Hisense isn’t what you would call a household television brand in the United States, at least not yet. But while you may not have heard of it, the company has been making some excellent televisions in the last year and the U7G is the latest that can be called such.
I saw a lot of potential in Hisense last year, and the U7G has made me a believer. While there is still room for improvement, Hisense has focused on what matters most for the most people. The result is a television that is so good, it’s going to be hard to recommend anything else for most people who don’t want to spend much more than $1,000.
Hisense U7G - Design and Build
The U7G doesn’t really break any design conventions nor does it take many risks, but the result is a television that stays out of its own way. While the wide-spread nature of the feet means you better have a pretty large media console for the 65-inch version of this television, it feels stable and sturdy once it’s in place.
Hisense kept most of the front of the television focused on the display: small bezels and a thin silver bar below the screen is all that you really see. Hisense didn’t just make everything flat either, and gave a few of the pieces some nice geometric edges that are reminiscent of the “aggressive” design on high-end cars without getting too in your face. I like it.
Hisense did build in some cable management into the U7G, but it’s imperfect. There are built-in loops on the inside of the back foot on the left and right sides that very nicely hide a cable, but they are not flexible and positioned awkwardly. That means while it can hide a cable well, it was a bit of a struggle to get it properly positioned. Also, they are tight: one HDMI 2.1-compatible cable and there isn’t any room to fit another cable through the loop. I have to give Hisense credit here for providing some kind of solution even though anyone with more than one cable to run into the television will feel underserved.
The back of the television isn’t much to write home about, and that’s probably fine – most people aren't spending a lot of time looking at the backside of their television. The U7G isn’t particularly thin, especially when compared to OLED televisions, but it’s inoffensive. The back left of the television (looking at it straight on from the front) plays home to all the ports, which includes four HDMI ports – two of which are HDMI 2.1 and support up to 120Hz framerates, and one supports eARC – along with two USB ports (one 3.0 and the other 2.0), an ethernet port, RCA composite, an optical digital out port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The back left of the television is where you will find the port for the power cable.
Hisense U7G - Remote
The remote for the Hisense U7G eschews from using the traditional number pad and joins Vizio, Roku, and Samsung remotes by prioritizing compatness over giving users all possible options. It never feels like you’ve made a sacrifice though, as everything you likely need is right there.
It took me a minute to figure out which button would bring up the settings menu since the box with two lines did not immediately read “menu” to me, but once I figured it out it was smooth sailing from there.
Hisense has a robust six shortcut buttons in this remote, and in my review model that included Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, Disney+, Tubi, and Peacock.
Hisense U7G - Software and UI
The U7G is a 2021 television, but it isn’t using the most recent version of Google’s smart TV operating system. Instead of Google TV, you’ll be greeted with Android TV. There isn’t a noticeable difference most people will see, but Google TV is considered to be a better and smoother experience. I will say that with the U7G, I didn’t find myself strongly wishing it had Google TV since it is able to render an experience with Android TV that is snappy and responsive. There is no lag when changing any settings or navigating to any application, for example, so most will be perfectly happy with what they find here.
Just like with Google TV, Android TV offers a bunch of apps for pretty much everything you could be looking for.
One small complaint I have with the interface is how Hisense chooses to name color balance. In Advanced Settings, the Color Temperature is noted as “low” through “high.” I have no idea what “high” color balance is, but Hisense treats that to mean “cool” which I only know after toying with it.
The U7G has Google Assistant built-in, and if you’re not a fan of having your television listening to you, there is a manual “off” switch located at the bottom of the television upfront underneath the Hisense logo. That said, when you turn this off, the television emits a bright orange light from three circular LEDs, which is extremely annoying. These lights can be turned off by toggling a set of Google Assistant functions from the TV settings, but it’s not straightforward. I wish Hisense did not make it so convoluted just to get that set of lights to turn off.
Hisense U7G - Picture Quality
The U7G offers a fantastic viewing experience. This television promises 1,000 nits of peak brightness and it certainly feels like it. This television gets extremely bright, to the point where I was easily able to play games in the middle of the day with sun streaming in from the windows of my office with no issues.
That brightness seems to come at very little cost to color fidelity as well, as SDR and HDR content looks fantastic, with black levels even impressing me with how much contrast there was to enjoy.
Hisense is using an LCD-style screen and 72 local dimming zones, which isn't particularly impressive. Therein lies the only real complaint I have with the display: bright points set against dark backgrounds have a noticeable halo around them.
In local dimming tests, this halo is very easy to see, but just like was the case with the Sony A90J, in real-world viewing situations, you’ll probably not notice it. The only time it bothered me was if I was watching widescreen content and captions appeared in the lower thirds, as a halo would bleed off the letters and into the lower section of the picture.
One other thing to keep in mind with this display is that it does have an ideal viewing angle: straight on. Viewing content on the display from an angle doesn’t make it unwatchable, but there is a notable difference in quality as colors and blacks wash out. When setting up the U7G in a space, make sure that seating is set up as close to directly in line with the front of the panel as possible.
Hisense U7G - Gaming Performance
Both HDMI 2.1 ports support variable refresh rate (VRR) and auto-low-latency mode (ALLM) which makes it perfect for both the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5, and enables each to output maximum settings. In my testing, all games really shone on the U7G, especially those in HDR. That outstanding brightness means that the contrast between darks and brights is maximized, making for some particularly excellent scene rendition.
Before you can get the most out of the HDMI 2.1 ports, you do need to tell the display to allow it, which is an odd step. By default, the ports are set to “standard format.” To get up to 120Hz in 4K, you’ll need to change this to “enhanced format.” A weird step, but a necessary one.
I tested multiple games on the U7G including Destiny 2, Apex Legends, and A Plague Tale: Innocence. In all cases, color was rendered beautifully and the display responded quickly to controller commands. Especially in Apex Legends and Destiny 2, combat felt smooth and responsive.
Specifically with Destiny 2 in the Crucible where 120Hz is enabled, combat and motion felt buttery smooth. The brightness was also a boon, as other displays – especially OLEDs – may give excellent response time and frame rate but struggle with dark areas. That problem is definitely less of an issue here. Even though the U7G has some impressive black levels for an LCD television, it doesn’t have a problem coming out of those blacks and that makes for an easier time seeing into dark corners and shadows.
The issues I found with halo around bright objects never became a real issue for me in any gaming environment, so those looking to pick up a U7G specifically for gaming won’t be disappointed in the performance.
Hisense U7G - Audio Quality
While I have not held poor audio quality against any modern flatscreen television, it’s still worth noting. Just like its contemporaries, the U7G struggles when it comes to the low end for audio. On top of that, I heard something “off” about the audio that it was able to output. Notes felt flat in such a way that I think even the mids aren’t doing a great job.
All this means is that I am once again going to recommend the purchase of a dedicated sound system, even if that means just a simple soundbar. Any such sound system is going to be world’s better than what is built into the U7G.
Hisense U7G – The Competition
TCL used to own this segment, and while the new 6-Series is close in price and likely in performance ($1,200 for a 65-inch with Google TV), Hisense is really giving it a run for the title of best value, especially for gamers.