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

Ok, I hope you're sitting down - but this is the one I'd buy.

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.

 

Hisense 55
Date Published: 08/22/2016
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
5 / 5 stars

 

 

Categories
Tech

Trevor produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He has a weekly radio show on 2UE, as well as appearances across the country and regularly provides Technology Commentary to Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
10 Comments on this post.
  • Scott
    22 August 2016 at 8:21 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Hi Trevor, how did you find it when watching sports? I’ve read some forum commentary that it fell down a bit on this front. But I suppose the price is a great leveller. Seriously considering this unit and thanks for the review.

    • Trevor Long
      23 August 2016 at 7:02 pm
      Leave a Reply

      I watched the Wallabies get flogged on the weekend on this TV:) Looked great to me! Look, a true video nark might have issues with this – or any other TV, longing for the days of plasma, but as you say – price is a real leveller.

      TL

  • IDIO
    22 August 2016 at 9:33 pm
    Leave a Reply

    But, HDR doesn’t work through HDMI. How did you test that?

    • Trevor Long
      23 August 2016 at 7:02 pm
      Leave a Reply

      See update above – I saw the unit with the Beta software – you’ll be able to get this next month.

  • Chobie
    27 August 2016 at 9:38 am
    Leave a Reply

    Hi Trevor,

    Love your reviews!

    I was eyeing this at my local JB Hi-Fi store possibly the 50 in but I was torn between this and spending a bit more for Sony 49w75d. I heard that the whole system on Hi-Sense is slow. I’ll be using it in an apartment bedroom as a second TV. 4k and HDR is not really important to me at this point.

    Cheers

  • Luke
    28 August 2016 at 12:53 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Hi Trevor….thanks for the review.

    A lack of HDR via HDMI, even with forthcoming firmware updates, may be the thing that steers me away from this TV to be honest. I’ve had too many times in the past where companies have promised stuff never to be seen. You say you’ve used the beta software in your test, so can you confirm that HDR was in use with this software? Point 3 from the response from Hisense mentions watching your content with incredible picture quality but does not mention if HDR is infact enabled.

    I’ve also read that the brightness of the display pretty much rules out this TV from meeting the stringent UHD HDR premium sticker….or whatever it’s called. Brightness is to be a minimum of 1000 nits, but I believe the Hisense is less than half this.

    I’m usually a brand name man when it comes to stuff like this, but the price of the Hisense definitely has taken my eye. But I won’t hesitate in forking over an extra $500 to ensure things like HDR actually work, or work to the same standard as other manufacturers.

  • James Diamond
    18 September 2016 at 5:40 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Well, I have the 75″ model that I purchased a couple of weeks ago. Have had no compatibility with HDR with My Xbox One S or my Nvidia Shield.

    I received the firmware update today, installed it and it has not made one bit of difference. Still no HDR.

    Thinking of taking the TV back to be honest :(

  • John
    27 November 2016 at 5:31 am
    Leave a Reply

    So how does this compare with the Hisense M5500 model? Is it vastly better?

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