Se­ries 7 55-Inch ULED TV Knows Its Strengths

SmartHouse - - CONTENTS - Writ­ten by Fer­gus Hal­l­i­day

If noth­ing else, Hisense’s new Se­ries 7 55-inch HDTV feels like it’s push­ing the bound­aries of what high-end LCD dis­plays can of­fer. It’s a ver­i­ta­ble show­case for the com­pany’s 17 ex­clu­sive tech and one that show that your next TV doesn’t have to be OLED to look good. For all that com­pa­nies push­ing the next-gen dis­play tech have been talk­ing about it be­ing a game-changer, the re­al­ity is that the cri­te­ria that de­fines a good TV haven’t re­ally changed.

Hisense’s Se­ries 7 is strikes just the right bal­ance be­tween sleek and pow­er­ful. It sits com­fort­ably on the cut­ting edge of tele­vi­sual tech­nol­ogy - fea­tur­ing first-class lo­cal dim­ming, HDR and a sub­stan­tially larger colour gamut than other TVs. Where other com­pa­nies have been busy ex­per­i­ment­ing with new breeds of dis­play, Hisense have stuck with what they know - and the com­mit­ment to their craft shows in the re­sults.

On a tech­ni­cal level, it makes a strong case for it­self. Hisense aren’t just set­tling for com­pat­i­bil­ity with Ul­tra 4K and High Dy­namic Range video con­tent on a ba­sic level but ac­tively push­ing it fur­ther than its competitor­s. The lo­cal dim­ming and the wider colour gamut here make a big dif­fer­ence - as does the Ul­traS­mooth Mo­tion tech un­der­pin­ning it. Im­ages look as smooth as they are de­tailed.

If the Se­ries 7 is your first ex­pe­ri­ence with the for­mat, you’re in for a treat. Though the ini­tial jump to the height­ened re­al­ism of UHD may re­quire a brief ad­just­ment pe­riod. In terms of what’s avail­able in 4K: most mod­ern home video re­leases in­clude Ul­tra 4K via Blu-ray and Net­flix has re­cently be­gun to adopt the for­mat for many of its orig­i­nal se­ries in­clud­ing Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black and Marco Polo.

Of course, high-end pic­ture qual­ity would be noth­ing with­out the au­dio to match it. Hisense’s Se­ries 7 range de­liv­ers de­cent re­sults on this front, in­cor­po­rat­ing top-notch speak­ers that lever­age DBX-TV’s trio of au­dio tech­nolo­gies - To­talSon­ics, To­talVol­ume and To­talSur­round - to try max­i­mize your lis­ten­ing ex­pe­ri­ences. How­ever, the end re­sults of this didn’t blow us away. Putting aside the re­al­ity that most cus­tomers mak­ing the jump from HD to UHD are likely to be us­ing their new TV with a more ad­vanced sound sys­tem - the Se­ries 7’s au­dio ca­pa­bil­i­ties aren’t par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive - even if they are a lit­tle bet­ter than most other Ul­tra HD TVs op­er­at­ing in the same price range.

Un­for­tu­nately, we weren’t so sold on the Se­ries 7 de­sign. The thin steel frame feels a bit flavour­less and the at­tach­able stand legs look to have been made of a no­tice­ably cheaper metal. It’s rare that the frame feels truly sure and rarer still that it’s pos­sessed of a con­fi­dent and dis­tinct style.

Thank­fully, the smart TV side of the equa­tion fares bet­ter. The Se­ries 7 pack­age is brought to­gether by Hisense’s own VIDAA Smart TV plat­form. It’s a fairly slick and user-friendly back­end with sup­port for YouTube, Red Bull TV, 4K Net­flix and Free­view Plus. Con­tent, apps and stream­ing ser­vices are ar­ranged in a grid of pan­els, with a slide-out bar used to con­trol your in­puts. It’s not the best Smart TV in­ter­face we’ve ever en­coun­tered - but it’s def­i­nitely not the worst ei­ther. All up, it’s as ser­vice­able as it needs to be and if you’re un­happy with that there’s noth­ing stop­ping you from plug­ging in a Chrome­cast or FetchTV.

The Se­ries 7 range is Hisense’s an­swer to OLED – and de­spite some mi­nor caveats, it’s a good one.

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