In recent years, Philips has achieved great success in the low-cost TV segment. The new PUS8108 series incorporates everything that the brand considers most attractive for its TV lines. It’s a combination of price, features and performance. The new model is equipped with three-sided Philips Ambilight.
The dual-core processor is a stripped-down version of Philips’ P5 image processor. PUS 8108 runs the new Linux-like operating system Philips Smart TV. It supports all types of HDR content, including Dolby Vision and HDR10+. The build quality is impressive. In our review of the Philips 55PUS8108 / 60 4K HDR as a representative of the series, we will describe the main features of the new product.
Philips PUS8108 review
The Philips 55PUS8108 TV looks great for such an affordable series. Its crisp silver body both looks and feels more premium than most similarly priced competitors with decidedly plastic finishes. And the fact that the TV’s V-shaped legs can be mounted in two positions means you don’t need particularly wide furniture to accommodate it. (This option may vary by region.)
But what’s most eye-catching about the 55PUS8108 is its Ambilight. Like the Philips 8808, the backlight LEDs are located along the back of its top, left and right edges. They cast highlights around the entire perimeter and can be adjusted to either a single color (to create ambiance) or to track the color content of the image you are viewing.
If you choose the latter option, the accuracy and placement of Ambilight colors will truly be astounding. The light frame seems to expand the viewing space outside the screen for additional immersion. My personal preference is to have the Ambilight set to a moderate brightness level and a relatively fast “response time” (the speed at which the backlight responds to changes in color on the screen).
This TV’s Ambilight also comes with a new design feature called Aurora. It allows you to play a wide selection of free videos on your screen in a low-power mode, so that your TV screen doesn’t remain a black rectangle in the room when you’re not watching any TV shows. By the way, the height of the legs allows you to easily place the soundbar in front of the screen.
Like the Philips 7608, the remote control has a slightly old-fashioned style in the sense that it is a multi-button option designed to fully control the TV without voice commands. Voice control is, of course, present. There’s also a switchable far-field microphone for hands-free interaction with your TV.
The Philips PUS8108 TV is built on a VA panel and has direct LED backlighting (where the light sources are located behind the screen rather than along its edges). There’s no local dimming, but for the money the VA/direct backlight combination is a promising start.
However, please note that some PUS8108 models use IPS panels . These panels typically offer much better viewing angles but significantly worse contrast, so this review of the PUS8108 should not be taken as an indication of how some other screens will perform.
An important advantage of the 55PUS8108 is its support for all major HDR formats: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision and HDR10+. Many TVs support two or three of these formats, but it’s still relatively rare to find a brand doing us all a favor by supporting all four types.
Image processing in the Philips PUS8108 series is provided by a stripped-down dual-core version of the Philips P5 processor – Pixel Precise Ultra HD. It works on the principle that there are five key elements of television picture quality (contrast, color, motion, sharpness and source identification). Each of these can be individually improved using specific processing settings.
With the use of ready-made image styles, the picture sometimes looks a little unnatural. Blacks appear darker, blacker and less gray than you’d expect at this price point. But the downside is that a lot of fine detail ends up being crowded out of the image. This makes dark areas look hollow, empty and oppressive. It’s especially surprising if you’re watching a Dolby Vision source.
Even the Dolby Vision Vivid style can’t solve this problem. This is despite the fact that movie lovers usually prefer to use the Dolby Vision Dark mode as it gives the most accurate image. But on the Philips PUS8108 TV it looks so dark that sometimes it becomes difficult to see what is happening on the screen.
The colors of PUS8108 are also unique. Some tones, especially greens, can look overly bright in Natural or Vivid styles. But if you switch to the softer Cinema mode, the entire image will look quite washed out and yellow-biased. It might be interesting to see if a Film Director mode could improve things, but it’s not available on this TV at its price. Luckily, the extensive adjustment menu has options that can help with color alignment.
However, even after you adjust the settings to get around the worst aspects of the picture styles, the 55PUS8108’s picture doesn’t feel natural or balanced enough to classify the quality as above average. This is definitely not the standard we usually associate with a Philips TV.
The Philips PUS 8108 TV supports Dolby Vision games up to 60 Hz. In addition, you can optimize HDR gaming performance with the HGiG system. In Monitor style, your set-top box’s settings allow it to control the HDR signal output to the TV, rather than the TV itself attempting to correct it using its own tone mapping functions. Note that two HDMI ports support important gaming functions – VRR and ALLM switching.
The interface of the simplified Philips Smart TV operating platform looks traditional for modern smart TVs. The main screen has several tabs that provide access to applications, free content (including TV channels) and the search function.
The PUS 8108 TV has a built-in voice assistant Alexa. You can use other options. What is especially valuable is that the TV has built-in switchable microphones, so you can give commands without using the remote control. While speaking, the TV lowers the volume in order to clearly perceive the command. The interface is generally responsive, but some applications take a while to load. The dual-core processor works with only 2 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal memory. It is clear that this is not a computing monster.
The Philips PUS 8108 series supports Dolby Atmos playback and boasts two 10W full-range speakers with Dolby Bass enhancement. However, the sound quality lags significantly behind the heights achieved by OLED TVs, such as the Philips OLED808 , which is equipped with a separate woofer.
The sound isn’t loud enough or projected well enough to provide a truly enjoyable movie viewing experience. In action films, heavy bass effects, especially if sustained for more than a second or so, tend to cause the speakers to produce distracting rustling and crackling noises. On the plus side, the dialogue is clear and seems to come from the actors on screen rather than somewhere below it.
The list of ports on the Philips 8108 TV includes three HDMI ports with HDCP 2.3, one with eARC support . Next we list 2 USB ports, a digital optical audio output, a common CI+ interface, an Ethernet-LAN RJ-45 port, a mini headphone jack and two antenna jacks. There is WiFi5 and Bluetooth 5.0. All ports face sideways or downwards.
PUS8108 is not exactly what you would expect from Philips. The out-of-the-box picture needs improvement by adjusting some picture settings, but it won’t be entirely free of flaws to live up to the standards we typically associate with Philips TVs.
The sound is also not top quality. But it’s hard not to agree that behind some of these negative aspects is the aggressively low price of this series. So, as an additional TV, this model can fully count on consumer demand.