I used to be skeptical about Hisense’s transfer to array backlighting for its 2019 H8F 4K UHD TV collection. Just final yr, even the corporate’s second-tier H9F was side-lit, and first forays into expertise don’t all the time end up so nice.
Well, the H8F might not be “great”—that’s $2,000 LG E8 and Samsung Q9—territory, however for simply $500, you get the high-quality colour, blacks, and HDR of a way more costly TV. In reality, after 15 minutes with the H8F, I double-checked the worth record simply to verify I hadn’t confused it with one thing else. I used to be that impressed.
Design and specs
The H8F is a 4K UHD TV accessible within the 55-inch taste reviewed right here in addition to 50- and 65-inch SKUs. The 55-inch mannequin weighs about 30 kilos and measures 48.4 inches large, by 28.1 inches excessive, by 2.4 inches at its deepest level. Add one other 2.5 or so inches in top for the stand. It’s good-looking, with a thin-bezel, and gives the primary answer to an issue I bumped into myself not so way back—stand ft which are too extensively spaced for the floor I wished to set the TV on.
What Hisense did was merely add two further mount factors nearer to the centerline to accommodate narrower platforms. Of course, this offers much less lateral stability, however it’s typically longitudinal stability that’s worrisome with TVs. Hisense offers caps to cowl the unused holes.
The H8F can be wall-mountable through a 300mm x 200mm mount level utilizing M6 screws. The electronics and ports are housed within the common plastic gluteus maximus, which you’ll be able to see within the side-angle picture under.
The port array consists of a single coax connector for antennas and cable, 4 HDMI 2.0a ports (ARC and CEC are supported), one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port, RCA composite video and stereo audio outputs, optical S/PDIF audio out, and a headphone jack. There’s additionally 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5 on board in addition to 10/100Mbps ethernet.
The H8F additionally helps each Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. There’s additionally a channel record, however no program information.
Remote and interface
The distant is on the massive measurement, however is extra logically laid out and targeted than many, and it’s simple to make use of. It’s not common, however I truly prefer it higher than the remotes that ship with Sony’s high-end TVs. That’s extra of a touch upon Sony than Hisense.
The H8F runs Android, and Hisense delivers a pleasant, uncluttered homepage, not like some Android implementations I’ve seen. Everything works higher in the event you signal on with Google, in fact; one thing I don’t love to do as a result of I don’t like the corporate’s privateness insurance policies. But don’t let that cease you.
There are separate settings menus, that are typically simple to make use of, though I’ve one minor quibble: the cursor all the time highlights the uppermost setting within the record which is usually “off,” versus the setting presently in use, which is the usual habits. It took me fairly some time to get used to. It additionally precipitated extra button use as I typically wished to decide on the following decrease or increased setting, not flip a perform off. This habits acquired aggravating there for a minute, however I didn’t throw the distant.
That’s as a result of as a lot as I disliked all of the cursor motion, I appreciated that changes might be carried out in-line, i.e., you don’t must press enter earlier than you begin adjusting, you simply hit the suitable or left fringe of the rocker management. Yin and yang. I’m, in fact, being choosy.
Should you be the identical (choosy, that’s) about colour matching and the like, there are a plethora of tweaking settings if the defaults and brightness, colour, and tint controls don’t reduce it for you. It’s uncommon today for a TV to come back from the manufacturing unit with poorly adjusted colour, and the H8F’s wasn’t, however if you wish to have at it, by all means.
I’ve already confessed that I wasn’t anticipating such a very good image for thus little money. The H8F’s colour is correct (90 p.c of DCI) and properly saturated; normal large-object movement is easy for a 60Hz show (once you select the “smooth” setting beneath movement compensation); and I measured a very good 600 nits of peak brightness. Hisense claims 700, however our meter typically reads a bit low. But even 600 was sufficient to make HDR pop moderately effectively.
The H8F helps Dolby Vision in addition to HDR10, and it rendered each sorts with out challenge. To make an extended story brief, this yr’s H8F does HDR means higher than final yr’s far costlier H9F. The blacks have been much better than I anticipated, and there have been no array backlighting defects, similar to blockiness that I might spot. For normal viewing, I used to be fairly enamored.
Alas, the place the H8F stumbled was with detailed backgrounds and patterns in movement, which typically produced a considerable amount of shimmer and moiré. This diminished tremendously once I lowered the sharpness of the picture, however that in fact additionally resulted in a corresponding lack of element. You’re type of choosing your poison with this facet, although there’s not numerous materials that can drive the selection.
There have been additionally the occasional very minor stutters with pans of any kind once I was taking part in movies from a USB stick. This could possibly be poor dealing with of various frame-rate conversion, however it additionally hints at a rendering engine (i.e., CPU and reminiscence) working at its absolute limits. The impact assorted by materials and I wouldn’t name it a significant challenge, simply an imperfection you’d count on at this worth level. Other indicators of considerably gradual processing is the very gradual channel search and considerably laggy channel modifications.
Screen uniformity was one different space the place the H8F I examined was a tad missing. There have been some noticeable cloudy areas, particularly within the corners. I say noticeable, however that’s beneath scrutiny with the very brilliant singl- colour backgrounds I exploit to identify such issues. During on a regular basis viewing with on a regular basis materials, the imperfections are barely seen. All these flaws are minor, however are additionally stuff you want to concentrate on.
Consumer Reports lately known as Hisense TV reliability into query. I talked with Hisense about this, and whereas its representatives didn’t argue with CR’s findings, they did surprise what time interval the publication was speaking about. The implication being that newer Hisense TVs ship higher craftsmanship than older fashions. That may be construed as a confession, however we must always respect the candor. It’s uncommon within the TV biz.
The H8F’s match and end are superb, however as with all TV, I can’t vouch for the electronics inside. I’ll say that Hisense appears bent on competing with the large boys, so I’m guessing high quality is a working concern and has been improved.
An excellent TV for not some huge cash
All advised, this yr’s H8F is much superior to final yr’s, and extra importantly, to some other $500 55-inch TV I’ve seen. Hisense has positively raised its expertise sport and customers are the beneficiaries. If you’re buying within the funds class, this one is a must-see.