Tech

Hard to resist – the Hisense 55″ Series 7 4K Ultra HD LED LCD Smart TV

File this one under “Really annoyed to have to box this up and send it back” – the 2016 Hisense 55 inch Ultra HD 4K TV has sat in my test studio for a little while now, and I’m struggling to fault it.

Nope, it’s not OLED – so it’s not “the best” picture quality I’ve ever seen.

Nope, it’s not curved, but like many I think that’s a passing fad and I wouldn’t buy a curved TV even if I could afford it.

What it is, is ULED – “ULED” is Hisense’s own branding for its LED TV technology.

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What Technology?

Well, this is where things get interesting.  Yep, LED is LED – all the TV companies make them.  But Hisense have been hammering its own backlighting technology they think produces a great result.

And they’re spot on.

Backlighting?

Well, is the battleground when it comes to a good picture.  You see, LG’s OLED is the ultimate.  Each of the 8.3 million pixels can be lit individually.

This means if the entire screen is “off” with just a white square in the middle, the pixels showing that white square are ON, the pixels around them, above, below and beside are off.  It produces the ultimate black colour on-screen.

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When I first saw, and then reviewed the Samsung SUHD TV just this month, I noticed a grey colour down the centre of the screen in this circumstance.

Covered by patents and without seeing how it’s done – Hisense have taken a different approach.  They say they have multiple “zones” on the screen.  So a whole vertical area of the screen doesn’t need to be lit to show the picture on-screen.

Now, I tried to understand this, replicate this, and dig into it, but what I can tell you is that the black picture result on this TV is second to the OLED.  A distant second to be clear, but a clear second.

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That’s right, in my view, the Hisense 2016 ULED TV is the second best picture quality on the market today.

HDR

Yep, being a flagship 2016 TV the Hisense is HDR ready.  I connected both the Xbox One S and Samsung 4K Blu Ray player to test it out, and it’s noticeably better than those TVs without.  HDMI ports 3 and 4 are both 4K input ready.

As I’ve said before, more than once, HDR is great, and it’s the new standard – but unless you’re putting two TVs side by side in your lounge you wont feel like you’re missing out.  But perhaps a better way to see it is once you’ve gone HDR you can’t go back?

See update note at the bottom re HDR via HDMI

Design

The edge around this screen is narrow, but a nice brushed metal – it’s not the slimmest edge, but it’s nothing to complain about.  The entire screen is about 1cm thin, and the stand it sits on is elegant and was easy to install.

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It’s a clean design that doesn’t scream “cheap” nor does it seem like a poor quality TV at a glance.  It looks great!  Nope, it’s not as refined as Samsung or LG’s offerings – but it’s not like your wife is going to tell you it’s ugly!

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Operating System

The Hisense 2016 range uses an Opera based Operating System.  Yep, there are apps, there is an App store, and that’s great, but in reality it’s not its key feature.

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I found the operating system excellent with input switching and also sensational for browsing network shares and viewing network files both photos and videos.

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Easy to use, does what you need.  Plus, the Remote has a dedicated Netflix button for those keen on ” Netflix and Chill”;)

Price

This is where it gets ridiculous.  The 55 inch model I’m watching is under $1500.  $1498 or $1495 depending on your retailer. Now go and find me a better TV for $1500.  Frankly, find me a better one under $2500 and I’ll be amazed.

Oh, and once you’re talking $2500 you’re talking 65 inch in this Hisense ULED series.

If money’s no object, yep the Samsung and LG offerings might tick over the edge in terms of design.  But for outright picture quality and viewing, Hisense is no second tier slouch, this TV would go head to head with the big names every day of the week – Hisense is a big name, don’t overlook them.

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So, the question really is, if you buy the Hisense 2016 ULED TV – what will you do with the leftover money?

Top marks Hisense, this is one outstanding TV.

 

I’ve had some great feedback, and comments re HDR via HDMI inputs.  Some clarification from Hisense:

  1. All M7000 ULED TV models have HDR and are HDR enabled
  2. Since the release of our M7000 Series HDR models this year, other brands have since released new HDR peripheral devices (players, game consoles). We have discovered compatibility issues via HDMI with some of these other branded models and are immediately working on a solution. The issue is if connected via HDMI these devices display a message advising the TV is not HDR enabled, this is the compatibility issue where the device does not recognise the TV’s HDR settings via HDMI.
  3. If you ignore this message you can continue to view your content without issues and enjoy incredible picture quality.
  4. We are urgently working on resolving this HDMI compatibility specific issue and estimate a software upgrade will be ready over the next 30days.

I was lucky enough to try it with the beta upgrade, and thought the result was great.

 

[schema type=”review” rev_name=”Hisense 55″ Series 7 4K Ultra HD LED LCD Smart TV” rev_body=”This thing bats way above its average, it’s on par or better than many other TVs for picture quality, has a good operating system, great design – and a stunning price” author=”Trevor Long” pubdate=”2016-08-22″ user_review=”5″ min_review=”0″ max_review=”5″ ]

 

 

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