Hisense is not the first brand that comes to mind when shopping for a premium TV. Its new Quantum Dot, 4K Ultra HD premium, HDR Supreme, 65P9 may just change your mind.
Let’s face it – if you have a lazy $5-10K you will be looking at the best from Samsung, LG, Sony and Panasonic. Well, the Hisense 65P9 at $4,449 and the huge 75P9 at $6,499 might just upset your cognitive dissonance enough to consider them.
Cognitive dissonance is a wonderful thing. Practically it means you stress because you bought a TV that does not necessarily have the street cred of the big guys. Is it as good? Are the colours as good? Will it last as long? Nagging doubts.
Let’s put that to bed. Hisense is a safe bet. You just saved a couple of grand. Sooner rather than later, it will have the street cred you desire.
But I can buy a 65-inch for $1,000 or so
Yes, you can. It may also have a funny name, and it won’t have half the specifications of the Hisense 65P9. This is not a cheap and cheerful set. It is a premium set. If cost is an issue, the series 8 has edge lit Quantum Dot, so it is even more economical.
Hisense has the series 4, 5 and 6 that fit in the economy bracket. These are a safe buy if all you want is a 4K TV. Read GadgetGuy’s overview of the 2018 TV range here
Review: Hisense 65-inch Series 9 Model 65P9
The Series 9 is as good as it gets for a Quantum Dot, full backlit LED-based TV.
Sure, we could extol the virtues of OLED – LG, Sony and Panasonic. But you are going to have to fork out at least a couple of thousand dollars or more to get the best. OLED has its place in high-end media rooms where you control ambient light.
Quantum Dot LED is excellent in a typical Aussie home where there is lots of light from windows and surrounds although reflectivity will always be an issue.
Hisense 65P9 Specifications and comments
We felt it important to place these specifications up front. Frankly, they are as good as any other premium set – there are no deal breakers.
|4K ULED||√||3840×2160 with a viewing angle of 89° (Horiz/Vert)|
|Quantum Dot||√||This is Hisense’s second generation that displays 1 billion 10-bit colour.|
|UHD Premium Certified||√||Ultra HD Premium Certified means true colour, brightness and clarity as filmmakers and colour technicians want you to see them.|
|Wide colour gamut||√||Adobe Wide Gamut RGB) offers a large gamut by using pure spectral primary colours. It can store a wider range of colour values than sRGB or Adobe RGB.|
|HDR Supreme||√||2,500 nit peak brightness brings out details in shadows and bright images.|
|Motion||200Hz||No judder or image tearing in fast motion screen|
1000+ zones 75-inch
700 zones 65-inch
|Unlike standard LED/LCD panels which are edge lit and use fibre light tubes to spread the light over a panel, this uses LED Backlighting. This means less light spill from a bright white image element into a neighbouring element.
You can read more here.
|HDR10||A superset of HDR|
|VIDAA U 2.5 interface||√||Hisense’s own operating system. It is up to version 2.5.
RemoteNOW offers control from iOS and Android devices.
|VIDAA Smart||The website, says it has Freeview Plus delivTimeshift,oadband – it did not seem to be in the installed apps.
The app store is provided by third-party Vewd. Vewd claims 1500 apps. Currently, there are about 200 Hisense active appps covering music, lifestyle and more.The internet browser is Opera.
|HDMI||2 x [email protected]
1 x 1.4
1 x 2.0 ARC/CEC
|This allows you to use it as an HDMI switching unit connecting a 4K Blu-ray player, Set-top-box (Foxtel), Game Console, and AV amp or soundbar etc. Very flexible|
|USB||1 x USB 1.0 5V/.5A
2 x USB 3.0 5V/1A
|Supports OTG external devices to 2TB for use as a PVR (personal video recorder). HD video record is about 10GB per hour.
It encodes/decodes H.264 and H.265 as well as playing most audio and image formats including JPG, BMP, PNG, GIF, AVI, MP4, MKV and MP3. DRM content is not supported.
|SPDIF||1 x Toslink port||For a sound bar or another audio device|
|AV||I x RCA AV input||For older style RCA (L+R+AV) connections (turntable et.c)|
|Comms||Wi-Fi AC dual band
|The addition of 5GHz Wi-Fi AC is great for 4K video streaming.
It also has Ethernet if your router is too far away.
Supports screen mirroring (Anyview cast but not Chrome or Apple) and DLNA device streaming. Also has network testing – handy.
|Sound||30W per channel (total 90W)
|Harman Kardon tuned speakers almost eliminate the need in larger rooms for a separate soundbar. This is a 2.1 setup.
