Hisense H65NU8700 4K LED TV Review
Great SDR performance but not quite premium for HDR
What is the Hisense NU8700?The NU8700 is a mid-range model in Hisense's new line-up of Ultra HD TVs for 2017 and as such boasts a decent set of features. It comes in 55- and 65-inch screen sizes and uses a 4K VA LCD panel with edge LED backlighting and local dimming. The NU8700 supports High Dynamic Range, specifically HDR10 and Hybrid Log-Gamma, and uses Hisense's VIDAA smart TV platform which includes Netflix, Amazon and Freeview Play. All this is wrapped up in an attractive ultra slim design that employs a largely metal construction. We're reviewing the 65-inch H65NU8700 which retails for £1,699 as at the time of writing (October 2017) and whilst that isn't small change, it's a competitive price for a 65-inch 4K TV with HDR support. So if the NU8700 can perform as well as other Hisense models that we've tested, then the Chinese manufacturer might have another winner on their hands – let's find out.
DesignThe H65NU8700 uses an attractive design that, whilst slightly derivative of other manufacturers, also manages to retain an identity of its own. The TV uses a bezel-less screen, as is the trend these days, although there is still a 5mm black border around the image. The Hisense has a silver trim around the outer edge with a textured effect down either side and a 30mm section below the screen where the forward-firing speakers are housed. There is also an indicator light below the Hisense logo at the bottom of the screen, although this can be turned off if you prefer. The connections are at the rear left, as you face the screen, and the two-pin power connector is over on the far right.The NU8700 sits on a v-shaped chrome silver stand that provides solid support and will fit on a surface that is at least 1020 x 355mm in size. There is 105mm of clearance beneath the screen, if you're thinking of using a soundbar, and the Hisense can also be wall mounted using a 400 x 200 VESA bracket. The 65NU8700 is 8mm deep at the top and 48mm deep at the bottom where the electronics, speakers and connections are housed. The TV uses a solid and largely metal construction, with a rear panel that has a two-tone effect, with the top half black brushed metal and the bottom half, where it widens out, made of a glossy black plastic. The H65NU8700 measures 1447 x 858 x 48mm (WxHxD) and weighs 28Kg without the stand and measures measures 1447 x 936 x 353mm (WxHxD) and weighs 31Kg with the stand.
The NU8700 has an attractive design and Hisense's usual excellent build quality
Connections & ControlThe NU8700 has a decent set of connections, although we were disappointed to discover there were only three HDMI inputs, which is strange when you consider there are four on the cheaper N6800. The connections are presented in a combination of rearwards and sideways configurations, with the rearwards facing connections comprised of a composite video input, a component video input, a stereo analogue input and a LAN port – although there is also built-in WiFi (802.11ac, dual-band 2.4G and 5G). The sideways facing connections are composed of two HDMI 2.0 inputs (4K/60p, HDR and HDCP 2.2), one of which supports ARC (Audio Return Channel) and one of which supports MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link), along with a single HDMI 1.4 input (4K/30p and HDCP 2.2). There are also two USB ports (one 2.0 and one 3.0), Freeview HD and satellite tuners and a headphone jack. The CI (Common Interface) slot is located behind a small removable panel at the top of the rear section, where it widens out and the air vents are located. Strangely, not only does the N6800 have another HDMI 1.4 input but it also has a third USB 2.0 port and an optical digital output, both of which are missing from the NU8700.
At the rear bottom of the NU8700, in the left hand corner as you face the screen, there is a basic joystick for simple setup and control of the NU8700. However the main method of control is obviously the included remote, which is black plastic with an attractive chrome metal trim that matches the design of the TV. It feels well-made and nicely balanced in your hand, is large enough to make the buttons easy to read and fits comfortably in your palm. All the keys are within reach of your thumb and the controls are sensibly laid out with the navigation buttons in the centre, the numbers, volume and channel buttons above and the coloured keys and media player buttons below. There is a home key for accessing the VIDAA Smart TV system but there are also direct access buttons for Netflix, YouTube and Wuaki TV.
We like the Hisense remote but the NU8700 had less connections than on the cheaper N6800
Features & SpecsThe H65NU8700 uses a 65-inch Ultra HD 4K VA LCD panel with 8-bit + dither bit depth, so it isn't a full 10-bit panel but it can accept a 10-bit signal. The TV uses edge LED backlighting and includes a local dimming system, along with various motion enhancement features. There is 4K upscaling for lower resolution sources and support for High Dynamic Range, specifically HDR10 and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG). The NU8700 also includes dvx-tv's Total Technology audio enhancements like Total Sonics, Total Volume and Total Surround.
