Philips OLED807 review: Ticks every box (55OLED807) - MrLiambi's blog


My tweets


Friday, 21 October 2022

Philips OLED807 review: Ticks every box (55OLED807)

The "affordable" OLED market is gathering pace. Whether you look to LG's C2 series, Sony's A75K or Panasonic's LZ1500, the calibre of TV you can get for around the £1500 mark looks a lot different to what it did just a few years ago. The OLED807 is Philips' horse in that race, and it comes from strong pedigree.

That was last year's excellent OLED806, which combined Philips' unique Ambilight design and picture quality attractions with aggressive pricing to irresistible effect. It's fair to say hopes are high for that model's 2022 successor, as represented here by the 55-inch 55OLED807. We spent some time with it to see how it holds up.


  • 4 x HDMI inputs, two with HDMI 2.1 features
  • Three USB ports
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth multimedia options

One of the biggest advances of Philips' OLED807 range sees it shift from a 'traditional' OLED panel to one of the latest so-called EX panels. The picture quality repercussions of this will be covered later, but it impacts the 55OLED807's design, too, helping it be a little lighter than its predecessor, despite retaining a high quality finish, and enabling the frame around the screen to be remarkably slim.

As well as this EX panel-enabled trimness looking great and making it easier to focus on what you're watching, it also makes Philips' Ambilight technology more effective. In case you're not familiar, Ambilight sees coloured light being cast out around the TV's edges onto the wall behind, usually matching whatever's on screen. Having this narrower screen frame sitting between the images on the screen and the Ambilight 'cast off' makes the two parts of the Philips TV experience look more seamless. 

The screen sits (unless you're wall hanging it) on a centrally mounted, shiny silver t-bar stand that looks impressively premium for a TV that is, after all, actually pretty affordable by OLED TV standards.

The degree to which Ambilight can continually match both the colour and position of hues and tones in the onscreen images is pretty remarkable, and provided the feature is set to a relatively mild mode in terms of both its response speed and brightness, it really can make the viewing experience more immersive. 

The 55OLED807's connectivity is good rather than great. Its four HDMI ports and three USB ports are on a par with premium TVs, but only two of those HDMI ports can handle the full bandwidth, HDMI v2.1 gaming goodies of 4K at 120Hz, variable refresh rates (including support for NVidia G-Sync and AMD Freesync Premium), and automatic low latency mode switching.

Note that confusingly the TV has to be manually switched between 'Optimal' and 'Optimal (Game)' settings for the two HDMI 2.1 ports to unlock all of the 55OLED807's gaming features, including Dolby Vision support at 4K/120Hz. Note, too, that the TV will halve the vertical resolution of 4K/120Hz game signals unless you use its HDR Monitor setting rather than its HDR Game preset.

Picture Features

  • Supports HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, HDR10+
  • P5 Generation 6 processor

The single most significant new picture feature the 55OLED807 introduces over its predecessor is its EX panel. These are capable of delivering as much as 30% more brightness than regular OLED panels, as well as contributing to the super-trim design noted earlier. Philips is by no means the only brand to use EX panels this year, but it's the only brand openly stating as much, strangely.

Given the talent Philips has shown in the past for getting extra vibrancy and punch out of older OLED panels, the prospect of what it might be able to do with the OLED807s' EX panel is mouthwatering. Especially as the other big new feature Philips has introduced with the 55OLED807 is a new (sixth) generation of its P5 picture processing engine. 

This focuses on delivering the very best of what Philips identifies as the five key pillars of picture quality: Colour, sharpness, contrast, motion and source recognition/optimisation. However, it also adds new features including a colour optimisation engine, an Ambient Intelligence feature designed to better auto-optimise pictures in different ambient conditions - especially in terms of brightness and colour temperature - and a new AI Auto Film mode, connected to the processor's AI Content Classification system. 

Naturally the latest P5 system takes into account the extra brightness potential of the new EX panel, in figuring out how best to handle HDR sources. However, the OLED807 does not get the so-called 'Royal' EX panel found in Philips' new higher-end OLED937 TVs, which adds a heat sink to enable even more brightness. 

Since the 55OLED807 is an OLED TV, it enjoys the natural local contrast and wide viewing angle advantages associated with this self-emissive technology. Though it is also, despite the EX panel, constrained versus premium LCD TVs when it comes to peak brightness. 

To put some numbers on this, its brightest measurement on a 10% white HDR window is 863 nits in its punchiest Crystal Clear mode. Some of the latest, more expensive EX plus heat sink panel designs are now turning in measurements above 1000 nits, and some LCD TVs are hitting upwards of 2000 nits. Of course, in LCD's case this brightness comes at the expense - even with Mini LED models - of much-reduced local light control.

