Philips is a bit of a mystery, especially when it comes to televisions. It operates on its own timetable, releasing the first of its annual models after most brands have a full range in stores; it has a unique approach to picture settings and presets, and its TVs have LEDs on the back that project the on-screen action onto the wall around the set in the form of colored light.
It may be enigmatic, but it is a strategy that has yielded rewards in the past, most notably in 2020 when a Philips OLED TV won two What Hi-Fi? Awards in two distinct sizes. The OLED806, reviewed here in 65-inch form, is the replacement for that Award-winning TV, and it builds on its achievement in stunning fashion.
Philips 65OLED806 OLED TV Specs
- Screen type OLED
- Resolution 4K
- Operating system Android TV 10
- HDR formats HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, HLG
- HDMI x4 (HDMI 2.1 x2)
- 4K@120Hz Yes
- VRR Yes
- ALLM Yes
- ARC/eARC eARC
- Optical out Yes
Philips 65OLED806 OLED TV: Price
The Philips 65OLED806 was originally priced at £2299, but it has since been reduced to £1999. The Sony XR-65A80J (£2199), LG OLED65C1 (£1899), Panasonic TX-65JZ1000 (£2199), and Samsung QE65QN95A (£2099) are its main competitors.
If 65 inches isn’t large enough for you, the OLED806 is also available in 48-inch, 55-inch, and 77-inch sizes. We can’t speak for those versions without actually testing them, although OLED TVs tend to scale up and down nicely.
Philips 65OLED806 OLED TV: Design
Surprisingly, the design of the OLED806 is very similar to that of the previous OLED805. When viewed from the side, it has the same pitch-black screen surrounded by very thin black bezels and an even narrower silver accent. The only flaw on an otherwise perfect rectangle – assuming wall-mounting – is a small IR receiver device that interrupts the bottom edge on the right-hand side. If you aren’t, you’ll be using the two petite feet, which are cleverly half-bright silver and half dark silver, allowing you to pick which finish is visible by simply mounting them one way or the other.
From the side, the Philips has the standard combination of a super-slim panel part and a bulkier plastic casing housing the connections, processing gear, and speakers. Unlike non-Philips TVs, the plastic component of the OLED806 is surrounded by colored LEDs for the Ambilight system. It has four-sided Ambilight, as opposed to the OLED805’s three-sided version, with the extra LEDs affixed to a lip at the bottom of the set’s rear. The depth measurement appears to have been increased by a centimeter, with the OLED806 measuring 6.8cm. For comparison, the LG C1 is 4.7cm thick, the Sony A80J is 5.3cm thick, and the Samsung QN95A is only 2.6cm thick.
The remote control from last year is reused here, albeit with a fresh, bright silver finish and very slight changes to button placement and labeling. Overall, it’s a wonderful zapper with a fashionable appearance and pleasing buttons, although those buttons are a little close together and difficult to distinguish from one another just by touch. It is, however, illuminated, which is really beneficial when going full cinematic.
Philips 65OLED806 OLED TV: Features
One of the only drawbacks of the OLED805 was the lack of HDMI 2.1 ports, which Philips has rectified in the OLED806, which features two. These are full-fat 48Gbps HDMI connectors (many competitors use 40Gbps HDMIs, not that it makes a difference right now) that support 4K@120Hz, VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) in all of its current forms (G-Sync certification is in the works), and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), making this a very well-specified gaming TV. The very low input lag of roughly 14ms also helps, as does the HGiG mode, which results in more precise tone mapping of HDR games overall.
One thing to keep in mind is that one of the two HDMI 2.1 connections also handles eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel), so if you have two HDMI 2.1 sources (an Xbox Series X and PS5 or a high-end gaming PC), you won’t be able to transfer sound to a soundbar or AV amplifier via eARC. This is a shortcoming shared by all of the TVs we’ve tested that include two HDMI 2.1 ports, but unlike the others, Philips mitigates the problem by supporting regular ARC via the other three HDMI ports. This will not get you lossless, TrueHD Dolby Atmos, but it will bring you Atmos in the Dolby Digital+ format, and we doubt many people will notice a difference.
