Philips 2018 P Engine 4K HDR & OLED TV Releases Compared
Stephan Jukic – March 15, 2018
Philips isn’t a huge seller on the U.S market, having been pushed aside in favor of rival brands LG, Samsung, Sony, Vizio, and a couple of others, but where they are available, it’s TVs not only sell well, they also offer some excellent display performance and other features. The 2018 4K HDR lineup is no exception to this and the new OLED models in particular both promised and offered some exceptional features and superb picture quality.
All of the following TV models offer full 4K ultra HD resolution, and support for HDR10 at the very least. The premium televisions among them also include compatibility with visual content that has been mastered in the new and even more refined HDR10+ high dynamic range picture standard.
Philips has also added in a new picture engine for its 2018 lineup, which promises better than ever picture rendering, upscaling, handling of high dynamic range and contrast control.
All of the brand’s 2018 4K HDR TVs integrate Android M as their operating system and they all come with the largely decorative but still sort of cool technology of Amblight.
So, without further ado, here’s a breakdown of this year’s models.
Philips OLED 973
Screen sizes: 65 inches
Here we have Philips 2018 top dog 4K HDR television. The 973 is the company’s flagship for this years and it comes with all the works. An exquisite OLED display panel and full P5 picture processing engine specs. The 973 also comes with the best HDR settings possible, fantastic high dynamic range color performance and that pixel-precise OLED local dimming that any fan of LG’s OLED TVs would be so familiar with. This TVs six front-firing speakers put out a remarkably powerful load of audio that essentially delivers the sound strength of a separate sound bar right inside the TV. On this front, the Philips 973 delivers some of the best native audio we’ve heard of from a 4K TV by any brand today.
Peak brightness in the Philips is also downright superb, being comparable to some of the best we’ve seen from LG’s 2018 4K OLED TVs and better than almost anything in the 2017 OLEDs we’ve reviewed here. Philips has quoted it as reaching up to 900 nits. For OLED display, that’s fantastic indeed.
Philips OLED 873
Screen sizes: 65 inches
Sporting nearly identical picture performance to that of the Philips 973 (this is common among OLED TVs, their display panels vary remarkably little in a given year’s models), the 873 is the second-level premium 4K HDR TV from Philips. Both televisions offer the same display panel with the same HDR support, color levels, fantastic 900 nit brightness and OLED-perfect contrast. The 873 however lacks some of the massive native sound power offered by its bigger brother the 973.
This TV also comes with support for HDR10+ high dynamic range technology.
Philips OLED 803
Screen sizes: 55 and 65 inches
Philips most affordable OLED TV is a fantastic bargain indeed. It comes with the exact same picture performance, extremely high peak brightness and superb color, contrast and HDR specs as its cousins the 973 and 873 (like we said, OLED TVs have remarkably invariable picture performance specs despite their differing prices). Unlike the 973 and 873 however, the 803 delivers Triple Ring rear-firing speakers. This means that its audio hardware stays out of sight, though overall sound performance isn’t quite as good as what you’d get from the two pricier 2018 Philips OLED cousins.
The 803 also comes with the Android M OS with a boatload of apps for streaming media built into it and it will be fully functional with Google Assistant when it also emerges later in the year.
Screen sizes: 49in, 55in, 65in, 75in (75 inches only for 8303)
Moving down on price and performance just a notch, we have Philips priciest and best performing LCD/LED 4K HDR TV for 2018. The 8503 and 8303 TVs are nearly identical on design and specs, and for LCD TVs they deliver some great picture performance all around. For starters, their color performance is fantastic. These are televisions with full HDR10+ support but more importantly they also happen to essentially be quantum dot televisions. This is why they’re called Nano LED TVs, since this is Philip´s name for its version of quantum nano particle technology similar to that which Samsung’s QLED TVs have. In practical picture quality terms, the presence of the nano crystals in these TVs creates the same benefits that Samsung QLED generates: incredibly high DCI-P3 HDR color rendering, better-than-average viewing angles and much more natural looking colors in most content. On the other hand, both TVs only offer edge-lit backlight array technology, though they do manage some exquisitely high 1000 nit+ peak brightness with it.
The 8503 and 8303 only differ in that their DTS Premium sound technology is differently placed, with the 8503 having its speaker strip along the front and the 8303 having speakers that are rear-firing.
Screen sizes: 49, 55, 65 and 75 inches
The Philips 7803 is one of the most diversely sized of the brand’s 2018 4K HDR LCD TVs and though it lacks the sophisticated quality of NanoLED quantum dot technology for enhanced color and viewing angles, the TV model does still support HDR10 (no HDR10+ support for this model) and 10-bit color along with wide color gamut. The 7803 offers rather modest peak brightness at a little over 400 nits but it’s still a solid HDR content and regular 4K TV display performer. There is also local dimming technology along with the same powerful P5 engine that was found in the premium television models above. In other words, from the 7803 you won’t get stunning performance by premium TV standards but you will get a rock solid and very good all-around 4K HDR TV home entertainment option at a good price.
Screen sizes: 43, 50, 55 and 65 inches
The 7303 is Philips lowest-level 4K HDR TV for 2018 with the powerful 95 engine included into its hardware. It also delivers support for HDR10 and includes wide color gamut/10-bit color technology for rendering of HDR color mastering in all the high dynamic range content you could possibly stream or play back on the TV via UHD Blu-ray disc.
The backlighting of the 7303 is direct-lit, making this model a bit thicker than its two LCD TV cousins above. Peak brightness in the 7303 is also on the weaker side since it tops off at just under 400 nits. The 7303 comes with the same Android M smart platform as all of its cousins above.