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Philips unveiled its second OLED screen at its TV launch event in Madrid - the 9002.

Available only as a 55in screen, this 4K HDR OLED TV follows hot on the heels of the 55POS901F - Philips’s first OLED venture, launched just six months ago at IFA 2016 - but promises better performance and more features for, potentially, less money.

MORE: Philips announces its latest OLED 4K UHD television

Features

What sets the Philips 55POS9002 apart from the rest of the OLED brigade headed by LG, Panasonic and Sony?

Ambilight, of course. This is the second OLED screen with three-sided Ambilight, a trademark Philips technology that uses rows of LEDs behind the screen to extend the picture beyond its frame for a more immersive watching experience.

We're big fans of Ambilight, and seeing it combined with the OLED screen once more was definitely a highlight.

With multiple High Dynamic Range (HDR) options entering the fray this year, Philips has opted to include what look to be the two main variants in the 9002: HDR10 and the broadcast-friendly Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG).

HLG was left off the 901F, but Philips has told us all its smart TVs running Android OS (including 2016 sets) will get HLG support via a future software update.

There’s still no inclusion of Dolby Vision HDR, as Philips doesn’t see a need for it, but the company has said it will keep an eye on the market to see what develops.

MORE: Hybrid Log Gamma explained: the new HDR TV broadcast format

Philips is also integrating Freeview Play into the TV (finalising the deal is why we have to wait for a late summer launch for the 9002).

Philips has been lagging behind other manufacturers in this area, and the inclusion of Freeview Play will be a welcome boost to its features set.

It will not only give the TV a slick EPG, but also bring all the UK’s catch-up TV services to the 9002, including BBC iPlayer.

Other video apps such as YouTube and Amazon Prime Video will also be available, and Philips has promised Netflix 4K HDR content will play straight out of the box.

Powering the smart TV interface is Android Marshmallow. The interface may not be our favourite, but it’s neat enough and easy to get along with.

You'll see Philips’s own menu icons for settings will be added to the Android home page, too.

More after the break

Build and design

Philips has emphasised the 'lifestyle' aspect of its 2017 TVs, and the 9002 is crafted with its 'European Design' ethos in mind.

That translates to a sleek, minimal design using premium materials such as aluminium in a light, elegant manner.

The bezel surrounding the 55in screen is super-slim, and the OLED display itself is thin.

The 9002 OLED looks neat and simple rather than flashy and exciting – but the minimalist design appealing.

Thankfully, Philips has listened to criticism of the widely placed feet of its recent TVs, and has given the 55POS9002 a simple, sensible ‘cradle’ stand.

Philips claims this gives the screen a ‘floating' effect. We’re just happy to know it will fit on most TV racks at home.

While we didn’t get too good a glimpse of the back panel, we would be surprised - nay, shocked - if it didn’t come with the usual complement of multiple HDMI and USB inputs, Freeview HD tuner plus wired and wi-fi connectivity.

All HDMI inputs should adhere to the latest HDCP 2.2 standard for playing native 4K and HDR content.

The 9002 also has 16GB of storage on board for recording via USB.

MORE: HDR TV: What is it? How can you get it?

Sound

The biggest difference between the 901F and the new 9002 is the latter doesn’t come with a soundbar attached to the screen.

The 55POS9002 has built-in ‘triple ring’ speakers, with a separate woofer adding oomph to the sound.

Does that mean the 55POS9002 TV will sound worse than the 55POS901F? We didn’t get a chance to listen to the 9002’s speakers at the event, but that is, of course, a possibility - and we did praise the 901F for its better-than-usual flatscreen sound thanks to the attached soundbar.

However, Philips did suggest the lack of soundbar could mean the 9002 may cost less than the £2800 901F. With Sony's A1 OLED screens costing upwards of £4000 (and the LG OLED65W7 an eye-watering £8000), the Philips 55POS9002 has the potential to be the most affordable OLED screen yet.

Unless Panasonic TX-55EZ952's proposed price of €2000 (or maybe €2500) comes true, that is.

MORE: Philips 55POS901F review

Picture

We said the 901F was the best a Philips TV has ever looked, but we think the 9002 could set a new benchmark.

While a hotel exhibition space is never the best environment to judge picture quality, the 9002 OLED looks promising.

The blacks are inky deep, as we’d expect, but it’s the bold and punchy colours that really catch our attention. 

Philips claims its brand new P5 picture-processing engine is key to the 9002’s boost in picture quality. The P5 chip promises a 50 per cent improvement in picture performance across sharpness, colour, contrast, motion and HDR picture over the Pixel Perfect Ultra HD chip found in the 901F.

The 9002 also benefits from a wide colour gamut that’s 99 per cent of the DCI-P3 spectrum.

And there’s more: the 55POS9002 has a claimed 750nits peak brightness – which surpasses the Ultra HD Premium standard of 540nits for an OLED panel.

So not only will the 55POS9002 be eligible for Ultra HD Premium certification, it should potentially deliver punchier brights and stronger contrasts than the 901F.

And it definitely seems like the 9002 delivers a brighter, more dynamic OLED picture.

The image looks crisp and clean too, with the colourful effects in the demo reel zooming across the screen in smooth motion.

MORE: What is OLED TV? The tech, the benefits

The 9002 and 901F screens were displayed side-by-side and, with the disclaimer that we don’t know how the screens were set up, we did notice some marked differences between the two sets.

There seems more punch and richer tones to the 9002’s colours compared with the 901F. The various intensities of blues and reds are differentiated more confidently by the 9002, leaving the 901F looking a touch washed out.

We criticised the 901F for not giving us finer insight within those deep blacks. It’s impossible to gauge that kind of subtlety in an exhibition space’s odd lighting conditions, but we are curious to see if the 55POS9002 fares better when it comes to more nuanced texture in darker scenes.

For that, you’ll have to wait for our full review once we get the 55POS9002 in our testing rooms - which will be a long wait, since the TV isn't out until summer.

First impressions

Philips has always seemed a bit of an underdog competing against the Big Four (LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony).

It faces even tougher competition this year, with so many flagship OLED screens entering the market, but its Ambilight feature and potentially more affordable price tag might work in its favour when facing rival OLED models.

If our brief time with the 55POS9002 is any indication, Philips will be bringing its best game to the OLED battle.

MORE: Philips 2017 TVs - everything you need to know

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