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Revisiting Huawei Vision S Series 55 - Still a solid 4K "Future" TV for the price!

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Huawei
Back in May, Chinese tech giant Huawei released the Vision S Series in the Philippines. This is the company's very first Smart TV in the country. It is also the company's first device with the new HarmonyOS operating system out of the box.
Revisiting Huawei Vision S Series 55 - Still a solid 4K "Future" TV for the price!
Meet Huawei's first TV with HarmonyOS

Dubbed as the "Future TV", the Vision S Series wows with its premium build, crisp 4K display with smooth 120Hz refresh rate, Huawei Sound technology, removable magnetic camera, and the easy-to-use Huawei-developed HarmonyOS.

The unit that we will take a look at is the 55-inch model with a price tag of PHP 32,999 for cash.

Unboxing/Accessories

The box

The 55-inch Huawei Vision S TV arrived in a large yet slim box. Inside, it has nearly everything you need.
Everything inside
Everything inside

It includes the TV itself, 2x Base, 4x Screw, 1x Voice remote control with Huawei Share tag, 2x AAA battery for the remote control, 1x Power cable, 1x AV adapter cable, 1x Camera, 1x Warranty card, and 1x Quick start guide.

In addition, those who will purchase it at the Huawei Online Store will get a FREE 
 Smart Box (worth PHP 3,999) and a Huawei MatePad T8 (worth PHP 5,990).

Build Quality/Design

The Huawei Vision S Series is sporting some of the best builds at this price point.

It has a plastic back cover, but the frame and feet (Base) are metal. This is WAY BETTER and likely sturdier than the nearly all-plastic build of my 55-inch Samsung Crystal UHD TV TU8000 (2020)In front, it has an LCD display.

This is more solid than a lot of similarly priced Smart TVs. We also like that the feet feel sturdier and less prone to shake unlike those with a weaker plastic base.

The remote is made out of hard plastic.

Design-wise, it looks like your regular 2021 Smart TV. It is minimalist and clean. But, it is designed to stand out in nearly any room.

At the back, you will see that it has 3x HDMI 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, 1x AV In, and 1x SPDIF (coaxial) ports. It also has a VESA mount support for those who want to attach the TV to the wall. The ports are easy to locate as they are labeled. It has vents to help in dissipating heat at the back as well.
Sturdy feet, slim bezels, immersive viewing experience
Sturdy feet, slim bezels, the immersive viewing experience

In front, you will be greeted by its beautiful and large display with tiny bezels. Huawei is claiming that it has 94.49 percent of 94.49 percent screen-to-body ratio for the 55-inch model and 95.26 percent for the 65-inch model. That's impressive.
The removable magnetic camera

One of the unique features of this TV is Huawei cleverly added a magnetic mount just behind the top bezel where its users can securely attach an in-box Magnetic Camera when needed.

Underneath, it has the 4x 10W Huawei Sound (2x 10W full frequency speaker, 2x 10W tweeters). Huawei is also boasting that it has a 6Mic Far-field Voice Pickup.
The remote control
The remote control

The remote (Bluetooth voice remote control) is small and futuristic-looking and it is quite easy to use. It only needs 2x AAA batteries. It even has a microphone for voice control and a Huawei Share tag that you can use with Huawei Share-ready smartphones.

Some may like those with more buttons for changing channels and shortcuts though.

The device measures 1230.1 x 714.1 x 73 mm (Excluding the base) or 1230.1 x 753.6 x 256 mm (Including the base) and weighs 14.2 kg (Excluding the base) or 14.7 kg (Including the base).

Multimedia Experience

120Hz 4K display!
120Hz 4K display!

Similar to most modern Smart TVs, the Vision S is is sporting a display with 4K resolution. BUT, it isn't your ordinary 4K panel.

It is one of the very few with a 120Hz refresh rate at this price point. In fact, I think it is the only one (correct me if I'm wrong) with such tech for the price. This is for smoother animations. It could also be better for playing video games and watching 24fps for a silkier playback.

Great picture and audio quality!

Huawei is also boasting that this has Smart MEMC designed to automatically convert 60Hz content to 120Hz. This lessens lag and ghosting as well.

For picture quality, it has a 92 percent DCI-P3 wide color gamut. This is better than the usual 70 to 80 percent found in most similarly priced TVs. It also has a 5000:1 contrast which is pretty decent and 8ms of response time. To those who don't know, the fewer milliseconds the response time is the better image and motion production.

