Well specified for the price, this mid-range Hisense Mini LED model impresses both with its UHD image quality and gaming chops. It offers universal HDR support, extremely good colour fidelity and High Frame Rate gaming so there’s little to dislike.
The Hisense U7K is a difficult to resist all-rounder with a tempting spec and a price tag that won’t frighten the horses. With the U6K below and slightly brighter, range topping U8K above, it could be the go-to set for those looking to upgrade to an affordable Mini LED Ultra HD screen.
The specification is certainly attractive. The set has support for 4K 120Hz, plus a 144Hz Game Pro mode, and is home cinema ready with Dolby Vision IQ and IMAX Enhanced certification amongst its theatrical armoury.
Just to recap: Mini LED TVs theoretically offer significant advantages over Edge-lit screens and full array QD OLED models. The provision of a back plane of tiny LED lights, all dynamically controlled, improves HDR precision and overall dynamics.
What’s more the U7K supports Dolby Atmos sound and has a subwoofer built-in. Intrigued? I certainly was.
Design & Features
Vidaa Smart platform
144Hz Game Pro Mode
The U7K is entirely presentable for a mid-range model. It doesn’t invite close inspection, but the finish is smart enough from viewing distance. The set has a predictably small bezel, without any obvious seams, while the back panel is purposefully rugged.
It’s not slim, at 77mm deep, but you get the sense that space is being put to good use. Not only are there sizeable downward fairing speakers, but there’s a significant area devoted to a rear-facing subwoofer – more on what they can do later.
Steve May / Foundry
Connectivity consists of four HDMI inputs, two of which support refresh rates up to 4K 120Hz, or 144Hz Game Mode Pro for PC users. One of these high refresh rate inputs is also the eARC connection. The remaining two HDMI inputs are 4K 60Hz ready.
There’s also an analogue AV single jack input, two USB ports, a digital optical audio input, Ethernet LAN and CI slot. When it comes to tuners, you have a choice of Freeview Play (in the UK) for terrestrial content or generic satellite. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are standard and the set also works with Apple AirPlay and Homekit.
The U7K ships with a slim, silver-grey remote control handset that offers dedicated buttons for Disney Plus, Freeview Play, Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video and Vidaa TV, part of Hisense’s own Vidaa smart platform ecosystem, though it’s running Google TV in the USA.
The Vidaa home screen is much like you would expect from any of the big brand portals. It’s a fullscreen affair topped with a row of thumbnails for all the streaming services available – this is a comprehensive listing which includes YouTube, Netflix, Apple TV, Prime Video, YouTube, Pluto TV and Disney Plus.
Basically all the big services are on-board and catch-up channels are available via the Freeview Play EPG.
Steve May / Foundry
Below these are rails for Freeview channels, curated content from Hisense Vidaa channels and an assortment of featured movies, genres and streaming divisions.
There’s also a dedicated game UI, called the Game Menu, which reveals frame rate, HDR status, VRR (variable refresh rate) status, brightness levels, and aspect ratio at a glance.
Quantum Dot + Mini LED
Dolby Vision IQ
The Hisense U7K impresses with the uniformity and vibrancy of its picture. The Mini LED backlighting system presents predominantly solid greys and blacks, which don’t tend to splodge when faced with bright lights. This gives the set a consistent, smooth presentation.
Colours are bright enough without a tendency to oversaturate or compromise skin tones.
The set’s HDR performance is in line with what we expect from an upper mid-range Mini LED screen, peaking at 700 nits when measured with a 10% patch. There’s not a significant difference between measurements made with the Standard and Dynamic image presets, so feel free to swap around.
HDR support is universal, with compatibility for HDR10+ Adaptive, HDR10+, HDR10, and Dolby Vision IQ.
Steve May / Foundry
The set offers the usual selection of picture presets – Filmmaker mode, Cinema day, Cinema night, Dynamic, Sports and Standard, which is the Eco default picture setting. There’s also Enhanced ACR (Automatic Content Recognition), an auto AI mode that optimises images and audio on a frame by frame basis.
This appears to work reasonably well, but it’s worth noting that it’s not possible to separate the sound quality enhancement that comes with this, from the image quality enhancement.
The two Cinema settings behave much as you’d expect, while Dynamic gives the entire picture an brightness boost to the point where highlights can be washed out.
For most content, Standard would be my recommended choice for a potpourri of programmes.
The set has powerful motion smoothing options. Dubbed Ultra Smooth Motion, you can opt for Smooth, Standard, Clear, Film and Custom, with variable blur and judder reduction. Smooth is a good all purpose default, and works well for sports.
While blacks don’t hit the inky depths of OLED, they do come close, particularly when you maintain some level of ambient light. When Arnold Schwarzenegger makes his way through the sewer system during the opening action of Fubar (Netflix), there are subtle gradations amid the shadows, while the letterbox bars that frame the show are consistently dark.
HD upscaling is reasonably good, although shows with overt noise can look a little ugly.
Dolby Vision shows are presented with Dolby Vision IQ (which uses the set’s onboard sensor to monitor ambient light levels in your viewing room, and adjust accordingly), which makes good use of available luminosity. Dolby Vision Dark and Dolby Vision Custom can be selected if you prefer.
Latency was measured at 13ms (1080p/60fps) in Game mode, which is an average performance for gaming. The 144Hz Game Mode Pro is automatically triggered by any ALLM (automatic low latency mode) connection.
Steve May / Foundry
DTS X support
40W 2.1 sound system
In many ways, the U7K defies expectations when it comes to audio. The set has standard downward firing stereo speakers, so you wouldn’t expect particular clarity, but it does exhibit pronounced stereo width, and the provision of the rear facing subwoofer dramatically enhances mid-bass performance.
The set is Dolby Atmos capable, and will bitstream out the immersive sound format to any awaiting soundbar or external sound system, if you want to upgrade your sonics. There’s also DTS Virtual X processing for non Atmos sources, which is a welcome refinement.
Price & Availability
The U7K is available in 55-, 65-, 75-, 85-, and 100in. screen sizes (55U7KQ, 65U7KQ, 75U7KQ, 85U7KQ, 100U7KQ), priced at £1,199, £1,499, £1,799, £2,999 and £4,999 respectively.
We’re testing the 65in U7K here and you can buy the TV from the likes of Amazon, Currys, Argos and Very where you should be able to find it handsomly discounted.
In the USA, you can get the U7K from Amazon in four sizes (55-, 65-, 75- and 85in) priced at $799.99, $1049.99, $1,499.99 and $2,199.99 respectively.
Find alternatives in our best TV chart.
The U7K is a well equipped Mini LED smart TV with an impressive feature spread.
In terms of bang for buck, it scores highly. Picture detail is high and QD colours vibrant. It’s not class leading when it comes to HDR, but overall luminosity is good and the provision of Dolby Vision IQ ensures well balanced images.
It would have been nice to see 4K 120Hz support across all HDMI inputs, but that’s hardly a limitation unique to Hisense.
Overall, we rate the Hisense U7K a great value all-rounder.
Model tested: 65in
Display technology: Mini LED 4K with Quantum Dot
Resolution: 3840 x 2160 (4K Ultra HD)
HDR support: HDR10+ Adaptive, HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision IQ