Hisense Series 8 ULED 2017: Full, in-depth review

Hisense takes the fight to the home entertainment heavyweights

Hisense Series 8 ULED
  • Hisense Series 8 ULED
  • Hisense Series 8 ULED
  • Expert Rating

    3.00 / 5

Pros

  • Reasonably priced
  • Built-in 4K Netflix

Cons

  • Edge-lit with underwhelming blacks
  • Disappointing video processing

Bottom Line

While Hisense punches above its weight in the budget television category, this new top-shelf television struggles to hold its own.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    $ 4,999.00 (AUD)

Picture quality

The Series 9 ULED model is one of the brightest televisions on the market, pumping out an impressive 2200 nits, but the Series 8 tested here reins that in to a much more conservative 1000 nits – falling short of the 1500 nits offered by Samsung's QLED Q7 and Q8 range.

Unfortunately Hisense has fallen short in overall picture quality, despite the high expectations following last year's $1999 Hisense Series 7 ULED. While last year's budget ULED punched above its weight, this year's premium ULED is seriously outclassed alongside other top shelf LED-backlit televisions, let alone OLED.

The Hisense screen struggles to produce decent blacks and the backlight looks patchy at times. In Standard picture mode deep blacks come across as dull dark greys and switching to Cinema mode makes little difference except now the entire picture looks washed out. Even when watching High Dynamic Range content on Ultra HD Blu-ray like The Martian, there's plenty of detail in the shadows but the picture looks flat and dull because the colours lack punch and the blacks aren't deep enough to offer a truly life-life picture.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Adjusting the brightness, contrast and backlight in an effort to improve the black levels sees you lose fine detail, such as the finest stars in Gravity as Sandra Bullock spins off into the void. Bumping up the colours helps the Earth below look more vibrant, but the picture quality still falls short of vivid Samsung QLED.

David Attenborough's Planet Earth II looks impressive at first glance, but this Hisense can't match the vibrancy of QLED nor the contrast of Full Array backlit LED or OLED. To be fair you need an eye for detail to appreciate the Series 8's shortcomings, particularly in a brightly-lit room, but the poor black levels become more obvious once you kill the lights. At these prices you're entitled to expect better, otherwise your money would be better spent on a budget television with a budget price tag.

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