How to buy the best TV
How to buy the best Hisense TV
By Martin Pratt
Article 6 of 7
Hisense is the number one TV brand in China ahead of LG and Samsung and it's making a splash here, too, with attractive, affordable TVs that don't look out of place next to stunners from Sony and Panasonic. Here we look at what's new this year from this newer brand
Hisense's UK range is smaller than most, but there's still plenty of choice, from the super-cheap 4K A6250UK range all the way to the more expensive (but still cheaper than rival sets) U7A TVs.
It's price that really helps Hisense TVs stand out. Its cheapest 4K TV, the H43A6250UK, is currently available for just £329, while the cheapest 4K set from Samsung, the UE43NU7020, will cost you almost £100 more.
Unlike LG, Sony and Panasonic, Hisense doesn't make OLED TVs. It instead classifies its TVs as ULED. Where OLED is a specific type of display, ULED is actually a number of different technologies designed to improve picture quality.
Below we cover exactly what technology you'll see in Hisense TVs and how they differ from more established brands. We'll update this page once we know more about Hisense's 2019 TVs.
Hisense TV technology explained
They don't have as much flashy tech as an LG or Samsung TV, which is one way Hisense may keep costs down, but Hisense sets still have some interesting features.
You'll have a hard time finding a TV that you can't connect to the internet in 2018 and Hisense TVs are all smart in this manner. Each manufacturer has its own interface for downloading apps and accessing smart features. Hisense's is called VIDAA U.
Hisense has designed it to be as easy to use as possible and its website claims that any content you want to find should never be more than three clicks away. It displays apps and menus in a horizontal, scrollable list and you can edit the order of the apps so that the ones you use most appear first.
The two TV display types are LCD, which is where a backlight hits liquid crystals to create the picture, and OLEDs where every bulb is individually controlled. Every other type of display, such as QLEDs from Samsung, are a variation on the two. Hisense's top-end TVs are essentially LCD sets, but it calls them ULEDs or Ultra LED (it should really stand for Umbrella LED).
ULED isn't a new type of display, but it's more than just a marketing gimmick to help its TVs stand out. It's an umbrella term for 20 different technologies that fall into four categories: Ultra Wide Colour Gamut, Ultra Local Dimming, Ultra 4K Resolution and Ultra Smooth Motion Rate.
- Ultra Wide Colour Gamut: This refers to how many colours a TV can display. The wider the gamut, the more accurate the colours should look because the TV can draw from a wider range of tones and hues.
- Ultra Local Dimming: Hisense TVs use a backlight. One of the problems that comes from having several bulbs illuminating the screen is that light can bleed from bright areas into dark ones. The more dimming zones a TV has, the less likely this is to happen and the greater contrast control a TV will have. Imagine having one big bulb dimming and brightening the screen; it would be very difficult to control the contrast on different parts of the display. Now think of 100 bulbs, each controlled individually, doing the same job. There would be 100 dimming zones rather than one. While dimming isn't necessarily tied to the number of bulbs in the backlight, it's an easy way to think of it.
- Ultra 4K Resolution: All ULED TVs are 4K, but ULED doesn't seem to have any other bearing on resolution. 4K is dictated by a specific number of pixels creating a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution. All TVs need to be able to display content at this resolution to be deemed 4K, so it doesn't appear that Hisense is doing anything different to its rivals in this area.
- Ultra Smooth Motion Rate: Motion control can make or break a TV. It could display the crispest image since TVs began, but if blur and judder creep in when the image starts moving, that sharpness counts for nothing. According to Hisense, ULED TVs insert extra frames into moving footage to make them look as smooth as possible.
Hisense 2019 TV overview
Hisense's range isn't as broad as LG or Samsung's, but this still a solid selection, including OLED and LCD models at all sizes and prices.
Price is the key thing with Hisense. Its TVs tend to be cheaper than its more established rivals and that even extends to its OLED, a premium type of display that almost always commands a high price.
Hisense O8BUK OLED
Now that Hisense has its very own OLED, Samsung is just about the only leading brand without one in its lineup. The 55-inch H55O8BUK is packed with Hisense's most advanced picture and sound technology, but still manages to undercut rival OLEDs by a few hundred pounds.
OLEDs are synonymous with quality, but with Hisense's quest for the cheapest set may lead to cut corners. We have tested OLEDs in the past that didn't live up to our Best Buy expectations, but is the O8BUK one of them? Find out in our Hisense H55O8BUK review.
Hisense U7BUK range
Hisense tweaks the technology from range to range, so the U7B should have the broadest colour range, smoothest motion and accurate contrast outside of the range-topping U8B TVs and the OLED.
As with all the 4K Hisense TVs, it supports HDR10, the current industry standard, and HLG, which was made in part by the BBC to make it easier to broadcast HDR content. Most high-end TVs from rival brands support one or more of the newer formats, such as Dolby Vision. It can adjust contrast on a scene-by-scene basis, which helps to alleviate the issue of images looking too dark or bright. The U7B range is one of the few Hisense ranges to support this advanced format.
Though priced like an entry-level set, The B7500UK series of TVs are technically mid-range. It means you still get access to Dolby Vision HDR, the advanced format that can adjust contrast to suit each scene.
There's no microphone in the remote, but if you have an Amazon Echo at home you can control some aspects of the TV. We've found this feature to be a bit hit and miss, and certainly not as useful as dedicated voice control, but it's inclusions isn't necessarily to the TV's detriment.
Hisense rarely cuts corners in terms of features, it's often quality where things fall flat. Is that true of the B7500UK range?