Review: Konka 55Q75A 4K QLED TV Offers Affordable Wide Color
A few weeks back, China-based TV manufacturer Konka introduced to the North American market the first models in its new Q7 Pro 4K UHD direct-lit LED LCD TV series using QLED (quantum dot) wide color gamut technology and we tested a model to see what’s up.
What we found was a value-oriented 4K Ultra HD quantum dot-based LED LCD TV that offers nice accurate colors and sharp resolution at prices that are affordable by a wide audience of consumers. These aren’t the best 4K UHD HDR televisions for picture or sound quality, but you might find the performance level good enough to fit your budget.
First a little history: These 2020 TVs mark Konka’s return to the U.S. market under its brand after a short-lived attempt about a decade ago. Since then it has supplied TVs here as an original equipment manufacturer for various other TV brands. You might have a Konka TV right now, and don’t realize it.
The new Konka USA is building the brand here methodically as it lines up retail accounts that will serve as a distribution base for a wider range of products and performance levels down the road. The company’s early offerings are starting at a step above the opening price point models, providing attractive prices, decent picture quality and attractive product designs for the money.
The Q7 Pro series model we review here is the 55-inch version (55Q75A). This is part of the current step-up line for Konka in North America, providing a nice assortment of features through the built-in Android TV (version 9 Pie) smart TV operating system, and the use of quantum dot color enhancement film that yields a surprisingly wide color pallet in this class along with nice sharp 4K resolution as an alternative to cheap entry level TVs.
These Q7 Pro models tend to perform best in rooms with some degree of ambient light; In dark rooms the LCD panels used in the sets produce some back light blooming that allows light to seep into letter-boxed border patterns around wide aspect ratio movies. This becomes more noticeable in darkened settings.
Models in the Konka Q7 Pro series include: the 50-inch 50Q75A ($649.99 retail price), the 55-inch 55Q75A ($699.95), the 65-inch 65Q75A ($999.99) and the 75-inch 75Q75A ($1,799.99). We expect all models in the series will deliver similar picture quality characteristics. These sets are available at a handful of regional electronics stores, rental centers and soon will be found at the Konka store on Amazon — among other places.
The Konka 55Q75A review sample we tested produced a DCI-P3 wide color range that exceeded the Ultra HD Alliance’s 90% DCI-P3 color gamut target used as one of the criteria for Premium 4K Ultra HDTV certification. The set offers an attractive ultra-thin bezel (“ZeroBezel”) design along three sides of the frame with a just slightly thicker bezel chin at the bottom of the frame. The set also offers a surprisingly thin panel depth for a quantum dot TV.
The television also offers the very nice Android TV 9 “Pie” OS that was easy to setup and use when searching for apps and movie titles. It also adds Google Assistant voice control through a mic in the remote and supports Chromecast content streaming from compatible mobile devices. Just about any streaming app you might want will be found in this smart TV’s library.
The tradeoff for the affordable price was the use of a 60 Hz LCD panel which can produce some motion blurring and judder when motion reduction circuitry is turned off. More expensive 4K Ultra HDTVs generally have 120 Hz native refresh rate panels to improve motion resolution without the need for additional circuitry. Upconversion of sub-4K resolution content was generally acceptable but in some content, picture noise and film grain was more visible than we’re used to seeing even with noise reduction turned up. The television also lacks full-array LED backlighting with local dimming (this uses a direct-lit LED panel), which doesn’t provide very precise local control over the picture brightness resulting in blooming and some degree of detail crushing in dark scenes. This also limits the set’s peak HDR brightness and ability to produce very bright specular highlights. For gaming, the 55Q75A lacks new advanced gaming features, and had only moderately good lag time.
