- Review Price: £3499
- 65-inch OLED screen
- Native 4K resolution
- HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG support
- Philips’ P5 processing engine
- Three-sided Ambilight
Philips 65OLED903 first look: An OLED that sounds as good as it looks
Philips OLED TVs are no ordinary OLED TVs. That’s because the company doesn’t just look at the picture – they’re obsessed with extras like Ambilight and premium build quality. The company’s latest flagship TV is the Philips 65OLED903, which marks the company’s first collaboration with hi-fi gurus Bowers & Wilkins.
I got the chance to have a look (and a listen) at IFA 2018 in Berlin – here are some first impressions.
Philips 65OLED903 –Design
The Philips OLED903 is positioned as a high-end model, sitting above the OLED803 models Philips unveiled back in January. It’s reassuring to see the TV setting its stall out right away with a striking step-up design.
This combines a crisp metal finish with a tidy built-in speaker bar. This actually looks like a natural part of the design, rather than some ugly after-thought.
Even the Philips 65OLED903’s desktop feet are a cut above the norm with their build quality and gleaming finish. It’s almost a shame they’re that so narrow, because you can barely see them when you’re viewing the TV from directly in front.
As usual, there’s Ambilight. This has LEDs casting coloured light from the top and side edges, and it’s a sight to behold. Ambilight is not just about showing off and ‘making a statement’, either. Since the colours of the lights can track the content of the images being shown remarkably well, Ambilight can increase your immersion in the picture.
Philips 65OLED903 – Picture quality
The Philips 65OLED903’s picture is identical to that of the soundbar-free OLED803 beneath it. That’s no bad thing, because they’re both gorgeous.
Powered by Philips P5 processor, these pictures wow with their combination of ground-breakingly intense (by OLED standards) HDR brightness, ultra-rich colours, and incredible sharpness and detail.
It appears Philips has finalised the work-in-progress picture performance that was first shown when the OLED803 was unveiled earlier in the year. Colours look much more natural than they did before, but lose none of their punch.
Since the OLED903 and the OLED803’s picture performance is identical, you might wonder about the price difference: there is a £500 price hike over the £2,999 65OLED803. The improved design accounts for some of this, but the main reason is the speaker bar.
Philips 65OLED903 – Sound quality
The integrated speaker bar is the first fruit of Philips’ new partnership with British audio brand Bowers & Wilkins. B&W has had an influence on pretty much every element of its design. Happily, the results sound excellent – even in the far-from-ideal surroundings of the IFA show floor.
You can tell right away that the TV delivers more bass than most. This bass sounds punchy and clean, rather than baggy and detached. And the bass drivers have enough capacity to ebb and flow in line with the scale of the action, rather than just accompanying pictures with more or less constant, ill-defined rumbles.
Voices sound exceptionally clean and well rounded, and never feel overwhelmed by the rest of the soundstage. Also, they seem to come from the action on screen, rather than the speaker below.
The front firing drivers deliver the sound with plenty of impact and directness, and there’s enough power to push the sound well beyond the TV’s bodywork without it sounding forced. Finally, B&W’s tweeter expertise means that treble details avoid the thin, harsh sensation often heard with integrated TV sound systems.
My gut feeling is that the Philips 65OLED903’s integrated speaker bar is good enough to rival many £400-500 sub-free soundbars.
The only thing about this TV that doesn’t excite me is the appearance of Android TV, although Philips says it will at least be upgraded to the redesigned Android Oreo platform soon. Aside from this, and the occasional slightly overly tanned skin tone, the Philips 65OLED903 looks set to be another stellar addition to what’s already been a great year for TV tech. We expect to review this TV very shortly, and this article will be updated when the time comes.