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Lifewire / Gannon Burgett
Built like a tank
Nice I/O selection
Solid image quality
The SunBriteTV 55-inch Veranda Outdoor TV is a nice option for full-shade environments, such as a covered patio, a shed, or a three-seasons room. However, there are comparable models from other companies that stack up competitively to the 55-inch Veranda and even outperform it in some departments.
Whether you’re poolside in the scorching sun or bundled up in your snow gear hanging out in the snowmobile lounge with friends, there are some environments where a standard TV just won’t cut it. Sure, there are boxes you can house a standard TV in, but the reality is the elements will take a toll sooner rather than later. For times like these, you’re going to need a dedicated outdoor TV.
For this review, I put SunBrite’s 55-inch Veranda 4K TV to the test to see how well it would hold up to in the chilliest of environments. Over the course of 30 hours of on-and-off use throughout the month of January, I took notes of the TV’s strengths and weaknesses and have summarized my thoughts below.
From a distance, the SunBrite 55-inch Veranda outdoor TV doesn’t look much different than your average LED television. Aside from being slightly bulkier due to its protective shell, the TV, from the front and side, looks nearly identical to any TV you’d see inside.
Where things start to differ is when you look at the back of the TV and look closer at the various nooks and crannies of the TV. Instead of your usual I/O array on the back, the SunBrite Veranda’s ports are secured behind a sealed and locking cover that keeps moisture and other debris away from the sensitive HDMI, audio, and USB ports.
The other difference you’ll notice is the extra thick case that covers the frame of the television underneath. In addition to the robust metal housing, the front of the television also features a protective cover over the screen, secured with sealant for extra protection against moisture.
As you would expect, this frame does add notable bulk to the TV, but at 47 pounds, it still doesn’t weigh much more than TVs from just a few years back.
Ultimately, testing the durability of the SunBrite 55 Veranda is something only time will be able to prove. However, after more than a month of near-daily use (and abuse), I’ve struggled to find anything this TV can’t handle, even in the chilling winters of northern Michigan.
Yes, the Veranda is meant to be used in full shade, where it will likely be somewhat protected, but I still took the time to throw snow, water, mud, and even salty snow at it to see how it held up. No matter what was stuck to it, it all came off with a quick rinse of the hose. The only thing I did notice is that the protective screen on the front of the TV is prone to scratching. In my attempt to smear some dirt on the screen, I managed to rub a rock against the front cover and in doing so gave the TV a nice little scratch on the front.
That said, the abuse I put it through is anything but normal and so long as you aren’t literally grinding dirt into the screen or throwing rocks at it, I can’t see how this thing won’t hold up for years to come, be it rain or shine.
Setting up the SunBrite 55-inch Veranda isn’t much different than setting up your average TV, with only two notable exceptions. First, it doesn’t come with a stand of any sort, meaning you’ll want to have some kind of mounting solution on hand, be it a basic wall mount or an articulating mount. SunBrite offers a few outdoor options, but there are a number of third-party options as well.
The second difference is the extra time it will take to properly set up all of the extra devices you intend to plug into the TV. The locking door on the rear of the TV takes some time to access and as I realized rather quickly, if you have more than one or two devices plugged in, trying to organize the cables inside the free space within the I/O area can be a bit difficult. There’s also the matter of figuring out where to put the (more than likely) non-waterproof devices you’re plugging in.
The good news is there are some smaller devices now that you could easily plug into the TV and house right inside the water-resistant compartment, such as a Google Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV Stick. It’s worth noting that the all-metal frame the TV is housed in, definitely impacts the wireless range of such devices.
The SunBrite Veranda is designed specifically to be used in full shade areas. This could include a three-seasons room, an outdoor area with a canopy or, as I opted for in this review, an outdoor shed that will block the sun, but is still exposed to the elements throughout the year.
Despite being made to be used in full shade environments, SunBrite has specifically tweaked the Veranda to offer brighter output than your standard TV, as well as custom picture modes to make the colors pop. The screen itself is a 16:9 4K UHD (3840x2160 pixels) HDR screen with a 60Hz refresh rate and a 178-degree viewing angle.
The farm-style shed I placed the TV in offered full shade, but did have a large door that opened up and exposed the entire indoor area to the elements outside. In this instance, that element was mainly snow, which proved to be a solid testing grounds, since it reflected plenty of light back up at the TV.
Ultimately, it’s clear the Veranda isn’t meant to be the most accurate screen for those looking to see movies at their highest quality and dynamic range, despite the TV’s HDR capabilities.
In my time testing the TV, I played countless hours of movies, TV shows, and live sporting events that ranged from bright, colorful scenes to dark, shadowy scenes. As you would expect, the bright, colorful scenes (such as sporting events and vibrant movies) looked fantastic, particularly HDR content. However, the TV did tend to muddle up the image when the movie or show playing had darker scenes, as the custom picture profiles tends to skew towards making the highlights and mid-tones pop, while the blacks and shadows get more muted.
Ultimately, it’s clear the Veranda isn’t meant to be the most accurate screen for those looking to see movies at their highest quality and dynamic range, despite the TV’s HDR capabilities. Compromises needed to be made to account for the brighter environments this TV is meant to be used in and as such, the tradeoff is accurate representation. That said, it absolutely shone for live sports and most TV shows, with football, hockey and (my personal favorite) motorsports all looking fantastic.
Much like the video, the audio from the Veranda is designed specifically to account for the more open, outdoor environments this TV is meant to be used in. The 20W speaker on board is more than loud enough for all but the loudest of venues, but detail is sacrificed for the sake of decibels. This proved more than fine for any sports cast or TV show, but the more nuanced sound design of movies certainly takes a hit.
At $2,000, the SunBrite 55-inch Veranda is much more expensive than your standard 55-inch 4K HDR TV—even ones that outperform it in the audio, visual, and software departments. However, as far as outdoor TVs are concerned, it’s one of the more reasonably-priced options available while still being able to take on the elements.
For better or worse, its $2,000 price is roughly middle-of-the-line as far as outdoor TVs go and if you have the cash to spare, I can guarantee it’ll be a worthwhile luxury purchase if you enjoy spending your time outside in the sun (or snow, in my case).
SunBriteTV knows a thing or two about creating outdoor entertainment systems, but they’re not alone. Outdoor TV company Sealoc has its own line of outdoor TVs meant for the shade and has a lot to offer with its 55-inch Sealoc Lanai LG 7-series outdoor TV.
Much like the SunBriteTV, the Sealoc offers 4K resolution and HDR playback. However, rather than using a bulky frame to protect the TV, Sealoc uses a number of technologies, including a proprietary nano-coating, to weatherproof the TV without making it bulky. This results in a much lighter, thinner TV, which can be nice for aesthetic purposes. Sealoc’s LG 7-series line also has the added benefit of using LG’s webOS smart TV operating system, which is a joy to use and is still being updated to this day.
Both TVs retail for $2000, so it ultimately comes down to personal preference, but as you can see in our review of Sealoc’s full-sun 55-inch TV, Sealoc makes an impressive piece of hardware.
A great outdoor TV for durability, but not the best image quality.
Overall, the SunBrite 55 Veranda is a fantastic outdoor TV that seems to withstand nearly anything you can throw at it (both literally and metaphorically). Sure, the price is absurd compared to a standard 4K HDR TV, but an outdoor TV takes extra work to prepare for the elements and that extra time and material comes with a cost.