Hisense A7G (50A7GQ) QLED TV Review

A TV for everyone...

by Phil Hinton

What is the Hisense A7G?

The Hisense A7G is a QLED LCD TV that sits in the middle of the range for 2021 and has a number of features you would expect to only see on higher-end models. It is priced at £650 for this 50-inch at the time of the review in June 2021. 

There are other screen sizes available from 55-, 65- and 75-inches and these larger sizes all use an IPS panel, the 50-inch we are reviewing has a VA style 60Hz (8bit+FRC) panel. It has a direct LED backlight with no local dimming and it features HDR10, HDR10+, HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) and Dolby Vision for high dynamic range playback, but this is limited to a measured peak brightness of around 240 nits. 

Related: What is HDR10+?

Hisense 50A7GQ

RelatedWhat is Dolby Vision?

The A7G is also a QLED TV with Quantum Dot technology built into the panel to give purer looking colours, although it doesn’t quite reach the full width of the DCI-P3 colour gamut for HDR, instead Hisense states 90% coverage. Other features include an AI picture processor for upscaling, and Dolby Atmos support for immersive audio is also built-in though the TV obviously only has two speakers.

Related: What is Wide Colour Gamut?

The A7GQ also features Hisense’s propriety smart TV system, VIDAA U5.0, as well as Freeview Play with all the UK terrestrial catch-up apps and services. The VIDAA system is intuitive to use and runs at a decent speed from button press to app opening and playing, plus there is Netflix, Prime Video and YouTube in 4K HDR. There is a content discovery feature along with direct one-press buttons on the remote and there is also compatibility with Alexa for voice commands.

The A7G is a TV that has been built to a price point and market segment, offering some decent features within the overall package, so is it worth considering as the main living room TV or is it more suited as a bedroom or second room unit? Let’s find out…

Design, Connections and Control

Hisense 50A7GQ

We have in the past been impressed with the build quality from Hisense at the price point, but the A7G certainly lives up to its budget level with the use of plastics for the majority of the TV chassis and design. The body of the unit is nice with a gunmetal style finish that looks much more expensive than it is. The loop stand is also well designed and easy to attach, with some cable management built into the rear-facing legs with everything looking tidy from the front. 

Hisense 50A7GQ
Connections

Around the back, we have the connections which are sideways and rearwards facing with a USB3.0 port, 3.5mm headphone jack, a service jack, break out jack for legacy video connections and three HDMI 2.0 ports facing sideways, along with an RF and satellite antennas and USB2.0 port. Rearwards is a LAN and digital audio output. The HDMI ports read back as 2.0 via our Murideo Seven G but they support some HDMI 2.1 features such as eARC and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), plus, Hisense claim VRR support at 48-60Hz, but we were unable to confirm this works via testing. 

Hisense 50A7GQ
Remote control

The supplied remote control is a traditional long plastic affair with the buttons all laid out in a logical manner. There are easy to use menu and directional keys as well as direct one-press access to apps such as Freeview Play, Netflix and Prime, to name three. The remote sits neatly in the hand and is easy to use.

Related:  What is HDMI 2.1?

Measurements

Out of the Box

As we do with all reviews we factory reset the Hisense A7GQ and then measured the picture presets to find the most accurate to the industry standards, out of the box, so we can view content as it was mastered and intended to be seen. On the A7G, this mode is Cinema Night with all unnecessary processing switched off manually and gamma set to 2.6, so it will track at 2.4. It would have been nice to see Hisense supporting the Filmmaker Mode movement that most other manufacturers have supported for the last 24 months and we would encourage them to consider this for future models.

Related: What is Filmmaker Mode?

We use Calman colour calibration software, a Murideo Seven Generator and Klein K-10A meter for measurement and calibration.

Hisense 50A7GQ
OOTB Greyscale results

Out of the box, the greyscale results are reasonable for a TV at this price point and quality with some errors within the brighter end of the scale. DeltaE errors are around 5 at the worst and rise just after 50% stimulus from the visible threshold of three with blue being too high in the mix and a lack of green energy as the greyscale gets towards white. Gamma tracks reasonably well towards 2.4, but we had to use the 2.6 settings in the menus to achieve this.

Hisense 50A7GQ
OOTB Rec.709 colour gamut results

The Rec.709 colour gamut results are also reasonable, but because of the white balance issue, this has moved a few points away from being accurate. The most obvious error is with the hue of green as it tracks towards cyan and this is related to the gamut size and 100% green position. We should be able to fix this with the use of the CMS (Colour Management System).

Calibrated

The Hisense A7G has a suite of calibration controls available, but in all honesty, anyone buying a £650 LED LCD TV is not going to shell out for a professional calibration. This is why we would push Hisense to be more accurate out of the box and add Filmmaker Mode. However, we will calibrate the A7G to see just how accurate we can get it.

Hisense 50A7GQ
Calibrated greyscale results

As you can see in the greyscale results, we were able to get reference levels of accuracy and have gamma tracking perfectly to BT.1886. