The Hisense U8G was one of our favorite TVs of 2021 thanks to its fantastic picture quality and strong list of features for a reasonable price. Its successor, the Hisense U8H, is even more impressive, with wider color and higher contrast. It’s otherwise similar to the U8G, so you shouldn’t feel pressured to upgrade from last year’s model, but if you’re shopping for a new TV, the U8H is one of the best values available today. As far as cost, Hisense specifies both a suggested retail price of $1,399.99 and an “everyday” price of $999.99 for the 65-inch version of the U8H we tested to make it seem like the TV is perpetually on sale. Amazon is selling the TV for the higher suggested price at launch, but might drop to the “everyday” price over time as more units reach retail channels. Either way, the U8H is an excellent value, and worthy of our Editors’ Choice award.
A Simple, Familiar Design
The U8H uses an increasingly common TV design, in which a thin metallic band runs along the sides and across the top of the screen, while a wider, brushed metallic strip serves as the bottom bezel. It’s a simple, classy look that the Hisense U6H, the Vizio M50QXM-K01, and a variety of other TVs share. The bottom bezel sports a chrome Hisense logo in the middle, a trapezoidal protrusion for the infrared sensor, a power button, Google Assistant indicator lights, and a far-field microphone array complete with a mute switch. The TV stands on two long, thin metal feet and has standard VESA screw holes for wall mounting.
The power cable plugs into a port on the right side of the rear panel, but all other connections are situated on the left side. Four HDMI ports (one eARC, two 4K120), a USB-A port, a 3.5mm composite video input, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and an antenna/cable connector face left, while an optical audio output, an Ethernet port, and a second USB-A port face directly back.
The included remote is the same one you get with the U6H. It’s a rectangular wand made of black plastic with a large circular navigation pad near the top. Power, input, settings, and Google Assistant buttons sit above the pad, along with a combination pinhole microphone/indicator LED. Home, back, and live TV buttons reside directly below the pad, as well as playback controls, a volume rocker, and a channel rocker. Farther down, dedicated service buttons offer instant access to Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Netflix, Peacock, Tubi, and YouTube.
Google TV, With AirPlay Support Coming Soon
Hisense opts for the Google TV smart TV platform on the U8H, which provides plenty of apps and features. All major video streaming services are present, including Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Sling TV, Twitch, and YouTube. This platform supports Google Cast for streaming content from your Android phone or Chrome tab. An update planned for October will add the same Apple AirPlay connectivity features the Hisense U6H has.
Google TV also unlocks access to Google Assistant, and the U8H has far-field microphones that enable hands-free use. Like with a smart display, you can simply say, “Hey, Google,” to summon the voice service. Google Assistant is useful for looking up content, controlling the TV and any compatible smart home devices on your network, and searching for general information like weather reports and sports scores.
High Contrast and Wide Colors
The Hisense U8H is a 4K LED-backlit LCD TV with a 120Hz refresh rate. It supports high dynamic range (HDR) content in HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and hybrid log gamma (HLG). It has an ATSC 3.0 tuner, too.
We test TVs with a Klein K-80 colorimeter, a Murideo SIX-G signal generator, and Portrait Displays’ Calman software. Out of the box, in Theater Day mode with an SDR signal, the U8H shows a peak brightness of 711 nits with a full-screen white field and 1,410 nits with an 18% field. With an HDR signal in the same mode, the TV shows a peak brightness of 842 nits with a full-screen field and 1,982 nits with an 18% field. In both cases, the black level is an excellent 0.01cd/m^2 for an effective contrast ratio of 198,226:1. That performance soundly beats the U8G (88.168:1). The U8H doesn’t, however, reach the levels of the Samsung QN90B. That model offers similar peak brightness (1,700 nits with an HDR signal and an 18% white field), but boasts OLED-challenging contrast with effectively perfect black levels because of its miniLED backlight.
