Hisense 55U6G QLED TV review: Solid choice under Rs. 60,000
Samsung has been at the forefront of QLED TVs since the inception of the technology, but other brands have jumped on to the bandwagon over the past couple of years. And of course, most of the competing products have been a lot more affordable with the exception of OnePlus' first maybe. Hisense officially launched their smart TVs in India less than two years ago (under their own brand name) and have been fast gaining a reputation for making good quality TVs at affordable prices. Moving on from the budget category, the company had launched a QLED TV not too long ago that boasts even better picture quality and features like full array local dimming and support for all popular HDR formats like Dolby Vision and HDR10+. We got a chance to spend sufficient time with the 55-inch model from the series, and here we break down all you need to know about it.
Elegant design with good connectivity options, barring HDMI 2.1
Staying true to the current design trend, the Hisense 55U6G TV has a near bezel-less design on three sides and a relatively thicker bottom bezel that hosts an IR receiver and a power LED. The TV looks elegant and is fairly slim, though not the slimmest around. It can be wall-mounted or placed on a desk using the bundled mount or sturdy metal stand, respectively. The necessary screws, a wireless remote control and a pair of AAA batteries are provided in the package. Design is not just about aesthetics but also about functionality. The connectivity ports on this TV are placed near the edge rather than at the center, making them a lot easier to access if you choose to wall mount it; a simple but effective design call. Three HDMI 2.0 ports (one of which supports ARC), two USB 2.0 ports and an optical audio out face sideways, while AV inputs, a 3.5mm headphone out and a LAN port can be found at the back of the TV. Not to forget the wireless connectivity options that include Bluetooth 5.0 and dual band Wi-Fi with support for 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks. While the spread is decent, there is one option missing here. For a QLED TV launched in the last quarter of 2021, I missed the presence of HDMI 2.1 ports and the support for eARC here. Some of its competitors launched a few months prior have the newer ports.
Most of the popular features are available
The Hisense 55U6G QLED TV has a 55-inch VA panel with an Ultra-HD (4K) resolution of 3840x2160 pixels and a 60Hz refresh rate. It has a rated peak brightness of 700-nits, which is at least 40% higher than most budget TVs. This TV supports all popular HDR formats like Dolby Vision, HDR10/10+ and HLG. You also get full array local dimming with 32 dimming zones. The sound output is rated at 24W and is compliant with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Audio. In terms of processing power, this TV is powered by a MediaTek chip with four Cortex-A55 cores and a Mali-470MP GPU. You get 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, some of which is consumed by the Android TV 9 OS and a few pre-installed apps, leaving you with a good 10GB for your needs. As one expects from Android TVs, it has Chromecast built-in and lets you cast content to the screen from compatible apps on your smartphone or tablet. You get the typical Hisense remote control in the bundle that you also get with several Vu TVs. It operates over IR and Bluetooth. While the power button on the remote communicates with the TV using IR, everything else operates over Bluetooth once paired. The remote is uncluttered and has the right number of keys, however key spacing could have been slightly better, especially at the center. The build quality of the remote is pretty good. It has hotkeys for Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, YouTube and Google Play in addition to source input key, volume control, mute button, settings button, a D-pad and a few more. The remote is voice enabled and voice commands work smoothly without any delay.
Older Android TV 9 platform, but its most refined iteration
This Hisense TV runs Android TV 9 OS and has a stock user interface that is common to most certified Android TVs. There is no third party launcher or much bloatware, which is good. The UI is quite simple and even someone new should be able to find his or her way around things. The one minor issue we have here is that the company has opted for an older version of the OS. Given that Android TV 11 is available on smart TVs for a few months now, we would have preferred to see it on the 55U6G, or at least Android TV 10. Having said that, Hisense provides you arguably the most refined and lag-free Android TV 9 experience among competing brands. Apps for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are present on this TV along with the usual Google apps and services. This TV also grants you quick access to sound and picture settings on the fly while viewing content from any input source or app. Pressing the settings button on the remote brings up the menu and lets you tweak different parameters without the need to pause the video or exit the app. You get different presets with Dolby Vision, HDR or HDR10+ prefix when playing the corresponding content, thus hinting at the HDR format being used.
