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(Pocket-lint) - When Olivia Newton-John sang "You're the one that I want" she might've had this Philips mid-ranger in mind (just play along with our time-travel quips, eh?). Designed to tick the maximum number of boxes, the PUS8506 is an LED 4K flatscreen loaded with features.

For those looking to simplify their next TV upgrade, Philips wants you to think of this option as 'The One'. And it largely lives up to such marketing promise. The 8506 puts in a great daytime viewing performance, nods appreciably to all key high dynamic range (HDR) flavours, and comes with Philips' signature Ambilight lounge lighting system. It also puts in a decent showing for console owners.

The 8506 is available in a wide range of screen sizes too: 43-, 50-, 58-, 65-, 70- and 75-inches. On our test bench is the 58-incher, so just how well does it stand up to daily viewing?

Our quick take

It's mission accomplished for the Philips PUS8506. This well-specified mid-range LED TV delivers a crowd-pleasing mix of smart technology, image quality and general usability. 

If you're after a big telly for movies, it scrapes a pass. Black detail is recognisable in low light and high dynamic range (HDR) punches through. On board audio is average, though, so you'll want to budget for a Dolby Atmos soundbar in addition.

For daytime and bright room viewing, it's really very good indeed. Android TV and Freeview Play cover all your streaming app needs, and always look their best thanks to Philips' powerful picture processing tools. The set has even got designer flair. Ambilight's inherent attraction as a mood setting lounge light shouldn't be under-estimated either. 

Perhaps the biggest surprise offered by the 8506 is its gaming performance. This isn't a game-centric display by any stretch, but its performance in Game mode is a winner. Olivia Newton-John should be well happy anyway.

Philips PUS8506 review: Talented mid-range LED TV gets most things right

Philips PUS8506

4.0 stars
For
  • Dynamic and colour rich picture
  • Three-side Ambilight lounge light
  • Universal HDR coverage
Against
  • No 4K 120fps HDMI support
  • Average audio

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Design 

  • Three-sided Ambilight
  • Wi-Fi & Bluetooth
  • 4x HDMI, 2x USB
  • 1x optical out

Rather than go basic black, Philips has lightened the mood with a silver-grey frame and central metallic stand in the 8506, and the results are quite swish. The silver trim is a little plasticky to be fair, but that central foot - which is a two-part construction - is substantial. 

The set is direct lit, its rear being edged with Ambilight LED bulbs from three sides to help expand the picture beyond the frame. 

Pocket-lintPhilips PUS8506 review photo 8

Connectivity is headed up by four HDMI inputs, of which port number two is certified eARC (the three remaining are all ARC enabled) for intelligent audio handover. There's also an optical digital audio out, two USB ports, and Ethernet for wired connectivity, joining Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

The panel itself is 60Hz, so there's no opportunity for 4K 120fps playback - which some gamers may lament.

Features  

  • Android TV OS
  • DTS Play-Fi enabled
  • Google, Alexa and Siri support

Smart connectivity comes via the standard Android TV platform, with catch-up TV services delivered via Freeview Play (in the UK). This combo ensures a solid combination of premium streaming apps - including Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV, Rakuten TV, Disney+, and Pluto TV - and everyday programme players, including BBC iPlayer, ITVHub, All4, My5 and UKTVPlay. The included remote control hosts dedicated buttons for many of those services.

Pocket-lintPhilips PUS8506 review photo 11

Android has a rock solid interface, with copious programme recommendations and personalised curation, all accessed via dedicated rails. We've been critical of it in the past, but the system has developed well over time. 
In addition to Google Assistant voice control, the set also works with Alexa. Or you can use Chromecast to cast straight from your smartphone.
 
While the screen lacks High Frame Rate (HFR) support - which is unsurprising given its price point - game latency is impressive. With Game Mode engaged, we measured input lag at just 10.9ms (1080/60). That's enough for unimpaired first person shooting.

Performance

  • P5 Picture Processing Engine
  • Dolby Vision and HDR10+

  • Dolby Atmos audio

The PUS8506 utilises Philips P5 Perfect Picture engine, here in a pre-AI updated guise, and does a fine job with 4K and HD sources. The average picture level is bright enough for comfortable daytime viewing, and contrasty enough for low-light movie nights.

PhilipsPhilips PUS8506 review photo 6

Picture presets comprise Personal, Vivid, Natural, Standard, Movie, Game, ISF Day/Night and Expert. 

Natural trumps Standard, offering a lift in picture brightness and colour. We noted some black detail crushing, but it's a great daytime setting. Vivid is a predictable smack in the chops, and while we rather like its impact, the oversaturated hues can give live action a slightly cartoonish look.

Venture beyond these presets and you'll find plenty of tweakable options, including Picture Clean, which allows you to tailor noise reduction; HDR upscaling for standard definition sources (recommended), and a light sensor, which here is used largely to reduce power consumption during dark lighting conditions.

PhilipsPhilips PUS8506 review photo 3

The screen puts in a creditable high dynamic range performance, with support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+, as well as HDR10 and HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma). 
Of the unrelated various HDR settings (Vivid, Personal, Natural, Movie and Game), HDR Vivid is the most satisfying in our book.

We measured peak brightness at around 420 nits, which isn't especially searing considering the best sets out there hit four-figure results. However, black level performance is convincing for an LED screen, suitably dark when viewed in a room with high ambient light, and not punishingly grey when watched in full darkness. 


The set's audio performance is functional enough, too, its stereo sound system fine for casual viewing. The TV recognises Dolby Atmos, and while it can't do too much natively with the sound format, you can bitstream Atmos out over ARC to a waiting soundbar or AV receiver. 

PhilipsPhilips PUS8506 review photo 2

Interestingly, the set is also compatible with the DTS Play-Fi multiroom audio standard. So it can be grouped with any other speaker that's compatible with the platform.

To recap

Dubbed 'The One' by Philips, the 8506 combines a consistent level of performance with Ambilight and a bullet-proof Android smart platform. Not only great for daytime bright room viewing, it's a decent option for console owners too.

Writing by Steve May.