The set is powered by Philips’ new 5th Gen P5 chip, which has improved AI functions over its predecessor. The improvement is primarily concerned with intelligently identifying the content being played and adapting it to ambient lighting conditions. The idea is that the TV will get the most out of whatever you’re watching without requiring you to make any adjustments. In truth, we’re not fully sold on these specific components, but the chip obviously performs admirably in other areas, as you’ll see below. It’s also in charge of Philips’ distinctive anti-burn-in technology, which dims static picture features like logos without affecting the rest of the image, and it introduces a new Fast Motion Clarity feature, which is effectively Philips’ take on black frame insertion.
The OLED806 supports HDR10, HLG, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision, giving it a near-complete picture of HDR support. HDR10+ Adaptive is also supported, allowing the TV to automatically adjust HDR10+ content to ambient lighting conditions. While Dolby Vision IQ isn’t officially supported, Philips claims that the combination of normal Dolby Vision and its AI-powered light sensor achieves the same results.
Philips has decided to continue with the Android TV 10 platform for its 2021 TVs rather than the newer Google TV operating system, although many of the latter’s better features have now been brought to the former, so having the older OS isn’t a big deal. It’s also well-equipped for apps. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, and Disney+ are all present in full 4K, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos glory (Amazon also features HDR10+ content); Google Play Movies & TV (soon to be simply ‘Google TV’) has 4K Dolby Vision content, while Rakuten is in 4K HDR10; the Freeview Play platform includes BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, and My5; and the integrated BT Sport app The only notable missing is Now, which will not be a deal-breaker for many.
Philips 65OLED806 OLED TV: Picture
Dolby Vision material, by default, activates the HDR Personal preset, which is against Dolby Vision’s objective. It’s an odd approach – some might say arrogant – but it’s easily remedied by manually switching to a more fitting default.
However, Dolby Vision Bright, which is the greatest preset for Dolby Vision material while viewed in ambient light, is more than just a brighter version of the most accurate Dolby Vision Dark preset; it also changes a number of other settings. If you watch Dolby Vision content in a well-lit room, or simply prefer a punchier Dolby Vision delivery (as we do), you’ll need to reduce or turn off these settings to avoid an overly sharpened image – reduce sharpness to 3 at most, turn off Ultra Resolution and noise reduction, and change Motion Styles to Movie or Pure Cinema.
If you make those changes and watch Our Planet on Netflix, you’re in for a treat. As David Attenborough sets the stage, we see the moon resolved in remarkable clarity, with its lumps, bumps, and craters delineated in tactile three-dimensionality. The sun’s light gleams off the rugged surface, creating a stunning contrast with the pitch-black space beyond, where literally millions of stars twinkle brightly, many of which are lost to the dark when watching on a competing TV. Despite the immense distance, it is able to make out distinct continents when the Earth comes into view, and there is exquisite shading to the bright white cloud formations and vibrant blue oceans. It’s a beautiful image that showcases the OLED806’s best qualities: clarity, detail, punch, excellent blacks, and brilliant colors.
Of course, this is a CGI intro to the series, but the Philips is equally stunning with ‘real’ information. A sequence in which a raft of penguins (who knew a group of swimming penguins was referred to as a raft?) dives beneath the frigid ocean’s surface is shown with outstanding clarity and detail. Every one of the pudgy birds stands out from the surrounding water thanks to a perfect combination of crisp definition, elegant shading that distinguishes the black-grey coloring on their backs from the deep blue-grey of the sea, and a pure, punchy way with whites that highlights their tummies and necks. Meanwhile, the bubbles sparkle almost as brightly as the stars in the episode’s opening.
As a camera glides over Antarctica’s snowy surface, it’s clear that the OLED806 can’t match the brightness peaks of a flagship LCD TV like the Samsung QN95A, but it’s a dazzling image by OLED standards, and the detail contained within its highlights combines with stunning contrast and that supreme sharpness to make the icy mountains pop off the screen. In a nutshell, it’s magnificent, made even more so by the lovely Ambilight.