Hisense's new VIDAA Smart TV platform is reasonably responsive in operation thanks to quad core processing and, although it is fairly basic, the system is intuitive to use and easy to navigate. There's a launcher bar along the centre of the screen with options for Notifications, Apps, Inputs, Media, Settings and Edit. All the video streaming services are covered including Netflix, Amazon and YouTube (all 4K HDR), as well as the UK TV catch-up services. The Hisense is also PVR ready and includes Freeview Play and Anyview Stream for easy access to content such as photos, music and videos on your home network.
Hisense's VIDAA smart platform is basic but has all the apps you need including Freeview Play
Hisense H65NU8700 Recommended Settings
Picture Settings – Out-of-the-BoxThe menu system includes Cinema Day and Cinema Night picture modes, which allow you to create day and night settings for Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) content. These settings were the most accurate options out-of-the-box, offering settings that best approximate the industry standards (D65, Rec. 709) and turning the majority of the processing off. Although you will need to set the Backlight, Contrast and Brightness controls to suit your particular viewing environment.
All our measurements were taken with a Klein K-10A colour meter, a Murideo Fresco Six-G pattern generator and CalMAN Ultimate calibration software. For more information on how to correctly set up your Hisense TV, you can watch the settings video above or take a look at our PicturePerfect Guide.The H65NU8700 proved to be pleasingly accurate out of the box, with the three primary colours all tracking fairly closely to each other. There was a slight excess of red in the greyscale but not enough to actually impact on the picture and the DeltaEs (errors) were at or below the visible threshold of three. The gamma curve was also tracking our 2.4 target quite well, aside from some slight bumps around 20 and 90IRE. However overall this is an excellent out-of-the-box performance where calibration would offer little in the way of obvious visible benefits.If the out-of-the-box greyscale performance was good, the colour gamut was even better with a very accurate series of measurements. There is a minor red shift in the colour temperature of white, which in turn has slightly affected the hue of the primary and secondary colours, but overall the colour accuracy is excellent. The tracking of the primary and secondary colours against their saturation targets was impressive and the luminance measurements, which aren't shown on this graph, were also very accurate. Just like the greyscale, it's unlikely that calibration would make any perceivable difference to the colour accuracy.
The out-of-the-box accuracy was excellent and calibration is unlikely to make much difference
Picture Settings – CalibratedAlthough the out-of-the-box accuracy means that calibration is unlikely to make a perceivable difference to the greyscale and colour accuracy, the NU8700 includes both 2- and 10-point white balance controls and a colour management system, allowing the performance to be fine tuned.
We were able to easily bring down red slightly using the 2-point white balance control, which immediately gave us a more accurate set of greyscale measurements. We then fine tuned the performance using the 10-point and the result was a very accurate greyscale with errors all below one and a gamma curve that was still tracking around 2.4, with some minor bumps at 20 and 90IRE. Overall though, this is a near-reference performance from the H65NU8700 in terms of both the greyscale and gamma.Once we had calibrated the greyscale, the white point fell precisely into place and the overall colour accuracy was improved slightly. We were then able to tweak the measurements using the colour management system and the result was a very accurate colour gamut. There was still some slight over-saturation at 100%, particularly with red and green but you're rarely looking at a fully saturated image and all the other saturation points were tracking very accurately, as were the luminance measurements. As a result, the colour gamut was as impressive as the greyscale and this was also a near-reference performance by the NU8700. Hisense have certainly been delivering some very accurate SDR images on their TVs recently.
After calibration the NU8700 delivered a near-reference level of image accuracy
Picture Settings – High Dynamic RangeWhen Hisense first announced the NU8700 it was supposed to be Ultra HD Premium certified, although when it was actually released it turned out that wasn't the case. We can see why, if our measurements are anything to go by, and if there's one area where this TV disappoints, it's in terms of its High Dynamic Range performance. As far as the settings go there are HDR Day and HDR Night picture modes – the latter is more accurate but the former boosts the overall brightness for those watching HDR content in a brightly lit room but does clip details in the highlights.Hisense list the peak brightness at 1000nits in their specs and, in a rare case of exaggeration from Hisense, we only measured our review sample at a maximum of 500nits, although in the most accurate mode it measured 450nits using a 10% window. The 65NU8700 was also able to deliver 445nits on a 50% window and 440nits on a 100% window. In terms of the greyscale it definitely could have been better and the PQ EOTF begins to roll off almost immediately, so it isn't tracking the target curve at all. However on the plus side, the NU8700 was able to correctly tone map a 10,000nits test pattern without clipping, so the actual performance isn't as bad as it might appear in the graph above.
