Money is a great value for TV
In the last one year, we have seen a number of brands entering TV in India, especially in the budget segment. 50K has become a sweet spot for those looking for a 55-inch TV with some impressive technology like HDR 10, Dolby Vision, smart UI and a decent build. We’ve seen the likes of Nokia, TCL, OnePlus and many more try to dominate this space. For obvious reasons, with more people spending time at home in 2020, the ‘Not So Idiot Box’ is starting to gain more importance. Today we have a TV from Hisense. This is a 55-inch A71F. The TV supports Dolby Vision with HDR for 4K resolution and runs on the Android TV platform. The TV is priced at Rs 37,999. Is it a bang for your buck? Find out.
Hisense 55A71F specs at a glance
Panel size: 55-inch
Panel type: VA LED
Panel resolution: 3840 x 2160 – 4K
Panel refresh rate: 60Hz
HDR 10 support: Yes
Dolby Vision Support: Yes
Weight (including stand): 12.6 kg
HDMI port: 3
USB port: 2
Built-in storage: 16GB
Price: MRP: 37,999
Hisense 55A71F display panel and image quality
Turning things off with the display, the Hisense 55A71F has a VA panel which means you can expect good blacks with some compromises with viewing angles. This is a 4K panel with support for both HDR 10 and Dolby Vision. We do not know the maximum brightness of the panel. It doesn’t seem to have any dimming zones, but it does claim to have software-based ultra dimming to help with HDR content and contrast, so it will be interesting to see how it works. The TV has a bunch of photo gifts like Dynamic, Standard, Movie etc. and while the HDR content is playing, the photo presets change. For Dolby Vision, we have Dolby Vision Bright, Dolby Vision Dark and Dolby Vision Custom. We have HDR Dynamic, HDR Standard, HDR Sports etc. for HDR content. Let’s take a look at the picture performance of this TV in detail.
4K and HDR performance
Netflix, Prime Video and even Hotstar have a decent catalog of Dolby Vision and HDR content. Although the TV supports Dolby Atmos, the native Netflix app only showed 5.1 encoding for its content, and we got the Dolby Atmos logo when using a device like the Xbox One X.
For content, we used our Dolby Vision and HDR content. We’ve seen shows on Netflix like Modified Carbon, Extraction, Our Planet, and more, and found the experience extremely enjoyable. Our planet looks as beautiful as an ornamental and rich nature and the rays of God are coming to the forest. The panel can be really bright especially when you have a bright sequence like a desert or an animal running through the open sky on the screen. The warehouse battle sequence of the modified Carbon Season 1 episode 7 looked good with enough detail in the dark section and a good contrast with the bright light coming from the warehouse glass roof.
Even HDR content on a show like Jack Ryan in Prime Video was notorious for being too flimsy to be on a budget HDR TV that was very clear and enjoyable. The details of the bold sequence were clear and visible and some of the content that we thought was missing in the OnePlus U1 was clear, visible and enjoyable on this Hisense TV.
Togo is a beautiful movie and available on Dolby Vision in Hotstar. The latter sequence where people are sitting in a dimly lit cabin may be dark on some budget HDR TVs but can be easily seen on the Hisense 55A71F.
When using content in Dolby Vision, you have Dolby Vision Byte, Dolby Vision Dark and Dolby Vision custom presets. Dolby Vision Bright works well for almost all lighting conditions and even when the sun goes down, I recommend watching this TV in a room with some light and setting to keep Dolby Vision Bright. It was an enjoyable experience.
Even for HDR content, most of the time switching between HDR dynamic and HDR standards was enough to see the content correctly. However, one thing to note is that you can customize them by going to the photo settings. Gamma and standard multiple image settings from White Point are all available at your disposal.
Considering the overall price of the TV, the performance in HDR, Dolby Vision and SDR is excellent.
One more thing to note is that there is a P. Mode and S. Mode button at the bottom of the remote control and this is one of the easiest way to change the image and sound preset to your liking. You do not have to press a menu button, go to settings, then go to image settings A button and preset is at your disposal. Very convenient and a feature I have used a lot.
We’ve played lots of FHD content from TV like Young Sheldon, Mission Impossible, Mad Max Fury Road, lots of YouTube videos and much more. Bright and vibrant is the best way to describe the TV’s SDR performance. I prefer dynamic or standard presets for most content. In some cases, Dynamic Preset shows a slightly lower skin tone on some shows and modifies it by changing the standard. For others, especially where you need color to pop, dynamic presets work wonders. Add to it the convenience of the P mode button on the remote control and changing the settings is a breeze.
