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Hisense H9F Hands-On Review: Android TV Smarts Meets Quantum Display

Hisense may be best known for basic, budget-friendly TVs, but the company has been hard at work to change those perceptions. Its ambitious new 2019 TV models may leave you with a different impression of the company's smart TVs.

With Android TV and a fistful of premium features, like quantum-dot enhancement, smart assistant integration and slick styling, the new Hisense H9F Series 4K UHD Android Smart TV is a jump forward in quality without losing the value that Hisense is known for.

Hisense H9F price and release date

The Hisense H9F Series 4K UHD Android Smart TV is coming this June, in 55-inch and 65-inch sizes. The 55-inch model will sell for $699, and the 65-inch model,$999. That pricing pits it against the likes of TCL and Vizio for delivering a more premium TV experience for less than a grand, and from what we saw, the Hisense provides some stiff competition.

Premium enhancements

Part of Hisense's ULED Premium 4K lineup, the H9F benefits from several enhancements over standard LCD TVs. Quantum dots, high refresh rates, local dimming with more than 100 discrete lighting zones all combine to make a great display.

A smart-looking design means that the TV will look right at home in almost any environment, thanks to ultra-thin bezels and a one-piece stand that provides a solid base for the TV. The base looks looks much more stylish than other designs that have separate feet at either end of the TV chassis.

Hisense H9F Series Android Smart TV Specs

Price55-inch: $699, 65-inch: $999
Screen Size55-inches, 65-inches
Resolution3,840 x 2,160
HDRDolby Vision, HDR10, HLG
Refresh Rate120Hz
Ports4 HDMI, 2 USB
Audio4.2 Channel x 60-Watt
Smart TV SoftwareAndroid TV
Size57.1 x 33 x 2.9 inches [w/o stand]
Weight43.7 pounds [w/o stand]

The biggest improvement is the addition of quantum dots, which improve the color of the LCD panel. This technology employs the light boosting properties of the nano-crystals that make up individual "dots" in a quantum dot panel. Combined with a wide color gamut panel, the display can produce more than a billion colors, with a vividness that was evident when we watched clips of a verdant chameleon on a branch, golden honey drizzling against a black backdrop or a multicolored parrot's lifelike feathers.

Better backlight

The 65-inch set also boasts a full array backlight with 132 local dimming zones. Those dimming zones let the brightness ramp up for more impressive brights and scale back for deeper blacks, with more granular contrast control for everything in between.

In our hands-on time, we saw strong brightness capability, without the degree of light blooming we've seen on many other mid-range TVs. And with a peak brightness of 1,000 nits, the H9F promises excellent brightness to go with the deep black levels. High-dynamic range (HDR) content will look great, and the set supports Dolby Vision, along with more basic standards like HDR10 and HLG.

The underlying LCD display should also be great for fast action and gaming, with a 120Hz refresh rate that looked smooth and clear when showing objects in motion, whether it was a bird in flight or the steady sweep of the second hand on a stopwatch. Hisense adds its own motion smoothing and processing on top of this, called Motion Rate 480, which promises to keep things smooth and clear even more than the 120Hz panel can provide by itself.

Smarter with Android TV

The H9F is also pushing to become a smarter smart TV, with the inclusion of Android TV instead of the Roku interface offered on many budget-friendly sets. By using Google's own smart TV platform, the H9F (as well as the less expensive H8F) will have the full breadth of Google's huge app selection.

From free content sources like Crackle and PlutoTV to paid cable replacements like SlingTV and Hulu Live, there are a staggering number of apps available. Built-in Google Chromecast functionality makes sharing apps and content from your other devices a snap.

MORE: Who Makes the Smartest Smart TV? Here Are the Results

It also has Google Assistant built in, letting you use Google's smart voice interaction to find new shows and movies, search for information ranging from weather to latest headlines, and even control smart home devices with a touch of a button and a simple phrase. Amazon fans can use a separate Alexa-enabled device with the TV, but it's not built in.

Hisense also debuted the H8F Series 4K ULED Android Smart TV. This model boasts many of the same Android TV features, but scales back the overall quality with fewer dimming zones and a lower 700-nit brightness to deliver a lower price. Coming in 50, 55 and 65-inch sizes, the prices start at $399, and range up to $699 for the 65-inch model.

Like the H9F, the H8F features built in Google Assistant and Google Chromecast features, and you'll have all the same apps available. Watch out for our upcoming review of the Hisense H8F, which we've got in our lab for testing this month.

Credit: Tom's Guide