Note: In response to our review, Hisense said that the sample they sent had been running older firmware that restricted the light output. They sent over a second H65NU8700 for us to test that was running the correct firmware. Unfortunately despite being a bit brighter, this second sample still fell short of their claimed peak brightness of 1000nits. For the record, the second sample delivered a peak brightness of 640nits with everything maxed out but once again in the most accurate mode we were only getting 530 nits, which whilst a slight improvement, won't make any perceivable difference to the HDR performance.Although Hisense's claims about the peak brightness of the NU8700 didn't match our experience, their claimed coverage of the Rec. 2020 wide colour gamut was spot-on – Hisense claimed 65% and in testing that's exactly where it measured. This is less than we have seen when measuring OLED TV or LCD TVs that use quantum dot but it was identical to the H65N6800, whilst the tracking against the Rec. 2020 saturation point targets was almost identical to the H55N6800. The tracking was fairly poor, especially in terms of the hue of magenta but it's the next graph that is important because content isn't currently created using the Rec. 2020 colour gamut.
The H65NU8700 covered 90% of DCI-P3 using xy coordinates and 93% using uv coordinates. The graph above shows DCI-P3 within Rec. 2020 and once again the measurements were almost identical to the H55N6800. The Hisense could definitely have performed better in this area, with some sizeable hue errors in terms of magenta, green, cyan and yellow. We would certainly like to see Hisense work on the colour accuracy of their HDR TVs, especially when you consider how accurate they are in terms of their SDR performance.
We measured the Perceptual Colour Volume, which uses the PQ EOTF out to 10,000nits and the Rec. 2020 colour gamut represented using the ICtCp colour graph which takes into account human visual perception. This measurement uses 393 data points and delivers a number expressed in Millions of Distinguishable Colours (MDC). Here the NU8700 delivered an MDC number of 262 which reflects the TV's lower peak brightness and slightly smaller colour gamut.
Compared to excellent SDR performance the HDR measurements were disappointing
Black Levels and Contrast RatiosThe NU8700 uses a VA panel, which means it can deliver a decent native black level of 0.024nits. It also had no problems hitting our target of 120nits, thus producing an on/off contrast ratio of 5,000:1, which is pretty good for an LCD panel. The ANSI contrast ratio was also quite good and using a checkerboard pattern we measured it at 3,200:1. The NU8700 includes local dimming and in the low setting the black level measured 0.017 nits, in the medium setting it was 0.014 nits and in the high setting it was 0.003 nits.
Backlight UniformityThe NU8700 uses edge LED backlighting but despite this it actually delivered a fairly good level of uniformity on a 5% full raster test pattern. There were some very minor clouding visible when the room was dark but this was never apparent with normal viewing material, nor were there any overt signs of dirty screen effect. There was some slight banding with football, as the camera panned across the pitch, but it's unlikely most people would notice and it certainly was never annoying. If you engaged the local dimming it didn't affect the banding, one way or the other, but it did improve the black levels and eliminate the slight clouding, however for reasons we'll explain in the next section, we preferred not to use the local dimming.
Local Dimming and Viewing AnglesThe inclusion of local dimming is one of the selling points of the NU8700 but it's not an area where Hisense have been strong in the past and that doesn't look like changing any time soon. First of all unless you engage the highest setting, which will result in halos, the black levels aren't that much better anyway. However of greater concern was that the local dimming appeared to be manipulating the image, with noticeable crush and colours that suddenly appeared more saturated. We weren't quite sure exactly what the local dimming was doing to the image but ultimately we preferred to leave it off, as the native black levels were pretty good and the picture looked better without it. Since the NU8700 uses a VA panel, you will see a drop off in contrast and colour performance as you move off-axis and, if you do use the local dimming, the haloing will be more noticeable. However this is to be expected from a TV using a VA LCD panel.
Motion HandlingThe motion handling of the NU8700 was quite good, within the inherent limitations of LCD technology, and the Hisense was free of any of the stuttering or frame dropping that we have experienced on other TVs in the past. The NU8700 handled all of our motion tests very well, delivering a motion resolution measurement of around 300 lines with Ultra Smooth Motion off. Unlike previous Hisense TVs that we have tested, where the frame interpolation hasn't been particularly effective, the NU8700 was able to deliver the full 1080 lines with it on. Of course using the Ultra Smooth Motion settings will, as the name might suggest, introduce smoothing thanks to the frame interpolation, so with film-based content we would always leave it off. However for sport-based content, which is shot on video, there is certainly room for experimentation and the feature offers five different settings – Custom, Film, Clear, Standard and Smooth.