In addition, the TV has TÜV Rheinland Low Blue Light Certification and TÜV Rheinland Flicker Free Certification to protect your eyes when watching in low light and provide better comfort in the eyes, respectively.

After a few months, our general viewing experience is enjoyable on supported apps with an option for 4K resolution contents. Picture quality is crisp, the viewing experience is immersive due to its slim bezels as well as the wide 178-degree viewing angle, and colors are generally rich.

Contrast is also quite nice, but I would have liked it better if it is a bit deeper than what it is.

But of course, you can always customize the picture quality to what you like in the display settings when you like. It also has plenty of presets from Vivid, Standard, Soft, Film, Sports, Kids, Game, and Photo.

As mentioned earlier, it has a TÜV-certified Blue light filter as well. 

We placed the TV in our living room near the window, so there are times where the natural sunlight will heat it. But, even if we placed the brightness level to just 20 (out of 100), the images it produces are bright enough. This means that it can go really bright when needed. The anti-glare function of the TV also works.

We also think that the "Super Resolution Turbo" tech of Huawei is working here as Netflix picture quality is set to just standard definition (SD) and the images it produces look like HD images.

Plus, unlike my personal Samsung Crystal UHD TV TU8000 (2020) which we purchased just a few months earlier before the Vision S arrived, Huawei's panel didn't degrade in quality. Unfortunately, the Crystal TV we own at home has black spots already.
You will find the speakers at the bottom of the TV
You will find the speakers at the bottom of the TV

For audio, most stock speakers on TVs aren't that good. This is the reason why many are purchasing an extra soundbar to enhance the audio experience of the TV.

Fortunately, Huawei this device is equipped with high-quality speakers. Huawei is calling it the Huawei Sound featuring 4x 10W speakers (2x 10W full frequency speaker, 2x 10W tweeters).

This produces some of the highest quality audio on a TV at this price point with a balanced signature, crisp details, and extra-wide soundstage. Distortion is also almost not hearable at max loudness unlike other TVs in its class.

From my experience, this is just as good as a few mid-range soundbars.

The only slight "weakness" is its lack of big bass response with plenty of layers produced that soundbars with a built-in driver for bass or a dedicated sub-woofer.

Don't get us wrong, the bass from its speakers are great and it has a warm crawling sub-bass effect that is rare sub-PHP 50K

But, in general, we like the vocals, separation/layering, and the non-piercing highs with minimal hissing.

It even has the Histen audio algorithm with Virtual Sound, Voice Enhancement, automatic Sound Calibration, and the "intelligent bass". It even has preset (sound profiles) for Film, Sport, Music, News, and Game.

It is not perfect, but we find it to produce impressive enough tunes for watching a wide range of movies/TV series and to simply enjoy music.

The 6Mic Far-field Voice Pickup microphones work. So, even if you don't use the mic, you can do voice commands in a quiet room. This is also decent for doing video calls via MeeTime or Zoom.

Yes, MeeTime or Zoom works since it has a Magnetic Camera.

Speaking of the Magnetic Camera, this device uses a 13MP sensor that you can use for both photos and videos.
Picture sample from its 13MP camera
Picture sample from its 13MP camera

Picture quality-wise, don't expect it to be as good as smartphone cameras. The images I took are a little bit pixelated. But, it is bright with decent colors. It is actually a bit better for doing video calls. The field of view is also quite wide.

Frankly, this is a feature that won't often use personally, but it is nice to have.

If you do not need its camera and for those with trust issues with camera security, you can always opt to remove it. Clever. 

Performance

With HarmonyOS 2
With HarmonyOS 2

Inside, the TV is powered by the 
HongHu 818 quad-core processor with Mali-G51 GPU. It even has 3GB RAM for decent smoothness and run and helps handle a few background apps as well as a 32GB storage to let users store apps, games, photos, and videos.

Not laggy unlike most affordable Smart TVs

Versus other TVs at this price point, the Huawei Vision S noticeably responds faster. In particular, this lags less than my 55-inch Samsung Crystal UHD TV TU8000 (2020).

We tried to install a few games available in Huawei's own app store and they are generally responsive.

When it comes to the remote control, it is very easy to use. It can be easily paired on your TV and press and hold the Home and Menu buttons at the same time. The rest of the buttons are self-explanatory. Again, we like that it has a microphone for voice control and a Huawei Share tag that you can use with Huawei Share-ready smartphones.