Dolby Digital (not Dolby Atmos)
2 x Tweeter
4 x Mid
4 x Woofer
The system supports PCM sound passthrough for a 7.1.2 sound bar or amp.
|Size with stand 1449 × 947 × 302 mm x 32.2kg
VESA mounted to a wall 1449 × 868 ×67 mm x 29.5kg
|Includes||Remote controller||IR based will control ARC/CEC compatible devices.
RemoteNOW for smartphone use
Parental controls for time and content access
|None of these are deal breakers|
65P9 setup – out of the box
A 65-inch is a big TV. The box is 1626 × 1062 × 242mm x 42kg – this needs professional installation.
Nevertheless, we two-man lifted it up the stairs and into the boardroom. Like most TVs, you remove the carton by sliding the outer skin up. The TV sits in a foam base. We laid it flat on the boardroom table (you need a big table because the stand needs to hang over the edge) and attached the front stand and rear support.
The stand is in two parts – a curved front bar and rear perspex support. You will need at least a 35cm deep shelf. If you get a soundbar as well, you will need even more depth. Although the JBL 5.1 fitted inside the curved bar.
While it has a respectable 89° horizontal/vertical viewing angle, you need to place it at a suitable height matching where your eyes are centred. So, sit on the couch, measure the distance from the floor to your eyes and that is where the middle of the screen must be.
Mount it too high or low, and you get off-angle issues such as loss of brightness or out of focus image. Its mounting requirements are no more onerous than any other 4K, LED/LCD set. OLED is a little more flexible in placement height.
I recommend wall mounting but make sure you have some form of cable management system because you will need a power cable, up to four HDMI cables etc. Cables running up the wall can look ugly.
It’s best to have at least three metres viewing distance. I recommend a little more depth especially if you like to slouch into the couch. We are reviewing a 75-inch soon – going to need a bigger boardroom.
The rear of the screen contains six backfiring speakers and these need to ‘bounce’ off a wall for best results.
How is the picture?
First a warning. All brands of TVs in the store use ‘store’ mode. This oversaturates colours and drives brightness at 100+%. Yes, the TV can achieve these levels, but it is not what you want at home. Hisense at least allows you to switch on (or off) ‘store demo’ mode if you really want to.
Second, GadgetGuy avoids comparisons to other brands because colour perception is a personal thing.
GadgetGuy uses factory reset mode (standard) and looks for
- Accurate colours. This provides accurate, realistic colours.
- Overall colour uniformity: RGB colour bar full-screen testing shows 100% uniformity
- Brightness uniformity: 100% white testing shows no dull areas. 100% black showed no shiny areas. Brightness is claimed to be 2500 nit peak
- Contrast capabilities: We could not test this
- Clarity/crispness: Standard mode is crisp with no jaggies
- HDR effect (HDR, HDR 10, Dolby Vision): HRD10 is effective. When disabled the difference in detail is enormous. It does not have Dolby Vision
- Backlight bleed: It exhibits no backlight bleed at the edges or between zones
- Black levels: It achieved 92% black which is better than most typical panels. Blacks here were deep but not inky black like OLED
- Reflectivity: The panel has a reasonable degree of reflectivity so ensure strong light sources like windows have light control.
- And (if they have it), the uniformity of local dimming: Perfect
This panel rates close to a ten-out-of-ten
There are five types of picture modes, Standard, Natural, Cinema, Dynamic, and Football.
Also adjustable is backlight, brightness, contrast, colour saturation, colour temperature, black level, sharpness and tint.
In all tests, viewers preferred the dynamic mode preset as it presented the more vivid colours. Cinema was the more accurate colour. Use the presets instead of playing with colour setups.
Upscale adds ‘like’ pixels to the image. So, if you were upscaling a yellow banana, it adds more yellow pixels all around the single yellow one. The trick is edge sharpening where the banana delineates onto a background.
The lower the source content, the more pixels it must add. Upscale does not add detail, e.g. 4K is 3840 x 2160 (8,294,400 pixels)
- 1280x720p (921,600 pixels) means the TV makes up (inserts) 7,372,800 extra pixels
- 1920 x 1080 (2,073,600 pixels) means the TV makes up 6,220,800 pixels.
We tried it with a variety of content from old 480i black and white to 1080p. While it was a ‘stretch’ to upscale 480/576/720 (grainy) to 4K, 1080p content upscales very well.
The TV has enough processing power to analyse each frame and intelligently add pixels and sharpen edges.
