Hisense wants to be your next pick for deluxe TV, and it's going big to get your attention.
The Chinese brand may not be a household name like Sony, Samsung or LG, but it's attempting to rival its Japanese and Korean counterparts in the premium space with the new Series 9 75N9 TV.
That means the kind of features that we're hearing about in more and more high-end TVs these days: quantum dot technology, HDR and 4K support, a massive 75-inch screen size and a price tag that goes head-to-head with plenty of the top-of-the-line TVs on the market.
With an RRP of AU$10,000, the Series 9 commands a pretty penny. That said, we have spotted this model in retail stores like JB Hi-Fi for AU$6,000, so it's unlikely you'll have to pay full price when you buy in-store, thanks to the cut-throat competition in the TV market.
But while Hisense might have grand aspirations and gargantuan proportions, it's not necessarily the best you can buy right now if you're looking for pure picture quality.
Going large on premium design
A 75-inch panel is a lot of TV, and that's where the Hisense is going to get attention on retail shelves (or, more likely, resting on the retail floor).
The design is a long way from the midrange Hisense panels we've seen in the past, with their thick bezel of black plastic surrounding the display. Instead, you'll get a centimetre-wide brushed metal bezel and an angled chrome stand that houses the speaker along the front length of the TV (a speaker that gives you pretty decent sound output for a flat panel, if my mini Adele party was any indication).
At the back, a clear acrylic stand keeps the behemoth upright, while the ports are tucked away in a recess on the rear:
- 4 HDMI inputs (4K)
- 1 analog (composite) video input
- 3 USB ports (1 x 3.0, 2 x 2.0)
- Ethernet (wired internet)
- 1 analog audio out jack
- 1 optical digital audio output
- 1 RF (antenna) input
This is a TV that looks good when it's switched off, though that design investment doesn't quite extend to the UI. Hisense's Vidaa U smart TV is billed as streamlined and personalisable, but in our early testing the interface seemed a little lo-fi compared to the slick experiences of brands like Samsung or Sony.
The big picture
With 2,200 nits of brightness, Hisense is really pushing the Series 9 as the brightest panel it's ever manufactured. It even has its own name for the experience -- "HDR Supreme." The brightness shows. If you thought "Rick and Morty" was a confronting cartoon at the best of times, try watching those lurid colours late at night on a 75-inch screen at full brightness.
That, combined with its use of quantum dot technology (the use of phosphorescent crystals to create bright and accurate colours) and HDR support (high dynamic range content has a greater contrast ratio and colour palette) meant the panel performed well when we tested it on colourful shows or content shot in HDR.
Cartoons, Pixar movies and kids shows all popped, and even "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" looked bright (though the 4:3 aspect ratio and SD upscaling on a 4K screen meant the 75-inch panel made the Prince look a little less fresh).
The 4K resolution also made 4K Blu-rays feel like a real home theatre experience on the big screen. "The Martian" was crisp and bright and really made the red planet (or its Hollywood stand-in) look brilliant.
Where the panel didn't deliver was in deepest, darkest space. Brightness can be an easy way to cheat wow factor in picture quality, but in the short time we had to test this TV, it didn't quite cut it in terms of dark scenes and blacks. Subtleties in night skies or "The Martian's" starry space were lost. We also noticed significant colour banding on gradients, particularly in Netflix's 4K-native "House of Cards."
This might not have mattered a few years ago. But OLED TVs are giving us the best picture quality available on the market right now according to our CNET tests, and they're delivering colour accuracy and blackest blacks to boot. So that's still our bet for best picture quality.
That said, a similarly sized OLED TV will cost you a whopping AU$40,000. So if you're looking for wow factor in a grand home theatre setup, the 75-inch Series 9 is worth your consideration.
Hisense Series 9 75N9 specifications:
- 75-inch LED LCD panel
- Quantum dot technology
- 4K (Ultra HD Premium-certified)
- HDR10 high dynamic range (HDR)
- Wide color gamut (percentage DCI unspecified)
- Hisense Vidaa U operating system
- Netflix and Stan apps preloaded