I assumed there would be some reshuffling of product lines but as it turns out, LeEco makes its own displays. I was offered a review of the Super4 X55 Ultra HD TV with HDR and I couldn’t send the confirmation email fast enough. What I received was a beautifully-made panel with an all-metal chassis, super-easy setup and a premium-quality image. And the best part is it sells for only $900.
LeEco Super4 X55 55” Ultra HD TV
- High-end build quality with metal chassis
- Ultra-thin panel
- Ultra HD resolution with HDR10
- HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 inputs
- Super-low price
In the world of flat-panel televisions, there are only a few well-known brands left in the market. Everyone has heard of Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, LG and Vizio. And a couple of storied names like Sharp and Toshiba have stopped selling consumer displays altogether. So when a new company comes along, I take notice. LeEco has been in business since 2004 and since grown into a major electronics manufacturer but it’s only in 2016 that they’ve established a US presence and begun selling televisions.
LCD with LED-edge backlight
3840 x 2160 pixels
55” (54.6” viewable)
Input signal compatibility:
Up to 3840×2160 @ 60Hz
10 watts x 2 speakers
3 x HDMI 2.0 w/HDCP 2.2, 1 x composite, 1 x VGA
1 x optical digital out, 1 x stereo RCA in, 1 x 3.5mm out
3 x USB, 1 x RJ-45, WiFi (802.11ac), Bluetooth
31 H x 48.7 W x 10.6 D inches
LeEco, LeEco Super4, Super4, Ultra HD TV, HDTV, HDTV Reviews 2017
I recently received a Super4 X55 55-inch Ultra HD panel for review. Having never even seen one in a store, I didn’t know what to expect. After unpacking and a bit of exploration, I found myself impressed. For $900, you get a wonderfully thin, all-metal panel with Ultra HD resolution, HDR10 and a slick software interface provided by Android. It’s clear this is no cheap display despite its bargain-basement price. I can’t wait to hook up my gear and give it a go. Let’s take a look.
It seems that even the least-expensive HDTVs these days offer Ultra HD and HDR. The Super4 X55 has a full native resolution of 3840×2160 pixels and renders both Rec.709 and DCI-P3 color gamuts. HDR10 is supported for Ultra HD Blu-ray. There is no mention of Dolby Vision at this time so some streamed content will have to be viewed in its SDR form.
LeEco breaks the mold of black components by making the Super4 X55’s chassis from silver plastic and aluminum. Two small stand legs are included, also made from cast aluminum, that slide into holes in the bottom edge and are secured with two bolts apiece. The panel isn’t terribly heavy so I wasn’t concerned about stability but the legs are only 10.6 inches deep so it might be smart to keep small children away from a bench-mounted TV.
The front screen layer is fairly shiny and will pick up stray reflections if you’re not careful. One should avoid installing the X55 opposite a sun-lit window or under a bright ceiling light. The bezel is the same satin-finished aluminum and is extremely narrow at less than half-an-inch.
The panel has an aluminum backing and is super-slim at only 9mm. The lower portion hides internal components in a bulge that makes the total thickness 1.3 inches. The 400x200mm VESA mount is on that bulge which means the upper-half of the panel will stand out from the wall a bit. At the top, concealed in another bulge, is a USB port which can be used for a camera accessory.
Here’s a better look at that USB port and the full-width power bulge which is finished in black plastic. The input panel and power cord receptacle are recessed to keep the X55 flush when wall-mounted.
The input panel is nicely stocked with three HDMI 2.0 ports, all with HDCP 2.2. They accept Ultra HD signals up to 60Hz. Analog video is supported with a VGA connector and a 3.5mm plug which can receive a composite signal and stereo audio through an included adapter. Two USB ports allow for content to be viewed off a hard disk or thumb drive. You also get a LAN input and the X55 has built-in 802.11ac WiFi. Bluetooth support is included for things like keyboards and control apps.
The remote is very minimalistic and not backlit. It is nicely made with a metal front and buttons that click with a premium feel. It communicates via traditional IR or Bluetooth once you pair it with the TV. Additionally, it accepts voice commands through a built-in microphone. At the top is a power toggle and audio mute. Next are inputs, settings and a button that pops up an on-screen keypad for entering channel numbers. After Netflix and the channel/volume rockers is menu navigation followed by return, home and apps.
When you first turn on the Super4 X55, a screen pops up asking if you wish to scan channels through the antenna input. I skipped this and went on to the WiFi setup. The TV connected to my router without issue and presented me with its Android-based interface. You can scroll down the screen to find the input selector. Pressing the Settings button on the remote brings up a menu that occupies the right half of the screen. It’s large enough that I had to turn it off when taking measurements. Calibrators will have to spend a little extra time making their adjustments.
The menu is fairly small but has every image control necessary except a color management system, which I did not miss. There are 2- and 10-point white balance options, of which I only needed the former. The X55 is quite accurate out of the box and only requires a few minor changes to achieve excellent performance. It ships in an Energy Saving mode which offers fair picture quality but a dim look with dynamic contrast that changes overall levels with content. I recommend the Movies mode for all viewing. It hits Rec.709 color with 2.2 gamma and a D65 white point. For Ultra HD material, there is a Native gamut option which comes pretty close to DCI-P3.