Any Miracast or Wi-Di device (many Android and Windows devices) will cast to the screen. Apple iPhone requires an Apple TV box to cast to the screen. Some Google/Chrome devices require a Chromecast HDMI dongle.
How does it sound?
The system has Harman Kardon Acoustic Design speakers. This unit has 2 x Tweeters, 4 x Mid and 4 x Woofer (total 10). Six of these are backfiring (or at least ported to the rear) and require a surface (like a wall) to bounce off. Initially we put it on a bench and the sound was a little ‘off’. We placed a surface behind it then things got interesting.
Without the wall bass kicked in at 180Hz and was relatively flat to 5kHz. This is a mid-sound signature best suited to voice. It is a little thin!
With the wall behind bass kicked in at around 100Hz, and it was flat to about 10kHz. This is more a warm and sweet sound signature – easy to listen to.
Maximum volume was 80dB with a small amount of distortion.
We were also testing the JBL Bar 5.1 (GadgetGuy review here) and Sonos Beam (GadgetGuy review here) soundbars. These are subject to a separate article. Suffice to say that the JBL with its separate sub-woofer really shook the house with bass kicking in at 40Hz. Sonos was at 80Hz.
There are also presets – standard, theatre, music, speech, late night and sports. It is pretty hard to alter a native sound signature too much but these act as an EQ adding slightly more bass, mid or treble.
It also has adjustments for surround sound (psychoacoustic processing) to place sounds beside, behind and above the viewer.
The moral of this story – buy a good soundbar for the best sound. The TV sound is fine for an average lounge.
VIDAA U 2.5 interface
It is a proprietary interface and is easy to use. It covers notifications, apps, live TV, inputs, media, and settings.
Installed apps include Netflix, Stan, Youtube, SBS on Demand, and others. A third-party app store called Vewd is used.
A USB mouse and keyboard will plug into the TV or use Logitech’s excellent K830 TV integrated trackpad and keyboard. It will help enormously in the internet browser and passwords.
RemoteNOW is the Hisense app on iOS or Android that uses Wi-Fi (the TV does not have Bluetooth) to control any 2018 P5-9 series TV.
In it can change channels, adjust volume, launch apps, adjust settings and use the smartphone screen keyboard to enter text.
I found it intutive and easy to use. It was quite quick, more than the IR remote.
The remote is a tad old-fashioned – lots of buttons
The image tells it all. The high-end trend is less-is-more.
GadgetGuy’s take – Hisense makes sense
There is nothing I can say if you are a brand snob. Go on buy a well-known brand, have a Sonos sound system and peer through you Ray Bans as you drive your Beamer convertible. Hisense makes no sense to you.
But for Joe and Jane Average Hisense series 8 or 9 (both Quantum Dot LED panels) makes sense (or is that cents). It is what they should aspire to. We will be reviewing the 8-series soon.
Would I buy one?
Last year I purchased the top-of-the-range 65” LG, E7 OLED (damn the new 2018 E8 replaces it) and LG’s SJ9 Dolby Atmos 500W Soundbar. I also own the top-of-the-range Sony 55” X9300E full backlit LED (ditto 2018 X9F series). Not to leave out Samsung QLED or Pansonic but I don’t need any more TVs yet!
I have both types to use as reference points for the best of the best, at least in 2017. Let’s just say I know TVs.
Picture-wise the Hisense series 9 is up there with the Sony LED/LCD and that is saying something.
So if I wanted the best performance for my dollar,s Hisense would be my choice.
- Well made
- Backlit series 9 panel is outstanding
- 200Hz refresh for smooth motion
- Colour is natural and wide colour gamut for 10-bit colour is excellent
- HDR is good, not great
- VIDAA U 2.5 interface is competent, but RemoteNOW smartphone app did not work
- Should last ten years or more
- Speaker system is good but buy a sound bar
- Limited apps for it
- RemoteNOW app did not work
- Old fashioned remote
- Would have liked to see Bluetooth and Chromecast as well
It is a little tricky to rate when compared to top-end, brand name, TVs. It provides all of the necessary features, it is well built and provides great value.
- Overall: 4.3 out of 5
- Features: 4 out of 5 – missing Bluetooth and Chromecast
- Value for Money: 5 out of 5 – Good value in this segment but shop around
- Performance: 4.5 out of 5 – the panel is top-rate
- Ease of Use: 4 out of 5 – VIDAA does as promised, but other TV OS are more polished
- Design: 4 out of 5 – nice but not sexy
Price (2018 TVs are P-series)
If you are willing to shop around the 65-inch is as low as $3,875 plus delivery.