Onida 32HIF Fire TV Edition Smart TV Review: Performs better than it looks

Overall Rating: 3.8/5

Price: Rs 14,149

It must have been over a year (or maybe two) since we last reviewed a 32-inch TV. After being in the company of dozens of large screen TVs with Ultra HD resolution over that period, it felt a little odd to test a TV with a screen this small. But it remains probably the most popular size of smart TVs purchased in India, and hence, tested it must be. Over a year ago, we reviewed a unit from the first generation of TVs from Onida, based on Amazon’s Fire TV OS, and were quite impressed. Time to take a close look at the second-generation model, the Onida 32HIF.

Onida 32HIF Fire TV Edition Smart TV

Onida 32HIF Fire TV Edition Smart TV - Design and Connectivity: 7/10

The Onida 32HIF has a generic, almost unappealing design with thickish bezels around the 32-inch screen on three sides and an even thicker bottom bezel. The power LED and IR receiver are neatly tucked underneath. The TV is quite light and can be wall-mounted or placed on a desk using the bundled stands; the necessary screws are provided in the package. The wall mount kit was not present in the box, but I did not receive a sealed retail unit for review this time. The company does offer free installation, including the mount.

One USB port, three HDMI ports, coaxial A/V inputs and headphone out are placed on the right side of the TV, along with a LAN port. I would have liked to see another USB port, but it is good to see the company not skimping on the number of HDMI inputs. However, there seems to be no HDMI ARC support here. The side ports are fairly easy to reach, given the size of this TV.

The Onida smart TV has one USB port, three HDMI ports, coaxial A/V inputs and headphone out ports. Image: tech2/Ameya Dalvi

Onida 32HIF Fire TV Edition Smart TV - Features and specifications: 7.5/10

This Onida TV has an 8-bit IPS panel with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels with a 60 Hz refresh rate, that is common to most 32-inch TVs. The TV is powered by a quad-core processor with 1 GB RAM and 8 GB of internal storage, some of which is taken up by the Fire TV OS. The screen can get up to 300 nits bright. The TV supports WiFi standards all the way up to AC. Bluetooth connectivity is present here, but the version hasn’t been specified. Audio output is rated at 16 Watts RMS and boasts of compliance with Dolby Digital Plus and DTS TruSurround.

Onida 32HIF Fire TV Edition Smart TV comes with an option for a wall mount. Image: tech2/Ameya Dalvi

Since this is not an Android TV, it does not have Chromecast built in, but lets you mirror content from your phone or tablet using Miracast. You get an Alexa-enabled voice remote that is similar to the one you get with a Fire TV Stick, but with a few extra buttons. You get hotkeys for Netflix, Prime Video, Amazon Music and apps library. There is also a mute button, volume control, playback keys and more. The build quality seems to have improved as compared to its predecessor. A pair of AAA batteries needed to power the remote weren’t bundled with the unit I received for review but are expected to be present in the retail package.

The remote was pre-paired with the TV and I did not have to set it up. The power button on the remote communicates with the TV using IR, while the rest of the functions operate via Bluetooth. This remote is voice-enabled, and you can bring up Alexa by keeping the microphone button pressed and issue voice commands. She has definitely become smarter now.

Onida 32HIF Fire TV Edition Smart TV - OS and User Interface: 9/10

I have always been fond of the Fire TV OS user interface, and it is no different here. The UI is similar to what you get on a Fire TV Stick with a few additions such as input sources, media player and a few extra settings. You need to log in with your Amazon ID to access all the features. If you don’t have one, you will need to register and create one. You get apps for all major streaming services such as Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, Zee5, Sony LIV and also Apple TV.

Onida 32HIF Fire TV Edition Smart TV UI. Image: tech2/Ameya Dalvi

Unlike several Android TVs, Fire TV OS lets you change the sound and picture settings on the fly while viewing any content, be it through an app or an HDMI source like DTH, or even when watching something via USB. Even better, you now have a dedicated button (with the gear icon) on the remote to bring up the quick settings menu. In their previous generation of TVs, you had to keep the Home button pressed for a couple of seconds to do the same. The UI is fluid and pretty much lag-free.