Light output is prodigious like most modern LCDs and can top 100 foot-Lamberts in the Vivid mode. In Movies, I dialed back the control to 57 for around 50fL peak. After a couple of small tweaks to the RGB controls, I had a near-perfect picture.
The X55 has an edge backlight so no zone dimming is offered. But there is a Dynamic Backlight option that will change levels based on content. I could see brightness pumping while watching so I left it off. There is also an Adaptive Contrast feature that increases perceived contrast but it clips some highlight and shadow detail.
Motion clarity can be enhanced with a frame interpolation option that has three levels plus off. It’s fine for sports or news but the soap-opera effect is somewhat annoying in movies so I left it off.
If you want finer control over highlight and shadow detail, the Advanced menu has six gamma presets plus Super Black and Super White sliders. These will enhance detail at the extremes of the brightness scale but can reduce contrast if not used sparingly. I found leaving them alone to be the best option.
I began my viewing tests with a few standard 1080p Blu-rays. For this I used my Oppo BDP-93 player and piped the audio through the X55’s built-in speakers via the HDMI connection.
Before I get to the image evaluation, a word about the built-in speakers – they’re fairly limited in frequency range and their down-firing configuration makes them sound tubby when the TV is on a soft surface. I expect they’ll sound better from a wall-mounted position. There is no bass to speak of and not much high range either. They are clear and loud however, and I only detected distortion at the highest volumes.
Captain America: Civil War sticks to a fairly cold color presentation with razor-sharp detail and high contrast. The X55 did a masterful job of upscaling already-quality content to an even higher standard. Textures and small objects just popped from the screen to the point where you could almost reach out and touch them. Color was nicely presented too thanks to a super-accurate Rec.709 gamut.
I played with the various dynamic contrast options and while they help add depth to brighter content, darker scenes became murky, even on the lowest settings. I also saw a little extra grain with this approach. The dynamic backlight’s operation is very apparent when looking at the black bars which change shades every time content shifts in brightness. After trying various combinations of the two controls, I found I preferred watching with them in the off position.
Ghostbusters, the 2016 version, is rendered in extremely bold, vivid colors. One might almost think it has red-push which is something we used to see in CRT TVs. Once again, the detail just leapt out at me. The texture of people’s skin was especially well-done. In fact, actor’s makeup sometimes looked a little too obvious. Nighttime scenes showed the pitfalls of the adaptive contrast control as all settings robbed the image of its shadow detail.
CGI-animation like The Secret Life of Pets is the absolute best way to demo a screen like this. To see a picture that has never passed through a lens is quite an experience in Ultra HD resolution from a close viewing distance. This particular film has cartoon-like color to go along with its tremendous dynamic range. There isn’t a lot of dark material to challenge the X55 but bright scenes looked simply amazing.
The X55 supports HDR10 as found on Ultra HD Blu-ray so I hooked up my Philips BDP-7501 UHD player to watch some hi-res movies. My collection is limited to Creed, The Martian and Star Trek, but I have no problem watching these films again and again.
From the opening minutes of The Martian, I could see the difference between native UHD content and the upscaled version. The picture was squeaky-clean without the tiniest suggestion that I was watching an image made up of dots. Curves and angles were perfectly smooth and there were no motion artifacts that I could see. Color also looked excellent though I had to manually switch to the Native color gamut to match the DCI spec of the disc. It’s a shame the X55 won’t do this automatically.
HDR had a lesser impact. By this time in my review period, I had settled upon leaving all dynamic contrast options off leaving me with a static contrast ratio of around 4000:1, far too little to give HDR its due. The picture looked fine it just didn’t show any more dynamic range than the SDR version.
Star Trek, ala J.J. Abrams, showed me a little more film grain and therefore looked about the same as its 1080p counterpart. I still appreciated the detail I was seeing but it wasn’t a “gotta get me one of these” moment.
Creed has several scenes that challenge black levels and shadow detail rendering. Watching Donny and Rocky talk in the restaurant was a decent experience because I could make out their clothing and other dark details. Some displays turn the actors into floating heads; heads that simply move around a black, formless background. The X55’s accurate gamma took care of that problem.
LeEco provides a smart TV interface that accesses files from USB drives and streamed content from several major carriers. Netflix and Showtime are already installed but if you want other services like Amazon and Hulu, you’ll have to download their apps from the Android store.
Response is quick thanks to the powerful quad-core processor built into the X55. The ARM Cortex CPU is augmented by an ARM Mali T820 graphics co-processor and 3Gb RAM. Flash storage totals 32Gb which should accommodate plenty of additional apps should you wish to install them.
Picture quality is on par with other smart TVs I’ve reviewed. Clarity is largely a matter of the content’s compression level and the speed of your Internet connection. Ultra HD streaming is supported along with HDR10 if the material is encoded that way. Dolby Vision content will show in SDR. The streaming interface has its own set of picture options so be sure and transfer your calibrated settings from the HDMI inputs to this mode.
