Philips The One (2021)


Philips 58PUS8506 The Suicide Squad Harley Quinn

A solid all-round performance from Philips’ mid-range series. The PUS8506 packs in plenty of entertainment value, even if its picture performance can’t quite get rid of all the idiosyncrasies from previous generations.

Pros

  • Lots of value
  • Dolby Vision and HDR10+
  • Fast gaming performance
  • Ambilight

Cons

  • Not too bright
  • Not great with dark detail (out of the box)
  • Could benefit from more effective picture modes

Availability

  • USAunavailable
  • Canadaunavailable
  • Australiaunavailable

Key Features


  • HDRFeatures all flavours of HDR (HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision)

  • AmbilightThree-sided array of Ambilight LEDs

  • HDMI VRRReduced input lag with consoles and PCs

Introduction

The latest ‘The One’ TV from Philips is a mid-range set that packs as many ‘premium’ features as it can into an affordable screen.

This year’s model is the Philips PUS8506 (here in its 58-inch size), replacing the PUS8545 model from 2020. With improvements to the spec and design, the expectation is the PUS8506 pushes on in performance terms. But does it?

Design

  • Improved aesthetics
  • Swivel stand
  • Premium feeling remote

Some assembly is required to put the PUS8506’s disparate pieces together, but it won’t take long. Attach the two parts of the stand, screw them into the back of the TV and the Philips is ready to go within five minutes.

Philips 58PUS8506 rear panel

The ergonomics of the PUS8506 are in keeping with the 2020 PUS8545 – similar type of stand and similar silver bezel that frames the screen. The bezel is slimmer than the PUS8545’s, which not only gives more acreage to the screen but looks better. The stand is different too, not so Mad Max shiny and chrome, but still up to a standard that asserts the PUS8506’s premium aspirations.

Philips 58PUS8506 stand

The stand offers some swivelling action – 15 degrees in either direction and dotted around the rear panel is an array of Ambilight LEDs in its three-sided form (top and sides). When turned on, they offer an experience unique to Philips’ TVs.

Philips 58PUS8506 remote

The remote is virtually the same as last year, and the tactile feel it offers is, for a lack of better word, nice, with its soft button presses. Hotkeys cover Netflix, Freeview Play, Ambilight, Rakuten TV and Google Assistant. Not much has changed, but what has makes for a small jump up in overall aesthetics.

Features

  • eARC and VRR support
  • Fast gaming performance
  • Lots of SVOD apps

The PUS8506’s interface is a combination of Philips’ and Android TV 10. Throw in Freeview Play and all the UK catch-up apps are catered for. While Sony has graduated from Android to the new Google TV interface, it seems Philips is taking a wait-and-see approach.

Philips 58PUS8506 Android

In any case, Android TV 10 offers Chromecast for streaming and Google Assistant for voice control, and unlike last year’s TVs, all the major apps are available in their 4K HDR/Dolby Atmos incarnations.

Connections are flanked around the rear with four HDMI – one is eARC for sending lossless audio out to an external speaker – with Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) available on HDMI 1 and 2. Add two USB inputs (2.0 and 3.0), satellite and terrestrial tuners, Ethernet, headphone out, Common Interface Plus, and digital optical out and that’s your lot. Wireless connections include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0.

Philips 58PUS8506 picture settings

Delve into Philips’ own menus and there’s plenty to tweak, with an array of advanced settings for picture, sound, Ambilight and much more. For those less inclined to spend time looking, there are Quick Picture settings within Android for adjusting colour, contrast, brightness, and sharpness – though if you ask me, the colour setting barely does anything.

Philips 58PUS8506 Ambilight

Philips’ unique Ambilight proposition comes in its three-sided form (top and sides). Ambilight places LED lights around the edges of the rear panel, casting the colours on screen to the surface behind. It’s genuinely different experience, but also never gets too distracting (well, perhaps it will for passers-by on a street who see the glow from your front room). The effect is a little curtailed by the fact there’s no bottom row, so if you’re wall-mounting it may feel incomplete.

The PUS8506 has a game mode, and it’s an improvement with 10.6ms at 1080p and 10.7ms at 4K – twice as fast as last year’s PUS8545.

Philips 58PUS8506 Mimi Defined

In the audio department there’s DTS Play-Fi support (the app download is a whopping 256MB on Android), which brings the PUS8506 within a multi-room system for playing music with compatible speakers. There’s also Mimi Defined Sound, which optimises the audio performance based on your hearing ability through a series of tests. It’s worth giving it a go if you find it hard to hear every word or detail.

Picture quality

  • Issues with dark detail/darker scenes
  • Colourful pictures
  • Solid motion handling

As per usual, Philips’ out of box settings need tweaking but not as much as the PUS8545 required. The slight frustration is that, despite the various picture modes this Philips offers, there’s no one mode that you can hang your hat on and use across most content.

Philips 58PUS8506 Iron Man 3

It’s exemplified by Philips’ Movie mode, which is the most colour accurate but with certain content looks flat, bland, and overly dark, and with others looks punchy and vibrant. Iron Man 3 (SDR) looks understated, but in Natural mode it is punchier.

Philips 58PUS8506 Last Christmas

Give it some brighter content and the reds and greens of the Christmas shop in Last Christmas look terrific in the movie picture setting, and with some films, the Vivid mode hits the spot, such as Lucy with a richer, high-contrast image matching the film’s florid aesthetics. The Vivid mode has always been something of a secret sauce for Philips’ TVs compared to other brand’s implementations, and when it works it’s actually attractive (if overly sharp).

Philips 58PUS8506 Lucy

Powered by its P5 Perfect Picture engine, the Philips gives SDR broadcast channels colourful and expressive tones. Complexions are warmly expressed and there’s plenty of variation in tones and hues for a punchy, saturated picture that’s just on the right side of natural.

Philips 58PUS8506 broadcast

Upscaling standard definition broadcast offers predictable fuzzy edges and a soft look. Slightly galling is the amount of noise on faces, which becomes distracting whenever someone moves their head – steer clear of SD as much as possible. HD content poses no problems with a statelier and composed presentation.

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