If you’re looking more for value than outright performance, the U7QF Hisense is a solid enough TV. 65-inches for less than £800 is not to be sniffed at, and while this isn’t a set for more critical movie watching, it puts in a mostly pleasing performance.
- Improved motion performance
- Dolby Vision HDR
- Colourful images
- Affordable for a 65-inch telly
- Excellent gaming performance
- Average black levels
- Some blooming, especially off-axis
- Flat audio delivery
- Review Price: £799
- HDR10, HLG, HDR1O+, Dolby Vision
- Dolby Atmos compatible
- VIDAA U 4.0 OS
- Freeview Play
- Full Array Local Dimming
The Hisense U7QF is second in line to the flagship U8QF in its 2020 range. Like the rest of Hisense’s output, the emphasis is on performance and affordability, packing multi-HDR support, a full array local dimming panel and Atmos sound for £799.
Having liked the U8Q well enough – less so the mid-range A7500F – where does the U7QF fit in? Well, after some updates, we’re upbeat about the U7QF’s prospects.
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Hisense U7QF design — An attractive and understated look
Available in 50-, 55- and 65-inch models, the U7Q is an understated but handsome set. The bezel around the top and sides is thin, met by a discrete silver trim at the bottom.
The chassis is made out of plastic, and in terms of depth it’s surprisingly slim. The U-shaped central stand is made from aluminium, but it’s sturdy and supports the set well.
Assembly of the TV is simple, requiring little more than slotting in the stand and tightening the screws. The stand juts out, which may make placement of a soundbar in front awkward for those with a smaller rack or table. For wall-mounting you’ll need a VESA wall-mount.
There’s a cable system that you can funnel through to the back of each foot, but it’s only big enough for one cable each. The remote is the black version of the one included with the U8Q. While it’s a premium looking effort, it’s very compact and buttons are tightly packed, which may lead to the wrong buttons being pressed.
Hisense 65U7QFUK features – Input lag is super-quick for gaming
Connections are your usual lot: 4 x HDMI 2.0, 2 x USB 2.0, an Optical out, Ethernet, Composite, CI Slot and satellite and terrestrial connections. HDMI 1 is ARC and all four HDMI ports are 4K/60Hz compatible. For wireless there’s Wi-Fi (2.4/5GHz) and Bluetooth.
The VIDAA U 4.0 interface is very plain but meets the basics with access to 4K streaming apps in Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube and Rakuten TV. For Disney+ or Apple TV you’re going to need a video streaming stick (or a different TV).
Freeview Play offers access to UK catch-up apps such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All 4. Although it’s never mentioned in the specs, you can stream via Chromecast. Alexa is available through the Remote Now app (iOS and Android), and it’s happy to ‘work with’ Google Assistant via external speakers.
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Like the U8Q the display is not native 10-bit. It has an 8-bit + FRC panel that uses a form of dithering to replicate the range of colours you’d get with a 10-bit panel. The Full Array Local Dimming (FALD) system should ensure greater and more accurate black levels, and the TV’s refresh rate is 60Hz.
All the main HDR formats are here, which means HDR10, HLG for broadcast (used by iPlayer and Sky Q), along with premium formats such as HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. The latter two add dynamic metadata to the HDR signal, optimising the performance for each scene. That should mean the Hisense has a better chance of conveying the nuances of HDR with its relative 700 nits of (peak) brightness.
Related: What is HDR10+?
The Hisense U7QF wasn’t built with next-gen consoles (or should that be current?) in mind, so there’s no support for 4K/120Hz, VRR or ALLM. Game Mode needs to be turned on manually and when it is, input lag delivers an excellent 10.5ms.
Audio is delivered through a 2 x 10W speaker system and the TV supports Dolby Atmos. This isn’t the overhead, immersive sound found in soundbars and surround systems, but an attempt to output better sound through the TV’s speakers.
Hisense U7QF performance — Bright, colourful and detailed images with the right settings
Let’s start with the issue that caused the most grief with previous Hisense sets: motion. During initial testing the U7Q’s motion was still awkward, and in Dolby Vision films there was smearing at the slightest of movements.
An update appears to have ironed this out. It’s not perfect, but motion is better resolved. Judder is still apparent, but less egregious. Smooth and Standard Ultra Smooth Motion settings serve up the subtlest performance, though the Film option works well for movies.
There are still problems. The scene in Skyfall (Dolby Vision Bright) where Bond is served a martini at the Macau gambling palace features smearing, but at least it’s better controlled (just). Animation can suffer too, an episode of The Simpsons eluding the Hisense’s grip.
