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Hisense U8H: One Minute Review
Hisense is battling with TCL, Vizio, and other budget TV makers to grab the attention of cost-conscious shoppers, and with its new U8H series, the company has managed to step up its game to fully compete with those brands.
The main claim to the U8H series is its mini-LED backlight, a feature first implemented in LCD TVs by rival TCL that was quickly adopted by Samsung, LG and Sony in their own TVs. One of the main advantages of mini-LEDs is their high brightness, which the U8H series easily delivers.
But the high brightness is not the only thing that impresses about the U8H. It uses a Quantum Dot filter to enhance color, and the 504 local dimming zones on the 65-inch model deliver deep, detailed blacks. (According to Hisense, the 8-inch U65H model sold in the UK has 160 dimming zones and also uses an IPS panel instead of the VA found in the US version.) Local Dimming TVs - Can be viewed with difficult hardware, but this is the exception rather than the norm.
- Hisense U8H (55-inch black) at Amazon for $899.98 (opens in a new tab)
With support for Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10+ Adaptive, and HLG, the U8H series is ready for any HDR format you stream or stream, and it also has a Filmmaker Mode that provides out-of-the-box color for the highest accuracy. Another impressive aspect of the U8H is its wide compatibility with the latest generation game consoles: with a 120Hz display, it offers Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and FreeSync Premium Pro.
While the UH8 does have Dolby Atmos processing and a built-in subwoofer to complement its main speakers, audio performance is average for a TV, and we'd recommend using it with a soundbar or other external audio solution.
The overall design of the set is nice and it comes with a decent remote and legs that can be adjusted to better accommodate a sound bar when placed on a TV stand. Hisense uses Google TV as a smart interface for the UH8, and that's a good way to go, especially if you're logged in as a Google user. This will allow you to tap Google Assistant for all sorts of smart home actions and will also allow you to perform basic functions and content searches using voice commands.
There's a lot to be said for the U8H series, but the key takeaway is that Hisense offers great value here. While it doesn't offer the same level of perfection as the best OLED TVs, it outperforms them in peak brightness and overall picture quality is excellent for the price. Add to that a full suite of features, and the U8H is a TV option worth considering.
Hisense U8H review: price and release date
- Release Date: July 7, 2022
- 55U8H: €1149 / €999 / AU€2299
- 65U8H: €1399 / €1499 / AU€2799
- 75U8H: €1,499 / €1,999 / AU€3,999
Hisense's U8H series televisions are available in the US, UK and worldwide. The company's kits are geared toward budget-conscious buyers and primarily compete with brands like TCL and Vizio.
Hisense's rear panel combo connections include a pair of HDMI 2.1 ports that support 4K/120Hz input from a PS5. (Image credit: Future)
Hisense U8H Review: Features
- Full-array mini-LED backlight with local dimming (336 zones)
- Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10, adaptive HDR10+ and HLG high dynamic range
- HDMI 2.1 inputs with 4K/120 Hz, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), and Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC)
- filmmaker way
- FreeSync Premium Pro
- Streaming via Chromecast built-in
- Works with Alexa and the Google Assistant
- bluetooth audio input
Hisense's U8H series TVs feature full-array mini-LED backlighting, with 504 zones in the 65-inch model we tested. The equipment's LCD panel uses a Quantum Dot layer to enhance color, and Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10, HDR10+ Adaptive, and HLG High Dynamic Range formats are supported.
A total of four HDMI inputs are provided, two of which offer HDMI 2.1 features such as 4K/120Hz support, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM). Other gamer-friendly features include Freesync Premium Pro, and there's also HDMI eARC support.
The U8H series televisions use the smart Google TV interface for streaming and the wide selection of available apps includes Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, Apple TV+ and ESPN+. There are also free TV apps like Tubi and Pluto TV, and the set's built-in ATSC 3.0 tuner gives US owners even more options for watching free channels by connecting a digital TV antenna.
Beyond streaming, there's Google Assistant for voice control, recommendations and search, and it all works with Alexa too. You can access Google Assistant by pressing a button on the U8H's remote to activate its built-in microphone. There are also dedicated buttons on the remote for calling various streaming services directly.
