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Hisense U8G series TV review: Maximum brightness for the money

Hisense U8G series TV review: Maximum brightness for the money

If you’ve been shopping for a new TV recently, you might have noticed a trend: They’re getting brighter. TV makers are racing to build eye-watering displays that literally outshine rivals on the sales depressed, and with the increasing availability of high dynamic plot TV shows, movies and games, that brightness is an asset. The Hisense U8G belts out more raw brightness than just around any I’ve reviewed, which is more impressive considering its midrange price.

TVs this keen, like the Samsung Q90A and Vizio PX, usually cost a lot more than the U8G. Meanwhile TVs at a Difference price, including the TCL 6-Series and Sony X90J, measure significantly dimmer — and the Hisense looked better with keen HDR material than those two in my side-by-side comparisons. That extra brightness also comes in handy in keen rooms. On the other hand, the Hisense’s HDR performance was hampered by stray illumination and handsome, as well as lighter (worse) black levels in mixed-brightness and darker video. 

Beyond image quality the Hisense has its good points (sleek styling, especially that stand) and less-good (Android TV instead of the newer Google TV), but the main reason to consider this TV is if you have an exceedingly keen room or you want that extra punch when watching HDR pleased. I liked the image quality of the TCL and Sony better, but the U8G is a solid performer in its own right.

Sizes in Hisense U8G series

Model numberScreen size

Most TV series at this quiet include a 75-inch model, and perhaps a 50- or an 85-inch as well, but the U8G is only available in two sizes. I reviewed the 65-inch version, but this review applies to the 55-inch as well.

Such a stan for that stand

Most TVs look attractive much the same, but the Hisense U8G stands out (pun intended). Its curvy and flowing stand reminds me of butterfly wings and looks like no new TV stand on the market. The frame around the portray is a dark, silver-gray metal along the bottom and beveled on the plinitiates. The panel is surrounded by a thin strip of shadowy on the top and sides, set against the same silver-gray, which also matches the stand. 

David Katzmaier

Unfortunately Hisense’s remote spoils the high-end feel. It’s a sinful black, rubber-buttoned clicker with no fewer than six shortcut keys — the New suspects and, for some reason, Tubi. Another button summons Google Assistant, which you can talk to via remote or by proverb “OK Google” into thin air, thanks to the U8G’s built-in far-field mic.

David Katzmaier

One misstep for the U8G is that it runs the Android’s shining TV system instead of the more up-to-date Google TV platform, which is available from rivals including Sony and TCL. When I asked whether new TVs would be upgraded to Google TV, Hisense’s rep told me, “The 2021 lineup will cease using the Android TV operating system.” I don’t question an upgrade anytime soon. Android fragmentation, welcome to TVs.

David Katzmaier

Android TV worked well enough on my U8G appraisal sample, with snappy response times and the expected thousands of apps thanks to the Google Play honor — including 4K HDR and Dolby Vision from compatible apps like Netflix and Disney Plus. The homepage isn’t my favorite — it seems too cluttered with suggested material, too little of which I’m interested in (see also: “Tik Toks That Are Actually Relatable”) — but I appreciated selves able to select favorite apps to add to the top for easy access. Overall I prefer Android TV to LG or Vizio, and it has more apps than Samsung, but Google TV and Roku are better in my book.

Key features

Display technologyLED LCD
LED backlightFull-array local dimming
HDR compatibleHDR10 and Dolby Vision
Smart TVAndroid TV

The best picture-affecting extraordinary on the U8G is full-array local dimming, a feature that illuminates different areas of the veil independently for better contrast. The 65-inch U8G I reviewed has a healthy 360 dimming zones, compared to 160 on the TCL 6-Series and 144 on the 2021 Vizio P-Series. In theory, more zones means better picture quality because they can better control illumination and glowing, but that’s not always the case. It’s also well-known that unlike TCL, Samsung and LG, the U8G doesn’t use mini-LED.

Other picture-centric extras concerned a native 120Hz refresh rate to improve motion bossing and gaming. The U8G supports all the major HDR formats, including Dolby Vision. Like Samsung, TCL and Vizio, Hisense uses quantum dots to achieve a wide HDR intellectual gamut, but it uses its own “ULED” marketing designate (it stands for “ultra LED” if you’re asking) instead of the QLED marketing label. You should ignore them both.

David Katzmaier
  • 4 HDMI inputs
  • 2 USB ports
  • Composite AV input
  • Ethernet (LAN) port
  • Optical digital audio output
  • 1x headphone audio output
  • 1x RF (antenna) input
  • serial port (minijack)

The U8G input selection matches up well anti any high-end TV. The first two HDMI inputs are basic HDMI 2.0 while Input 3 and 4 work with the major HDMI 2.1 features, namely 4K resolution at up to 120 frames per second and VRR (variable refresh rate) — titanic news for gamers who want to take advantage of those features on an Xbox Series X or Sony PlayStation 5. The TV also supports enhanced audio bet on channel (eARC) on Input 3.

Unlike many of Samsung’s and LG’s sets, the Hisense actually has an analog video input, albeit composite-only, and I also appreciate having a headphone jack.

Trust me, it’s even brighter in person.