However, the opening ten minutes of 1917 (Dolby Vision) shows solid motion stability as Schofield and Blake make their way through the trenches; the only noticeable effect some blurry edge definition as a group soldiers walk by. The same can be said for the shaky-camera races that make up Days of Thunder (Dolby Vision). The U7Q seems much more confident than it was pre-update.
There’s definitely a sweet spot for viewing. Head-on and pictures look fine, but off-axis and there’s slight blooming as well as a green tint to blacks with some content. It’s similar to the U8Q, as bright sources on dark backgrounds glow despite the U7Q’s FALD (Full Array Local Dimming) panel. This is a TV better suited to brighter rooms than darker ones, especially for dark HDR scenes.
Black levels are decent but lack depth, with shadow detail affected by the spectre of blooming. Viewing angles are average with colours losing vibrancy off-axis. You can enable the TV’s Viewing Angle technology (Expert Settings), which adds a warm filter, but looks less natural.
Viewing Angle Off Viewing Angle On
Despite that there’s much to enjoy about the U7Q’s picture. I’d suggest turning off Ultra Smooth Motion for 4K, as well as maybe switching off Noise Reduction and definitely turning off MPEG Noise Reduction as there’s some blurriness with it on. For Blu-rays choose Cinema Day over the Standard setting. Standard makes blues and whites more teal in appearance, and pushes contrast to a more vivid look.
Colours are bright, fairly well balanced and punchy when the occasion demands it in HDR Standard mode. Complexions are handled convincingly and further refined with Dolby Vision. The kids of Spider-Man: Far From Home have punch and colour to their skin tone (especially the rosy cheeks) and that makes for a more attractive picture.
Detail levels are very good, bringing out the fine detail of the Forties’ clothing, Spitfire cockpits and faces on display in Dunkirk. It arguably lacks a little sharpness in places, but the overall fidelity is pleasing.
The Hisense U7QF’s HDR has enough juice to give highlights some impact. The opening scene of John Wick: Chapter 2 where Wick locates his car and headlights, taillights and wet shiny surfaces ‘pop’ off the screen. Dolby Vision improves the set’s tone-mapping, colours and black levels, while minimising the extent of blooming. Like the U8Q, the U7Q seems to prefer Dolby Vision over HDR10+. With HDR10+, black levels in Alien and Widows are dull.
HDR10 Dolby Vision
Upscaled HD broadcasts are punchy, bright and have a strong sense of colour. There’s a slight softness in places, especially with faces, but there’s enough detail for the Hisense U7QF to feed on.
I’d suggest turning Adaptive Contrast to Low (at the very least), as it amps up colours and black levels but higher settings impact detail. Edge definition of people and objects is mostly reliable but movement can cause some fussiness.
Standard definition lacks definition, clarity and sharpness as expected, but colours are strong, and there’s not as much noise as you might expect. It’s surprisingly watchable and a solid upscaling performance.
Hisense 65U7QFUK sound quality — Invest in a soundbar
Audio from the TV’s 2 x 10W speakers is decent and best suited for broadcast content with dialogue clearly audible. It’s also offers decent panning across the soundstage, as well as offering some specificity in terms of where sounds emanate from.
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However, anything that requires dynamism and punch sounds timid. Turning on the TV’s Atmos mode does creates a sense of height – Thor’s thunder in Thor: Ragnarok echoes from the top of the screen – but there’s also a thin, muffled feel to its performance with explosive and impact sounds lacking force. Non-Atmos soundtracks fare slightly better, but you’re better off with a soundbar.
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Should you buy the Hisense U7QF?
There’s a lot to like about the Hisense U7QF. Some of the issues we’ve had with previous Hisense TVs have been smoothed out (quite literally in terms of motion), and with the right settings this 65-inch set offers colourful and detailed images. There is some blooming, as well as loss of contrast at wide angles and average black levels. If you’re after a big-screen for more critical movie viewing, there are better, but more expensive options available.
One contender is Sony’s 65-inch XH95 (£1299). It delivers some of the punchiest HDR images we’ve seen in 2020, and while there’s also some blooming, black levels, motion and upscaling are excellent. More affordable is the Panasonic TX-65HX800 (£999). We’ve tested the 58-inch version, but this edge-lit TV matches the Hisense with Dolby Vision and HDR10+, though black levels are limited too.
At the time of review, the Hisense U7QF has dropped to £699, which makes it even better value. This is a solid set, with enough value and performance to make most people happy.