Excellent color reproduction, good contrast, and support for Dolby Vision
The TV may lack a couple of newer features but it shines where it matters most, and that is the picture quality. The color reproduction of this TV is excellent and colors feel quite lively yet closer to natural. The default color calibration is fairly accurate, and the only thing we needed to tweak in certain cases was the color temperature. Mid-low or Medium settings give you best results in most scenarios. If you are up for it, this TV offers you a handful of adjustments to fine tune the picture further. The 4K panel is reasonably bright and the black levels are commendable, and noticeably better than what you get in most budget TVs. That translates into impressive contrast. Details in dark areas of scenes were clearly visible most of the time. As mentioned before, this TV supports full array local dimming, and deserves some credit for the good contrast. However, it only has 32 local dimming zones, so don't expect miracles. The HDR performance of this TV is quite good, be it Dolby Vision or HDR10/10+ content. The picture looks sharp, lively and without any flickering in high contrast scenes. 4K SDR content looks equally sharp on this TV with accurate colors and ample detail. The motion compensation algorithm doesn't work all that great and induces motion artifacts in certain scenes. So it is best to turn off motion smoothening settings. Well-encoded Full-HD content looks almost as good as 4K content thanks to the TV's highly functional upscaling engine. 720p videos are perfectly watchable but understandably with a drop in sharpness and detail. The upscaling magic doesn't apply to anything lower than 720p, which is the case with almost every 55-inch 4K TV around. The viewing angles are fine but there is a bit of color shift when viewing the TV from sharp angles.
Decent audio output but not the best in the segment
A pair of bottom firing speakers rated at 24W deliver pretty good audio output but it isn't among the best we have heard in this segment. The output is loud and clear with a good amount of warmth. The lows seem slightly boosted here and the vocals have decent clarity too, but the highs roll off a bit too soon, and as a result the output seems to lack a bit of sharpness. You have a bunch of audio presets along with a 5-band equalizer to tweak the sound to your liking. Loudness is not a problem here and the sound is perfectly audible even around 30% volume level. Thanks to the boosted bass, the TV speakers sound pleasant when playing music and even in movies or web series. They support Dolby Atmos but don't expect the sound from the TV speakers to engulf and mesmerize you. Since the TV does not have an eARC port, you cannot pass the Dolby Atmos stream to a compliant soundbar or speaker system despite the presence of a passthrough option. You can go as high as Dolby Digital Plus through HDMI ARC. On the bright side, you do get a variety of audio outputs to plug in external speakers. The TV takes about 30 seconds to boot up when you switch it on from the mains, which is faster than most Android TVs around. Post that, if you switch it off and on using the remote, it wakes up in a second or two from standby mode. The overall experience with this TV was very positive and it gave us hardly any reason to complain.
Highly positive overall experience despite lacking a few newer features
The Hisense 55U6G QLED TV is priced at Rs. 59,990 in India with a one year warranty and is available on several popular e-commerce platforms. Some retailers even offer up to five years warranty on the panel. While the price is obviously higher than standard LED TVs running Android TV, you get noticeably better picture quality and contrast, support for HDR formats like Dolby Vision and HDR10+, a good spread of connectivity options, and a lag-free UI. Presence of HDMI 2.1 ports and a more recent version of Android TV OS would have made this TV near flawless. When it comes to budget QLED TVs, you do get options from TCL and OnePlus (after a price revision), but the one option that can give this Hisense a run for its money is the Mi QLED TV 4K 55. It can be purchased for a few thousand rupees lower and has HDMI 2.1 ports, double the internal storage and provides Android TV 10 support. But if pure picture quality is what you seek, then the Hisense 55U6G is hard to beat under Rs. 60,000.