Hisense H7GB2 4K Ultra HD Smart TV Review (50H7GB2, 55H7B2, 65H7B2)
As 4K ultra HD TVs become more affordable than ever, some second tier brands are becoming downright impressively affordable and 50H7GB2 50 inch 4K UHD smart TV made by Chinese manufacturer Hisense definitely falls into this latter category. This is a 4K model that costs the same as many HDTVs and is even more affordable than some of the lowest priced name brand 4K models from manufacturers like Samsung, Sony or Panasonic and Sharp .
However, with this low price there also comes a certain drop off in quality. The Hisense 50H7GB2 is certainly no Samsung SUHD TV and that’s not something anyone would realistically expect of it but even among lower-end 4K TVs from the major brands, better functionality, more vivid colors and especially sharper contrast are to be found than in this particular model. Thus, with your deep 4K UHD TV discount, the 50H7GB2 also offers you a few iffier aspects to ponder as you watch it.
That said, the 50H7GB2 is also no slouch by any means and it does have a reasonably robust range of features to offer for those who want a very budget-friendly 4K TV and aren’t absolutely picky about having name-brand quality built into its smart TV platform and display specs.
As we’d said, while there are definitely things to dislike about the 50H7GB2, there’s also plenty that we think works nicely in this particular 4K TV. First of all, for this price you’re getting some unbeatably (for now) large screen real estate. The 50H7GB2 retails for well below $600 and at that price, good luck finding a Samsung, Sony, Panasonic or LG 4K UHD TV that also offers a solid 50 inch screen size. Thus at a most basic level, the 50H7GB2 delivers the positive feature of being pretty much the largest 4K UHD TV you’re likely to find new at such a low price.
Furthermore, we also like the overall color quality of the 50H7GB2. This is certainly not an accurate color reproducer as any of Samsung’s SUHD TVs or even their lower end JU model 4K sets and it also lags well behind Sony’s 2015 4K sets such as the highly affordable XBRX810C in terms of color quality, but it does generally produce some fairly accurate colors which look particularly decent when viewed in a darker room, where the TV’s poor contrast isn’t quite as noticeable. A bit of manual calibration in the 50H7GB2 also goes a long way to improving color performance further still.
Next up, the connectivity on the 50H7GB2 is perfectly fine. You won’t get HDR support or enhanced color compatibility through this TV’s HDMI ports but then many name brand 4K TVs also still lack these features and in terms of connectivity specs. Basically, the 50H7GB2 from Hisense offers the same level of essential 4K-compatible connectivity as any name brand 4K TV, with several HDMI 2.0 ports, a solid number of USB ports and the usual audio, Ethernet and WiFi components to boot.
Finally, apps access on the smart TV platform in the 50H7GB2 is robust. This TV hasn’t been excluded from access to 4K UHD video content from apps like Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Instant Video. All of those are available as long as your home internet connection can handle their ultra HD video streams and the 50H7GB2 is also even a “Netflix Recommended” 4K TV meaning that it complies with the essentials of making Netflix highly accessible and usable through its OS platform.
2.8 - 60 Reviews
First off the bat, we’ll mention what we think of as the 50H7GB2’s single weakest characteristic: This TV offers some pretty poor contrast performance. Blacks look rather closer to grey tones under many conditions and the native contrast of the TV is less than superb. Furthermore, black uniformity across the screen isn’t exactly what we’d call perfect, with a number of lighter patches across the sides and bottom. On the other hand, we’ve seen much worse contrast performance from some of LG’s 2015 budget 4K TVs and these belong to the same people who built the virtually perfect OLED 4K lines of TVs. This doesn’t diminish the disappointment that the 50H7GB2’s contrast might give you when watching a movie on its screen but it does at least go to show that brand quality alone isn’t to blame for this particular failing of this TV.
Additionally, the 50H7GB2 is an overall poor performer at delivering both native 4K UHD content and upscaled HD content with the kind of vibrancy you’ll find in most of the lower cost 2015 4K TV models from Sony, Panasonic and Samsung in particular. All of these brands charge a hefty bit more for their own 50 inch UHD models but the 50H7GB2 definitely lags behind them in a side by side comparison of color vibrancy, contrast and general visual performance.
For example, while the 50H7GB2 does a decent enough job of upscaling Blu-ray HD content (something that should be a minimum requisite of any 4K TV worth its salt) with some good realism to the primary colors and more or less decent accuracy for color blends, action sequences are where problems emerge. Blu-ray action movies can create trailing effects and even slight artifacts on the upscaled screen picture. This applies fairly lightly to Blu-ray HD upscaled ideo, less so to native 4K video and to a rather unacceptable degree with normal HD video on the 50H7GB2’s screen. It’s definitely something we’re not happy about.
Finally, the smart TV interface of the 50H7GB2 is not nearly as smooth and user-friendly as OS platforms like the Android TV system of Sony’s 2015 4K TV such as the X850C or Samsung’s latest 4K UHD models of any kind. In the 50H7GB2, the smart interface offers an Opera browser for web surfing, and delivers some of the more popular media apps you might like, but overall navigation isn’t as robust as what we’d like and some key apps like Spotify and Hulu are simply missing ans unavailable as far as we can tell.
Our bottom line opinion of the 50H7GB2 from Hisense is that it just barely makes the grade into being a worthwhile purchase as an extreme budget 4K TV. We’d much rather recommend that you simply budget a few hundred dollars more and go for a far superior 4K TV like the Sony XBR55X810C, which is not only slightly larger but also far better across the board. The 50H7GB2 is barely worth more than a higher end HD TV from a major brand and as a 4K TV, it’s at the lower end of what we’ve seen so far.
