Price (RRP): $3499/$4999 (55/65")
Hisense Series X OLED TV is its first attempt at OLED. It joins the esteemed ranks of LG, Sony, and Panasonic that offer a range of OLED TVs.
Ironically, like Hisense, all buy the panels from LG and add their take to the electronics, marketing, distribution and warranty. So, regardless of marketing hype, all the above brands offer signature inky black and OLED panel capabilities.
GadgetGuy was one of the first reviewers to spend some quality time with the Hisense Series X OLED 55″ – there is a 65” version as well. We ran it through its paces using various test software that reveals the strengths and weaknesses of any TV.
Let’s start by saying that for its first-generation attempt the results are pretty good. LG has been making OLED TVs since 2010 and Sony and Panasonic are onto their second-generation OLED TVs.
What is OLED good and not so good at?
OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) simply means each of the 4K, 3840 x 2160 (8,294,400) pixels is a little light. Switch it on (full or infinitely dimmed) or switch it off for perfect inky black. OLEDs have close to an infinite contrast ratio. OLED light shines through a Red, Green and Blue ‘emissive’ layer that products the colours and hues. If you have heard of the term AMOLED that simply means Active Matrix – every pixel is controlled separately.
LG is the master at making larger OLED panels. Rival Samsung is the master at making smaller panels for tablets and smartphones. OLED is a ‘hot’ product, and there are dozens of companies investing in OLED production plants. But it will take time before they can match the size or quality of LG TV panels. It was a wise move to start the Hisense Series X from that high base.
One downside to OLED is that its panels, regardless of brand, are highly reflective to achieve the colour saturation levels. OLED performs best where you can control ambient and direct lighting – in media rooms or darker rooms. Otherwise, LED/LCD or QLED are better in bright rooms.
Another is the potential for burn-in an image if a stationery image displays for a long time. Screensavers usually prevent that.
Colour and movement
So, we start from that high base and assume that all LG 2018 OLED panel characteristics are similar regardless of brand. That means slim, glass panels, great off-angle viewing, HDR, wide colour gamut and great motion control. Note that this OLED does not have Dolby Vision (a superset of HDR or Dolby Atmos sound).
The first thing to look at is the processor – the brains to control 8.3 million little pixels and send them the right information. Hisense simply calls this a quad-core which is a refreshing change from marketing speak like Sony’s X1 Ultimate (before that it was Extreme and then just X1), LG Alpha9 (before that Alpha 8, 7 etc) and Panasonics Hollywood tuned Hexa Chroma Drive Pro.
My take after an hour or so was that the processor was quite good for the first attempt. There were no obvious faults in processing primary colours or movement.
When we ran the Chroma Bar test is was flawless in primary RGB (red, green and blue)
But it struggled to produce secondary colours like yellow, pink and white. This was also evident where the colour bars abutted each other – there was a very slight overlap between colours.
Screen uniformity of colour was excellent – DeltaE variation was similar to other brands.
Greyscale tests starting at zero black to pure white in 2.5% increments were good although the first 5% of black was the same – no big deal.
Motion tearing or judder was not evident. The panel has a 200 Smooth Motion rate which I understand is four times the 50Hz picture rate using Motion Estimation/Compensation. To do that it inserts black pixels (turns off an OLED pixel) or may insert a slightly offset copy of the previous frame.