Three high-end TVs from Hisense, Panasonic and Samsung are the latest models to undergo our extensive tests. But with prices ranging from £999 to £1,800, will the quality follow cost?
Hisense’s attractive and enormous 65-inch H65U7AUK is one of the priciest TVs in its range, but still costs less than £1,000, while the similarly massive Panasonic TX-65FX750B costs almost double that despite both being top-of-the-range in their respective brand line-ups.
The Samsung QE55Q8FN is a QLED set designed to go toe to toe with OLEDs from LG, Sony and Panasonic. That means it comes with all of Samsung’s top TV technology – and a price tag to match. It may be 10 inches smaller than Panasonic’s TX-65FX750B but at £1,800, it costs the same.
With the results in from our extensive reliability survey, we also reveal how happy Which? members are with their TVs. Is Panasonic still the popular brand it was 10 years ago in the heyday of plasma screens, or is Samsung now the firm favourite?
Best Buy TVs – see which TVs have made the grade in 2018.
Samsung’s elite TVs are a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. The 55-inch QE55QFN is a TV, a smart hub and a picture gallery, but to get a Best Buy score from us it’s the first one that it needs to get right.
It’s a QLED TV, which means it still uses a backlight to create pictures, just like an LCD model. The difference is that the light hits quantum dots, which are said to create more vibrant and realistic colours. This relatively new technology is the main way Samsung differentiates its high-end QLEDs from the LCD 7 and 8 Series TVs below.
It’s not the only way, though: the Q8FN has several neat features, including ambient mode, which is where the screen mimics that wall behind it to blend in. And if you’d rather see something a bit flashier, then it can display art from the world’s top galleries when you aren’t using it to watch shows and films.
Samsung QLEDs are designed to blend in. Ambient mode is one way, and the way they handle inputs is another. The HDMI and USB ports aren’t on the TV at all, they live in a separate box attached to the TV by a barely visible wire. No more tangled mess of cables at the back of your media unit, just a neat box housed out of sight and easily accessible.
Interesting, innovative features they may be, but do they justify £1,800? Here’s our Samsung QE55Q8FN review.
What do our members think of Samsung TVs?
Samsung is the biggest TV brand in the world by some margin and it’s popular with our members, too. 56% said they chose another Samsung TV the last time they upgraded, which is the highest of all the leading brands.
The 750 range is made up of Panasonic’s most expensive LCD TVs, so they should be the best. They share many features with the OLED TX-55FZ802B and TX-55FZ952B above them, including the design, image processor and the types of HDR they support.
Panasonic says the HCX processor is Hollywood approved and since it makes the reference panel for several movie studios, Panasonic knows what it’s talking about. An image processor’s job is to make the picture look good. It’s not the only factor, but it’s got a big say in how natural the colours look, how sharp the detail is and how well the TV improves the quality of lower resolution content.
We trust our experts more than we trust what Hollywood has to say, so read our full review of the Panasonic TX-65FX750B to see if it’s up to our high standards as well as Hollywood’s.
What do our members think of Panasonic TVs?
When plasma TVs were must haves, Panasonic ruled the roost. Along with Sony, it was the biggest TV brand going, while LG and Samsung were relative newcomers. Roles have reversed in recent years and now LG and Samsung are out in front and the popularity of its rivals reflects in how likely a Panasonic owner is to stick with Panasonic when buying new TV. Only 30% of the people we surveyed bought another Panasonic when they last upgraded their TV.
The U7AUK occupies the same sort of position in Hisense’s brand line-up as the two TVs above do in their brands’ ranges. But it costs almost half the price – and it doesn’t look cheap. Hisense’s TVs can certainly hold their own next to any brand’s TVs on a Currys shop floor, but can it match them in terms of quality?
Our testing has found low-cost devices that challenge pricier rivals in several tech areas – smartphones and tablets to name two – but the same hasn’t always been true in TVs. Despite being a high-end Hisense, the U7AUK doesn’t support some of the more advanced HDR formats, namely HDR10+, which the Samsung QE55Q8FN and Panasonic TX-65FX750B both do. This newer format improves on the current industry standard, HDR10, as it can adjust contrast on a scene-by-scene basis. This should alleviate the problem of HDR scenes looking too bright or dark at the expense of detail.
One thing on the Hisense’s side is that there isn’t much HDR content out there. So if it gets the HD and 4K picture quality just right, and the sound quality can match it, then Hisense may have a winner in the 65-inch H65U7AUK.
Head to our full review of the Hisense H65U7AUK to see if can match the quality of more expensive TVs.
What do our members think of Hisense TVs?
Hisense is a newcomer to the UK TV market and as a result, we don’t have any customer satisfaction or reliability data for it yet. Its market share has grown steadily in recent years though, so there’s clearly demand for Hisense’s cheap, good-looking TVs.