Hisense continues to go from strength to strength with its new 2019 refresh of its R7 series of smart tvs.
Arriving in Australia over a decade ago, Hisense has quickly established itself as a major player in the budget TV market. Hisense consistently provides consumers with great alternatives to top-tier brand products; often at a more affordable price.
I recently had the opportunity to spend time testing the new Series 7 (R7) 65″; which is also available in 75″, 55″ and 50″ sizes.
Hisense 2019 Series 7
ULED 4K TV Review
The most notable new addition to Hisense’s 2019 Series 7 panels is the inclusion of Dolby Vision HDR.
While retail salespeople will try to sell you a TV based on its 4K (or 8K) capabilities, HDR is what you should be considering whilst shopping. Standing for High Dynamic Range, HDR basically dictates the overall quality of what you see on-screen.
The Dolby company has been one of the pioneering forces behind HDR technology, and so it’s only natural they’d continue to push it further with Dolby Vision HDR.
Dolby Vision HDR features dynamic metadata that breaks down TVs and movies scene-by-scene to ensure an optimal viewing performance at all times. HDR (and HDR10) takes a more static approach, optimising the entire TV show or movie.
It’s a lot more complicated than how I’ve presented it; just know that the inclusion of Dolby Vision HDR will make compatible entertainment content look significantly better on the Hisense R7 range.
Dolby Vision HDR
During my hands-on time with the R7 panel, I spent considerable time watching Dolby Vision HDR-enabled content. Netflix is already beginning to convert a lot of its original shows and movies to support the technology. I started off with Stranger Things, watching an episode from the middle of season 1.
I was immediately floored by the rich and vivid quality of the picture. Stranger Things is quite a dark show in terms of lighting, though Dolby Vision HDR really brought a true sense of colour and depth to it. Moreover, the level of detail and life-like quality to the actors and environments was simply outstanding.
I could even easily make out the yellow heads on Jonathon’s face pimples.
Non-HDR enabled content also looks brilliant on the new Series 7 panels. In addition to Stranger Things, I tested out other Netflix originals such as House of Cards.
Starting with season 1, which is presented in 1080p, the picture quality was still sharp and focused; thanks to Hisense’s continued efforts to refine its
The Series 7 panels also feature 4K upscaling to boost the resolution of HD content. This technology works in tandem with other features such as Precisions Brightness Control, Ultra Colour Enhancer and Ultra Local Dimming to produce crystal clear picture quality; Hisense collects all this technology under the in-built Hi-View Engine.
And you know what? The results are fairly impressive. Despite the HD resolution of House of Card’s earlier seasons, the picture quality is simply sublime. Later seasons look far better, due to Netflix converting them to Ultra 4K resolution; regardless, you won’t be disappointed by the overall performance.
Finally, I also tested a 4K Blu-Ray copy of Black Panther using an Xbox One X. Thanks to the HDR capabilities of the console, the bright colouring of Black Panther‘s costumes, as well as the warm African sun, looked fantastic on the 65″ panel. Moreover, action scenes didn’t lose a step thanks to the 200 Smooth Motion Rate, which reduces motion trail and enhance fast-moving images.
This said I was pretty disappointed that such visual detail made the movie’s terrible CGI really stand out. Watching the climactic battle between Black Panther and Killmonger is a terrifying experience, as you watch two badly rendered characters leap around a CGI set.
Most smart TVs include various picture modes that allow you to adjust and optimise picture quality based on the content you’re viewing. Hisense TVs have long had this feature, and the new R7 range is no different.
By pressing the ‘P.Mode’ button situated at the top of the remote, users can cycle through a number of preset picture modes; Standard, Cinema Day, Cinema Night, Dynamic and Sport. I spent most of my viewing time using Cinema Day (since it was day time), which provided deeper blacks and a more cinematic feel to picture quality.
The idea of having a cinematic experience at home is certainly not a new concept; however, the new R7 panel, complete with its Cinema presets and Dolby Vision HDR makes it a reality. All I needed was some fresh popcorn and a large coke and it was like I was at the movies.
In addition to the Sport mode, the R7 also includes a Games Mode setting. Both of these presets optimises the panel to ensure the best overall quality when watching live sports or playing a game. With Sports mode, there exists an option to set the TV to automatically adjust
As I mentioned above, I had access to an Xbox One X during my hands-on time with the Series 7. However, the only game I had time to play was Forza Horizon 4.
As far as games go, though, Forza Horizon 4 is probably one of the better 4K/HDR-enabled games currently available for the Xbox One X.
Upon loading up the starting screen I actually uttered an audible, “wow”. The vivid colour, life-like imagery and smooth picture quality hit me like a punch in the face; it was simply fantastic.
