Hisense U8NAU review
Image: Alice Clarke.

Hisense U8NAU review: better than it has any right to be

8

When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck from buying a TV, there really is no going past Hisense. Sure, they might not make the best TVs on the market, but it’s almost impossible to get this many features at these prices from any other brand. The Hisense U8NAU follows this tradition by being shockingly reasonably priced for the quality it offers.

Sitting atop the more budget-conscious U7NAU, this isn’t the best TV you’ll ever see, but it’s certainly the best Mini LED for under $3,700 you can get in 2024.

Hisense U8NAU review

First impressions

My time with the 75-inch U8NAU was limited, because instead of being a review where they loaned me a TV for two weeks for an in-home review, it was just a few hours in an office building in Sydney. This is long enough to get a sense of colour, brightness, motion, reflections, and general quality.

But it doesn’t tell you what a TV is like to live with, how easy it is to lose the remote in the couch, how intuitive the home screen is after you’ve had time to adjust to it, etc. There also wasn’t a game console set up, so I can’t comment on any of the gaming quality claims.

TV showing a nature documentary
Image: Alice Clarke.

However, my first impression was that this TV looked like a fancy TV. It’s certainly thicker than most of the premium TVs being hocked by the big brands, but that also had a noticeable (positive) effect on the audio quality. It has a thin bezel, and lets you just focus on the picture.

The design of the stand is adjustable to allow you to fit a sound bar, or not.

My first impression of the remote is that it has a lot of buttons and is unusually long. The lots of buttons thing to me is a positive, and the long thing might make it harder to lose.

Hisense U8NAU specifications

Resolution4K / 3840 x 2160
Native refresh rate144 Hz
Dimming zones1,000
BrightnessUp to 3,000 nits
HDR ClassificationDolby Vision IQ
HDR 10+ Adaptive
HDR 10
Picture ModesStandard
Enhanced
FILMMAKER
Cinema
Energy Saving
Dynamic
Sports
ProcessorQuad Core (Hi-View Engine Pro)
User InterfaceVIDAA U7
Connectivity2x HDMI 2.0
2x HDMI 2.1
2x USB
Ethernet
Wi-Fi 6E
Headphone out
AV in
Bluetooth 5.0
Price (RRP)65-inch: $2,699
75-inch: $3,699
85-inch: $4,999
WarrantyThree years
Official websiteHisense Australia

The headline on this TV is really the brightness. She bright. If you wanted to blind someone, you probably couldn’t, but it would feel like it was in that ballpark if you turned it all the way up while in a dark room.

This is good, because it means you can watch TV even in a really bright living room at any time of the day. The anti-reflective coating on the screen also helps with this, though I think it could have been more effective.

The increase to 1,000 dimming zones is extremely welcome, especially compared to the other TVs at this price point.

I also love that it supports all the HDR modes, which is more than some TVs triple the price, making more content natively compatible. It’s a flex, coming from a budget brand when some premium brands don’t even do it.

One disappointing factor is that the TV only has two HDMI 2.1 ports. That was excusable four years ago, it’s less so now. But, again, this is a TV with lots of flagship features at a mid-range price, so some corners have to be cut, I suppose.

Performance

Overall, the Hisense U8NAU performed way better than other TVs in this price range. But not as good as the flagship TVs from other brands, which is understandable given those TVs cost more than double this one.

Brightness

Brightness is the big thing for Hisense this year. Yay, brightness. While I was very impressed by the brightness (so bright), I was surprised by how muted some of the colours were. On something as saturated as the cult classic film But I’m A Cheerleader, the bright pinks and blues shone through well, but still lacked some of the saturation.

Hisense U8NAU movie
Image: Alice Clarke.

On shows like Gilmore Girls, A Year In The Life, and The Marvellous Mrs Maisel, everything just looked super drab. Not washed out, like you’d expect with a TV focussed on brightness, but muted.