To measure the color accuracy of the Super4 X55 I used an i1Pro spectrophotometer, along with an Accupel DVG-5000 signal generator and CalMAN 5.2 to control the instruments and crunch the numbers. Luminance tests were performed with a Spectracal C6 tri-stimulus meter.
The Super4 X55 ships in its Energy Saving mode which is fine for watching the news or other content best relegated to the background. For the most accurate image, choose the Movies mode. It defaults to Rec.709 color with a 2.2 gamma and D65 white point.
Out-of-box grayscale and gamma performance is superb. There’s little need for calibration when the default chart looks like this. There is a slight rise in blue at the 100-percent brightness level but the error is so tiny you won’t see it unless you know it’s there. Gamma is of equal quality showing almost perfect tracking along the 2.2 line except for 90-percent which goes a little light. Again, it’s unlikely this will appear in real-world content.
A few minor tweaks to the 2-point grayscale controls is all it takes to get the average error well below the visible threshold. Interestingly, gamma is now a tad above the line. The difference is small and there is no longer a dip at 90-percent so I consider this a win. I wouldn’t expect much better performance from any display, and certainly not from one that only costs $900!
The X55’s tight gamma tracking and accurate gamut means that all saturation and luminance points are on-target. The only exception is the blue primary which is slightly under-saturated in the mid-tones. I don’t usually see default charts this good unless I’m measuring a factory-calibrated professional computer monitor.
My calibration adjustments have reduced the average color error by a scant amount. There was no visual error before and I couldn’t tell any difference after. To see this kind of accuracy in a budget display is astounding.
The X55 has a Native gamut option which has sufficient volume to fill the DCI-P3 space. The only drawback is the user must select it manually when playing UHD Blu-rays or streamed content. And not all material is mastered in DCI or Rec.2020. It must be used on a case by case basis.
Most colors and saturation points are on or near their targets and luminance levels are reasonably well-balanced. The DeltaE values are a little high in this chart because it’s assuming a greener white point. This is a function of CalMAN and not a performance flaw of the X55, which I calibrated to D65. I’m glad to see such attention to detail. Some displays simply put their primaries somewhere near DCI or even larger. It’s better to pick a standard and stick to it as LeEco has done here.
The Super4 X55 further impressed me with its video processing chops. Very few displays, at any price, can pass the 2:2 pulldown test. This TV locked on within one second. The only flaw here is a roll-off in the 1-pixel burst pattern when viewing a 4:2:2 signal. Since Blu-ray players commonly upconvert to 4:4:4, this isn’t a big deal. The best image is seen in the RGB format so if you have that option, I recommend you take it. In the jaggies test, I saw an ideal balance of anti-aliasing that was free of ringing artifacts. There was a flash of line twitter here and there but only in my extreme ship-rope video clip.
After calibration, with all dynamic contrast options turned off and the backlight set just above the halfway point, I recorded a white level of 53.3692fL, a black level of .0123fL and a contrast ratio of 4323.7:1.
Setting Adaptive Contrast on Low and turning on the Dynamic Backlight resulted in a similar 53.1386fL white level but yielded a much lower black threshold of .0087fL. The contrast ratio was 21006:1 in that mode. Some shadow detail is clipped and image brightness will pump when content changes quickly.
For maximum output, select the Vivid mode. There you’ll see 107.8148fL white, .0026 black and a contrast ratio of 41733.5:1. There is quite a bit of clipped detail here but if you’re setting the X55 up in a brightly-lit room, it is a workable option.
THE LEECO SUPER4 X55 is a Great Value Among 55-inch Ultra HD Televisions. It Offers HDR and Extremely Accurate Color for a Startlingly-low Price.
- Excellent out-of-box accuracy
- Super-sharp picture
- Plenty of output
- Great build quality
- Slick styling
- Great value
- Backlit remote
- Dolby Vision support
- Better speakers
For $900, it’s OK to have moderate expectations for a display. The LeEco Super4 X55 delivers far more than moderate performance. Its out-of-box accuracy beats that of many more-expensive televisions I’ve reviewed and with calibration, delivers truly stunning color and decent native contrast. Image depth is also quite good thanks to near-perfect gamma tracking.
The streaming interface is slick and intuitive and once you install a few extra apps, every service under the sun is at your fingertips. With so many people cutting the cord these days, an HDTV that can operate with nothing but a power connection is extremely useful. If you have reliable WiFi and a fast Internet connection, you’ll never need to pay another cable bill or spin a disc.
If you plan to integrate the X55 into a theater system, it’s more than up to the task. Picture quality is extremely sharp and it handled everything I threw at it including interlaced video and less-than-stellar content.
It seems that every TV that shows up at my door offers more for the money than its predecessors. To see such a great effort from a new player in the market makes me happy. While the major manufacturers still deliver excellent products, additional choices like these new screens from LeEco just mean more choices for discerning consumers, and that’s always a good thing.
If you’re looking for a 55-inch TV and your budget is modest, give the LeEco Super4 X55 a look. You might very well bring it home.