Standard Dynamic Range (SDR)We kicked off with some standard definition content and on the Hisense's 65-inch screen this looked surprisingly good, with the NU8700 doing a decent job of deinterlacing and scaling a standard definition broadcast. Whilst the TV can't add what isn't there, the lower resolution image was effectively scaled to the 4K panel and, combined with the excellent greyscale, gamma and colour performance, this resulted in some very pleasing images. When we moved on to high definition broadcasts the NU8700 had a greater opportunity to show its full potential, which it duly did, and the images it delivered were nicely detailed thanks to the video processing. Once again the excellent greyscale, gamma and colour accuracy really helped to produce some lovely images, with documentaries on the BBC and shows such as Star Trek Discovery on Netflix all looking impressive. Finally we ran through some of our favourite Blu-rays, with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes looking very impressive, with plenty of detail and natural colours, whilst the animation in Moana looked absolutely stunning. There's no doubt that the 65NU8700 delivered an excellent performance with standard dynamic range content, regardless of the resolution.
High Dynamic Range (HDR)Although we were genuinely impressed by the performance of the H65NU8700 with standard dynamic range content, we were less impressed when it came to high dynamic range content. Hisense were originally planning to get the NU8700 certified as Ultra HD Premium but clearly this didn't happen and we assume that's mainly due to the peak brightness. In order to achieve Ultra HD Premium status you would need to deliver a peak brightness in excess of 1,000 nits but in our tests the NU8700 only delivered around 500 nits. That is disappointing but the Ultra HD Premium criteria are fairly loose, so in the two other areas the NU8700 would actually meet them with over 90% of DCI-P3 and the ability to accept a 10-bit signal, although it doesn't use a 10-bit panel but 8-bit + 2 dither instead.
Despite this the NU8700 actually tone mapped HDR content very well and was thus able to deliver images that were free of any clipping. So a reference disc like Planet Earth II could still look very impressive, whilst the larger screen size allowed the Hisense to take full advantage of the increase in resolution of native 4K discs. Despite our reservations over the DCI-P3 colour tracking in our tests, with actual content the colours were realistically saturated and natural. The ability of the LCD panel to deliver a brighter overall image with a 100% test pattern also meant that the HDR images never appeared dull, even during the day, but it also meant the peak highlights were less apparent.
There is a useful side-effect to not being too bright, which is that the TV is less likely to suffer the excessive clouding or bright edges with HDR content. That's not to say you won't see any, especially at night, but it was certainly less pronounced. Thanks to the effective tone mapping the NU8700 handled the 'arriving in Neverland' scene in Pan very well, with a clearly defined sun setting behind the mountain. We would recommend using the HDR Night mode because although the HDR Day mode did boost the overall brightness, it also clipped peak highlights quite noticeably. Overall the NU8700 at least managed to deliver some of the benefits of HDR, although it will struggle to compete with some of the competition in this area.
Hisense H65NU8700 Video Review
Sound QualityThanks to its forward-firing speakers, the NU8700 actually sounded rather good, especially for a such a slim TV. The 65-inch screen size of the H65NU8700 undoubtedly helped as well and, as a result, the stereo separation was excellent. There is 20W of amplification built-in, 10W for each channel, which means the NU8700 can go quite loud although it's best not to push it because at higher volumes it will begin to sound a little harsh and brittle. The TV produced a solid mid-range and well defined higher-end, although the bass had less impact, which was understandable given the depth of the TV's chassis. However, the Hisense managed to deliver an open front soundstage with clear dialogue and nicely rendered music and effects. As with all of Hisense's 2017 TVs, the NU8700 includes dvx-tv's Total Technology audio enhancements like Total Sonics for clarity and dynamic bass boost, Total Volume for consistent, level volume and Total Surround for a wider sound field. However, in general, we preferred not to use these features, opting for the Music sound mode instead.
The input lag was 31ms and, thanks to forward-firing speakers, the NU8700 sounded good
Input Lag & Energy UsageAs usual we measured the input lag using our Leo Bodnar tester and were pleased to discover that the NU8700 performed as well in this area as other Hisense TVs that we have tested. In fact the company rather sells itself short in terms of the input lag, claiming a measurement of <50ms but in testing, whilst the Cinema Night was 56ms, the Game mode produced a much better 31ms for both SDR and HDR content. That makes the NU8700 a good choice for gamers and we found gaming to be an enjoyable and responsive experience, with the Hisense delivering a lovely image with both SDR and HDR games.
