC 5.0 storage, and Android 9.0 Pie 

Generally, the Android TV app experience is alright.

It is not the fastest, but it isn't laggy compared to several older-gen Smart TVs as well.

Using the stock remote control, you can easily explore the TV. It even has a shortcut button for opening Netflix.

What's missing is a microphone for voice commands. So, there's no "Okay Google" by default.

Fortunately, those who will purchase this TV online will get a FREE Voice Remote from ROWA.

This will allow its users to enjoy easier controls and communicate with the TV using voice commands.

On the software side, it's the familiar Android 9.0 Pie TV OS that is very easy to use and navigate.

It is just a little customized to ROWA's liking with easy access to apps, Netflix recommendations, GalaView applications, and the apps featured by Google Play.

You can customize its UI by rearranging the tabs the way you like it.

Technically, it can install the featured apps. However, unlike Android Certified Smart TVs, there's no option to search for the apps that you like on the Google Play Store.

For example, we watch exclusive K-dramas and other Asian on-demand content via Viu and it is not available with this TV.

This TV also has a browser, but it is limited. It can't play the videos on Viu. Fortunately, if you have this app installed on your phone, you cast it to the TV.

This is nice as we tried a few Smart TVs with no Viu support where you can't even cast the app to the screen.

Also, most of the apps that we use for entertainment like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, HBO GO, and even iQIYI as well as Rakuten Viki and even Spotify works.

It also has a Party Tyme Karaoke TV app with more than 18,000 songs to choose from in case you want to turn your Smart TV into a Karaoke machine at home.

It even has a Media Player in case you want to play content locally as well as the TV guard app to optimize your device which also acts as a file manager.

There are several ways to cast your devices to the TV:

1. It has a Chromecast built-in to easily cast Chromecast-ready apps like Netflix, Spotify, and more.
2. On the settings of your Android device, you can easily cast the screen of your phone.
For example, there are times that we used this to view the game we are playing on our phone to a bigger screen.
3. Via MagiConnect T-Cast app. Once connected, you can cast photos from your phone, videos from YouTube, Music, and many more.

Obviously, WiFi works seamlessly. Bluetooth connection is also stable.

The Bluetooth connection helped us to wirelessly connect our favorite Bluetooth headphones for private listening in case others don't want to hear the audio from whatever you are watching or listening with.

Lastly, for Smart Home integration, you may download the TCL Home app.

Pros - Slim bezels, true 4K TV for less, nice picture quality, HDR10, plenty of casting options, decent audio quality, most of the apps are working
Cons - Remote control with mic for Google Assistant is sold separately (unless you will purchase the TV online), the app market is limited, Viu app is not working

Verdict

At its original SRP of PHP 20,695, this smart TV is pretty attractive.

BUT, for its online sale price of PHP 16,995, this is a solid deal.

It's one of the most affordable 43-inch 4K Android Smart TVs with very few compromises.

The design is modern, the picture quality crisp, the audio is strong, and it has plenty of connectivity options.

Despite the few above-mentioned weak points that just nitpicks, this undercuts most 4K Smart TVs in the market.

MOREOVER, this upcoming 3.27 Lazada Birthday sale, the device will even get a much lower price tag of just PHP 14,999.

ROWA also announced that the first ROWA buyer at the LazMall ROWA Flagship Store with PHP 19,990 minimum spend will get a FREE PS4 Pro.

You may check the link on the description below to see this product at Lazada in case you are interested in buying one.

To recap, all ROWA televisions in the Philippines have a two-year warranty plus nationwide after-sales service.

Build/Design - 4
Multimedia Experience- 4.25
Performance - 4
Average - 4.083/5
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