Hisense U7G LED TV Review: Built for gamers
Great for gamers
This is the best TV for gamers you can get for under $1,000.
It really feels like Hisense has turned a corner in 2021. The brand, which is hugely popular in China but still relatively low-key stateside, is making some of the best TVs it’s ever released here. After the U8G, the U7G is the second-best TV I’ve seen from Hisense, in part because it follows the same formula: remarkable performance mixed with an impressive list of features, all at a much lower cost than the competition. The U7G’s bread and butter, however, is its gaming prowess. There just aren’t that many TVs in this price bracket that take full advantage of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
There is, of course, some fine print to go along with this deal. The U7G’s color production, while commendable, isn’t as impressive as some of the TVs in its general price range. It’s motion handling also isn’t quite as buttery smooth as I’m used to seeing on a TV with a native refresh rate of 120Hz. Nevertheless, there isn’t a better option in 2021 for gamers who aren’t comfortable spending flagship-level money on their next TV, and even if you aren’t an avid gamer, there’s plenty to love about the Hisense U7G.
About the Hisense U7G TV Series
The U7G is available in three sizes: 55 inches, 65 inches, and 75 inches. Our review unit is a 65-inch model that we received on loan.
Here’s how the series shakes out for pricing:
- 55-inch (Hisense 55U7G), MSRP $749.99
- 65-inch (Hisense 65U7G), MSRP $1,099.99
- 75-inch (Hisense 75U7G), MSRP $1,349.99
Each size in the U7G series features a different number of local dimming zones (clusters of backlight LEDs that can be directly dimmed or brightened), so performance may vary slightly from one model to the next. That said, zone count tends to increase with screen size proportionally, and the differences in zone count across the U7G series are pretty minor. The 55-inch U7G features 72 local dimming zones, the 65-inch model features 90, and the 75-inch features 120.
In addition, while the 55- and 65-inch models use VA (vertical alignment) panels, the 75-inch model is equipped with an IPS (in-plane switching) panel. This means that you will likely experience shallower black levels on the 75-inch model when compared with the two smaller models, but the 75-inch U7G will likely demonstrate better viewing angles than its smaller counterparts. It’s worth keeping this information in mind as we go over the U7G’s overall contrast as well as its off-angle viewing performance.
Here’s a rundown of the hardware and software features shared by all three sizes:
- Resolution: 4K (3,840 x 2,160)
- Display type: LED with quantum dots
- Dimming technology: Full-array with local dimming
- HDR support: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
- Dolby Atmos: Yes (native decoding)
- eARC support: Yes
- Native refresh rate: 120Hz
- Smart platform: Android TV
- Color: DCI-P3 color space/10-bit chroma resolution
- Variable Refresh Rate (VRR): Yes
- Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM): Yes
- Other features: Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, IMAX Enhanced mode, FreeSync
The U7G arrives with a pretty standard remote control, complete with several dedicated app buttons and a shape that’s prone to rocking when placed on a surface. The remote is equipped with voice recognition, however, and the buttons feel OK when in use.
The TV’s design isn’t flashy, but the good news is that none of its elements feel out of place. The display is propped up by two angular feet that face the panel’s corners, and there are four total slots for the feet for added flexibility. In addition, there are cable management clips on the back of each foot for folks who seek a little more organization.
One interesting design element is a switch for the U7G’s onboard microphone, which powers its Google Assistant functionality. The switch lives just below the panel’s bottom lip, beneath the Hisense logo. If having an always-on microphone gives you the heebie-jeebies, this switch disables it.
Before testing each TV, we make sure the panel is on and receiving a continuous signal for at least 24 hours, allowing the pixels plenty of time to warm up. Our 65-inch U7G received this standard warm-up time before any readings were taken.
For SDR tests, we used Hisense’s “Theater Day” picture mode. For HDR tests, we used the TV’s “HDR Theater” picture mode. We’ve chosen these picture modes because of their accuracy, but performance may vary depending on which picture mode is enabled. For example, you’re likely to experience a brighter picture with different settings enabled, but it may interfere with color temperature and overall color accuracy.
To get a sense for the TV’s average performance, we use a standard ANSI checkerboard pattern for most of our basic contrast tests. We also use white and black windows ranging from 2% to 90% to test how well the contrast holds up while displaying varying degrees of brightness.
Our peak brightness measurements are taken with sustained windows to represent the TV’s peak brightness over a sustained period of time. Specular highlights (like brief flashes of reflected light) might reach higher brightness levels, but not for a sustained period of time.
