We can best describe the Hisense 55U8HQ as an affordable subtopper that simply aims for a bright living room. The specifications promise a lot of image and sound quality, and gamers will also get their money’s worth. Is the combination really as good as it looks?
Hisense 55U8HQ – specifications
|What||Ultra HD LCD TV (MiniLED FALD, 14×8 zones, Quantum Dot)|
|Screen format||55 inches (139 cm), flat|
|Connections||4x HDMI (2x V2.0, 2x V2.1 eARC/ARC, ALLM, VRR, 4K120), 1x composite video, 1x stereo minijack, 1x optical digital out, 2x USB, 1x headphones, 2x antenna, Bluetooth|
|Extras||Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10+ Adaptive, HDR10, HLG, WiFi (802.11b/g/n/ac/ax) built-in, VIDAA U6 OS, USB/DLNA media player, DVB-T2/C/S2, CI+ lock|
|Dimensions||1,233 x 784 x 300 mm (incl. base)|
|Weight||24.5 kg (incl. base)|
|Consumption||SDR 82 (G) / HDR 170 Watts (G)|
Hisense 55U8HQ – Design
Hisense isn’t aiming for the slimmest possible designs, this one is 7.8cm thick. The beveled edges and the one centimeter wide dark silver edge do help to make the profile a bit more elegant.
Central to the top, but invisible from the front, are the upward-firing speakers. At the bottom of the device, the loudspeaker bar catches the eye. It is finished in fabric.
The wide central base plate provides a stable base for the TV. We found that the device can wobble quite hard fore and aft. Anyone who might opt for a soundbar should bear in mind that you only have 5 cm of space under the device and even only 4 cm if you place the soundbar on the base plate. Since the speaker bar at the bottom of the TV is no longer used, it is not a problem if the soundbar covers it, at least as long as you think it is aesthetically pleasing. In that case you have more than 8 cm of space.
Hisense 55U8HQ – Connections
In addition to the two HDMI 2.0 connections, this Hisense is now also equipped with HDMI 2.1 connections . Those were still missing on the 2021 model. On HDMI 3 and 4 you get the full 48 Gbps bandwidth and you can therefore game in 4K120. In addition, it also offers eARC, ALLM and VRR.
The device has two USB connections, a composite video and stereo minijack input, optical digital audio out, and a headphone connection. There is Bluetooth, an Ethernet connection and WiFi. Only the Ethernet connection, optical digital output and one USB connection point to the rear, which can interfere with tight wall mounting. Hisense has sunk these connections somewhat in the back, which limits that risk.
Ease of use and smart TV
With VIDAA U, now version 6, Hisense has a very responsive and well-arranged smart TV system.
The main change compared to the previous version is that you can now use VIDAA U with different user profiles. The VIDAA app also makes it easier to install the TV, and that way you manage your profile. Although this is completely optional, you can also use the TV without a profile.
The interface has become a bit more compact, the twelve apps that were still in two rows in the previous version are now in one row. We still find the top half of the Home screen wasted space, but one click down selects the apps. They will then show recommendations if available. Recommendations below the row of apps are not customizable.
The settings menu is virtually unchanged. It is clear and very useful. All in all, VIDAA provides you with a very smooth user experience.
The remote brought a few surprises. No more light metal remote, but a much less elegant plastic model. What is most striking, however, are the twelve hot keys at the top of the remote. That is really too much of a good thing. We can still understand YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video and Disney+. But keyboard shortcuts for Rakuten TV, Facebook Watch, or even Deezer, Plex, NBA league, Kidoodle TV, and Vidaa Free, we think are overkill. The button for Vidaa TV leads to the live TV channels, so we find them somewhat useful.
The layout is good, the keys are easy to press and all have clear icons or inscriptions. But where the previous remote still looked modern, this one tends to be old-fashioned.
Vidaa U6 is steadily building its range of apps, including local content. Where we missed Apple TV and Disney + last year, they are now also available. The most important international names are all present. Locally, there is already NPO, Kijk and NLziet for the Netherlands, and there are plans for HBO Max, Viaplay and Videoland. Streamz and VTM Go are planned for Belgium. So there is still some backlog to make up for, but Hisense is on its way. A tip for those looking for a nice screensaver, take a look at VIDAA Art. That app works together with DeviantArt , a well-known website where you can find tons of digital artwork in the most diverse categories.
The USB media player supports most of our test formats, including subtitles and soundtracks (also in Dolby Atmos and DTS), but no longer supports the older Divx or Xvid. The TV has a single DVB-T2/C/S2 tuner and one CI+ slot, and you can record to an external USB hard drive.
VIDAA Voice is available in Dutch, and is definitely worth a look. The TV recognized our commands very well. If you want to test it, just say ‘help’ to see an overview of possible commands.
Hisense 55U8HQ – Image processing
The Hisense has decent image processing, although the performance does not really exceed a good average. Deinterlacing and upscaling are very good, the TV can display HD content sharply, with a lot of detail. You can possibly raise the sharpness setting a bit to somewhere between 5 and 10, otherwise the images will be very soft. What we noticed is that the noise reduction in the lowest setting has little or no effect. To eliminate noise, you have to move to the ‘medium’ position. Compression noise and block formation remain something where Hisense definitely needs to perform better, the MPEG noise reduction provides only limited improvement. Unfortunately, this also means that color bands in soft color transitions always remain clearly visible.
