The 55-inch is an ideal screen size to enjoy movies at the comfort of your living room. Thanks to advancement in smart TV technology and cut-throat competition, the big-screen TVs are now easily available in the sub-40K price bracket. Today we are testing the Hisense 55A71F, a 55-inch 4K HDR Smart TV. The brand has just started selling products in India but it enjoys a remarkable consumer base in countries like Australia, USA, Japan, Mexico and South Africa. In India, Hisense has to fight the likes of Xiaomi, TCL, iFFalcom, Nokia, Motorola, Thomson, OnePlus, Realme, and Kodak. These brands, especially Xiaomi, have successfully established a good market by selling high-quality products at affordable prices.
Hisense seems well aware of the competition and has thus introduced the 55-inch 4K HDR smart TV at a very aggressive price of Rs. 34,999. The 55A71F smart TV packs all high-end features one could expect from a premium smart TV. Running on Android 9.0, the 55-inch smart TV flaunts a 4K HDR panel that supports all major display formats such as HDR 10, HLG and even Dolby Vision. With 30W speaker-setup, all required connectivity features and a big 4K HDR-enabled panel, the Hisense 55A71F has a good chance to undercut Xiaomi's market in the 55-inch smart TV category in India.
We tested the Hisense 55-inch 4K Smart TV to evaluate its performance as a big-screen Smart TV in an Indian household. Here's what we found out.
Design- Nothing Fancy But Very Functional
You cannot expect much from a budget 55-inch 4K smart TV in terms of design and styling. Almost all sub-40K 55-inch smart TVs look oddly similar and have the same durability standards. The same can be said for the Hisense 55A71F which also looks quite ordinary. The minimally designed 55-inch panel isn't a head-turner but will also not spoil your living room's decor. It is surrounded by thin bezels on three sides and has a noticeably thicker chin. The TV Panel's plastic body feels sturdy but the tabletop stands' build quality is rather flimsy and could have been better.
You can keep the big TV on a cabinet or can also wall-mount it with the help of bundled wall brackets. Yes, Hisense offers the wall-mount brackets in the box; something other brands should also start doing. Make sure you have a big table if you are not wall-mounting it as the TV panel measures 1230x 712x 86 mm and weighs 12.3 Kgs.
Connectivity And Ports
The Hisense 55A71F TV comes pre-installed with Google Chromecast that lets you cast media content from your smartphone to the big screen and it works seamlessly. The smart TV supports the latest 5GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 standards. As far as ports are concerned, the 55-inch smart TV has 3x HDMI ports to help you set up gaming consoles, streaming devices, set-top boxes, etc. These are essentially HDMI 2.0 ports with support for 4K resolution inputs with HDCP 2.2 support. Besides, there are 2x USB ports, Antenna port, Digital Out, Ethernet Port, 3.5mm audio jack and RCA ports. Overall, you won't face any issues on the connectivity front as Hisense hasn't made any compromises in terms of ports and wireless connections.
Display- Vibrant 4K VA Panel With HDR 10, HLG And Dolby Vision
The star of the show is undoubtedly the massive 55-inch 4K panel (3840 x 2160 Pixels). The smart TV has a standard VA panel with 60Hz refresh rate and 178° viewing angles but it offers support for some high-end features like HDR 10, HLG and Dolby Vision. For audio, the TV gets support for Dolby Atmos. This means you can stream HDR content in high-resolution with Dolby 5.1 on supported apps such as Amazon Prime Videos and Netflix. The Grand Prix series on Prime Videos in Ultra HD (HDR) with Dolby 5.1 looked stunning though it should show 'Atmos' logo.
Nevertheless, the budget 55-inch TVs' color reproduction is impressive and if you are fond of watching animated movies, you will like the immersive visual feedback. The viewing angles aren't groundbreaking because the display is quite reflective. Some tweaking with color profiles come handy in minimizing the effect.
Plethora Of Picture Settings
In addition to the basic color profiles, the 'Picture' setting also offers a host of options. You can enable Noise Reduction, set color temperature, and calibrate basic settings like Hue, Saturation and Brightness. The Sports mode seems to offer the best contrast levels and vibrant colors across the content type on the Hisense TV. The TV software even allows you to tweak Gamma profiles, which defines the contrast levels and how the blacks are going to appear on the panel in a given environment where the TV is placed.
In simple terms, if you have kept the TV in a room with good natural light, set the Gamma level to somewhere around 2.0. The 1.8 reading also works well in some cases if the ambient light is in ample amount. If you have kept the TV in a room with very little natural light, you should set the reading to 2.2 or 2.4 as a lower reading will simply yield washed-out results. During my testing of the Hisense 55A71F, I found the Gamma profile 2.2 to be delivering a right balance between blacks, shadows and mid-tones in a well-lit room. You must customize the settings as per your viewing preferences and where the TV unit is kept.