All of our tests are created with a Murideo Seven signal generator and tabulated via Portrait Displays’ Calman Ultimate color calibration software. I’ll expand on our test results throughout the review, but for now, here are some key takeaways:
• HDR contrast (brightness/black level): 563.9 nits/0.071 nits (ANSI checkerboard)
• SDR contrast (brightness/black level): 456.8 nits/0.073 nits (ANSI checkerboard)
• HDR peak brightness (sustained): 708.6 nits (10% white window)
• HDR color gamut coverage (DCI-P3/10-bit): 93%
• SDR color gamut coverage (Rec.709): 98%
While testing, the U7G’s “Local Dimming” setting was kept on “Medium,” its “Motion Enhancement” and “Motion Clearness” settings were turned off, “Digital Noise Reduction” was set to “Low,” and “Active Contrast” was disabled. In addition, the U7G’s color temperature setting remained in its default setting of “Low,” and the TV’s “Automatic Light Sensor” was not active.
The Hisense U7G is equipped with enough connectivity options to satisfy both casual users and A/V enthusiasts. Two of its four HDMI ports are of the HDMI 2.1 variety and support 120fps at 4K resolution. The only caveat is that one of these HDMI 2.1 ports serves as the TV’s eARC port, so if you plan on using an audio device that takes advantage of the U7G’s eARC functionality for uncompressed audio transfer, you’ll be stealing one of the two available HDMI 2.1 ports.
Here’s what you’ll find in a cutout on the back of the panel:
- 2x HDMI 2.0
- 2x HDMI 2.1 (1x eARC)
- 2x USB (1x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0)
- RF connection (cable/antenna)
- Ethernet (LAN) input
- Digital audio output (optical)
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- Composite input (breakaway)
What we like
Fantastic contrast, exceptional brightness
If you’ve got a relatively bright living space (or if a bright picture is simply on your wishlist this year), the U7G will not disappoint. In SDR (including most cable TV and streaming content), the U7G hovers between 450 and 600 nits of brightness—that’s brighter than most mid-range TVs in HDR.
In HDR, the U7G packs a punch, too. In the TV’s most accurate HDR picture mode, I routinely clocked the it at just above 700 nits, with specular highlights climbing even higher. If you watch a good deal of HDR content (that is, newer Blu-rays, most next-gen video games, and streaming content mastered for the format), the U7G is a great companion. It delivers the sort of brightness that HDR needs in order for the format to be worthwhile.
If you watch a good deal of HDR content, the U7G is a great companion.
The U7G pairs these highlights with deeper-than-average black levels that, crucially, retain their depth even when the TV is receiving an HDR signal. In fact, the U7G’s ability to control its contrast despite a relatively low amount of local dimming zones is one of the most impressive aspects of its performance. Even when the TV is displaying HDR content with bright highlights, the darker areas of the picture stay dark, and they do so with almost no light bloom to speak of.
Built for gaming
Hisense has been enthusiastic about the U7G’s gaming prowess in the run-up to its release, and frankly, I share Hisense’s enthusiasm. The U7G is outfitted with an impressive array of gaming-related hardware and software that will help it make the most of next-gen gaming on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. It’s not quite as kitted out for gaming as a high-end flagship, but it essentially offers the same suite of gaming features as the Hisense U8G. For this price point, that’s fantastic.
The U7G’s two HDMI 2.1 inputs serve up 4K gaming at 120fps, Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR). These features—combined with the TV’s low input lag and excellent Game mode picture preset—make the U7G one of the best gaming options in its price range, if not the best.
The U7G one of the best gaming options in its price range.
As mentioned, the U7G isn’t quite as much of a gaming machine as some of the top-shelf options in 2021 (both the LG C1 and the Samsung QN90A feature four HDMI 2.1 ports, for example). But the fact that the U7G offers a set of gaming features comparable to what’s available on the higher-end U8G is worthy of celebration.
In an ideal world, one of the U7G’s HDMI 2.0 ports would function as the eARC-designated port so that users wouldn’t have to use one of the 2.1 ports to take advantage of eARC functionality. As it stands, if you own a PlayStation 5, an Xbox Series X, and a soundbar or A/V receiver, one of your consoles will need to be unplugged while the other is in use for audio transmission. It’s a bit of a bummer, but one that will only affect power users (at least in the short term).
Additionally, some audio devices, such as higher-end A/V receivers, may also allow you to passthrough video at full throttle so you can plug your gaming consoles directly into the receiver instead.
Zippy, responsive software
I’ve had some issues in the past with sluggish Hisense TV software, but I’m pleased to report that navigating the U7G is an absolute breeze. In fact, for my money, this is the zippiest that Hisense’s software has ever performed. It’s a cinch to navigate menus, whereas in previous years jumping through Hisense menu options felt sluggish, with every input acting on a slight delay. If you’re someone who spends a good deal of time tinkering with various picture and audio settings, you’ll be happy to learn that the U7G won’t slow you down.
