Product Reviews

The Hisense U8G Is the Best Affordable Android TV

The remote has quick buttons to take you to Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video, YouTube, Tubi TV, and Peacock. The remote also has backlighting and Bluetooth connectivity. You do have to pair it with the TV on initial setup.

Pretty Picture

A $1,000 price tag for the 55-inch model means the U8G looks and feels like more of a premium option than our favorite affordable TCLs and Vizios. Instead, its direct competitors are upgrades like the Samsung QN90A.

In this league, it performs pretty well. Solid local dimming helps with black levels, and it has fairly bright highlights in HDR via HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support. 

AMD Freesync made it a great TV to use with my computer’s Radeon graphics card when playing Formula 1 2021. High refresh rates really make racing games look amazing. It works nearly as well as a computer monitor as it does as a TV, a trend I’m happy to see descending from higher-end TVs this year.

I didn’t use the TV in a particularly bright room (my review room lacks windows), but those who have brighter spaces might like that it has a new anti-reflective film that is supposed to limit glare. One thing I did notice and love was Filmmaker Mode, which removes post processing but maintains color and frame rates when watching movies. It’s particularly great when watching older films like Cool Hand Luke, which appear color graded to perfection out of the box.

There’s also a Game Mode, which supports the highest frame rates from PlayStation and Xbox consoles, and a Sports Mode, which smooths out motion when watching fast-paced events—great for the Olympics and watching my beloved Portland Timbers.

As with most modern TVs, you want a soundbar. The U8G sounds pretty bad on its own. If you’re spending $1,000 on a TV, get something a bit nice to listen to it with.

OK Google

Photograph: Hisense

In terms of interface, it crushes the competition from both LG and Samsung. Android TV has come a long way since it had terrible apps and felt super clunky. These days, it’s very nearly as good as Roku, with a better voice assistant.

The interface doesn’t have ads, and it pulls shows from all the paid services that Covid boredom made me subscribe to. The main screen is usable in a way that most other interfaces simply aren’t. Even changing between inputs feels easier, thanks to all those buttons for services that people actually use (save Tubi and Peacock).

When you combine this ease of use with the excellent screen, great processing, and 120-Hz refresh rate when gaming in 4K, it’s really hard to find anything not to like about the U8G, except its price.

You can get a cheaper TCL or Vizio model that looks very nearly as good and does very nearly everything this well, but this model does look and feel a bit nicer than those. It has a solid price-to-performance ratio, especially when compared to spendier models from Sony and Samsung.

If you are after a TV that works for gaming, sports, and watching films at home, and you like Google’s not-so-walled garden, the U8G is well worth a peek.

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