Mad Max’s mission from the vast desert: the scene of a fast-paced bike chase at Impossible and the family-friendly smile at Young Sheldon, all the content is captivating and immersive and really bright. How brilliant this panel can be with some SDR content is insane.
Hisense 55A71F Gaming Performance
We’ve played some of our standard games from the Xbox One X, including Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Forza Horizon and Gears 5. One thing to note before entering into gaming performance. When we connected the console, the HDMI 2.0 feature was off the TV by default. Fortunately the setting is on the front when you press the menu button, adding the convenience of turning it on and off as you wish.
Once switched, the console was recognized as an HDR-enabled device and we played our games in HDR. Unfortunately, when playing games on HDR, there is no “game” mode. Game mode only exists on SDR photo presets.
So, dealing with the absence of a “game mode” when playing games on HDR, to be honest, I didn’t have any problems playing fast-paced action games like Gears 5 or Assassins Creed. The experience was fun. Players seeking to join Warzone in Call of Duty may want to re-evaluate their options, but for the single-player experience, no problem.
Apparently, the games look lively. The Gears 5 had some obscure dark corridors and the content was clearly visible on the screen without loss of details. A game like Assassin’s Creed that is bright and lively with the colorful countryside of Greece. Assassin’s Creed is a game where we’ve encountered a warm color tone on some budget HDR TVs but that’s not a good thing here.
Overall, the TV’s gaming performance is great even for games that present a dark environment.
Hisense 55A71F audio performance
The Hisense 55A71F has a 30W sound output and is not only louder than the TV, it is also quite clear. For a minute I was amazed at how loud the speakers on this TV were. For the room I set up the TV, I don’t have to increase my volume by more than 20. At about 17 or 18 I got the sound of room filling and the dialogue from the movie was clear. Heck, I’ve even enjoyed some action blockbusters and of course I missed my soundbar during some action sequences but for the most part, if you are looking for a TV with decent speakers it will not disappoint you.
From a movie like Disney + Hotstar’s Togo that has some incredible ice-breaking sound effects with its fast-paced action background score with Mission Impossible and even games like Forza Horizon that have a roaring engine that grabs attention, it was well worth listening to this TV show. These are TV speakers.
The Hisense 55A71F runs on Android, and the UI is exactly what we’ve seen packing Android TV punch on OnePlus, Xiaomi, TCL and many more TVs. While most UIs will be familiar to those who have used Android TV, there are some subtle changes that are for the better. As mentioned above, you can quickly retrieve images and presets with hotkeys on the remote control, and it doesn’t involve digging up menus to control HDMI 2.0 settings.
Overall, this TV runs just as well as any of the competing TVs, and welcomes a slight change in the settings menu.
Now let’s move on to something I don’t like about this TV – the remote control. Talk about rubbing salt in my wounds – d’oh! It has dedicated hotkeys for picture and sound presets which is awesome. Above the mute button, there is a button to stop this display. So, if your favorite music playlist is playing on YouTube, you can turn off the display and use the speaker. It also has dedicated hotkeys for Netflix, Prime Video, Hotstar, YouTube and Google Play.
However, the navigation buttons are very close to the menu, home, back and a few more buttons. For this reason, instead of pressing ‘up’ I end up pressing the assistant button. Instead of pressing down, I finished by pressing the home button. This may sound like a small thing but try pressing Home more than once when trying to fetch the search bar for a streaming service! It can get quite annoying. The quality of some of the buttons on the remote also seemed a bit cheap.
Also, the remote is quite functional and gets the job done.
Construction and design
When it comes to making the Hisense 55A71F, the display has almost no bezel which gives you quite a immersive experience. The TV has two separate feet that hold it in place and the foot quality doesn’t feel as premium as those found in the OnePlus U, it gets the job done.
The back of the TV has a relatively thin profile with all the ports. The only downside is that the ports are not on the TV’s side, but because they are close to the center, making it difficult to reach if the TV is mounted on the wall. You may want to manage your wiring before mounting this TV to the wall.
As far as connectivity options are concerned, the TV has headphones, 3 HDMI ports, 2 USB ports, Ethernet, optical and an AV port. It also has a good old antenna port.
The last row
The Hisense 55A71F is easy to recommend considering the price and the features it brings to the table. It has a smooth UI, a feature-rich TV and, above all, great image performance for both receiving content from OTT and playing games. My only problem with the design of the remote control. If you are looking for a 55-inch 4 HDR TV below Rs 40,000 then you must consider Hisense 55A71F.