Hisense 65U7K TV Review
For those seeking a high-spec but affordable 4K flatscreen, this could be your answer, says Steve May…
65U7K 4K TV
This feature-rich set utilises an advanced Mini LED backlight and is 4K 120Hz-capable, making it an appealing option for those into both movies and gaming. Positioned below the lookalike but brighter U8K in Hisense's 2023 Mini LED line-up, the U7K is available in a wide variety of screen sizes.
There are 55-, 65-, 75-, 85-, and 100-inch models to choose from (55U7KQ, 65U7KQ, 75U7KQ, 85U7KQ, 100U7KQ). We've hauled the 65-incher onto the test bench…
When it comes to design, the U7K is best described as unassuming but presentable. It boasts a minuscule bezel and a screen wrap with no visible seams, giving a clean, modern look. The back panel exudes a certain rugged aesthetic and has some depth, at 77mm, but you'll scarcely notice when viewing square on. In addition to a pair of downward-firing speakers, there's a rear-facing subwoofer (clearly branded as such), providing a 2.1 audio configuration.
The panel sits on a distinctive arching hoop stand with two anchoring points; these have integrated cable management, allowing you to tuck power and some HDMI cabling out of the way. This artful pedestal is quite wide, though, which means you will need appropriate AV furniture to accommodate it. Alternatively, you can always wall mount.
Connectivity is solid. You'll find four HDMI inputs, with two supporting refresh rates up to 4K 120Hz (or 144Hz, if you take advantage of the Game Mode Pro). One of these high frame rate inputs also serves as the eARC connection, which limits your system setup options. The remaining HDMI ports are 4K 60Hz-ready. Additional connections include an analogue AV single jack input, two USB ports, a digital optical audio output, Ethernet LAN, and a CI slot for those who use it.
In addition to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, Hisense also caters to Apple fans with AirPlay and HomeKit support. The set has both a Freeview terrestrial tuner, with integrated catch-up TV players, and a satellite option.
The TV comes with a slim silver-grey remote control featuring dedicated buttons for Disney Plus, Freeview Play, Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, and Vidaa TV FAST (Free Ad Supported TV) channel listing – part of Hisense's own Vidaa smart TV platform. This is comparable to what you'll find on other major brand smart platforms (Android, Tizen, webOS) and has a full-screen home page that's relatively user-friendly.
There's a broad selection of streaming services presented in a horizontal rail to browse, including YouTube, Apple TV, Pluto TV and more. Below this app bar, you'll find easily navigable rails for Freeview channels, curated content from the Vidaa channels, and the selection of featured movies, genres, and assorted streaming distractions.
The U7K's feature specification is reassuringly comprehensive. Console gamers will appreciate the provision of 4K 120Hz gameplay support, even if it does just apply to two inputs. PC gamers can take advantage of the 144Hz Game Pro mode, which is automatically triggered by ALLM when an appropriate connection is made. To emphasise its gaming prowess, the Vidaa platform also offers a dedicated game interface. This Game Menu groups frame rate, HDR and VRR status, brightness levels, and aspect ratio together for players.
As a gaming display, the U7K treads a performance middle ground. I measured input lag at 13ms (1080/60) in Game mode, which is average. As a home theatre display, the set has a lot going for it. Cinephiles will appreciate Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ Adaptive support. These two High Dynamic Range modes take advantage of the set's sensor to adjust to ambient lighting conditions in the room.
The screen is also IMAX Enhanced, although the provision of an IMAX Cinema image preset soon had me scratching my head. IMAX Cinema comes up as a picture option when viewing HDR content (it's listed alongside HDR Standard, Filmmaker, Day and Nights modes and so on); however, it's unavailable for selection when you actually stream IMAX Enhanced content from the only service supplying it, which is Disney+. I watched the IMAX Enhanced stream of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 (there are a lot of movies in the larger IMAX aspect ratio on Disney+), and my only post-processing choices were Dolby Vision IQ, Dolby Vision Dark or Dolby Vision Custom.
The set is also Dolby Atmos and DTS:X compatible, although it obviously doesn't have the hardware to make over much of either immersive audio format.
Long story short – the Hisense U7K shines when it comes to picture quality. Its Mini LED backlighting system, complete with Quantum Dot filter, delivers consistent, vibrant images. Think of Mini LED as a backplane consisting of thousands of tiny LEDs that can be intelligently controlled, resulting in better HDR precision and improved overall dynamics. The greys and blacks are impressively solid and largely resist the tendency to create blooming halo effects, often seen when bright lights appear against a dark background.
While the U7K doesn't have as many local dimming zones as the more expensive U8K model, it's capable of outstanding dynamics. The opening of Pacific Rim Uprising (4K Blu-ray UHD disc), features John Boyega salvaging parts from a defunct Jaeger robot. There's plenty of near-black detail to be seen in the robot carcass, while the HDR glare from lights and errant sparks is tight and bright.
