Hisense H9F 4K UHD TV review: Great color and HDR for not a whole lot of money

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better 55-inch TV—at least in the lower end of the market—than Hisense’s model H9F. At $600 ($900 for the 65-inch), it’s $100 less than the recently reviewed Samsung Q60R, and it offers twice the peak brightness, plus the same accurate quantum dot color. It doesn’t render detail and blacks as sharply as some of its rivals, but the overall image and HDR are superb for the money.

Design and specs

The H9F is one of the nicer looking TVs I’ve seen recently. It sports a very, very thin bezel, and is only a little less then three inches at it’s thickest. There’s a 400mm by 200mm VESA mount point, and the 54.5-inch (55-inch class) model I tested weighs only a little more than 33 pounds.

This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best smart TVs. Click that link to read reviews of competing products, along with a buyer’s guide to the most important features you should consider when shopping.

side view facing left small Hisense

Though not as thin as some, the Hisense H9F still wall-mounts well. 

I especially liked the handsome detachable stand that mounts closer to the center of the TV than many, allowing it to sit on narrower platforms. It’s my favorite after the iMac-like pedestal on the Samsung Q90R. The two halves also screw in from the bottom, rather than from the back, which makes it much easier to secure them while the TV lying safely display-side up. That creates a slightly weaker join, but don’t play handball off of it and you’ll be fine.

back view small Hisense

Hisense keeps most of the H9F’s electronics in the usual TV fanny-pack. Note that the actual back-facing ports are empty in this picture. See the image below to see what they’re filled with.

The power cord extrudes from the right-hand back side of the unit and the ports are recessed into a nook on the left. Present are four HDMI 2.0a ports, two USB ports, coax for antenna and cable connections, ethernet, and RCA composite video and stereo audio inputs. There’s also a headphone jack and 3.5 mm RS-232C port.

h955u6eu small Hisense

Hisense provides all the ports you’ll find in TVs costing more, including RS-232c for A/V system control.

The resolution is 3840 by 2160 (4K UHD), quantum dots are used to augment the color, and there are 100 zones in the direct backlight array. The larger 65-inch model has 132 zones.

Remote and interface

While motel-style in appearance, the H9F’s remote is efficient and easy enough to learn. The main onscreen interface comes courtesy of Google’s Android TV, and Hisense has rendered it suitably minimalist in terms of the number of icons. Android TV is  easy to get around, and of course supports every popular app in the universe as well as quite a a few that other smart-TV operating systems don’t. VLC—which I use at home in place of DLNA when possible—comes to mind. Not that there’s anything wrong with the Media app that Hisense provides for local streaming or playback from USB mass media.

The TV settings menu is a separate deal, nicely organized, and always available without completely displacing or pausing what you’re watching. Adjustments to the image are applied instantly, which is handy indeed for tweaking. There are advanced settings—such as white balance, RGB levels, etc.—for those who want to calibrate their TV. Most TVs these days come well adjusted from the factory, so unless you’re interested in a one-percent difference you likely can’t see, stay away from these. 

atv screen Hisense

Hisense uses Android TV as it’s main interface. Apps galore and easy navigation.

There’s no grid guide to show you what entertainment lies in the future, but there is a nice channel listing that allows you to select favorites. When the list of favorites is selected in the channel guide, the channel change button skips others. It’s the little things.