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Hisense H8F 65-Inch Android TV Review

The Hisense H8F Android TV is a decent 4K smart TV with a nice design and strong feature set, but it's held back by inconsistent backlighting and middling sound quality.

Our Verdict

Worth it. The Hisense H8F Android TV has great smart features and color quality, but the audio is a bit of a letdown.

For

  • Two-position stand design
  • Crisp 4K resolution
  • Excellent color quality
  • Great smart features with Android TV

Against

  • Distracting backlight issues
  • Audio falls a little flat

The Hisense H8F Android TV ($699) is a midrange smart TV that wants to be more, and sometimes succeeds, with a strong feature set, great color quality and a decent design.

It's not a perfect TV, but it delivers plenty for the money. If you want a smart 4K TV for your home for less than $1,000, it's a solid choice.

Hisense H8F 65-inch Android TV Specs

Price$699
Screen Size65 inches
Resolution3840 x 2160
HDRHDR10, Dolby Vision
Refresh Rate60 Hz
Ports4 HDMI, 2 USB
Audio2 x 15 watts
Smart TV SoftwareAndroid TV 8.0 (Oreo)
Size56.9 x 32.8 x 3.0 inches [w/o stand]
Weight43 pounds [w/o stand]

Hisense H8F Price and Availability

The Hisense H8F comes in three sizes, a 50-inch model, a 55-inch set and the 65-inch screen size seen in our review. Available through Amazon and Best Buy, they range in price from $399.99 to $699.99.

Hisense 50H8F 50-inch Android TV$399
Hisense 55H8F 55-inch Android TV$499
Hisense 65H8F 65-inch Android TV$699

All three sizes offer a similar collection of features and specs, from full-array local dimming and Dolby Vision support to the rich Android TV smart platform. Smaller sizes will have fewer dimming zones due to the smaller screen sizes. The 55-inch model features 56 zones, while the 50-inch model has only 32 zones. The built-in speakers will also differ slightly, with both the 55-inch and 50-inch models outfitted with 10-watt speakers, a step down from the 65-inch model's 15-watt speakers.

Aside from these key differences, the features and overall performance we've seen on the 65-inch model will likely carry over to other models in the H8F series. However, the only H8F model we have tested thus far is the 65-inch version.

Design

The overall design of the Hisense H8F is basic but clean and aesthetically pleasing. The display is surrounded with relatively thin bezels on the top and sides, with a slightly thicker bezel along the bottom that includes a protruding IR sensor. While more-premium TVs might go out of their way to hide this a bit more, it's not egregious.

Looking at the back of the set, it's still not a showpiece, but the matte-black finish looks fine and Hisense is betting that you'll set this up with its back to a wall. You can also hang the H8F on the wall, thanks to holes for a 200-millimeter x 400-millimeter VESA mount.

One of the most interesting aspects of the TV design is the integrated stand. Like most TVs, it comes with a pair of feet that attach with simple screws. However, Hisense has set up the TV with two locations to install the feet. You can opt for a wider footprint, with the Y-shaped metal feet attached toward the right and left edges of the TV, or further in. This gives you the option of putting the TV on a smaller surface or just freeing up some space for other home theater gear, like a Blue-ray player.

The best part of this two-position stand design is that the sturdy metal feet provide plenty of stability in either position, and there's no need to worry about the sure footing of the H8F if you opt for the narrower position.

Ports

The H8F is outfitted with a single collection of ports, set in several inches from the left-hand edge of the TV. All of these ports face the side, making it easy to reach them and plug new devices into them.

There, you'll find four HDMI ports, one featuring audio return channel (ARC) support, along with two USB ports, a composite video input and an optical port for digital surround sound. An RF connector lets you attach an HDTV antenna to the TV's built-in tuner, and a headphone jack is available for earphones or speakers.

For network connectivity, the TV has both a wired LAN port and dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi. It also offers Bluetooth 5.0 for connecting headphones and other devices wirelessly.

Performance

The H8F's 65-inch screen offers great performance for a 4K set in this price range. Strong contrast and vibrant color help the TV deliver solid picture quality, but the full-array backlight didn't have the precision we expected.

When I watched the opening scenes from Blade Runner 2049, the 4K detail came through with impressive clarity. Fine details such as specs of dirt on gloves and strands of hair on Ryan Gosling's head were as crisp and sharp as I've seen on much more expensive models. But that crisp detail highlighted one issue with the display, as fast action produced some smearing, surrounding quick-moving objects and people with a bit of a haze that was easy to see in fight scenes.

Color quality is great, whether the scene was in a lush green forest or a holographic Vegas stage show. I saw the same thing in Spider-Man: Homecoming, where a red-and-white fire engine looked bright and clean, with lifelike color. Less reality-based scenes, such as a glowing purple, laser-blasting weapon, also looked quite vibrant. More-subtle colors such as skin tones came across very well, with close-ups on faces and hands looking extremely natural.

The vibrant color quality is largely due to the display's excellent color reproduction; the Hisense TV registered 99.87% of the Rec. 709 color space in our testing. That's only a fraction of a percentage point behind the results from the Vizio M-Series Quantum (99.92%) and TCL 6-Series Roku TV (99.96%) and significantly better than the Samsung NU6900's mark (96.25%).

Instrumental testing did show that the H8F tended to oversaturate reds and blues a bit. But the only really noticeable problem I saw when viewing content was occasional banding in subtle color changes, such as a fog bank or a cloud.

