“Dollar for dollar, the U7H is one of the most impressive TVs you can buy.”
Great color accuracy
Solid HDR Punch
Impressive black levels
Run Google TV well
Movement not as smooth as more expensive TVs
Lots of ads on YouTube
I have given the Hisense U8H high praise and recommend it as a top choice in its price range. But the ever-so-slightly smaller Hisense U7H reviewed here surprised me so much that I’ve had to spend some time re-evaluating my recommendations. The U7H is so much better than I expected it makes me wonder if it might actually be the better TV choice for most people.
Before we dig in, there are two important things to keep in mind. First, I’d like to point out that the 65-inch Hisense U8H retails for around $1,000 at the time of writing, while the 65-inch U7H goes for around $750. That price gap is worth keeping in mind when we get into this review. I must also point out that this review is for the U7H sold in North America; The U7H in other international markets is a completely different TV.
Series and size details
While we reviewed the 65-inch model 65U7H, our review also covers the 55-inch and 75-inch models.
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Good enough to surprise you
If you’re about to upgrade from a non-HDR TV, whether it’s 4K or 1080p, the Hisense U7H’s picture quality will impress you. It offers enough brightness to deliver powerful HDR highlights and higher color brightness than non-HDR TVs while maintaining deep enough black levels to produce impressive contrast. The U7H’s out-of-box color accuracy on the sample I received for review delivered shockingly good color accuracy without adjustment. And even if the motion resolution was not quite as smooth as e.g. the more expensive TCL 6 Series TV, it’s still better than most low- to mid-range TVs. Dollar for dollar, the U7H is one of the most impressive TVs you can buy this year. Below I’ve detailed some of the measurements I took on the U7H and put them in context with other TVs I’ve reviewed this year.
Brightness and black levels
I measured the Hisense U7H’s peak brightness in SDR at just over 800 nits. This was in Filmmaker mode with the backlight setting maxed out. In HDR, I measured sustained peak brightness at around the same 800-nit level, 819 to be exact, with peaks just under 1,000 nits. The U7H comes in well below the more expensive U8H in terms of peak brightness, and in a side-by-side comparison it’s clear that the U7H doesn’t have as much power in bright highlights and color brightness, but that says more about the U8H’s insanely bright image quality for its price than the U7H, which is still one of the brighter TVs in its price segment.
Keep in mind that I think 1,000 nits of peak brightness is the limit of whether an LCD-based TV really provides a meaningful HDR experience. An LCD TV’s black levels are generally not as good as an OLED TV panel, so they need a bit more brightness to really sell that HDR contrast.
U7H has it where it counts.
This brings me to what is truly surprising about the U7H. Unlike the U8H, this TV does not have a mini LED backlight system. So in addition to lowering expectations around peak brightness, I also had lowered expectations for overall black levels and how much bloom control the TV could exert. But the U7H is remarkably impressive in the backlight control department. It passes our standard torture tests with impressive authority. I’ve never been bothered by bloom – that cloudy halo of light around a bright object on a black background. There are some here, but it’s not distracting. Even off shoulder, the bloom is not as obvious as I’m used to.
The result of the decent peak brightness and good backlight control is a pretty good HDR presentation. Some of that is helped by the U7H’s mostly solid tone mapping, by which I mean it retains detail in the bright highlights well. It’s not as good at retaining shadow detail, but low-luminance performance is definitely good for a TV at this price, and even holds its own against more expensive TVs.
In short, The U7H has it where it counts.
Color and white balance
Now I want to talk about color. I’m not kidding here – I was blown away by the color measurements I got. In fact, the accuracy was so suspiciously good that I did a hard factory reset on this TV, then ran a firmware update and then tested again just to see if I got the same results.
This kind of finished color performance is practically unheard of for a TV at this price.
The results were phenomenal.
In SDR, the average color control error was below 3, which is technically not perceptible to the human eye – and that was with zero white balance adjustments. The maximum error was below 4, so even the worst color error is hardly worth talking about. In HDR I got the same result.
This kind of out-of-the-box color performance is practically unheard of for a TV at this price, and actually makes me want to go back and measure the U8H again because I don’t think the more expensive TV performed this well .
As for the white balance on the U7H, I barely had to touch it to get to D65, which is the Hollywood reference standard. In the low color temperature, which is supposed to be “warm”, it had a little too much blue in it, which is typical. I backed the blue gain down a few points in SDR and HDR, and the errors were barely above 1. That’s just ridiculously good from a measurement perspective.
While testing the U8H and U7H, I noticed an odd shimmering effect when watching some high-definition HDR content on YouTube. The effect is documented in the video at the top of this post. After further testing I have determined that this shimmer is related to the content and not the performance of the TV. While the shimmer effect (as I’ve come to call it) is present on TVs from other brands, it’s not as obvious. This could speak to a combination of factors, including both sets’ higher brightness, pixel response time and processing. Given that it rarely comes up, I don’t think this is a significant enough problem to reduce the TVs score.
When it comes to other movement issues, it feels like the U7H doesn’t look as smooth and natural as e.g. TCL 6 series without any motion smoothing, but neither did the U8H, so no real change there. I a.m curious how a 2022 TCL 5 series might fare, but that TV has yet to be announced.
U7H is a remarkable performer across the board.
So if we package all of these numbers into one takeaway, I think what you need to know is that U7H is a remarkable performer across the board. Much better than I expected in black levels, contrast and color accuracy. It lacks the muscular power you get in the U8H but is otherwise dangerously close to the more expensive TV’s performance.
For gaming, the U7H is similarly equipped to the U8H, with two 4K 120Hz HDMI inputs, variable refresh rate, very low input lag, an automatic game mode, and it lights up all the green ticks on an Xbox Series X. But while we’re talking about locking up the most potential from your game console or PC, I still don’t like that we have to press this button on the remote control to access the HDMI enhanced mode to unlock all these features. But to Hisense’s credit, when there’s no signal going to one of those ports, there’s a message suggesting you do exactly that, though it doesn’t go into which button to press.
The speakers on the U7H deliver sound that’s surprisingly decent, especially in the bass, which helps give the TV a much fuller sound than most. It’s not amazing, but it’s not exactly terrible either, which is a huge bonus. Still, I would definitely look into investing in a soundbar to make this a much better home theater experience.
What’s with all these ads?
I have to comment on something odd I’ve noticed with both this TV and the U8H. I can’t explain it, but the number of ads I get on YouTube is exactly double that on, say, the TCL 6 series Roku TV. I haven’t gotten to the bottom of it, it almost seems like a bug. What I do know is that I hate it. If I owned this TV, I’d definitely get YouTube Premium, hands down.
Taking everything into account, I think we’re looking at a TV that offers almost everything the more expensive step-up model does, except for the more powerful brightness. Everything else is practically the same. I think people who really want a super bright TV – and I mean super duper bright, might be happy to spend a bit more for the U8H. But for most consumers, I think the U7H is the smarter buy. I know the price difference isn’t huge, but it’s nothing to dismiss either.
The U7H is just so much better than I expected, I think it deserves one pulp of attention. If you don’t see yourself as a videographer on a budget and you just want the best picture you can get for the money, I think the U7H is the real value leader right now.
#Hisense #U7H #review #punching #weight #Digital #trends