Hisense always puts on a good display at tech conferences – and it didn't disappoint at the biggest tech expo of the year so far, CES 2020.
The Chinese TV manufacturer unveiled a host of new television sets that are launching in 2020. The line-up includes more premium ULED TVs, a refresh of its projector/television hybrid laser TV, and a push of advanced quantum technology into more of the brand's mid-range sets.
Although we haven't had a chance to test any of these new TV sets, it’s clear this is an electronics company not afraid to shout about its vision for the future of the home quite loudly. And it's worth mentioning that Hisense has every reason to share its bold ambitions: the company now ranks fifth in the US for overall TV sales, and is the fastest-growing TV brand.
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However, the question of its laser TVs has given us reason to pause. Sure this TV tech brings lots of benefits, like the vivid colors of a high-end projector, built-in speakers, a TV tuner, and a capable smart TV platform. But given the cheapest model, the Hisense L5 Laser TV, starts at $5,999 (around £4,600 / AU$8,650), will anyone be able to afford it?
We take a look at all the TVs Hisense plans to bring to market in 2020, including its laser TV sets and more to find out whether this is a brand worth investing in over the next twelve months.
New Hisense TVs for 2020
There are sure to be more Hisense TVs launched in 2020, but these are some of the new sets announced at CES 2020 that we're most excited about.
L5 Series (available in 100 inches): First up, there's the L5 Laser TV. This is the follow-up to 2018’s L10E, retaining the same innovative form factor that teams a display screen with an ultra-short throw projector for precise image control.
Coming to stores in April, the L5 is slightly dimmer than the previous model, at 2,600 lumens rather than the L10E’s 3,000 lumens, and uses a simpler Android TV smart platform rather than Hisense’s Vidaa U interface, as well as a smaller color gamut, but the reduced cost should compensate for the slight drop in performance.
XD9G Series (available in 65 inches): We’ll also see another ULED set, the XD9G ULED, making use of Hisense’s Dual Cell panel, which fuses a 2K and 4K panel together for enhanced contrast, and boasts ‘rival contrast’ to OLED at a lower price. We’ll have to see if the XD9G ULED (the ‘XD’ stands for ‘extreme detail’) can meet those standards when it releases in late 2020.
H9G Quantum Series (available in 55, 65 inches): Hisense’s H Series of ULEDs will get some new models, with a H9G Quantum follow-up to the H9F. Due out April.
H8G Quantum Series (available in 50, 55, 65, 75 inches): There's also an H8G successor to the H8F, with similar ‘quantum’ contrast tech; this is due out in March.
H65G Series (available in 43, 50, 55, 65, 75, 85 inches): Later in the year we'll see the H65G: a less advanced 4K models with the Android smart platform and without ULED enhancements. The ‘65’ confusingly don’t refer to screens sizes, though.
H55G Series (available in 32, 43 inches): A downgrade to the above, with a 2K screen and more compact sizing options, for those with smaller needs.
Hisense H4, R6, and R8: There are more Roku sets to come too, with three more models set for release in late 2020.
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Hisense TV technology for 2020
So what technology is Hisense actually working with, and what makes it stand out from the competition?
For one, Hisense is obsessed with lasers. The brand's official line is that laser TVs are the future of home entertainment, calling it a “more natural way for human eyes” to watch TV, with reduced amounts of red light to contend with, alongside greater energy efficiency – with reportedly 40% less energy consumption than LCD sets of the same size.
In 2019, sales of laser TVs grew 107% in China, making it the fastest-growing TV category in the country. However, it’s always easier to increase a small number of sales than a large one, and there just isn't the sample size or mass market penetration to confidently say where laser TVs are going.
Although lots of the Hisense TV tech seems flashy, and erm, laser-y, there are some more mundane developments regarding smart platforms that may hold the most promise for the TV maker – with more sets using the brilliant Roku OS, also found on streaming devices like the Roku Express and Roku Premiere.
- Hisense shows off flashy laser TVs and Dual Cell ULEDs for CES 2020
So far, we’ve seen the first Hisense ULED Roku TV, the R8F. The manufacturer continues to have a huge presence at Walmart in the US with its first line of Hisense Roku TVs. The UK got its first Hisense Roku sets in time for Black Friday last year, too, and it seems like an increasingly fruitful collaboration.
Hisense tends to use Android TV for the interface on its more budget TVs, and its own propriety Vidaa U platform for fancier sets that carry more of the weight of the Hisense brand – the latter is pretty zippy, even if there are a few odd blind spots around picture settings and screensavers.
You'll find both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ HDR formats on these TVs, too, and Hisense tends to pack them into more mid-priced sets than some of the competition.
Hisense TV 2019 range: what came out last year?
