- Great SDR picture quality
- Smart TV simple but works
- Solid set of features
- Exceptional value
- HDR very limited
- Review Price: £379
- 4K UHD TV with direct LED backlight
- HDR10 and HLG support
- Freeview Play with integrated catch-up
- VIDAA U Smart TV
What is the Hisense A6200?
The Hisense A6200 is the latest mid-range 4K TV from the Chinese manufacturer and promises to deliver a solid set of features at a very competitive price. The specs include a direct LED backlight, support for High Dynamic Range (HDR), VIDAA U Smart TV, and an extensive selection of video streaming services.
There are four screen sizes available: the 43-inch H43A6200UK, the 50-inch H50A6200UK reviewed here, the 55-inch H55A6200UK and the 65-inch H65A6200UK. At a suggested retail price of just £379, the 50A6200 certainly looks like an absolute bargain but can its performance help raise Hisense above a sea of budget competition?
Hisense A6200 – Design
The Hisense A6200 takes a decidedly old-school approach when it comes to its design, with a simple black chassis and a matching black bezel. Hisense has added a brushed metal effect to the bezel, which helps to jazz up an otherwise very minimalist appearance. The build quality is reasonable, but the largely plastic construction is typical for a budget model.
The panel is fairly deep for a modern TV, measuring 73mm deep at the bottom, where you’ll find the speakers, connections, and other electronics. However even at the top it’s still 35mm, because the A6200 has its LEDs positioned directly behind the panel, rather than at the sides. So the chassis may be chunky, but the picture should be free of any clouding.
The A6200 sits on a pair of feet that are located at either end of the screen and match the rest of the TV. They measure 980mm apart, which means you’ll need a surface at least that wide. You also have the option of wall mounting, thanks to 200 x 200 VESA mounts on the rear panel.
There’s a decent set of connections for a budget TV, including three HDMI inputs: two are full bandwidth HDMI 2.0 with support for 4K/60p, while the other is 4K/30p. One of the HDMI 2.0 inputs supports ARC (Audio Return Channel).
There are also two USB ports (one 2.0 and one 3.0), a Freeview HD tuner, a generic satellite tuner, an optical digital input, and a CI (Common Interface) slot. Finally there is an Ethernet port, but the A6200 also includes built-in Wi-Fi (802.11ac, dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz).
Hisense has included its standard controller, which may appear a little large and old-fashioned but does get the job done. It’s actually comfortable to hold, nicely balanced, and is easy to use with one hand. It has all the necessary controls, which are clearly labelled and intuitively positioned. There are even direct access keys for Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and Freeview Play.
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Hisense A6200 – Features
The Hisense A6200 might be a budget TV but it still manages to deliver a solid set of features.
For a start it uses 50-inch 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) VA (vertical alignment) LCD panel with a 120Hz refresh rate. Unsurprisingly at this price point, the panel is 8-bit + FRC (Frame Rate Control) dithering, but it can still accept content that uses 10-bit.
However, the inclusion of a direct LED backlight is a big plus on a budget TV, and should result in obvious picture benefits. The A6200 also supports High Dynamic Range, specifically HDR10 and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), and the direct LED backlight should help in this area as well.
The A6200 also includes support for Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and Rakuten, with the first three supporting 4K and HDR. In addition there’s Freeview Play, which provides access to all the UK TV catch-up services, with the BBC iPlayer app also supporting 4K and HLG.
There’s no game mode, but the A6200 doesn’t really need one because the input lag is only 24ms, regardless of whether you game in 1080p, 4K, SDR, or HDR. That’s great news for anyone who wants a responsive and competitively priced TV for gaming, and the fact you don’t have to worry about image retention or screen burn is an added bonus.
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Hisense A6200 – Smart platform
The Hisense A6200 uses the VIDAA U operating system, and while it may look simple it’s actually quite effective in operation. You access it by pressing the Home button on the remote, which will give you the option of choosing tiles for Freeview Play, Apps, Inputs, Media and Settings.
The system is both robust and responsive thanks to quad-core processing. As well as accessing the platform using the Home button, you can also directly access Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Freeview Play, Inputs and Settings using dedicated buttons on the remote.
The TV includes an EPG (Electronic Programme Guide), which you access directly from the remote control. The guide displays six channels over a two-hour period and thanks to Freeview Play, you can also watch programmes you missed using the UKTV catch-up services.
If you attach a hard drive you can turn the TV into a PVR (Programmable Video Recorder), allowing you to time shift by recording programmes. However, there’s only one tuner for both terrestrial and satellite TV, so you can’t watch one channel and record another.
The smart platform also includes a web browser, and it supports DLNA, allowing you to access content on your home network. The A6200 can handle the majority of audio and video files, including MP3, MKV, AVI, WMV, MPEG and MOV.
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Hisense H50A6200 – Picture performance
The Hisense A6200 delivered a level of picture quality that was genuinely impressive, and it’s clear that despite the model’s budget pricing the company has not compromised in terms of performance.
One of the key reasons for this is the direct LED backlight, and as a result the screen uniformity is excellent, with an image that’s free of annoying clouding. Despite the lack of any local dimming, the use of a VA panel also means the native black levels are good for an LCD TV.
