The Chinese manufacturer, Hisense's, new flagship 65" ULED smart television is a declaration of war aimed at the top end TV market. This beautifully crafted and ingeniously designed ULED is the perfection that should be strived for when creating the next generation of televisions.
It starts with the near seamless 65” monitor with built-in soundbar resting on an impressive curved metal stand that's supported by a clear plastic ‘wedge’, keeping it upright. Size does matter in this case and although it is not the biggest screen out there, it sure makes a dramatic impression.
Quantum dot ULED technology and Harmon Kardon speakers
Apart from the size, once it's switched on and the images start flashing on the screen, you are left breathless. Quantum dot ULED technology (so it says on the box) is what brings all your favourite characters to life and regardless of all the fancy technical terms, the resolution is incredible.
When you get the hang of all the various picture modes and settings, you are guaranteed to be blown away. The ability to have adaptive contrast or slow down frame rates will change the way you see even your favourite movies. The depth and richness of colour reveal elements of the scenes you have always loved, you never even knew where there.
Couple this amazing screen with clear crisp sounds coming from the soundbar and you are instantly transported to a cinema. Thanks to the guys from Harmon Kardon lending their reputation and expertise to the front and rear facing speakers.
Now, there is usually a fair amount of criticism for built-in sound bars but in this instance, it is hard to fault the clarity and almost unheard-of robust bass this unit produces. No need to attach any other speakers even though there are ports for various connection types.
Intuitively designed minicomputer
Smart TV - the label attached to all sets that have LAN or wireless internet capabilities. Hisense’s U9A is not just a mere smart TV, but rather an intuitively designed minicomputer.
Dedicated remote buttons and quick set up options get you from a standard set to a smooth responsive smart TV in no time at all. Netflix, Showmax and Youtube apps are pre-programmed into the main menus and once connected to an internet connection, provide hours of entertainment.
I can discuss at length all that this masterpiece has to offer; however, I want to focus on a few of the more unsuspected items that make this set stand out.
The first thing that I found practical was the smartcard slot built into the unit, eliminating the need for an external decoder for satellite channels. This function is very clever in my eyes, as it makes mounting the unit a much more practical option. (No need to make space for the external decoder).
On the topic of channels, I must note that scanning and storing channel frequencies is a breeze and even without a smartcard it was possible to pick up Openview HD.
A plethora of clearly marked and dedicated connection ports is also a very big selling point for this unit. What stood out here were the covers that are supplied to hide the ports, bracket mountings and the stand attachment bolts, it just an aesthetic accessory but it lends to the sophistication and the build quality.
Heat generation, freezing and high power consumption
There were a few issues/flaws that crept up but nothing that takes away from the brilliance of the unit. Firstly there was the issue of heat generation. This was a bit of a weird one but nevertheless, the screen at full functionality gave off a surprising amount of heat and over prolonged viewing periods, warmed up the surrounding area quite a bit. The next issue was the system freeze that happens when you switch the TV off while still logged into Netflix.
For some strange reason if you do this and then switch on later it would freeze on the screen it starts up and then the remote only allows you to power the set on and off. The only way we found around this issue was to switch the unit off and actually remove the power plug from the socket and then plug it back in before switching it on.
As a preventative measure, we had to close both the Netflix app and disconnect the internet connection before switching off. Not sure why this occurs and if it is just a matter of being connected to a Wi-Fi connection like it was in our case. It may be different if connected directly via a LAN cable.
Lastly, we encountered high power consumption when using the TV. Granted, we had it on for long periods of time and were connected to the internet constantly. It was just unexpected as most units nowadays boast about their energy efficiency.
In summation, the flaws are more minor inconveniences than deal-breaking issues.
It has to be said that after having the privilege of using this TV for a month, I am having withdrawal symptoms and am planning on getting my very own very soon. Any sponsors?
Hisense has really gone all out with this smart television and can only go from strength to strength on the backbone of these TVs.
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