Hisense Sonic One (2019): Sometimes less is more. Hisense's Sonic One television is only 1.1 inches wide at its thickest point, without having to outsource its processing or speakers to an external system. That's thanks to a Piezoelectric speaker design that 'pumps sound from the panel' itself instead of through a traditional cone driver. No sizing or pricing yet announced, but expect it to cost a pretty penny.
Hisense TriChroma Laser TV (2019): Is it a TV, a projector, or a hybrid of the two? Hisense’s TriChroma TV essentially projects with three colored lasers onto a blank TV screen, and covers the entire DCI-P3 color gamut. Expect some dazzling 4K HDR, though not either of the dynamic HDR10+ or Dolby Vision HDR formats, even for the very high price.
We're still waiting for this model to land, though previous laser TV models have gone for up to $9,995 (yup) like this one on Amazon, with a built-in Harman Kardon audio system (there's a 120-inch model too) – or an equivalent £10,999 at Richer Sounds in the UK, with JBL supplying the audio components instead.
Hisense OLED TV: Can Hisense compete with the big-name OLED sellers, like LG, Sony, or Panasonic?
We'll find out soon, as Hisense's first OLED TV has now made its way to UK and Europe. Previously retailing as the Series X in Australia, the H55O8BBUK should have the deep blacks and rich color gamut we've come to expect from OLED TVs, with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision to boot.
Retailing at £1,599 (around $2,000 / AU$2,900), it's around the cost of last year's LG B8 OLED, and will be one of the cheapest ways to get an OLED panel in your home. See what we thought in our Hisense OB8 OLED TV review.
Hisense U9F Quantum Dot (75-inch only): The Hisense 75U9F is a 75-inch Quantum Dot screen with Android TV, and over a thousand local dimming zones for keeping its 2,200 nits peak brightness in check. Specs-wise, that puts the U9F on par with Samsung's Q9FN QLED, which debuted in 2018 and became one of the best TVs of last year.
The U9F launched in June, at a steep $3,499 (around £2,740, AU$4,999). Comes with Dolby Vision and built-in Google Assistant.
Hisense H9F (available in 55 and 65-inch models): A more reasonably-priced version of the above, though only with 150 dimming zones and 1,000 nits peak brightness. The H9F is a 4K UHD set costing $699 (around £525 / AU$979) and $749 (around £656 / AU$1,049) respectively for the 55 and 65-inch models. Comes with Dolby Vision, too – but keep an eye out for our incoming review.
Hisense R8F Roku TV (available in 55- and 65-inch models): Hisense's ULED range finally gets the Roku TV partnership we've been waiting for. Cue 4K resolution, full array backlighting, and wide viewing angles making for a truly premium set (not to mention the swish Roku OS). Despite coming with Dolby Atmos audio, the sound is somewhat lacking – though you can read all our thoughts in this hands on Hisense R8F Roku TV review.
Releasing in mid-December (2019), the Hisense R8F will retail for $500 and $700 for its 55-inch and 65-inch models respectively (US only)
Hisense H8F (available in 50, 65-inch models): Same panel technology as above, but with a more standard Android TV platform instead. You do however get Alexa compatibility and Google Assistant integration from the off. Now available in 50 inches for $400 (around £350 / AU$560), and 65 inches for $750 (around £656 / AU$1,049).
Hisense Roku TV (available in 43-, 50-, 55- and 65-inch models): The Hisense Roku TV has finally made its way to the UK, with a range of model sizes and brilliantly low price point, starting at just £329 (around $430 / AU$625) for the 43-inch size. You'll get a brilliant Roku smart platform, 4K resolution, and Freeview Play catch-up services too.
Hisense H65 UHD TV (available in 50, 75 inches): A step down from ULED, without the quantum dot panel, wide color gamut, or local dimming. You do, however, get basic HDR support (HDR10), and a 50-inch 4K UHD display for only $349 (around £307 / AU$490), or a 75-inch display for $1,199 (around £1,053 / AU$1,683). Launching in late 2019.
Hisense H5 HD TV (available in 32, 40 inches): For those wanting something on the small side, the ultra-cheap H5 launches this coming May in 32 or 40-inch models, at $169 (around £148 / AU$237) and $249 (around £219 / AU$349) respectively. You're only getting 1080p Full HD, but you won't be spending much on it either.
Everything you need to know about the best TVs of 2020:
Best TV 2020: the 8 best flatscreen televisions from the past year
Best Smart TV 2020: every smart TV platform and which set does it best
Panasonic TV 2020: all the OLED and LCD televisions on their way this year
Sony TV 2020: more Master Series and Bravia TVs on the way
Samsung TV 2020: every new Samsung TV coming in 2020
Best 65-inch 4K TVs 2020: the best big screen TVs for any budget