Color accuracy is also very good, with the set earning a Delta-E rating of 1.4 (closer to zero is better). That outdoes results from both the Vizio M-Series Quantum (3.6) and Samsung NU6900 (3.08) and is nearly as good as the TCL 6-Series' mark (1.1).

The H8F's 65-inch screen offers great performance for a 4K set in this price range.

Color quality aside, we did see one significant issue with the H8F, and that was the backlighting. A count of dimming zones confirms that Hisense has backed the LCD panel with 60 dimmable backlights, which in turn let the H8F display high-dynamic range (HDR) content, with support for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision formats. When the HDR worked well, it looked excellent, with deep, rich black levels; clear midrange detail; and bright spots that popped.

But other scenes were marred by significant haloing, and as the backlighting shifted to match objects moving on screen, entire sections of the display would switch from dark to light, either blowing out the dark details with unwanted haloing or plunging midrange detail into a muddled darkness. This is in addition to other, more pedestrian backlighting issues, like shadows in the corner of the screen or vertical bands of inconsistent brightness when viewing solid-color screens or shots of the sky.

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It's a shame, because when the elements come together just right, the H8F's excellent color quality is really highlighted with great brightness and contrast.

Gaming Performance

Plugging in our Xbox One X to test 4K gaming capability, we saw that the Hisense H8F readily supports 4K gaming at 60 frames per second. Support for other frame rates varies. This set does support 4K content with 10-bit color at 24 frames per second, ideal for movie watching, along with HDR 10 and Dolby Vision for movies and streaming content, but it doesn't support either HDR format in games.

Once you hit 70% volume, you'll clearly hear the limits of the low-end sound, with a rattly distortion creeping into any bass.

The H8F does not support 50-Hz or 60-Hz content playback with 10-bit color but will do it in 8 bit. Combine all this with a tested lag time of 14.1 milliseconds, and the Hisense H8F Android TV should be a decent option for 4K gaming, provided you're not picky about color depth or HDR. See our best 4K TVs for gaming for other options.

Audio

The H8F is equipped with two 15-watt speakers, which delivered strong, room-filling volume and reasonably healthy bass levels. Listening to Radiohead's "Exit Music (for a Film)," I was able to make out Thom Yorke's vocals clearly, whether they were sung at a near whisper or belted out. Instrumentation was equally clear, from the lightly strummed acoustic guitar to the moderately thrumming bass. The drums, however, seemed a little less pronounced than they should be.

The TV produced decent audio quality at most volumes, but anything below 25% had little to no bass, and at around the 50% mark, I heard minor distortion. Once you hit 70% volume, you'll clearly hear the limits of the low-end sound, with a rattly distortion creeping into any bass.

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For better sound on the Hisense H8F, we recommend getting a soundbar.

Smart TV Features

In the past, Hisense has largely relied upon Roku and its own proprietary smart TV platforms, but the H8F instead uses Android TV. While Roku remains one of our favorite smart TV operating systems, Android presents a significant improvement over alternatives Hisense has used in years past.

The introduction of Android opens up a significant app ecosystem, thanks to the Google Play store, and the functionality is enhanced further with built-in Chromecast capability. This makes it easy not only to share content from your phone to the big screen, but also to share apps to the TV, even apps that may not have a smart TV version available in the play store.

The H8F has Google Assistant built in, giving you all of the capabilities of a Google Home speaker through the mic-enabled remote control.

The organization of Android TV 8.0 (also known as Android TV Oreo) is easy to navigate, with multiple rows of content, highlighting key apps such as Netflix and YouTube. And you can easily customize this to highlight the apps of your choice.

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As an Android TV, the H8F also has Google Assistant built in, giving you all of the capabilities you'd get from a Google Home speaker through the mic-enabled remote control. Not only is it handy for TV-related tasks, like searching for content or controlling TV functions, but you can also use it to search the web for information and control connected devices around your home.

If yours is an Amazon household, you can also pair the TV with any Amazon Alexa-enabled smart speaker. Additionally, while Amazon Prime Video isn't currently offered on Android TVs, it is slated to arrive this summer, including to the H8F Android TV.

Remote Control

The included Hisense remote control presents a good balance between the minimalist designs seen on the small, but sparsely featured Roku remotes and a traditional TV remote. That's thanks to channel and number buttons that give you traditional TV navigation, paired with a four-way directional pad and functional buttons for navigating all of your smart TV menus.

The remote also has a built-in microphone for voice interaction, which is triggered by pressing and holding the Google Assistant button, marked by the bubbly, colorful Google Assistant logo.

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On the lower end of the remote are four dedicated app buttons, similar to those seen on many other remotes. The model we reviewed had dedicated buttons for Netflix, YouTube, Google Play and Vudu. While these buttons generally function as paid promotion, featuring apps that have an agreement in place with the manufacturer, this selection happens to be a little more useful than most.

Bottom Line

The Hisense H8F is a generally well-made midrange TV, but alongside the great color quality and excellent smart functionality are some real downers, like distractingly inconsistent backlighting and audio that begs for a soundbar. However, in this price range, it's hard to strike the right balance between affordability and flawless performance, and most people will give up picture and sound quality in the name of a slightly lower price.

Overall, we prefer the TCL 6-Series Roku TV in this price range, as it offers a better picture and sound quality. But the Hisense H8F is definitely worth a look if you're searching for a good TV for under $700.

Credit: Hisense