OLED is one of those technologies that always seems to be on the cusp of breaking into the mainstream. Every year we see more high-end OLED sets produced by the big players, and every year we’re blown away by their deep black levels and fantastic colour accuracy.
Unfortunately it still doesn’t look like OLED is about to trickle down to the mainstream anytime soon, but at least the number of manufacturers who are embracing the technology is growing, even if all of them are buying their panels from the same vendor (LG Display).
Despite the short interval between the two releases Philips has actually implemented a number of clever improvements in the 9002 that make it an interesting set to keep an eye on.
Even before you switch the set on there are a couple of key differences between the 9002 and the 901F.
Chief amongst them is the removal of the front-facing soundbar found on the 901F. Although we weren’t able to perform a side-by-side comparison between the 9002 its predecessor, we’d be surprised if this move didn’t have a negative impact upon the sound quality of the set.
However, while pricing information is yet to be revealed, a spokesperson from Philips implied that this omission could result in the set coming with a lower price tag than last year’s model.
The loss of the soundbar won’t bother those with a dedicated audio setup, but if you rely on your TV’s built-in speakers the older 901F might be the model to opt for – it will continue to be available throughout this year.
The second visual change is the set’s stand, which is now much more centrally orientated compared to the wide, splayed feet of the 901F. It's good news for anyone who doesn’t have an especially wide surface to put the TV on, and the stand's brushed metal finish looks good to boot.
Moving to the internals, and while the 9002 is using the same OLED panel as the 901F, the new model features Philips’ new P5 chipset, which the company claims offers a 50% performance boost across motion, contrast, colour and sharpness.
Although the 9002 is yet to receive the certification fully, Philips is hoping it will be UHD Premium-certified; the 901F received this stamp of approval from the UHD Alliance, and the 9002 is using the same panel, and with 750 nits of peak brightness the set easily exceeds the 540-nit peak brightness required of OLED TVs for UHD Premium certification.
Stepping away from its specs, the 9002 is a really fantastic- looking set. Blacks are just as rich and deep as we’d expect given the TV’s OLED tech, and colours are bright and vivid.
The set's handling of motion appears particularly accomplished, with the 200Hz panel working wonders to deliver nice smooth playback.
The loss of the front-facing speakers means this isn’t the best-sounding TV out there. Although it's certainly not lacking in bass, going on a brief listen it sounded a little boxy for our tastes, perhaps confirming our suspicion that the 901F is the set to opt for if sound is a priority.
One final note of caution regards input lag. The 901F caught some flack for its relatively high level of lag, which is a problem for anyone looking to use the set for fast-paced gaming.
When we enquired about this, a spokesperson from Philips suggested that far from improving the situation, the increased amount of picture processing done by the P5 chip has the potential to worsen input lag.
We weren’t able to test this for ourselves, but it’s certainly something to bear in mind for gamers.
Philips has made a number of key improvements to its second OLED set over its first one. We’re fans of the overall design of the Philips 9002, and early impressions suggest that its picture quality is seriously impressive.
Although those with the money to shell out for an OLED set will probably have a dedicated sound setup, the loss of the 901F’s soundbar is a shame for anyone hoping to rely on built-in audio, but the set’s overall design is made a great deal cleaner as a result.
We’re looking forward to getting our hands on the 9002 for a full review.