On the smart platform side of things, the U7G is running a new version of Android TV, which offers plenty of flexibility in the form of the Google Play App Store. In general, I’ve always found Android TV to be kind of a chore to navigate and I prefer the more simplified approach of Roku and Google TV. If you feel similarly, pairing the U7G with a dedicated streaming device is always an option.
What we don’t like
Color production is fine, but not as good as the competition
By and large, the U7G’s color looks good, regardless if you’re watching something in SDR or HDR. But its most-accurate picture modes—”Theater Day” for SDR and “HDR Theater” for HDR—aren’t quite as accurate out of the box as some of the U7G’s competitors, nor are its hues as rich.
The U7G is capable of covering 93% of the HDR color gamut (DCI-P3), which is respectable for sure, but not quite as good as the slightly pricier Vizio P-Series and the similarly priced TCL 6-Series, which each crack 95% coverage. To the naked eye, the U7G’s colors don’t pop as much as they do on those two TVs. They’re still lovely to look at, but the “wow” factor isn’t really there.
If eye-popping, borderline-psychedelic color production is what you’re after, you’ll have to jump up a price bracket and explore other options like the Hisense U8G or the Samsung QN85A.
Motion handling could be better
The U7G features a native refresh rate of 120Hz—the best available spec in this performance category. For the most part, the U7G’s motion handling is fine, but I did notice instances in which the TV struggled to display fast-paced motion, especially when there’s a fair amount of visual information to process.
Vertical pans often give the U7G a difficult time. One early sequence in the “Frozen Worlds” episode of Our Planet involves a fast-moving helicopter shot where the ground below is quickly passing underneath the camera. During this shot (and others like it), the landscape would appear to stutter rather than pass by smoothly.
The U7G struggles at times to display fast-paced motion, especially when there’s a fair amount of visual information to process.
Fortunately, I was able to tamp down on some of this motion judder by switching to a customizable Dolby Vision picture mode and adjusting the TV’s motion enhancement settings, and these adjustments can also be made in any non-Dolby Vision picture modes, too. Despite ironing out some of the judder, the U7G’s motion didn’t quite manage to look as smooth as what I’ve seen this year on the Hisense U8G and the Vizio P-Series.
In addition, I noticed that the U7G sometimes struggles to display sequences of motion involving a lot of visual information. In the first episode of the Netflix series Life in Color with David Attenborough, the opening sequence follows the host as he walks in the distance along the tree line of a beach. As I watched him stroll, I noticed the details of his shirt flatten, while shadow tones momentarily took on a slightly pink hue.
These visual artifacts are much easier to see if you know what you’re looking for, and thankfully, they’re not as distracting as some of the judder I observed. That said, it’s worth being aware of these effects if you’ve got a keen eye for such things.
So-so off-angle viewing
As mentioned, the 55- and 65-inch versions of the Hisense U7G use VA (vertical alignment) panels, which excel when it comes to contrast but lack the wider-than-average viewing angles of IPS (in-plane switching) panels. The use of VA-style panels ensures that the U7G’s black levels remain deep and inky—even in HDR. As expected, however, the ideal viewing angle cone of our 65-inch U7G is quite narrow.
If you move too far away from a direct angle while watching the 55- or 65-inch U7G, you’ll probably notice the TV’s exceptional black levels appear to lift while the colors lose vibrancy. The 75-inch version of the U7G—while probably not as deft when it comes to contrast—is a better pick for folks who intend to show off their new TV to a room full of people, as its IPS-style panel should be better equipped at providing flexible viewing angles.
Should you buy it?
Yes—the U7G packs a ton of value, especially for gamers
When compared to just about everything else in its price range, the Hisense U7G offers the best performance and features set. You could opt for the brighter, more-colorful Vizio P-Series, but it’ll cost you a few hundred dollars more, and you’ll be stuck with a smart platform that isn’t nearly as flexible as Android TV.
Alternatively, the 2020 TCL 6-Series is similarly priced right now, but that TV isn’t quite as good for gaming, as it lacks the full HDMI 2.1 support for 4K gaming at 120fps.
There’s an argument to be made that the U7G is the best option in its price bracket.
In fact, there’s an argument to be made that the U7G is the best option in its price bracket. In order to get anything better for gaming, you would have to shell out several hundred dollars more for something like the U8G, the Samsung QN85A, the Samsung QN90A, or the LG C1.
TVs like the Hisense U7G are seemingly disappearing—either because their price is going up or because they cut more corners than the U7G. If you’re looking for an excellent 55-inch TV for under $1,000 or an excellent 65-/75-inch TV that won’t cost as much as a flagship, the U7G is a fantastic choice.
Meet the tester
Senior Staff Writer
Michael Desjardin graduated from Emerson College after having studied media production and screenwriting. He specializes in tech for Reviewed, but also loves film criticism, weird ambient music, cooking, and food in general.
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