That said, they looked drab to be because I’m used to TVs that are more vibrant. The longer I watched the U8NAU, the more used to the muted colours I became. People who buy this TV are not going to be watching it back to back with other, fancier TVs, nor are they going to be watching it with a critical eye. They’re just going to be watching TV.

The colours were noticeably drab to me, it was not subtle, but it also wasn’t intolerable.

Motion

Motion is a huge focus on the U8NAU this year, it’s something that was brought up in the briefing multiple times. Making the motion smoother without getting that soap opera effect seems to have been a stated aim of this TV.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, Hisense has failed here. No matter how much I played with the settings, the motion either looked unnaturally smoothed, or unwatchably juddery.

You know how when you put on the windscreen wipers, they’re always either too fast or too slow for the current level of rain? Or how NPCs in video games walk faster than your walking pace but slower than your running pace? That’s what the motion settings were like to me. There was no Goldilocks zone I could find.

Again, this is something regular viewers would adjust to, and I’m sure that if I’d had more than a few hours with it I might have been able to find the right setting that satisfied my needs. But as it stands, motion was my biggest gripe on the U8NAU.

Remote

There is a trend with TV companies to make remotes smaller and with fewer buttons. This trend is stupid. Hisense, thankfully, has bucked the trend, making the U8NAU remote bloody massive and yet every button earns its place.

Solar remote
Image: Alice Clarke.

One really nice touch is that it’s a solar-powered remote. But unlike all the other solar power remotes I’ve used, it has the solar panel on the front. This makes sense, because it means you don’t have to leave the remote sitting upside down to charge.

The narrowness of the remote does take a bit of getting used to, but that likely means it will fit more comfortably in more hands. Though, the small buttons mean that some older people with poor dexterity will have difficulty using it accurately.

Operating System

Look, we all hate VIDAA. It tries so hard, but it lacks the easy compatibility of Google TV, which is one of the operating systems Hisense uses in the US. However, I do note that VIDAA this year looks suspiciously like the Samsung operating system from last year.

In fact, it is practically identical. I didn’t really love the Samsung layout last year, but this does indicate that this is the trend, so it might be me that is wrong and not the children (to paraphrase Principal Skinner).

VIDAA U7 OS
Image: Alice Clarke.

Like all the big companies, VIDAA has a bunch of free ad-supported television channels, but unlike all the companies it also has a bunch of free movies on demand. As this includes one of my favourites of all time (But I’m A Cheerleader), I now have significantly warmer feelings towards VIDAA.

All up – VIDAA could be easier to use, but it could also be worse. It’s just merely fine.

Audio

Ordinarily, I am strongly on team “you need a soundbar”. Modern TVs are thin, and sound needs room to move. But I was shocked by just how good the speakers were on this TV. I kept looking for a hidden soundbar, it was that good. The sound was full, there was enough bass to get by, and the surround effect was very good.

I can’t remember the last time I heard a TV without a soundbar and didn’t have something in me die a little. If you’ve read any of my reviews before, you’ll know how much of an audio snob I am. So, trust me when I say that I was impressed by what this TV pulled off. It is very, very good. I’ve heard $14,000 TVs that don’t sound as good as this one out of the box.

Who is the Hisense U8NAU for?

This TV is for discerning TV enjoyers on a budget. You simply cannot get specs like that for this price with almost any other brand. Now, those specs don’t tell the whole story, and there are things I would want improved in an ideal world.

But if you’re looking for a Mini LED TV using Quantum Dot technology, and your budget is limited, the Hisense U8NAU is a lot of TV for (comparatively) not a lot of money.

Hisense U8NAU
If you’re looking for a Mini LED TV using Quantum Dot technology, the Hisense U8NAU is a lot of TV for (comparatively) not a lot of money.
Features
9
Value for money
9
Performance
7
Ease of use
7
Design
8
Positives
A lot of bang for your buck
Excellent audio
Bright
Negatives
Muted colours
Motion settings are not ideal
VIDAA is still an inferior operating system
8