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Konka paid a lot of attention to the way the television looks. Konka calls the style its “ZeroBezel design” with “a virtual edge-to-edge” screen appearance. In fact, it features a black metal border trim that measures just 1/16th of an inch wide around three sides of the screen and 3/4 of an inch for the bezel chin. Adjacent to the exterior frame is an inset black border matting measuring just under 1/4 inch behind the panel’s cover glass. The back of the television is made of a flat dark gray textured plastic that slopes out from the screen frame to a depth of about 1-inch running halfway down the rear panel, where it expands to 2 inches the rest of the way down. This thicker section accommodates the set’s circuity, inputs etc. The look isn’t exactly bezel-less but the border around the screen is diminished and helps achieve an immersive viewing experience. The screen mounts on top of two metal gunmetal gray claw-type feet that screw into each end of the base of the panel. This provides a stable platform, with only a slight amount of screen wobble when the panel is lightly nudged at the top. The stand leaves about 3 inches of clearance between the placement surface and the bottom of the picture. This is a little low for some soundbars, which means some models might block portions of the screen real estate. Keep this in mind when looking to add external audio devices if you think it will bother you.
As with all Android TVs, the Konka Q7 Pro series is operated via a supplied remote used to highlight on-screen apps and buttons. This is an IR based remote, meaning it requires a direct, unobstructed line of sight between the remote and the IR eye on the front of the TV. This IR receiver is positioned in the lower left corner at the base of the screen, and it can be troublesome at times to make the connection between the remote and the television set if any objects are in the signal path. If you plan to use a soundbar with this set, be aware that this eye is easily blocked if the soundbar is nearly as long as the TV screen. (In the case of the 55-inch model, that’s about 4 feet long, end to end).
The remote measures just under 7 inches long and 1 3/4 inches wide. It is made of a mat-black plastic with a rounded back. The unit is light and fits comfortably in one hand as you slide it up and down to reach the all of the buttons with your thumb. Konka provides two quick-access app buttons — for Netflix and YouTube — at the very top of the button layout, just below the power and input controls. Direction keys and center activation button are positioned just above the center of the key layout. Buttons are not backlit and finding them in the dark can be difficult. If you are used to using Android devices, the button functions will be more or less familiar to you. And even those non Android users should find operating the on-screen menu reasonably intuitive.
Konka’s Q7 Pro series models offer a nice selection of four HDMI 2.0 inputs, but with none of the newer features specified for the latest HDMI 2.1 specification. That means, no support for the new enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) interface (standard ARC only), or next-gen gaming features like Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) or Variable Refresh Rate (VRR). Also provided are three USB inputs, a coaxial antenna/cable input, and a digital optical audio output.
As mentioned, the Q7 Pro Series uses the Android TV smart TV platform, which is among the most robust platforms on the market. Users are provided with an impressively large library of apps, including virtually all of the most popular ones — Netflix, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Disney+, Hulu, Peacock, HBO Max (no Apple TV+) etc, are all there on the home screen or in the app library waiting to be selected and installed.
If that’s not enough, you can play apps and videos from your Android mobile phone and cast them to the TV screen with built-in Chromecast support. Android TV is among the world’s most popular smart TV operating systems, so support going forward is more or less assured for years to come.
As stated, the system is compatible with Google Assistant voice control, with an included mic and press-and-hold mic-activation button found on the remote. Anyone familiar with Android phones will find this familiar territory and generally effective at quickly finding content.
High Dynamic Range
Konka provides a nice sharp 4K picture on this model and support for the baseline HDR10 high dynamic range (HDR) profile. In bright scenes, HDR images are presented with almost 3D-like picture quality. The panel uses direct-LED lighting, which means fewer LED zones than TVs that use full-array LED systems with local dimming. This set had no local dimming.
Peak brightness measured in a 10% D65 white window pattern only reached 422.1 nits (with picture mode set to Vivid and backlight and contrast settings turned up to 100%), well below the 1000 nit threshold the Ultra HD Alliance has established for “premium Ultra HD” TVs. This impacts how bright specular highlights in certain HDR scenes will look relative to the surrounding scene.
Curiously, Konka provides an “HDR” on/off setting in the picture menu. When playing HDR content, the television didn’t automatically trigger an “HDR” picture mode or provide any visual confirmation that HDR was engaged as most step-up 4K HDR TVs now do. However, the difference in overall brightness and color quality will tell you pretty quickly when it’s on or off for most HDR and SDR material.
