While the V88 isn’t a brilliant television it is fairly cheap and for what you pay, this unit is pretty damn good.
The panel looks fairly good and would rate very highly if it was being reviewed a few years ago but compared to what is on the market today, it sits in the mid range. When making this assessment, it wouldn’t be fair to compare it with the LED backlit offerings that have made LCD significantly better in the last couple of years. Instead, traditional backlit units are this model’s direct competitors.
With an introduction like that, you would probably expect the worst from the rest of this review, but the Hisense isn’t a bad television at all. In fact the image quality is above average and at this price point, it is impressive. However, it does suffer from a few problems, the most pressing of which is backlight bleeding at the bottom of the screen. Black levels also look a little greyer than most LCD televisions but when a full screen image is being displayed, it isn’t that bad.
The native resolution of the panel is 1920×1080 and it definitely looks best when watching Blu-ray films. We tested the unit using a Blu-ray test disc as well as a selection of Full HD films. We also used the Playstation 3 to test gaming performance and viewed standard definition DVDs to see how well the scalers worked.
In the Blu-ray tests, the biggest downfall was edge definition. Images tended to look a little soft at times removing a little of the advantage of watching a Full HD movie. This carried over into gaming too. At default settings, the sharpness is set too high so there is quite a few halo artefacts and turning down the sharpness to remove them completely results in the image looking too soft. You can always leave a little of the haloing in place to make the image look a little crisper but, in the end, the softer image is more pleasing to the eye and closer to the image quality you would expect when watching Blu-ray.
Motion was quite good though. There was a little judder but far less than most units we have reviewed. This is a 100Hz model, though looking at the menu system, you wouldn’t know it. There are no 100Hz options so the feature is permanently switched on. Thankfully, it doesn’t suffer from the usual “fake” looking quality that 100Hz models can be subjected to and instead simply smooths out motion automatically.
The standard definition DVD tests were reasonable but not brilliant. The scaling was handled well but there was a little more image noise than you would expect from a modern television. The contrast is excellent on both HD and SD although it is hampered by the harsh backlights.
The speakers have an excellent volume range and don’t distort well turned up. The sound is a little hollow but for integrated speakers they do the job well. The unit has three HDMI ports, two Component and two Composite connections. There is also a PC port and optical audio pass through. The V88 also has a freeview compliant integrated HD tuner. The design is quite attractive although this is a very bulky unit and weighs a lot compared with other similar units.
Those on a tight budget will love this television. It is much better than anything in its price bracket and while it does have its problems it can display a reasonable image. Not everyone can afford a TV that’s cutting edge and while there is better out there, it won’t leave you wanting.
We reviewed the 47 inch model which has a retail price of $2299. The V88 is also available in 19, 22, 26, 32, 42 and 55 inch versions.