Screen size: 50 inch 50H7GB2, 55 inch - 55H7B2, 65 inch - 65H7B2
Smart TV: Yes
HEVC (H.265) Included: Yes
HD to UHD upscaling: Yes
HDCP 2.2 Compliance: Yes
Refresh Rate: 120Hz native refresh rate
Screen Lighting: Edge-lit LED backlighting
Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels UHD
Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes both built-in WiFi and Ethernet port
Remotes: Basic button remote with buttons for direct access to Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, and YouTube
Connectivity: 4 HDMI 2.0 ports, 2 USB ports
Sound: 20W 2ch full range speakers
Native Contrast Ratio: 3055:1
TV weight with stand: 53.1 lbs
Dimensions (HxWxD): 25.6 x 44.3 x 3.2 inches
The Hisense 50H7GB2 is not a 4K UHD TV that’s particularly rich in highlights. This is of course understandable since we’re talking about a very bare-bones basic 4K UHD TV here by any conventional measure. Thus, it lacks a smart remote, voice and hand gesture control features, HDR support, enhanced color and even 3D TV support.
However, it does have a couple unique things going for it. First among these is the neat and rather useful inclusion of several buttons for direct access to core media apps on the smart TV interface. These buttons are there for Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, and YouTube and basically cover all of your primary sources of streamed online 4K and Full HD content, putting it all within single click reach. We liked this, even if the remote itself isn’t full of smart features like many we’ve seen for higher-end name brand 4K TVs.
Additionally, we also liked the sound system of the 50H7GB2. It’s not the rich, sharply detailed and robust sound system you’d expect from and get in some of the better 4K UHD TVs on sale right now but the built in speakers nonetheless offer a remarkably robust sound experience for this TV’s price range and the dbx-tv’s Total Technology built into the TV’s integrated and highly unobtrusive speakers delivers a lot more punch than we expected to hear. This is one point that definitely works in the 50H7GB2’s favor.
In terms of visual performance, the 50H7GB2 sits above the level of “mediocre” and comfortably holds a place in “acceptable” while still being more than throwing distance away from grabbing onto the border of “surprisingly good for its price”. Basically, this TV isn’t surprisingly good for its price. In fact, it delivers a picture quality that’s almost exactly what you’d expect for the dollars you spend on it and as such it simply doesn’t deliver even the kind of quality that budget 4K TVs from most name brands can manage.
Colors perform reasonably well with good accuracy for simpler primary colors and tolerable accuracy for more complex color schemes. In other words, while you might notice that the TV’s color rendering is a bit off, it likely won’t bother you to the point of being annoying unless you’re used to watching your shows and movies on some really top-shelf 4K UHD TVs. Furthermore, with a bit of calibration in Theater mode with Color Temperature set to “Warm”, the TV works better than it might right out of the box.
On the other hand, contrast and motion blur are problematic, with the motion blur kicking in notably when upscaled HD content gets viewed on the 50H7GB2. The contrast, for starters, is simply poor in this 4K TV. We’ve seen worse in LG models like the LG UF6400 budget 4K UHD TV (which also cost a bit more than the 50H7GB2) but the Hisense here doesn’t do that well either. Blacks look somewhat washed out and contrast doesn’t render with the best levels of precision. In fact, the TV’s overall native contrast level of 3050:1 or so is not terrible but it’s not good either, at least for a 50 inch 4K TV.
As for the motion blur during video watching, it’s particularly notable when you’re looking at fast-paced action that has been upscaled from Full HD and Blu-ray. In this regard, the 50H7GB2 is definitely not comparable with something like Sony’s XBRX810C and other lower priced 2015 4K models, which have excellent motion control technology.
Connectivity-wise, the 50H7GB2 from Hisense and its bigger brothers the 50H7GB2, 55H7B2 and 65H7B2 all offer the same sort of essential connectivity you’d find in most name brand 4K UHD TVs. In fact, with the exception of a lack of the HDR content support that we’ve seen in the flagship 4K models from Sony, LG, Samsung and other major brands, the connectivity in the 50H7GB2, 55H7B2 and 65H7B2 is pretty much as good as that of any major top-shelf 4K TV. There are four HMDI 2.0 ports with full support for HEVC, VP9 and HDCP 2.2 content copy prortection and alongside these ports, you’ll get 2 USB ports (one a USB 2.0 port and the other a USB 3.0 version) arrayed with the usual plethora of a 3.5mm headphone jack, an antenna/cable slot and optical audio output next to component and composite video ports.
The TV also comes with WiFi and Ethernet connectivity and of course its Opera-based smart TV platform does also offer full web browsing, along with access to a couple dozen different media apps. The Home menu on the smart TV system is split simply into four panels: “Live TV”, “VOD”, “Media” and “Apps”. It’s the VOD panel which presents you with apps for Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, Vudu, Dailymotion and several other streaming media/content download apps.
The Hisense 50H7GB2 50-Inch 4K Smart LED TV (2015 Model) currently retails on Amazon.com for a very low price of $548.00. Its 55 inch brother the 55H7B2 sells for $799.99 and the 65 inch 65H7B2 is retailing for $1,399.00
2.8 - 60 Reviews
In basic terms, the 50H7GB2 and its two larger brothers are not particularly great 4K UHD TVs. If you want something on an extreme budget and still want 4K UHD to play with, they might make a good choice but if you’re looking for any sort of serious 4K UHD home entertainment system, go for even the most inexpensive 2015 4K TV models from brands like Sony and Samsung, or even Sharp. They all offer better color, contrast and smart TV functionality.
• Very affordable
• Great connectivity
• Nice physical design
• Surprisingly good sound
• Very weak contrast
• Color can be a bit off
• Not the best smart TV platform