Colours are vivid, without over-saturation. Watching Sky Sports F1 UHD, and the various liveries of the racing teams look spectacular in 4K HDR. Sometimes, the little things just catch your eye: the Sky Sports mics wielded by the commentary team are deep red, with no hint of LED orange tinting.
HDR performance is good, with a peak brightness of around 700 nits when measured with a standard 10% patch. Interestingly, I didn't notice over much difference between peak HDR brightness between the Standard picture setting (which is effectively the default Eco mode for the screen) and the more aggressive Dynamic setting. Both came in within a few brightness points of one another.
The TV offers a familiar range of picture presets, including a bare-bones Filmmaker mode, Cinema Day, Cinema Night, Dynamic, Sports, and Standard. There's also Enhanced ACR, an automatic AI mode which ostensibly optimises both image and audio quality frame by frame. It's subjectively very close to Standard. Deeper dive picture modes include an adjustable backlight, which sets the overall luminance of the screen, Brightness, Contrast, Colour saturation and variable Adaptive Contrast (which, for the duration of this audition, I kept to medium).
At the heart of the U7K is a quad-core Hi-View Engine. Using AI processing, it upscales lower-resolution sources to UHD with generally acceptable results, although it can struggle with noise (notably on HD shows from Paramount+). Native UHD resolution is outstanding. The U7K's Ultra Smooth Motion interpolation options include Smooth, Standard, Clear, Film, and Custom. Smooth tends to work well with most content, although it does throw up occasional image artefacts with fast-moving content. For movies, I preferred the Film setting.
When it comes to audio, the U7K doesn't let the side down. While the set may feature standard downward-firing drivers, it also manages to offer pronounced stereo width, and the rear-facing built-in subwoofer brings a significant improvement in mid-bass performance. While the sub doesn't actually drop low, it does put flesh on the bone at around 50Hz.
The opening sequence to Netflix's comedy-actioner Fubar (which streams in Dolby Atmos) features a needle drop for The Rolling Stones' Sympathy for the Devil. This sounds genuinely stereophonic, thanks to that aforementioned width. Close your eyes, and you could imagine the audio emanating from a small pair of stereo speakers.
The U7K offers more audio tweaking than a regular mid-range TV. There's a wide variety of presets in addition to Standard, which offers a flat frequency response. There's Theatre (which boosts bass), Music (which adds more top end), Speech (which accentuates voice), Late Night (dynamic compression) and Sports. You can also apply Bass Boost Gain if you really want to push that internal sub or go DIY with a seven-band parametric equaliser.
As previously mentioned, the set supports Dolby Atmos content and can bitstream this immersive audio format to a waiting Dolby Atmos soundbar or external sound system. DTS Virtual X processing is available for non-Atmos sources.
There's plenty to like about the Hisense U7K. This Mini LED set is big on functionality, and its AV performance is impressive for the price. Picture quality, detail, and vibrancy all warrant an appreciative nod, and while it doesn't lead the class when it comes to HDR peak brightness, its overall luminosity is commendable. If you can live with the annoyance of just two 4K 120Hz HDMI inputs, then this big screen equates to great value. A solid Mini LED TV that won't max out your budget, the U7K merits serious consideration.
Steve is a home entertainment technology specialist. Creator of Home Cinema Choice magazine, Steve is also the editor of the lifestyle website The Luxe Review and has an unconditional love of glam rock.
JOIN IN THE DISCUSSION
Want to share your opinion or get advice from other enthusiasts? Then head into the Message Forums where thousands of other enthusiasts are communicating on a daily basis.
CLICK HERE FOR FREE MEMBERSHIP
Each time StereoNET reviews a product, it is considered for an Applause Award. Winning one marks it out as a design of great quality and distinction – a special product in its class, on the grounds of either performance, value for money, or usually both.
Applause Awards are personally issued by StereoNET’s global Editor-in-Chief, David Price – who has over three decades of experience reviewing hi-fi products at the highest level – after consulting with our senior editorial team. They are not automatically given with all reviews, nor can manufacturers purchase them.
The StereoNET editorial team includes some of the world’s most experienced and respected hi-fi journalists with a vast wealth of knowledge. Some have edited popular English language hi-fi magazines, and others have been senior contributors to famous audio journals stretching back to the late 1970s. And we also employ professional IT and home theatre specialists who work at the cutting edge of today’s technology.
We believe that no other online hi-fi and home cinema resource offers such expert knowledge, so when StereoNET gives an Applause Award, it is a trustworthy hallmark of quality. Receiving such an award is the prerequisite to becoming eligible for our annual Product of the Year awards, awarded only to the finest designs in their respective categories. Buyers of hi-fi, home cinema, and headphones can be sure that a StereoNET Applause Award winner is worthy of your most serious attention.