The U8H also has an array backlight system and seems to turn off the lights completely for black sections, but it displays some light bloom whereas the QN90B shows little to none. Light bloom is one of the factors that has kept LED TVs from challenging OLEDs on black levels, though the trade-off for OLEDs is a far dimmer screen. For reference, our Editors’ Choice-winning OLED TV, the LG C2, has a peak brightness of just 570 nits with an HDR signal and an 18% white field.
Although we measured the best contrast numbers on the U8H with the Theater Day mode, we recommend the Filmmaker mode for watching movies. The latter has a dimmer peak brightness of 1,877 nits with an HDR signal and an 18% white field, but better preserves shadow details and highlights. It also displays slightly more accurate colors than the Theater Day mode, though the black levels between the two are identical.
The above charts show the U8H in Filmmaker mode with an SDR signal compared against Rec.709 broadcast standards, and with an HDR signal compared against DCI-P3 digital cinema standards. SDR colors are well balanced but a bit oversaturated past broadcast standards, though that isn’t a big deal because they’re still less intense than HDR colors and won’t hurt the viewing experience. HDR colors are impressive and exceed the DCI-P3 color space, though cyans and magentas start to drift a bit green and red, respectively. Fortunately, they aren’t significantly skewed, so colors still generally look accurate out of the box.
BBC’s Planet Earth II looks excellent on the U8H. The picture is bright and colorful. The TV shows well-saturated and natural greens and blues for plants and water, respectively. Fine details like fur and bark come through clearly both under direct sunlight and in shade.
The red of Deadpool’s costume in the overcast opening scenes of dead pool is vibrant and balanced; it doesn’t appear faded or purple at all. The yellows and oranges of the flames in the burning lab fight scene are bright and vibrant, with nicely varied highlights against fairly dark, though not inky, shadow details.
In the party scenes of The Great Gatsby, the cuts and textures of black suit jackets and dark hair come through without appearing washed out, while the whites of balloons and shirts in the same frames look quite bright. This film shows how the TV’s Filmmaker mode tamps down a bit on the backlight and produces better black levels at the expense of a slightly dimmer (but still quite bright) picture.
Colors fade slightly when you view the TV from an off-angle, but not to a significant degree. When you entertain a group of people, everyone should be able to see the screen just fine regardless of where they sit. The U8H doesn’t offer the perfect off-angle color retention of TVs like the LG C2, but it’s far better than more budget models.
Solid Gaming Chops
Gamers, especially AMD-based PC gamers, should like the U8H. Its 120Hz panel features variable refresh rate (VRR) and AMD FreeSync Premium.
The TV is also quite responsive. Using an HDFury Diva HDMI matrix, we measured an input lag of 8.1ms in Game mode. That falls under the 10ms threshold we use to determine if a TV is among the best for gaming. Predictably, with Game mode off, that input lag jumps to 86.5ms.
A Worthy Successor and an Excellent Value
The Hisense U8H is a fantastic TV for the price and a worthy successor to the U8G. It offers excellent contrast, wide and generally accurate colors, strong gaming features and performance, and hands-free Google Assistant with Google Cast support (and Apple AirPlay arriving soon). The TV is a strong value at its $1,399.99 suggested retail price and a truly impressive value at its “everyday” price of $999.99 for the 65-inch model, earning it our Editors’ Choice for midrange TVs. It stands alongside the similar TCL 6-Series 4K Google TV ($1,299.99 for the 65-inch version) as one of our top value picks, though the TCL isn’t as bright, and lacks AMD FreeSync for gaming and Apple AirPlay for casting.
If you want to save even more money, the Hisense U6H (effectively $549.99 for the 65-inch variant) features the same excellent Google TV interface. It’s not as vibrant, bright, or responsive, however. If you want to splurge, the LG C2 ($2,499.99 for the 65-inch model) remains our favorite OLED TV because of its incredible (though slightly dimmer) picture quality, while the Samsung QN90B ($2,599.99 for the 65-inch variant) pushes the limits of contrast performance for an LED TV.