Onida 32HIF Fire TV Edition Smart TV - Picture quality: 7.5/10

Before moving on to the picture quality, I had to remind myself that this is a sub-Rs 15,000 TV and set my expectations accordingly. Having said that, the picture looks quite impressive for a budget 32-inch HD-ready TV. Of course, it is not in the same league as 4K panels, but then what did I just say about expectations? The IPS panel is fairly bright and has decent contrast. Details in dark areas in high contrast scenes in our test videos were visible on this Onida TV. The black levels are not the greatest, though, and look dark grey at best, even after playing around with the picture settings.

onida 32HIF Fire TV Edition Smart TV side-view

The colour reproduction of this TV is rather good, and colours feel lively yet natural at most times. Despite having a 768p resolution display, 1080p Full HD videos look crisp on this screen and 720p videos look almost as good, unless you watch them from a bit too close. At times I did notice an odd stutter during video playback in a couple of apps; probably a software issue that can be fixed with the next update. Being a smaller screen, lower resolution videos are perfectly watchable here as compared to bigger, higher-res displays. The viewing angles are quite broad, too, with barely any colour shift even from sharp angles.

You have a handful of picture adjustment options for brightness, colour, contrast, sharpness etc. If you crave for more, you also get advanced options for adjusting white balance and noise reduction, among others. And, as I mentioned earlier, these options aren’t buried too deep and can be accessed at the press of a button from almost anywhere. Alexa, though smarter now, still isn’t smart enough to take you to the audio or video settings using a voice command. She can only take you as far as the main settings menu. But why bother, might as well press the settings button instead.

Onida 32HIF Fire TV Edition Smart TV remote has shortcuts for apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime video. Image: tech2/Ameya Dalvi

Onida 32HIF Fire TV Edition Smart TV - Audio quality: 7/10

The one major drawback of the last generation Onida Fire TV Edition model was its audio quality. Though the audio output of this TV is rated at the same 16 Watts RMS, the pair of stereo speakers here do a far better job in comparison. They are sufficiently loud around the 35 percent mark, and rarely did I have to go beyond 50 percent. Though not among the best around, there is a marked improvement in sound quality over its predecessor, and there is definitely more warmth and better balance in audio.

You also get bass and treble adjustments in sound settings to tweak the audio further. The sound output is tuned for better vocal clarity and is more than acceptable for general TV viewing like news, sports or soaps, and the odd movie, web series or a bit of music. If you need more thump, it is always advisable to connect a soundbar or a 2.1 channel speaker system for a better audio experience.

Onida 32HIF Fire TV Edition Smart TV settings. Image: tech2/Ameya Dalvi

Onida 32HIF Fire TV Edition Smart TV - Overall performance: 7.5/10

The TV takes about 45 seconds to boot up and get to the home screen when you switch the power on from the mains, which is on the slower side for smart TVs these days. But post that, if you switch it off and on from the remote control, the TV comes back on instantaneously from standby mode. No complaints there. Alexa can now search for content outside Prime Video, too. I tried searching for content on YouTube and Netflix with satisfactory results.

Video file format support through USB is decent, but still not perfect on the default player. At times it simply doesn’t show the file on the drive if that particular codec isn’t supported. The good part is you do get VLC Player for Fire TV OS. It managed to play almost every file with various codecs I threw at it smoothly, except 4K videos. They lag big time and are unplayable. But given that this is not even a Full HD screen, it does not matter. Other than that, most things work pretty well on this TV.

Onida 32HIF Fire TV Edition Smart TV - Price and verdict

The Onida 32HIF Fire TV Edition smart TV can be purchased on Amazon India for Rs 14,149 with a one-year warranty. For that price, you get a smart TV with good picture quality, decent sound output, lots of sound and picture adjustments, a voice-enabled remote and, most importantly, a solid smart TV platform in Fire TV OS that remains one of the best for media consumption and app support. It is a great alternative to Android TV OS. So, if you are on a tight budget or looking for a second TV for the house, this Onida Fire TV Edition model is certainly worth considering. You also get a 43-inch Full HD variant of the same, in case you are looking for a larger screen.

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