The screen delivers decent sharpness in fast-moving images, only the finest detail is lost. ‘Clear Motion’ did not solve this, we saw the brightness decrease, but in return we did not get more detail, leave it off. The part where Hisense could use a slightly more powerful processor is motion interpolation. In the Ultra Smooth Motion ‘Film’ mode, far too much judder remains when you watch movies, which was annoying. Fortunately, the ‘Clear’ mode is sufficient to solve that. Those who demand smooth images can switch to Standard or Smooth. Those don’t create too many image artifacts, but at fast pans the processor can’t follow and clearly stutters.
|Picture Mode Settings / Backlight||Picture mode settings||Picture mode settings||Advanced settings|
Local Dimming: Low-Medium
Light Sensor: On
Adaptive Contrast: Off
|Ultra Smooth Motion: Clear-Smooth
Clear Motion: Off
Noise Reduction: Off/Medium
MPEG Noise Reduction: Low
Color Temperature: Warm 1
|Color Gamut: Auto
Black Level: Auto
Gamma Correction: BT.1886 or 2.2
Hisense 55U8HQ – Picture quality
Just like on its predecessor, the U8HQ uses an ADS panel (a variant of IPS). The backlight now uses miniLEDs and Full Array Local Dimming to improve contrast. The wide color gamut is provided by quantum dots .
As expected, the ADS panel delivers a fairly moderate ANSI contrast of 1,160:1. The local dimming offers 14×8 segments, and can raise the contrast to 1,740:1. In some test patterns we get just over 2,100:1. But with that relatively limited number of segments, it is difficult to properly display dark content or extreme contrasts. With the Local Dimming in the lowest position, you sacrifice some contrast, but the zone boundaries remain fairly well hidden. If you still want a little more depth in the image, you can set Local Dimming to the medium position. The black reproduction is clearly better, and the contrast is even better, but you risk seeing a vague zone border here or there. We do not recommend the highest setting in SDR. This is mainly because the dimming then lags a little too much behind the image,
The uniformity is very good, both in dark and bright images. You will not notice the small deviations in practice, there is also almost no dirty screen effect.
Hisense has a ‘Filmmaker mode’ with decent, but certainly not perfect calibration. The gray scale has a red tint, and the color reproduction is sometimes oversaturated, a problem that we see especially in red, and also in skin tones. A lot of black detail is visible and the intense colors and good brightness are certainly an asset in a well-lit living room.
Hisense 55U8HQ – HDR
The U8HQ supports HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ Adaptive, a very complete offering. He also has a lot of raw potential to offer. On a 10% window, we measure 1,441 nits, an impressive result. And on a completely white window, it still delivers 588 nits. Of course, the local dimming ensures that you sacrifice some brightness on the smaller windows, but that is not too bad.
The quantum dots provide a particularly wide color range, 77% Rec.2020 and 96% P3. So there is not only a lot of light, but also a lot of color. How does the Hisense deal with that?
It is striking that the Filmmaker mode is better calibrated in HDR than in SDR and that produces beautiful images. The only thing that catches the eye is that it lacks quite a bit of black detail, especially in dark images where the local dimming has to intervene hard. It has good tone mapping that seems to preserve almost all light nuances up to 4,000 nits or slightly higher. In mostly clear images he plays his trumps well, with colorful and intense results. In dark images or high-contrast images, that low contrast gets in the way. You can really see the local dimming at work. But it is striking how strong this Hisense comes out of the corner, HDR images will leave an excellent impression.
Gaming, Reflections and viewing angles
The ADS panel has a good viewing angle for color and brightness, but the anti-glare coating can have annoying side effects on contrast. From an angle, that can put a solid haze over the screen, especially if you’re too high or too low. So keep the center of the screen at eye level.
In game mode, this Hisense has an input lag of 16.5 ms (4K60) and 7.6 ms (2K120). Those are excellent results. The VRR support includes HDMI VRR and AMD Freesync Premium. Keep in mind that eARC is on HDMI 3, so you have to sacrifice an HDMI 2.1 connection if you opt for an external audio solution.
Hisense 55U8HQ – Sound quality
Dolby Atmos support, the forward-firing speakers, a woofer in the back, and upward-firing speakers in the back, the Hisense is well equipped. Good for a total of 70 watts of power. And you can hear that. We didn’t find it necessary to turn the volume above 30, which was more than enough to fill the room.
A tip, enable Dolby Atmos in the settings, instead of DTS Virtual:X . Dolby Atmos sounds much fuller and more pleasant. For films and solid soundtracks, the performance is fine, although you can test which sound preset you prefer. There is good spaciousness, and a good portion of bass, although it sounded rather ‘boomy’ in some parts. The height aspect of Dolby Atmos is rather limited. It keeps distortion well under control. We could also taste the performance of the Hisense for music, in short, it performs excellently in terms of audio.
Hisense 55U8HQ – Conclusion
Hisense aims for affordable viewing pleasure, but does not lose sight of the fact that image quality is important. That you have to make some compromises for that very attractive price seems very reasonable to us. The IPS-type panel delivers rather moderate contrast. The local dimming does improve that, but it cannot avoid that you sometimes see the zones in dark HDR images.
For sports fans, however, this TV has a lot to offer. It is very bright and has a very wide color range. That is a perfect combination to deliver a nice image on a sunny afternoon. This is also a strong asset for HDR, in addition to the fact that it supports all HDR formats. The Hisense also performs strongly in terms of audio, the atmosphere in the living room is guaranteed. Thanks to VIDAA U, you have a smooth smart TV system at home, with quite a few apps. Hisense is still working on more local apps, but they are planned. If you want to game, you can do that perfectly, there are two HDMI 2.1 connections that have the required characteristics to play in top quality.
- Very high brightness
- Very wide color range
- Strong HDR performance
- VIDAA u
- Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+
- Powerful audio reproduction with Dolby Atmos
- HDMI 2.1 ALLM, VRR and eARC
- Limited contrast
- Local dimming visible in dark HDR images
- Just wait for all local content