Good Set Of Dedicated Buttons But Layout Isn’t Ideal
The Hisense 55A71F ships with a remote controller which is a mix of modern and traditional remote controllers. It's Bluetooth-enabled and offers dedicated apps for most-used apps like Netflix, Amazon prime Videos, YouTube, Disney+ Hotstar and even has a dedicated button for Google Play Store. Importantly, the remote controller also has dedicated buttons for Picture and Sound profile which lets you tweak the color output and audio profiles even while watching the content. These buttons are placed at the bottom and come very handy. This is a very basic feature that many smart TVs fail to offer, including the OnePlus and Xiaomi TVs as their remote controllers lack the dedicated buttons.
The remote controller offers a good grip and has a sturdy build. The only issue I faced is with the navigation pad which isn't laid out well. The 'Down' button in the navigation pad is completely flushed with the base and is also placed very close to the 'Home' button. I ended up pressing the home button most of the times while navigating the UI, shuffling through movies lists or even while accessing basic on-screen widgets during a movie playback. You press the home button accidentally and then again go through the entire process just to watch the same movie or series which is very annoying.
While most budget 55-inch smart TVs offer 20W speakers, the Hisense 55A71F comes equipped with two 15W speakers totaling the output to 30W. The audio produced by the 55-inch TV is loud and sufficient for a small living room. You will not find it restricting your viewing experience if the TV is installed in a cozy room. If you plan to keep this TV in a big living room, an external music system is recommended. The Hisense 55-inch TV's 30W box speakers generate clear audio but the sound isn't immersive. Also, the volume fluctuations can be pretty annoying. I paired the TV with my home sound setup via Bluetooth and did not face any connectivity or latency issues.
Hardware & Software Performance
The 55-inch smart TV has 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory. It runs on a quad-core chipset but the chipmaker's name isn't revealed by the brand. The 55-inch smart TB runs on vanilla Android and comes pre-installed with Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos, YouTube and some other widely used apps for the big-screen format. The smart TV takes a while to boot up if it's been switched off from the main power. The boot-up time is noticeably longer than the Mi TVs and other budget smart TVs we have tested in the same price bracket.
Running on Android 9.0, the smart TV offers access to a variety of apps via Play Store. Apps in my daily routine such as Plex, VLC, Spotify, etc. seem to be working without any issues on Hisense TV. The UI navigation is also fairly smooth and there were no app crashes. Also, the TV can stream the 4K content stored on a hard drive or a USB without any performance issues.
Hisense Service Support in India
Unlike smartphones, smart TVs usually stay in your living room for more than 5-years which means after-sales service support is crucial. Hisense has made its entry into the Indian market in the time when brands like Xiaomi and TCL enjoys trusted service support. Hisense had offered 5-years warranty under an introductory offer. Post the introductory offer; you will only receive the standard warranty from the brand.
For service support, the brand operates out of 450+ authorized service centers and a network of partner stores across more than 18,000 pin codes in the country. It's a wide network to address customers' requests but still not comparable with after sales support offered by authorized service centers from brands like Xiaomi.
The Hisense 55A71F is a solid entry into the 55-inch smart TV category in India. It is fairly equipped and offers an immersive viewing experience, thanks to the big 55-inch 4K HDR panel with Dolby Vision support. The display quality has impressed us and the smooth software experience is a bonus. At Rs. 34,999, the Hisense 55A71F is a great value for money deal even with some shortcomings. If you find it difficult to trust a new brand in terms of after sales services, you can consider the 55-inch smart TVs from Xiaomi, TCL, Motorola and OnePlus but be ready to shell out some extra thousands.
Immersive Viewing Experience On A Budget
I found the 'HDR Standard' to be the most color accurate in the list. The HDR Cinema also looks decent but is a bit too warm for our liking. The HDR Calibrated has essentially the same color output as the HDR Cinema but with a different name. Last but not the least, Hisense TV also offers options to choose between four different contrast profiles. You should set it on 'High', with Gamma set to 2.2, if you want the best overall picture quality.
(Please note that the color output generated by these profiles changes when you tweak the panel's color output from the Picture settings menu)
Overall, Hisense has offered a good overall panel on a budget. The plethora of picture settings gives you enough room to customize the picture quality as per your liking. The only thing that seems missing is the MEMC support which adds a smoothing effect in video playback by adding artificial graphics. It is often termed as 'Soap Opera Effect' and can be found on the OnePlus 55-inch U-series Smart TV which is priced at Rs. 49,999