As with all mid-range and high-end Philips TVs these days, the 55OLED807 takes an impressively agnostic approach to high dynamic range formats, opting to support all the 'big four': HDR10, HLG, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. So whatever HDR source you play into the 55OLED807, it will always take in the best version of that source available.

Philips' relatively new enthusiasm for working with third parties on picture settings finds the 55OLED807 carrying support for the IMAX Enhanced format available from a few 4K Blu-rays and Disney+ streams, and a Filmmaker Mode preset that's been calibrated in conjunction with the UHD Association with a view to giving images a particularly accurate look. 

One last picture quality feature of the 55OLED807 worth mentioning is its anti-screen burn technology. This looks out for sustained bright, static parts of the picture and dims such areas down slightly to reduce the (already fairly low) likelihood of 'burn in'.

Smart Features

  • Android TV 11.0
  • Google Assistant
  • Freeview Play

Philips has relied on Google's Android platform for its smart TV features and interface for generations now - so it's no surprise to find this continuing with the 55OLED807. It's a slight shame that Philips is yet to move to the Google TV system, but to be fair the 55OLED807 handles Android TV well, with fewer bugs and less sluggishness than we sometimes see with other Android-toting TVs.

While Android TV is mostly content-rich by smart TV system standards, it doesn't typically cover all of the catch up apps for the UK's main terrestrial broadcasters. Philips gets round this, though, by also carrying the Freeview Play app, which brings in the likes of the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All4 and My5 and presents them in a handy electronic programme guide form that lets you scroll forward and backwards through time in search of shows to watch.

Google Assistant voice control is available for anyone who wants it, and as always with relatively recent Android TVs, there's support for Google Casting.

Picture quality

  • Bright, dynamic picture
  • 15.1ms input lag, which halves in 120Hz mode
  • Extensive picture controls

The 55OLED807 takes everything that made its predecessor a great value OLED TV and makes it better. And not just a bit better, either.

The main reason for the improvements appears to be the move to an EX panel. Philips has always been good - arguably uniquely so - at eking out as much peak brightness from traditional OLED panels as possible. Happily this talent holds good with the 55OLED807's EX panel too, finding even more extra brightness, dynamism and punch. Stars against a night sky twinkle and glimmer with markedly more intensity, even than they did on the 806, for instance. Candles flicker more vibrantly, and reflections of sunlight on metal or glass achieve even more squint-inducing realism. This is achieved, too, without excessive amounts of subtle shading detail getting clipped from the picture. 

This delivers a clear lift to the HDR viewing experience, but the 55OLED807 doesn't stop there. Its new panel joins Philips' consistent and engaging love of the more vibrant things in TV life in by delivering a considerable boost to full screen brightness, too. So Mad Max: Fury Road's daylight desert battles take place under more realistically glaring sunlight and more lifelike cloudless blue skies. 

This more general, full-screen brightness enhancement is actually more important than the enhanced peak HDR highlights, as it leads to a more consistently dramatic and engaging HDR picture. Especially as the 55OLED807 seems able to maintain its higher full-screen brightness impressively stably - there's no hint of the screen dimming things down to protect the screen quickly or aggressively enough to become distracting with any sort of normal (rather than test signal) video or gaming content.

Having more brightness at its disposal also enables the 55OLED807 to make colours look even more vibrant and expressive than they were on the already spectacular OLED806. This can occasionally go a bit far in the 55OLED807's most vibrant new Crystal Clear preset (the equivalent, in terms of its relative image potency, to Philips' previous Vivid mode). In other modes, though, the extra colour range that the increased brightness unlocks actually results in more natural-looking pictures, rather than less. Especially as Philips' latest processor seems to deliver better handling of skin tones alongside forensically subtle shading - even in the most aggressively punchy areas.

This helps the 55OLED807 maintain Philips reputation for fearsome sharpness and clarity with both 4K and upscaled HD sources. It seems too, though, that Philips' processing has got cleverer at enhancing sharpness without exaggerating source noise or looking forced. Its Pure Cinema or Movie motion settings also now provide great options for gently reducing judder with 24 frames a second sources without the picture starting to suffer with the over-smooth soap opera effect or distracting processing side effects. 

Put the intense sharpness and detail together with the subtle colour blending and extra colour range and the 55OLED807 gives you pictures that look outstandingly three dimensional, too. Short of supporting actual 3D playback, of course. 

