If you’re shopping for a TV, you should be looking at a 4K TV and this year, the 65″ models offer the perfect sweet spot between display size and price point. While you can throw thousands of dollars at the very top-end of the market, most people would be very happy with something more affordable, remembering that anything new will be a massive upgrade in size and quality on what you already have.
Hisense’s 65R7 Series 7 4K TV represents an amazing feature set for the price and is a display I’ve now spent more than a month with and will be one of the hardest products to send back. From the moment I powered this on, I could tell there’s been some serious software devlepment from the last model I reviewed. Now running Hisense’s VIDAA U 3.0 AI operating system, the TV boots faster, features Alexa support and much much more.
The level of display quality, combined with a great, customisable and responsive UI, means this TV has quickly become on of my favourites. Now it’s time to detail what’s on offer in the full review.
Slim and stylish
TVs are much like smartphones in terms of design, big slabs of glass that are hard to differentiate. One of the biggest differences between displays is the stand and naturally you have a choice of using the stand that’s supplier, which looks quite nice and is sturdy, or to wall-mount it. Personally I already have a 65″ mounted on the living room wall and love the clean look, now the rumpus needs one to match.
Hisense has decided to surround the display with a chrome bezel and while it adds a nice trim to the TVs, I think I’d prefer just a straigh black, letting you focus on the display being the star of the show. This is very much a personal preference and many won’t care either way, but if I had a choice, black would be my tip.
When it comes to the design of the remote control, it is on the larger size, but that’s got a benefit, in supporting a number of physical buttons for IPTV services. These buttons give you access not only just to YouTube, Netflix etc, but pressing them actually turns on the TV and saves you an app launch.
In reality, you may chose to leave the remote between the couch cushions as this model of Hisense TV supports the mobile app. The RemoteNOW app, available on iOS and Android will allow you to communicate and control your TV over WiFi and can really replace your remote.
How do it perform ?
In terms of Performance testing, I used the TV in both the home office, and the rumpus which provided the ability to experience the TV in both sunshine-filled daylight, as well as the pure darkness of night. In both sets of conditions, the TV looked great, with the colours being the real highlight.
The display features a wide colour gamut, with Hisense ULED TVs offering over a billion colours for a more natural viewing experience. You can certainly select from a range of picture presets, or customise yourself and while its tempting to use Vivid, if you actually want to have colours be accurately represented and close to reality, then you’ll want to find your way to more natural settings.
It is important to recognise that this doesn’t come with the premium price tag of an OLED or QLED, so we have to adjust our expectations of black levels. This performs really well, but it is beaten by my Samsung QLED from 2 years ago, a display that cost almost twice the price.
Dolby Vision HDR ensures you have a great home cinema experience by letting the software smarts optimising every second of the content, adjusting brightness, colour and contrast automatically frame by frame. When watching movies, the easiest way to explain this, is that things just look great, real and with great source material, amazing clear in 4K.
One of the biggest differentiators between TVs is the refresh rate. I’m glad to report that Hisense have got a 200Hz panel here, so that means fast moving motion scenes just look buttery smooth, without a hint of stutter. If you’re into sports and are keen to watch a Grand Final soon.. you should definitely set 200Hz are your bendmark, as those quick panning shots that follow the ball are kept in focus the entire time. It’s weird how your eyes almost expect this to be bad after watching 50-60Hz TVs for so long.
Stand out features of this display.
VIDAA U3.0 AI
When you turn on your TV, your experiecne of interfacing with the TV is going to depend on the software included on the dispaly. Hisense this year are shipping VIDAA U3.0 AI. The main UI is fairly clean, fairly fast, and offers faster boot times.
One thing that’s almost a must have for me now in TVs is the ability to sit IPTV applications on the home screen, giving them the same priority (or even more) than legacy broadcast TV which I tend to find less and less value in by the day.
I quite enjoy that the interface has a light and dark mode. While the setting is listed under accessibility, it offers yoy the choice and that’s fantastic to suit personal preference.
Works with Alexa
Having your TV be connceted to your home WiFi opens up some interesting possibilities, including connecting to other IoT devices like Amazon Alexa. You can now control your TV by using your voice. I have a number of Echo Dots around the house, as well as a couple of Sonos One’s with Alexa built-in, so turning the TV on and off was a dream. Once you’ve used a TV that way, it’s hard to go back.
There’s no shortage of options to connect to the back of this display. Hisense have included a generous 4 x HDMI Inputs, perfect for those of us who have game consoles like the Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and set top boxes like the Telstra TV2 and still leaves a spare HDMI input for your laptop.
If you’d like to leverage the PVR poption, you can add a USB drive to one of the 2 x USB Ports. These can also be levearge to show media easily, just connect the drive and press the dedicated Media button on the remote to launch straight into the content.
Not everything’s perfect
Hisense have done a great job at delivering in most areas with this TV, however one area that was a little dissapointing was text entry. While most of the VIDAA U 3.0 AI interface is a fairly slick experience, there are times where you get a few layers deep and you see the less polished areas.
You can see in this search screen, the keyboard looks like its from a very early version of Android and there’s no capacity to use voice search, or autocomplete, so typing, espcially when using case (like in the WiFi connection) feels pretty painful. This is defintiely an opportunity to improve and find the last few corners of the UI and give it the necessary polish.
While no TV OS has an amazing App Store, the Hisense one does feel a little light on, hitting all the high-profile streaming services, but there’s a real lack of games, or enthusiast apps, like GoPro for example. You can also stream from a mobile device or laptop to the TV, so that’s the real get out of jail free card for Hisense, still it’d be nice to see better 3rd party support.
My only other complaint is around the lack of a great upscaler. While we’d love to imagine that all of our content in the back half of 2019 was in 4K, the reality is very different. Much of our broadcast television needs help being stretched to 65″ and I’ve certainly seen a much better job being done by Samsung and Sony scalers.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
How much and when can you get one ?
The Hisense’s 65R7 Series 7 4K TV is available now from all our regular retailers. Hisense lists the RRP as A$2,499.00 for the 65″, but you should definitely not pay that, or actually anywhere close to that.
After some quick comparisons, it looks like the retailers all have fairly consistent pricing, with JB HiFi, The Good Guys, Harvey Norman and Bing Lee, all offering the TV for A$1,495.00.
At that price, the TV represents great value for money.
After spending plenty of time with the Hisense 65R7, I got pretty comfortable with interacting with it through the mobile app and found the remote was a nice backup, but almost not necessary. As we move to unlock our cars, transact money and now operate our TVs with our phones, it’ll be interesting to see if any brand is progressing enought to skip on including a remote at all.
The TV itself looks great on the included stand, but would equally look great mounted to your wall and as I mentioned at the start, I think the 65″ version is the best price for performance available this year. Hsense also sell a 75″ version, but once you’re at that size, you’re really asking a lot of the pixels, so I’d consider holding off until 8K displays are cheaper if you’re locked into that size.
For those who want an even more affordable option, you can get great prices on the 55″ edition, great for those with smaller appartments, or who plan on mounting this in a bedroom or home office.
The incldued speakers are decent, but there’s always room for improvement with a natural tension existing from a company that will also happily sell you a sound bar to improve your home audio experience. TV makers also appreciate that many of us have invested in surround sound audio solutions, so inclduing better speakers is simply additng to the cost.
Overall, with everything considered, Hisense have created a really solid mid-teir display that’ll serve you and your family incredibly well, should you choose to add it to your living room.