As a result, with SDR content the Hisense can deliver bright, colourful and detailed images. The processing in the TV is also quite good, allowing lower resolution content to be upscaled to match the 4K panel without introducing unwanted artefacts.
The downside of using a VA panel is that while it does improve the black levels, it also means the viewing angles are quite narrow. As a result, you’ll see a drop-off in contrast and colour saturation as you move away from the centre of the screen.
There are no motion enhancement features on the A6200 to smooth motion and remove blurring and judder. Film purists will be delighted, but the good news for everyone else is that 24p and 50Hz content is displayed without any judder, stutter or other issues.
What is especially impressive is the accuracy of the picture in the Cinema modes. If you want brighter and more saturated pictures with cooler whites, then the Standard mode is ideal, but if image fidelity is your thing then the H50A6200 is as accurate as any TV I’ve tested, regardless of price.
As a result, watching movies was great fun, and the better the source the more impressive the image. Star Wars: The Force Awakens was awash with detail thanks to the solid upscaling, while the blacks were deep, highlights free of clipping, and the colours correctly saturated.
With SDR content, the A6200 is a clear winner, but what about HDR? Here the picture (pun intended) wasn’t quite as good. The A6200 only has a peak brightness of about 200nits, which basically means it is unable to actually deliver the benefits of HDR.
The same goes for the wider colours associated with HDR, and in this area the Hisense has a gamut that is around the SDR standard, as opposed to the much larger one applied to HDR. In addition, the tone mapping resulted in some obvious clipping.
It’s not all doom and gloom, because you still get the benefit of 4K resolution, and despite not using a native 10-bit panel, images appeared even with no sign of colour banding or gradation. So when watching a film like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, there was plenty of detail on show. However, the bright highlights and saturated colours that I also associate with that film were simply missing. The picture didn’t look terrible, but I knew it could look so much better.
In fairness, there is no TV at this price point that can deliver a good HDR performance, so it doesn’t really detract from the A6200’s generally excellent performance. It’s also worth pointing out that the majority of our viewing will remain SDR for the foreseeable future.
However if you consider HDR to be an important feature, then you would do well to save your pennies and look at TVs further up the price range.
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Hisense H50A6200 – Audio performance
The sound quality of the Hisense A6200 is surprisingly good, despite its budget status. This is largely thanks to the deeper chassis, which allows Hisense to use slightly bigger speakers. These are still downward-firing, but at least they manage to produce a solid audio presence.
The TV has stereo speakers with 7W of amplification each, which should be sufficient for general TV viewing. The A6200 isn’t going to fill a room with sound, and the audio will distort if pushed too loud, but the Hisense can deliver a balanced and open soundstage.
There’s a decent mid-range, and dialogue remains clear, while music has a nice sense of stereo separation. Considering the size and price point, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to discover that the bass is limited, but overall the A6200 is capable of a competent audio performance.
The Hisense supports Dolby Digital Plus, and includes dbx-tv audio enhancement, along with a user equaliser. Ultimately the A6200’s sound quality is sufficient for basic TV watching, but if you want something a bit more immersive then you should consider investing in a soundbar.
Hisense A6200 – Settings
The Hisense A6200 might be a budget TV but it includes the same picture modes offered on Hisense’s higher-end models. There’s Standard, Cinema Day, Cinema Night, Dynamic and Sports, with the TV shipping in the Standard mode. It’s likely many users will be perfectly happy with the default option, appreciating the brighter images and more saturated colours.
However, don’t be tempted to use the Dynamic and Sports modes: both are too bright and over-saturated, with very blue whites and an excessive amount of image processing. It would be best to avoid these modes and stick with Standard, although given the overly blue whites in that mode you might want to change the colour temperature to Warm.
If you like your images to match the industry standards, then the A6200 is the TV for you. In the Cinema modes it delivers a level of accuracy previously unseen in a budget TV. Hisense includes a full suite of calibration controls, but with images this accurate you won’t need them.
You could use Cinema Day with a higher backlight setting for viewing when there’s a lot of ambient light in the room, and Cinema Night for viewing in the evening when the room is darker. For the most accurate results try setting the gamma to 2.2 for Day, and 2.4 for Night.
Why buy the Hisense H50A6200?
The Hisense A6200 offers exceptional value for money, with solid build quality, decent features, and a genuinely good picture. The SDR images are particularly accurate, and while the HDR performance is limited, the same would be true of any TV below £400.
A direct LED backlight is a welcome addition, as is a simple but surprisingly effective smart platform. Once you add in Freeview Play, most of the video streaming services, and a 24ms input lag, you’ve got a budget TV that’s hard to beat.
However, if you can stretch your budget to £449, then the Philips 50PUS6753 is definitely worth considering. It boasts an ultra-slim frame and an attractive design that uses an aluminium coloured bezel and stand.
There’s Ambilight, HDR, Philips’s proprietary image processing, and micro dimming for an improved contrast performance. Throw in a decent set of connections, a smart platform that uses quad-core processing and includes Freeview Play, and you have a really strong overall package.
The Hisense A6200 boasts a direct LED backlight, a simple but effective smart platform, and all the video streaming services you could want. An impressive picture with SDR is only offset by limitations when it comes to HDR, but you won’t find a better TV for under £400.