What is the Hisense 55K321?
So what is the Hisense K321, then? Well, this 4K TV very much fits the bill as entry level, in terms of its pricing, with the 55-inch widely available for just under £700 and the Hisense 50K321 currently (December 2015) doing the rounds for £470. On the face of it, those attractive price-points don’t come with too many sacrifices as the Hisense TVs are equipped with all the Smart TV features and up-to-date connectivity options we would expect from the established UK brands. How long until Hisense can claim to be one of those? Probably not long at all but let’s get our first taste of what Hisense has to offer…
Design, Connections & Control
Hisense Smart TV apps
Picture Settings Out of the Box
Picture Settings Calibrated
Picture Settings Video
While the dark screen uniformity was good, it was a different story when pictures were brighter and especially when they were panning from side to side. That scenario revealed the Hisense K321, at least the sample provided, to have a pretty nasty dirty screen effect, as well as some noticeable panel banding to add in to the mix. This makes watching sports or any content with a lot of fast pans not an especially rewarding experience. To compound these problems, there was an issue with 50Hz sources – all broadcast TV and UK region DVDs – we could sometimes see when objects/people moved across screen, either side to side or up and down. We can’t say we’ve totally nailed down what’s causing the problem but it manifests as a temporary fuzziness/micro-stutter on that specific area of the image; the best example would be when someone nodded or shook their head when the temporary processing glitch took place, so close-up shots would be the easiest place to see it. We can only assume the K321 uses a native 60Hz panel and some optimisations on how it’s being driven for 50Hz material are needed.
Update: Just prior to publishing, we spoke to the Hisense engineers who are now aware of the issue and it is being worked on for the next software release.
For all the negative points we’ve raised against the Hisense K321, it is only fair to say that for the most part, it can produce very decent images and some of our 4K and Ultra HD test clips looked stunning on it, especially when the action was fairly static. It should also be pointed out that we typically are sent manufacturers; higher-end models so our frames of reference at the budget end of the market aren’t as wide. Judged against the TVs we’ve seen this year in a similar price bracket, the K321 actually holds its own pretty well and if a software update can at least sort out the murky images and processing issue then it would be a formidable proposition in the sector.
Input Lag & Energy Consumption
How future-proof is this TV?
|4K Ultra HD Resolution|
|Colour Space (percentage of DCI - 100% best)||82.5%|
|HDMI 2.0a Inputs|
|HDCP 2.2 Support|
|4K Streaming Services|
|Smart TV Platform|
|Picture Accuracy Out-of-the-Box (score out of 10)||6|
|What do these mean?|
- Very good black levels and contrast ratio
- 4 HDMI 2.0 Ports
- Netflix 4K (Amazon on the way)
- Great price
- Poor bright screen uniformity
- 50Hz panel drive issue
- Picture is way too dark, crushing detail
- Lip sync issues
- Relatively high input lag
Hisense 55K321 4K UHD TV Review
Should I buy the Hisense K321?On the face of things, the 55-inch Hisense K321 outstrips much of the competition in terms of feature set to price ratio, when judged at full retail prices. The problem the K321 has, at this time, is that most of the manufacturers are heavily discounting their mid-tier and higher-end models in the run up to Christmas and as they become end of line. This budget 4K TV has four HDMI 2.0 inputs, support for Ultra HD streaming services and a panel that provides impressive black levels but, unfortunately, it has its share of flaws, too.
Chief amongst the problems was a dirty screen/panel banding effect when panning over bright colours but it is closely followed by pictures that are too tonally dark, by default; the situation is irretrievable with the picture controls. There is also a panel driving issue which manifests when objects move side to side (or up and down) on-screen that was fairly frequently noticeable with 50Hz content, which accounts for all the broadcast TV content in the UK as well as, likely, all your DVD collection. It’s a pity as were it not for these shortcomings, the Hisense 55K321 would have been a nailed on bargain but, as it is, there are just too many issues for it to justify a recommendation. We hope that Hisense can issue a software update to at least fix the processing and luminance issues for that would make it a far more enticing proposition.
What else could I buy?Probably the nearest like-for-like TV we’ve seen in 2015 would be the Finlux 55UT3E242S-T which is priced the same, at £699, but offers slightly better pictures, albeit at the expense of 4K streaming services and the loss of two HDMI 2.0 ports. But we think you’d be better stretching your budget by £50-100 and look at something like the Samsung JU6 series, which beats both the Hisense and Finlux, hands-down, on virtually every front. There’s also the Panasonic CX680, which is being very well discounted at the time of the review going live in December 2015
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box
Picture Quality Calibrated
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
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