We've been using the TV since May of 2021 and we haven't replaced it 2x AAA alkaline battery yet.
Desktop mode
Desktop mode

If you own a flagship Huawei smartphone, you can even access its Desktop mode for a Linux PC-like experience on a big display.
Remote control on your smartphone via the Huawei Vision app
Remote control on your smartphone via the Huawei Vision app

In case you lost your remote control, you can still control the TV if you have the Huawei Vision app.

For the voice commands, it can do some of the tricks from Android TVs like asking for the weather today, adjusting brightness or volume via voice, and "call my cell phone", among others. Just don't expect it to be as good as Google yet. Some commands like opening non-Huawei native apps via voice may not work.


In terms of connectivity, we never had issues with its WiFi and Bluetooth. The Bluetooth pairs and connects well even with non-Huawei devices. We also like that it has plenty of ports available when needed like the 3x HDMI 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, 1x AV In, 1x SPDIF (coaxial).

My only gripe is it would have been better if it has HDMI 2.1 for PS5 users so they can take advantage of its 120Hz refresh rate display.

Anyway, if you have a cable subscription or an antenna, you can access local and international channels easily.

Now to its OS, the HarmonyOS 2.0. For a first-time maker of OS for TVs, Huawei did a commendable job. HarmonyOS for TVs. It has a nice-looking user interface with smartphone-like controls. I personally, find it very easy to operate.

By default, you will be able to access the Huawei Video app. You can also download other apps like the Wish 107.5 app to listen to the music being played by that station, Enjoy Home Karaoke, or check PH weather using its own app.

However, AppGallery for HarmonyOS TV is not as robust as the AppGallery on Huawei smartphones. Since its release, Huawei added several apps on AppGallery, but none of the popular apps on Smart TVs like Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, iQIYI, etc. are found there yet.
Aptoide TV
Aptoide TV

The solution, download the aptoidetv APK online and install it on your TV via USB. Using it, we were able to install and use apps like Netflix, iQIYI, Spotify, YouTube, and more. Yes, these are Android apps and they are compatible with HarmonyOS.

For Netflix, you may need to use the Vision Control app as it is not compatible with Huawei's remote control. 4K on Netflix is not available as well. For Google apps like Chrome and YouTube, you can use them. But, you won't be able to sign in to your Google account since the TV has no Google services.

Some sites on browsers won't work as well. I'm currently subscribed to Viu and TapGo TV and they work on the browser of other TVs.

You may solve this issue by plugging in your laptop via HDMI or accessing the Desktop mode of your PC. You may also use a separate OTT box or stick. But, it defeats the purpose of having a Smart TV a little.

Thankfully, iQIYI is a GREAT platform for Asian content lovers. It has plenty of Kdramas in high-resolution and exclusive titles. 

Pros - Premium design, best-in-class build, great picture quality, great audio performance, speedy enough for a TV, the attractive price tag
Cons - Setting up will be tedious at first, some apps and services may not work if you don't have an OTT box

Huawei Vision S Series 55 Specs

Display: 55-inch LCD w/ 120Hz refresh rate, MEMC, 4K 3840 x 2160 resolution at 80 ppi
CPU: HongHu 818 quad-core processor
GPU: Mali-G51
RAM: 3GB
ROM: 32GB
Camera: 13MP Magnetic Camera
OS: HarmonyOS 2.0
Connectivity: WiFi (2.4GHz/5GHz), Bluetooth, 3x HDMI 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, 1x AV In, 1x SPDIF (coaxial)
Others: 4x 10W Huawei Sound (2x 10W full frequency speaker, 2x 10W tweeters), 6Mic Far-field Voice Pickup, Bluetooth voice remote control w/ OneHop Projection via NFC, AI Voice Celia
Dimensions: 1230.1 x 714.1 x 73 mm (Excluding the base), 1230.1 x 753.6 x 256 mm (Including the base)
Weight: 14.2 kg (Excluding the base), 14.7 kg (Including the base)
Price: PHP 36,999 (PHP 32,999 cash)

Verdict

The Huawei Vision S Series 55 remains one of the most premium-looking TVs at the price.

In my opinion, it has the best build and can provide one of the best audiovisual experiences without the need of spending top money. Gamers are in for a treat if they plan on using the huge display of this TV as well.

Harmony OS is not there yet, but the vision and promise are intriguing. Actually, it is promising. But, we would be lying if we say that this is a mature platform already.

Other than that, this is still a very attractive Smart TV for the price.

Build/Design - 4.5
Multimedia Experience- 4.5
Performance - 4
Average - 4.33/5
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