When viewing Interstellar in HDR10, the Philips is just as amazing, but we find ourselves making more visual changes than should be necessary. Finally, we use the HDR Home Cinema setting but reduce Sharpness, disable Ultra Resolution and Color Enhancement, disable noise reduction features, set Light Boost to Maximum, HDR Perfect to Adaptive, and disable the Light Sensor. You’ll probably want to adjust the Motion Styles parameter, as the default Standard looks wonderful at times but over-processed at others. Depending on your preferences, you should go with Movie or Pure Cinema.
That is a lot more effort than is required to get the most out of most recent OLEDs, but it is an effort well worth making. Individual stalks of corn are seen in the vast field when the camera pans across the family farm at the start of Interstellar. The greens in this field have nuanced variation, as they are distinct tints from those in the next grass. Less well-organized TVs would have you believe they’re all the same color.
The space scenes are, predictably, stunning. The ship is extremely crisply portrayed and spectacularly white where the light touches it as it approaches the black hole. The black hole itself is a tantalizing, shimmering sphere in the midst of pure black space, and the distant, pin-prick stars are pristine and dazzling.
The one minor problem in the OLED806’s Interstellar delivery is that it does not suppress film grain in the same manner that some other TVs do, even when noise reduction is turned on. One might easily argue, though, that the film grain is part of the presentation, and it is not something we find repulsive.
When subjected to our standard motion-handling stress test, Blade Runner 2049, the OLED806 performs significantly better than its predecessor. In fact, it grips K’s automobile almost as well as the Sony A80J as he flies in to LA. Slower pans are also handled with care and precision, but there is no soap opera effect and little to no introduction of digital artifacts. There is only one portion in the entire, very challenging film that trips up the OLED806’s Movie motion setting, and that is a slow, birds-eye pan across LA at the opening of chapter two, which is delivered in weirdly juddery fashion. We were unable to reproduce the issue with any other content, so we’re sticking with the Movie setting for now, but you can choose Pure Cinema if you prefer – this reduces the amount of processing, resulting in occasional bits of a blur but also completely removing the unusual judder of that specific panning shot.
When switching to Django Unchained in HD and SDR, the OLED806’s settings need to be adjusted again, but it produces a fantastic image that is sharp yet subtle, vivid but controlled, and punchy but not exaggerated. The torches of the masked horsemen in the attempted ambush scene are so bright and rich that you can almost feel the warmth, and they stand out against the pitch-black night sky. Importantly, shadow detail has not been compromised in order to achieve those deep blacks, so you can see everything you’re supposed to see.
Drop all the way to the bottom of the resolution ladder with a little standard-def via the built-in tuner, and the OLED806 excels once more, especially in terms of punch and crispness. Some competitors are marginally cleaner here, but few can equal Philips’ dynamism.
Philips 65OLED806 OLED TV: Sound
The Original and Movie modes are the best for sound. Original is most suited to ordinary TV programs, which it reproduces cleanly and faithfully, albeit with a hint of sibilance at the top and a bit of boominess at the bottom.
Original, on the other hand, is a little too small to deliver on a film’s epic size, which is where the Movie comes in. When you turn it on, the presentation expands substantially, with sound extending impressively to the sides and space above the TV. The minor boominess continues, but the overall weight and heaviness of the sound are gratifying, and there’s unexpected dynamic headroom, with Blade Runner 2049’s massive, drum-driven tune at the start of chapter two continuing to develop long after many similarly priced TVs have peaked.
Switching to Movie mode reduces the directness and projection of dialogue, and the speaker system isn’t quite sharp and clear enough to keep complete control at particularly cacophonous periods, but it’s adequate for an integrated sound solution at this price point. If you can, you should still budget for a soundbar or home cinema system.
- Exceptionally sharp and punchy
- Full HDMI 2.1 feature set
- Supports all HDR formats
- Some odd default settings
The Philips 65OLED806 is an incredibly fantastic TV that outperforms its award-winning predecessor while also including next-generation HDMI features that would have turned off dedicated gamers last year.
It makes you work harder than you should to get the most out of it, but the effort is well worth it. At this price, there is no finer TV available.