It's important to stress in all the talk of extra brightness and richer colours that the 55OLED807 still enjoys arguably OLED technology's most famous strength: beautiful black levels. Despite the extra punch of the EX panel, dark areas still look pretty much immaculately black, with zero low-contrast greyness and none of the blooming or light inconsistency that's typically visible to some degree on even the most premium LCD TVs. This holds true even if you have one of the brightest new HDR highlights sitting just a pixel away from nearly total blackness. 

While the 55OLED807 is at its most exciting with its relatively aggressive, Philips-preferred presets, there's also good news for AV enthusiasts who prefer things more accurate. For starters, Philips' processing generally is better at delivering its enhancements without generating unwanted accompanying distracting side effects than it has been before. Even more importantly, its support for third-party settings now extends to the Filmmaker Mode and multiple Dolby Vision options, delivering easy access to accuracy-focused pictures.

All of this sharpness and punch makes the 55OLED807 an excellent gaming monitor - especially with VRR and 4K/120Hz-capable sources. Just remember to set the screen to Monitor mode with 4K/120 sources to maintain the image's maximum resolution. 

Gamers will also be pleased to hear that unlike some Philips TVs of the past, the 55OLED807 keeps input lag low when running in its Game mode. Tests show a very respectable 15.1ms of lag with 1080p/60Hz sources, which more or less halves in 120Hz mode. 

But while the 55OLED807 is a clear improvement on its already illustrious predecessor, and while Philips' processing improvements do better at automatically selecting the best picture settings for different sources, there are a few little niggles to discuss. 

First off, the TV's Eco mode features and new Ambient AI features - at least the Eye Care and Dark Scene Optimisation elements - are best turned off. Even though, tediously, this has to be done separately for each picture preset. The problem is that these features can lead to some heavy handed reduction in the subtle detailing you can see in dark parts of the picture, sometimes leaving such areas feeling unnaturally hollow and empty.

The Dolby Vision Dark setting slightly exhibits this 'black crush' phenomenon too, leaving the Dolby Vision Bright setting the better all-round option even though it a) doesn't produce quite such natural colour results as the Dark mode, and b) needs to have its default motion processing settings tweaked.

The Noise Reduction settings are worth limiting in their potency or turning off entirely with native 4K and good quality HD content too. The motion processing only works well in the two modes mentioned earlier, and don't forget to check that the various game-related settings we mention above are set up correctly. 

It's important to reiterate again, too, that even with its EX panel, the 55OLED807 isn't as bright as rival OLED models such as the LG G2, Panasonic's LZ1500 and LZ2000, and Philips' own upcoming OLED+937 models. All of those models, though, are significantly more expensive than the 55OLED807.

Also, while it's true that there's still room for improvement with Philips' automatic picture optimisation settings, if you're willing to brave the 55OLED807's huge and complicated set up menus you can find the tools required to fix - or at least greatly improve - most, if not all, of the 55OLED807's minor picture niggles.

Sound quality

  • 70W five-strong speaker system
  • Good detail
  • Decent bass handling

While the 55OLED807's audio system doesn't benefit from Philips' ongoing relationship with audio brand Bowers & Wilkins, it still sounds surprisingly good for such a trim-looking TV.

Detail is particularly striking, thanks to the combination of a pleasingly expansive and nimble mid-range with plenty of power (70W) from a five-strong speaker system. This helps soundtracks sound busy and involving even at low volumes, but also contributes to an impressively large and accurately crafted sound stage when you pump up the volume.

Voices are always clean, believable and well contextualised, trebles seldom become thin or harsh until you push volumes way past comfortable levels, and there's enough bass around to give action scenes a reasonable sense of expansion and heft. 

Deep and sustained bass rumbles can cause the large woofer speaker on the TV's rear to crackle a little, but such moments are pretty rare and, in general, the 55OLED807's bass handling is superior to that of most of similarly priced rivals. 

Alternatives to consider


This mid-range LG OLED model also uses a mid-bright 'Evo' panel, and takes on all comers with its gaming abilities thanks to its collection of four full HDMI 2.1 and peerless gaming-related features. It doesn't sound as powerful as the Philips 55OLED807, though, and while its pictures are beautifully refined, the Philips set delivers a little more raw impact.

Samsung QE55QN90B

This Samsung model uses mini LED technology to deliver class-leading black levels by LCD TV standards alongside seriously punchy peak light outputs more than twice as bright as those of the 55OLED807. The brightness sometimes takes a substantial and so noticeable hit, though, as the screen tries to limit backlight clouding around stand-out bright objects.

Source :

No comments:

Post a Comment