In-game, I loaded up my personal save file (thanks, the cloud!) and tore through the countryside to put the Series 7 through its paces. Aside from some connectivity issues (which the game notified me about), I didn’t experience any slowdown, stuttering or hiccups of any kind.
From the lighting to the crisp and clear picture, to the buttery-smooth motion tracking; the Series 7 handled Forza Horizon 4 like a champion. I tell you, it’s hard going back to my aging Hisense N7 panel and Xbox One S at home.
In-built TV speakers are largely hit or miss; the new Series 7, on the other hand, has hit a huge home run. Featuring four mid-range speakers on the back of the slimline design, these new Hisense panels
The addition of Dolby Atmos works to create a surround-sound experience without the need for multiple speakers. Whilst playing Forza Horizon 4 I could feel the roar of the engine surround me; I should note, I was sitting some 15 feet away from the TV. Moreover, the in-game soundtrack filled the air around me as I drove through the English countryside.
This is the tagline for Dolby Atmos; putting you inside the action. As someone who thoroughly enjoys loud music on quality speakers, I found the Series 7’s new speakers to be exceptional for a standard TV. While these speakers won’t offer a better experience than a dedicated hi-fi system or a top-tier soundbar, they certainly come close enough.
The Series 7 also features a number of sound mode presets optimised for the type of content you’re viewing. These include Standard; Speech; Late Night; Music; Theatre; Sports.
The name of each should give you a fair idea of what they offer; Speech enhances the clarity of human speech, while Late Night lowers maintains a low volume. Each preset is noticeably different from one another, meaning they’re just not superfluous additions.
All of Hisense’s new Series 7 panels include its latest Smart TV Operating System (OS); VIDAA U 3.0 AI. Visually, this new OS is strikingly similar to previous ones; I found it easy to navigate as it was quite similar to my N7 panel at home.
Everything Smart TV owners have come to expect is included; Netflix, Stan and YouTube apps; an in-built Games TV hub; a myriad of other Smart TV apps. Hisense has also included the Amazon Video Prime app; though I’m unsure if 2019 is the first time it’s being introduced.
In terms of new, Hisense has for the first time included AI and voice control technology into both its hardware and software. All new Series 7, 8 and 9 Hisense TVs have been designed with integrated voice command functionality, meaning you’ll be able to control it using just your voice.
This feature won’t be available at launch, however, and will come in a future software update. Hisense isn’t talking about a specific date at this time, though confirm it will be sometime later in 2019.
Alexa and Google Assistant Enabled
For people unwilling to wait for the future software update to enable the integrated voice commands, you can use existing Alexa and Google Assistant devices.
The review unit I had access to was hooked up to an Amazon Echo. Using Echo, I could use my voice to turn the volume up/down, change the input (i.e. HDMI to USB, or HDMI to Live TV) and turn the unit on/off. I tested out a few more advanced commands such as trying to bring up the system menu, change picture modes and the like; but no dice.
Much like Xbox Kinect, I think the voice command feature is slightly superfluous. This said I was using an external device for issuing voice commands. I would like to see how the integrated Alexa function built into the hardware works once the future software update rolls out.
Series 7 panels will ship with two remotes; one standard and one with an integrated microphone for voice command. This will enable consumers to be ready for when the software update rolls out later this year.
Design and Build
The new Series 7 panels look incredibly stylish thanks to the bezel-less design along the top and sides of the panel. The unit still features the same silver metal-look along the bottom of the panel, complete with a light-up brand name and pronged legs.
The back of the panel has been slimmed down from previous iterations. The top half of the backside is practically paper-thin, while the bottom half protrudes ever so slightly due to the connectivity ports, speakers and wall mounts.
Connectivity ports included are 4x HDMI 4K@60Hz ports, 3.5mm headphone jack (on the back), Digital Out port, LAN port, 2x USB ports and AV in ports. The Series 7 also boasts Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to connect wireless headphones, among other devices.
I tested this out with my wireless Bose QuietComfort whilst playing Forza Horizon 4 and quickly decided this was a very welcome new addition.
Hisense 2019 Series 7 ULED 4K TV – Final Verdict
The Hisense Series 7 panels start from a recommended retail price of $1499AUD (for the 50″). The panel I tested, the 65″ (65R7), is going for $2499AUD. After spending considerable time with the 65R7, I would 100% recommend it to anybody looking for a Smart TV in today’s market.
Featuring a sleek and stylish slim-form design, the Series 7 is capable of delivering consumers a truly cinematic experience right in their very own home.
I can’t rave enough about the included Dolby Vision HDR technology; which makes the home cinema experience possible. While other manufacturers are scrambling to sell 8K to consumers, Hisense is bringing them true entertainment innovation at a reasonably affordable price point.
Jayden Williams travelled to Sydney, Australia to attend a review event at Hisense Australia’s offices.
Product Name: Hisense Series 7