If nothing else, Hisense’s new Series 7 55-inch HDTV feels like it’s pushing the boundaries of what high-end LCD displays can offer. It’s a veritable showcase for the company’s 17 exclusive tech and one that show that your next TV doesn’t have to be OLED to look good. For all that companies pushing the next-gen display tech have been talking about it being a game-changer, the reality is that the criteria that defines a good TV haven’t really changed.
Hisense’s Series 7 is strikes just the right balance between sleek and powerful. It sits comfortably on the cutting edge of televisual technology – featuring first-class local dimming, HDR and a substantially larger color gamut than other TVs. Where other companies have been busy experimenting with new breeds of display, Hisense have stuck with what they know – and the commitment to their craft shows in the results.
On a technical level, it makes a strong case for itself. Hisense aren’t just settling for compatibility with Ultra 4K and High Dynamic Range video content on a basic level but actively pushing it further than its competitors. The local dimming and the wider colour gamut here make a big difference – as does the UltraSmooth Motion tech underpinning it. Images look as smooth as they are detailed.
If the Series 7 is your first experience with the format, you’re in for a treat. Though the initial jump to the heightened realism of UHD may require a brief adjustment period. In terms of what’s available in 4K: most modern home video releases include Ultra 4K via Blu-ray and Netflix has recently begun to adopt the format for many of its original series including Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black and Marco Polo.
Of course, high-end picture quality would be nothing without the audio to match it. Hisense’s Series 7 range delivers decent results on this front, incorporating top-notch speakers that leverage DBX-TV’s trio of audio technologies – TotalSonics, TotalVolume and TotalSurround – to try maximize your listening experiences. However, the end results of this didn’t blow us away. Putting aside the reality that most customers making the jump from HD to UHD are likely to be using their new TV with a more advanced sound system – the Series 7’s audio capabilities aren’t particularly impressive – even if they are a little better than most other Ultra HD TVs operating in the same price range.
Unfortunately, we weren’t so sold on the Series 7 design. The thin steel frame feels a bit flavourless and the attachable stand legs look to have been made of a noticeably cheaper metal. It’s rare that the frame feels truly sure and rarer still that it’s possessed of a confident and distinct style.
Thankfully, the smart TV side of the equation fares better. The Series 7 package is brought together by Hisenses own VIDAA Smart TV platform. It’s a fairly slick and user-friendly backend with support for Youtube, Red Bull TV, 4K Netflix and Freeview Plus. Content, apps and streaming services are arranges in a grid of panels, with a slide-out bar used to control your inputs. It’s not the best Smart TV interface we’ve ever encountered – but it’s definitely not the worst either.
All up, it’s as servicable as it needs to be and if you’re unhappy with that there’s nothing stopping you from plugging in a ChromeCast or FetchTV. The Series 7 range is Hisense’s answer to OLED – and despite some minor caveats, it’s a good one.