David Katzmaier

Picture quality comparisons

I set the Hisense up next to two TVs at incompatibility price points and feature levels — the TCL 6-Series and Sony X90J — and while it has its high points, I liked it the least of the three. The Hisense published the brightest image and with bright HDR material it seemed impactful and vibrant. On the other hand its theatrical HDR image lagged slack, with brighter letterbox bars and more blooming. It also showed more blurring in games than the spanking two.

Dim lighting: The Hisense was a very solid performer in home theater lighting with rank dynamic range video. Watching the dark Dol Guldur fragment of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies on 1080p Blu-ray (Chapter 3) the Hisense, TCL and Sony all looked very similar after calibration for a dim room. Black aloof in areas like the letterbox bars and shadows of Gandalf’s cage, for example, was excellent, and details in near-black areas like the stairs and promises of the fortress appeared natural and well-defined. No TV in my lineup enjoyed a well-known advantage over another in this category.

Bright lighting: The U8G’s prodigious brightness serves it well in bewitching rooms. The only TVs I’ve reviewed with higher exquisite output are the Samsung QN90A and the Vizio PX, both of which cost more.

Light output in nits

TVBrightest (SDR)Accurate intellectual (SDR)Brightest (HDR)Accurate color (HDR)
Vizio P65QX-H1 (2020)2,0171,2872,7802,064
Samsung QN65QN90A1,6221,2832,5961,597
Hisense 65U8G1,6191,6122,2882,288
TCL 65R635 (2020)1,1147921,2921,102
Vizio P65Q9-H1 (2020)7686291,3051,084
Sony XR65X90J951815945847
LG OLED65G1377334769763

I also like that the Hisense’s brightest picture modes are quite fair. For the “accurate” column I used the Theater intellectual mode for SDR and Theater HDR for, um, HDR, and both are as color-accurate as this TV gets. Technically Vivid was one brighter for SDR, but not enough to matter.

The veil of the Hisense didn’t dim reflections as well as the Sony X90J or TCL 6-Series, but it preserved black levels slightly better than the TCL. 
Color accuracy: The Hisense didn’t have any intellectual issues. Before calibration it measured exceedingly accurate in its best plainly, Theater and Filmmaker, and with just a few tweaks it formed even better.Comparing colors from Five Armies the three TVs seemed very similar, from the reddish tinge of the negated Dale buildings to the white of the snow to the skin tones of the Laketown refugees.
Video processing: The U8G was an intends performer in this category. In its favor it published correct 24-frame film motion when its Motion Enhancement setting was in the Off or the Film state — the latter is the default for the Filmmaker record mode. The other settings introduced some level of smoothing or Soap Opera Effect. Meanwhile the Custom setting’s Judder Reduction introduced SOE at aloof 4 or higher out of 10, while 0 above 3 showed some judder.

Unlike most TVs of this caliber, the Hisense isn’t capable of delivering higher than 600 requisition of motion resolution in my test, regardless of mode. The Motion Clearness option also doesn’t seem to improve motion resolution much; I aloof measured a maximum of 600 lines with it turned on as well. It does fix the backlight at a some level however, so I left it turned off.

Uniformity: Each of the three screens was roughly incompatibility at delivering an even image across the screen, with no major bright or dark spots, banding or spanking major issues with most material. The Hisense did show more glowing and stray illumination than the others, however, which showed up most prominently in the corners. From off-angle the Hisense was slightly better at maintaining intellectual fidelity than the TCL and about the same as the Sony, while the Hisense’s sad level fidelity from off-angle was similar to the others.

David Katzmaier

Gaming: Connecting my Xbox One Series X the Hisense supported 4K at 120Hz with VRR, and automatically concerned game mode. But when I started a game, Mass Effect 3 from the Legendary Edition, I noticed some blurring or ghosting along the securities of objects when I moved the camera, in sure high-contrast dark areas like a character’s black hair in contradiction of a brighter surround. Hisense has issued a software update that it said would address the converse, but even running that update (version V000.01.00A.L0706) the blurring maintained. It was present in 60Hz and 1080p as well. I also played a bit of Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and it didn’t seem as sure, but still visible.

I wouldn’t call it a deal-breaker — many TVs show blurring during gaming, especially quick right-stick camera moves — but it is something attentive gamers will probable notice and be bothered by. In comparison the TCL, for example, didn’t show nearly as much ghosting. For what it’s gracious other aspects of gaming image quality on the Hisense, especially contrast and brightness, were very good.

Input lag in game mode

was obliging at just over 15 milliseconds for both 1080p and 4K HDR. That’s just a pair milliseconds more (worse) than least-laggy 2021 TVs from LG and Samsung, and four or so better than the TCL, if you’re including, but I doubt even the twitchiest of gamers would peep those differences.

HDR and 4K video: The U8G’s insane brightness came ended most readily with HDR, but unfortunately for Hisense brightness isn’t everything. This TV showed a less natural look than the TCL and Sony, particularly with mixed theatrical material, and more blooming than either one. In its imperfect, however, it blew both out of the water with provocative HDR.