The HDR setting had no effect on the user adjustable settings for backlight, contrast or brightness.
When switched on, the HDR setting makes colors and lighting in HDR content stand out compared with an otherwise flat washed out appearance. However, if HDR is switched on for some SDR content, images can appear too dark with some detail crushing in darker areas of a picture.
HDR black level measured a sub-premium-level 0.07327 nits with a contrast ratio of around 5760:1.
We found the best settings for this display to be “Movie” picture mode, “warm” color temperature and gamma level at “Middle,” without professional calibration. “User” mode was selected during calibration using Calman software from Portrait Displays, a Murideo Six-G test pattern generator and a Spectracal C6-HDR colorimeter.
One of the set’s best attributes is handling color, both in standard and high dynamic range material. Konka QLED (quantum dot) technology and its ColorWave Pro Wide Color Gamut circuitry delivered a measured color gamut exceeding 90% of the UHDA-P3 wide gamut recommendation for an Ultra HD Premium display. This is quite good for a television in the price class.
In real-world viewing, we found colors to be rich and accurate, particularly in HDR. Coral reef fish in scenes from the BBC’s Ultra HD Blu-ray version of Blue Planet II were vibrant and engaging and color banding in underwater shots was only moderately evident and otherwise well presented for a television in this price range.
The Konka 55Q75A has a native 60 Hz refresh rate and an “AccuMotion” system based on backlight blinking to handle motion blur and picture judder. Overall, we found the picture quality in live video with the AccuMotion activated to be quite good. The set does have some visible judder and compensating for this will generate some soap opera effect on film based movies. But for a 60 Hz TV, we were pleasantly surprised. As with most televisions, we recommend turning AccuMotion off for movie watching.
Due to the backlight system, black screen uniformity was somewhat splotchy with this test sample. Backlight blooming was noticeable in the corners and around the edges of the sample-set’s screen. Gray screen uniformity was, for the most part, pretty good. Some dirty screen effect was occasionally noticeable in pans from real-world content.
Off Angle Viewing
The set uses a variable angle (VA) type LCD panel, and has very limited wide angle viewing. Portions of the screen tend to look milky and washed out of contrast and color when stepping a few inches to the left or right of dead center screen, or when standing up above a seated eye-level position. This could be a problem if people tend to watch the set seated around the screen instead of directly in front of the sweet spot. Keep that in mind if you’ll be placing the TV in larger rooms or mounted too far above eye level on a wall.
Sound is not one of the Konka 55Q75A’s strong suits. The thin-panel design limits the size and capability of the internal speakers, making for a somewhat hollow and boxy tonality with thin bass support. However, dialog is quite clear against other sound effects. We recommend getting a soundbar or home theater surround sound system as an add-on for the most immersive viewing/listening experience.
As stated, the Konka Q7 Pro TV series does not support any of the enhanced gaming features from the HDMI 2.1 specification, and the set’s Game Mode has only average input lag for a budget television. With game mode on, we measured input lag at 42.6 ms from a 1080p/60 Hz signal source, compared with 43.4 ms with the Picture Mode set to “Movie.” This isn’t terrible for average use, but might be an issue if you’re looking for a competitive edge.
If getting wide accurate color at a reasonable price is your primary goal in buying a television, the Konka 55Q75A 4K Ultra HD QLED TV is a model to check out for good HDR and SDR picture quality at a bargain. For comparison’s sake, this set is up against TCL’s also very good 55-inch 5-Series 4K Roku QLED TV. We think you’ll enjoy this model’s excellent color, clear, sharp resolution, “ZeroBezel” design and slick smart TV platform.
This is a good starting point for Konka in the United States, and we look forward to seeing what this brand can bring in the future. The company has made known its plans to eventually bring OLED and even Micro LED TV technologies here, down the road.
We therefore award the Konka 55Q75A 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TV 3 out of 5 hearts.
The Konka 55Q75A 4K Ultra HDTV used for this review was a company loan.
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By Greg Tarr
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