Like other Google TV devices, you can use Chromecast built-in to cast content from compatible apps to your TV from a phone or tablet. Bluetooth audio streaming is also supported, but there's no Bluetooth output for listening with wireless headphones.
Overall, the U8H is feature-rich, with its mini-LED backlight in particular standing out as an attractive bonus on a relatively inexpensive TV.
The Hisense U8H has a filmmaker mode that delivers mostly sharp images right out of the box. (Image credit: Future)
Hisense U8H review: Image quality
- very good shine
- Deep blacks and high contrast
- Rich and accurate color
With a mini-LED backlit array, you'd expect images to be very bright, and here the U8H delivers. Hisense's specified light output is 1500 nits, but we measured brightness at 1775 nits (in a 10% white window pattern), which is close to 2000 nits and more than TVs with twice that price than the U8H. Switching to Filmmaker mode, the most accurate out-of-the-box picture preset of the suite, brightness still measured an impressive 905 nits.
Contrast was also a strong point of the U8H, as the team's local dimming processing completely turned off areas of backlight when displaying black images to provide an "infinite" contrast ratio. In general, the blacks on TV had a satisfactory depth in most movies, although there was some degree of "blooming" light visible in high-contrast images like white-on-black movie credits. For most of our viewing, we left the local dimming at its medium setting, which allowed for a nice mix of solid blacks and punchy white highlights.
U8H coverage of DCI-P3, the color gamut used to master movies for 4K Blu-ray Disc and digital cinema, was 97% when measured with Portrait Displays Calman color grading software. And while we saw more coverage on TVs like Sony's A80K OLED, Hisense's performance here is impressive for budget TVs.
Display uniformity was very good on the U8H, with full-screen gray test patterns showing little uneven brightness or color cast. When the TV's local dimming feature was disabled, light distribution was uneven on all-black images, although turning on local dimming resolved this issue in all settings.
As with most other LCD TVs, contrast and color saturation suffered when viewed from off-center seats. However, the device's ability to filter light was good, with only minimal brightness from ceiling lights or open windows appearing on the screen.
For everyday viewing, the U8H's high brightness proved to be a huge advantage: the picture could easily compete with daylight, and I didn't feel the need to dim the lamps or draw the curtains.
Screen size: 55, 65, 75 inches
Panel technology: QLED
HDR Support: Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10, Adaptive HDR10+, HLG
Audio support: Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital
Smart TV: Google TV
HDMI ports: 4 (2 v2.1)
On more critical viewing, U8H were able to develop a full range of rich gray tones on the Criterion Collection Blu-ray of David Lynch's The Elephant Man. Black depth and shadow detail when playing this disc were also very good, although I did notice a degree of backlighting that flourished in regular scenes with the title sequence. This manifested itself primarily as high brightness in the letterbox black bars of widescreen movies. Regular HD shows also seemed a bit soft on the U8H compared to other TVs, indicating that the video upscaling isn't as good as what you'd get on more expensive TVs.
Given the U8H's very good measured color performance, I wasn't surprised that shows like Amazon's The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power looked surprisingly good. This series offers superb visuals, and Hisense's set was able to easily convey the rich color gamut and sharp details of 4K.
Looking at a more familiar color test disc, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, the psychedelic palette of scenes set on Ego's home planet was rendered cleanly, but thoroughly saturated. The few human faces revealed natural-looking skin tones, and the U8H's combination of powerful brightness and well-modulated contrast could be seen in the overall dynamic and vibrant quality of the images.
To verify Hisense's handling of Dolby Vision's high dynamic range, I watched some scenes from the Bond movie No Time to Die. In an early scene where Daniel Craig and Léa Seydoux settle into an Italian villa as people throw burning papers into the air, the contrast between the burning notes and the night sky gives the image a strong sense of depth. Another later scene from No Time to Die, in which Craig walks through a rugged landscape with the camera panning over him, revealed some very good motion processing, with the texture of the grass and rocks remaining mostly solid.
With its bright, daylight-friendly picture, the U8H is an excellent choice for watching sporting events. When I broadcast a soccer game between Athletic Club and Almería on ESPN+, the team's impressive motion handling ensured that image detail remained strong, even with…