In terms of the H65NU8700’s energy consumption it proved to be excellent for a TV with a 65-inch screen size and using a full window 50% white pattern we measured the Standard picture mode at 130W and our calibrated Cinema Night mode at just 72W, whilst the HDR Night mode naturally used more energy with a measurement of 167W.
How future-proof is this TV?
4K Ultra HD Resolution HDR Support Colour Space (percentage of Rec.2020 - 100% best) 65% 10-bit Panel HDMI 2.0a Inputs HDCP 2.2 Support HEVC Decoding 4K Streaming Services Smart TV Platform Picture Accuracy Out-of-the-Box (score out of 10) 9 What do these mean?
- Accurate picture out-of-the-box
- Impressive image after calibration
- Good contrast performance for an LCD
- Great video processing
- Decent sound quality
- Simple but effective smart platform
- Low input lag
- Energy efficient
- HDR performance could be better
- Local dimming affects image
- HDMI inputs limited
Hisense H65NU8700 4K LED TV Review
Should I buy one?The H65NU8700 continues Hisense's current trend of delivering good quality TVs at competitive prices. However we're also aware that even though £1,699 is a reasonable price for a 65-inch TV, it remains a considerable sum of money for most people. As such we would expect a higher level of performance from a TV in that price bracket, regardless of its screen size. Thankfully the 65NU8700 goes a long way towards justifying its price tag, with an attractive design and a great level of build quality. The remote control is effective, whilst the smart platform is simple, responsive and easy to use, with all the main video streaming services and Freeview Play. There is a reasonable set of connections but strangely there are less HDMI outputs and USB ports compared to the cheaper N6800 and no digital optical output either. However the NU8700 is energy efficient, has a 31ms input lag and, thanks to forward firing speakers, actually sounds decent as well.
So far so good and the NU8700 continued to impress when it came to picture quality, with an accurate out-of-the-box performance in terms of greyscale, gamma and colour gamut. This is excellent news and means that although you could get the TV professionally calibrated, you're unlikely to be able to perceive any visible improvement. The VA panel, although limited in terms of viewing angles, delivered an excellent contrast performance for an LCD TV and the video processing was also very good. The backlight uniformity was reasonable, with no obvious clouding, but there was some minor banding on football. Although the NU8700 has local dimming we found that it actually manipulated the image in a negative way and we generally preferred the picture with the local dimming turned off. Overall the Hisense delivered an excellent picture when it came to standard dynamic range content, which will obviously represent the majority of your viewing material for the time being.
Where the NU8700 was less impressive was in terms of its performance with high dynamic range content, although we were pleased to see that the TV was able to correctly tone map a 10,000 nits test pattern. However the peak brightness was disappointing at just 640 nits, which is surprising considering Hisense state a peak brightness of 1,000 nits in their specifications and they're usually very accurate in their claims. This did mean that specular highlights lacked the impact of brighter TVs but the excellent tone mapping meant the image was still very watchable. The wide colour gamut did cover 65% of Rec. 2020, which is exactly what Hisense claim in their specifications, but the tracking against DCI-P3 could have been better and we would like to see improvements in this area. However overall the Hisense H65NU8700 certainly delivered enough in terms of design, features and performance to justify it's price tag and comes recommended for anyone looking for a well-made 65-inch TV.
What are my alternatives?If you actually are looking for a 65-inch TV then are some interesting alternatives at around the same price point as the H65NU8700. Samsung have been aggressively reducing the prices of their non-QLED TVs and the UE65MU6500 can be picked up for just £1,599, whilst the UE65MU7000 is currently available for a very reasonable £1,649. We haven't seen the MU6500 yet but the MU7000 impressed when we reviewed that model recently with a very low input lag, good out-of-the-box measurements and a decent HDR performance, although the location of the LEDs could be an issue on occasion. However if you can spend just a little bit more, then the Sony KD-65XE9005 is the TV to beat in this price bracket, providing a direct LED backlight, great features and an excellent performance for a very reasonable £1,799. The Hisense and Sony TVs have the same input lag, making them both good choices for gamers, but the former delivered a better level of accuracy out of the box, whilst the latter had a much higher peak brightness thanks to is direct LED backlight.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level8
Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box9
Picture Quality Calibrated9
Ease Of Use9
Value for Money8
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