Update 21st August 2017 – I’ve almost had this TV for a full year and will soon be writing a follow up review.
Earlier on this week I started looking for a new TV for our bedroom, unfortunately despite the LG 24″ one we have being LED and 1080p it only has a single HDMI connection on the rear which is a pain in the neck when switching from the PVR to the Amazon Fire Stick.
I started looking at another TV and Hisense caught my eye – after doing a lot of research on Hisense TV’s I became interested and decided that rather than getting a Hisense for the bedroom I’ll relegate our current TV in the living room (49″ LG 1080p LCD) to the bedroom and buy the 2016 Hisense 55″ for the living room… and I’m glad I did!
Who are Hisense? Google it and find out, I think they are the top seller of TV’s in China and have recently started expanding to the European markets offering high specification TV’s at competitive prices. You may have seen their name during the Euro 2016!
So I went with the H55M3300, there is a H50M3300 in 50″ also for slightly less. I purchased it on Amazon on Tuesday 6th September for £529. What do you get for your £529 – I’ve listed a short summary below.
- UHD 4K Display (3840×1260)
- It’s an HDR panel, more on that shortly!
- Hisense Smart
- Freeview HD
- 4 HDMI Ports – Biggest bugbear of mines on new TV’s!
You get a lot for your money, the TV has upscaling capabilities too which work rather well. Given the low price I kept my expectations fairly low as not to be disappointed, the TV arrived the next day thanks to my Amazon Prime membership and I didn’t hesitate to stick some 10mm holes into our fireplace and mount the TV. (Wall mount a separate purchase!)
The first negative I’d read about this TV (Something that also affects many LG and Samsung displays) was Dirty Screen Effect so I was immediately pleased when the initial setup display came up and the screen looked perfect! I’ve seen DSE many times and I find it very off putting… my unit display was perfect with a clear bright image and no dead pixels.
Next was the UI or Remote lag… again after going through the initial setup and connecting to WiFi and whatever else I don’t notice this at all. Having used many of the TV’s features over the last few days we’re pretty satisfied with the issued remote (Which includes very convenient Netflix and YouTube buttons!). If there is any lag, we don’t notice it as we current use a Virgin Media TiVo box which is infamous for it’s terrible remote and UI lag.
The first thing I tried was opening a 4K video through the YouTube app which comes with the TV’s smart capabilities. I still think Smart TV’s are a waste of money… but we’ve found Netflix and YouTube to be very convenient. There has been some comments that at this time the YouTube app on the Hisense does not stream in 4K … I beg to differ… the quality of the image was very very impressive.
Whilst the 4K video was playing I sat at different areas of our living room to watch the TV and can concur with many reviews about the TV’s viewing angles. They aren’t bad, I’d say they are Good/Acceptable whereas our previous LG and Samsung TV’s have been Very Good. The same above for example was taken from a side angle and at no point did we think “Oh, better move towards the center” however when lying low at a more extreme angle you see the effects taking toll on text such as movie credits.
Next I was keen to try an HDR sample on the TV. This to me is the big seller as many people I know that have bought UHD TV’s this year have not bought HDR models, at the time of writing the H55M3300 only does HDR playback via USB and not via HDMI. Hisense themselves have confirmed that an update rolling out this month (September 2016) is providing this via the HDMI 2.0 ports on the TV, which there are two of. The samples I played were incredibly impressive, of high quality, very smooth with my wife even commenting on the blacks which is a testimonial in itself!
I can’t comment on the speakers or sound quality of the TV’s as even high end TV’s in my opinion have terrible sound. When mounting on the wall it was connected to our soundbar via optical which demonstrates no audio delay… and if it did there are options within the TV configuration to alter to suit!
The configuration options that the TV provides is very detailed with many available so you can have everything working as well as you’d like it. I turned off some functionality we’re not going to use, enabled HDMI-CEC for our PS4 and was able to rename the inputs to user friendly labels that my children understand better.
You may notice it says Sky Q there and I mentioned TiVo earlier… on Monday we’re binning our Virgin Media setup in favour of Sky Q with Fibre Broadband. I’ll write a separate review of Sky Q which in itself looks pretty awesome!
I wanted to address one point which was I had some difficulty getting our Logitech Harmony remote working with this TV. It’s due to the way the TV manages inputs – it’ll always show the most recently selected option next and the Logitech wants them in a consistent order. Hisense themselves have sent HEX codes to Logitech to add to the remote but unfortunately Logitech aren’t keen to respond to why they haven’t update the remote software to support this.
There was some criticism about the Smart functionality of the TV and what it provides, if you’ve read my blog before you’ll understand I think Smart TV’s are nonsense but on this unit I can’t complain.
We have found everything that we’re looking for is already there. Even games but as we have a PS4, Xbox One and Wii U we’ll not be playing games via the TV’s Smart menu. Logged into Netflix with a UHD subscription the video content plays perfectly and I’d even comment works BETTER than on the Amazon Fire TV Stick. The same applies to Amazon Prime Video, Plex and YouTube. You are also able to Google Cast to the YouTube app on this TV which is pretty good.
I posted on Twitter earlier this week that I cannot fault this TV and I stand by that comment. We find the image quality to be perfect, sound does not lag, the menus are friendly and snappy to use and the remote feels of good quality and is functional. Hopefully it’ll prove to be reliable but if not, a two year warranty is issued free with purchase – again a better offering than many big name brands.
Overall I’m very happy with the purchase, when the update comes and addresses the HDR over HDMI it’ll be more of a win – but even if Hisense failed to commit to this (Which I have no concerns about) it would still be a real bargain.