That superiority was immediately evident when I popped in my go-to evaluation stability for HDR, the the montage from the Spears and Munsil 4K Blu-ray. Spot measurements, for example the setting sun above the lake (2:10) measured 391, 560 and 621 nits on the Sony, TCL and Hisense respectively, a difference that was easily visible. Another obvious difference came with the objects on largely murky backgrounds, such as the peacock feather (2:59). The Hisense’s “black” was visibly deeper than the Sony’s and just a hair brighter (worse) than the TCLs, but in languages of impact and overall impression of contrast and pop, the Hisense was the best of the three with this material. Its colors also looked more saturated and natural than the TCL, and smooth to the Sony.

The Hisense didn’t look quite as good as the novel two with mixed theatrical content, however. Watching dark and mid-dark scenes in The Battle of the Five Armies, the Hisense looked worse than the other two. In Chapter 9 when the Congress rescues Gandalf from Dol Guldur, the U8G’s letterbox bars were brighter, robbing the image of pop, and the tower as a whole (28:04) examined flatter and less contrasty. I saw the same shrimp flatness difference in other dark scenes, for example when Thorin speaks afore the backdrop of Dale (40:19), and it could be brought by the U8G’s less-accurate EOTF. Blooming in the letterbox bars and dark shadows was also more sure and distracting on the Hisense than the others, especially in the lower-right and upper-left corners of my journal sample. 

In its favor the Hisense showed excellent sparkling again, a step ahead of the TCL and smooth to the Sony, but overall with theatrical material it was my least-favorite.

Hisense 65U8G characterize settings, HDR notes and charts

CNET is no longer publishing advanced picture settings for TVs we journal. Instead, we’ll give more general recommendations to get the best characterize without listing detailed while balance or color management rules (CMS) settings we may have used to calibrate the TV. As always, the settings provided are a guidepost, and if you want the most good picture you should get a professional calibration.

Prior to calibration, the Theater Night, Theater Day and Filmmaker modes were the most good on the U8G. All three modes showed somewhat reddish sparkling temperature and higher brightness than my dim-room target. After adjusting brightness to hit my 137-nit beleaguered, the basic two-point color temperature controls worked superbly to calibrate the red cast away, to the extent that I didn’t need to glum the available 10-point system at all. Primary and secondary sparkling accuracy was a similar story: accurate enough that I didn’t need to use the CMS.

Dark room settings (SDR):

Backlight menu

  • Local dimming: High
  • Backlight level: 0
  • Automatic Light Sensor: Off
  • Light sensor shift: 0 [grayed out]

Picture mode: Theater Night

  • Contrast: 11
  • Brightness: 50
  • Color: 53
  • Tint: 0
  • Sharpness: 0
  • Picture Size: Wide
  • Smart Scene: Off
  • Advanced Settings menu
  • Overscan: Off
  • Color Temperature: Low
  • Motion Enhancement: Film
  • Motion Clearness: Off
  • Noise Reduction: Off
  • Digital Noise Reduction: Off
  • HDMI Dynamic Range: Auto
  • Active Contrast: Off
  • Filmmaker Auto Mode Detection: Off
  • Color Space: Auto
  • Instant Game Response: Auto
  • FreeSync: Off [grayed out]

Calibration Settings menu

  • Color Tuner: [no change]
  • While Balance: [no change]
  • Gamma: 2.2
  • Gamma Calibration [no change]
  • RGB Only: Off

Bright room settings (SDR):

  • Picture mode: Theater Day [no novel changes]

HDR Notes: I ended up amdroll HDR Theater mode because it had the best combination of brightness and grayscale accuracy, but it wasn’t very accurate. Unfortunately none of the modestly, including HDR Theater, closely followed the target EOTF. Four published roughly the most accurate grayscale, namely HDR Game, IMAX Mode, HDR Theater and Filmmaker. The first three were brighter than the target EOTF, once the latter was darker (and exceedingly dark overall). I above up going with HDR Theater for my testing because unlike IMAX mode it granted me to tweak settings; IMAX was grayed out. The less-accurate EOTF also organizes secondary color measurements, ColorMatch HDR and Color Checker. Gamut coverage was obliging, however.

Geek box

Black luminance (0%)0.005Good
Peak white luminance (SDR)1619Good
Avg. gamma (10-100%)2.26Good
Avg. grayscale talarm (10-100%)0.72Good
Dark gray error (30%)0.67Good
Bright gray talarm (80%)0.68Good
Avg. color checker error1.00Good
Avg. saturation sweeps error1.16Good
Avg. sparkling error2.06Good
Red error2.03Good
Green error2.58Good
Blue error3.40Average
Cyan error1.66Good
Magenta error0.91Good
Yellow error1.76Good
1080p/24 Cadence (IAL)PassGood
Motion resolution (max)600Average
Motion resolution (dejudder off)600Average
Input lag (Game mode)15.30Good
Black luminance (0%)0.034Average
Peak white luminance (10% win)2288Good
Gamut % UHDA/P3 (CIE 1976)97.78Good
ColorMatch HDR error9.25Poor
Avg. color checker error5.44Poor
Input lag (Game mode, 4K HDR)15.37Good

Portrait Displays Calman calibration software was used in this review.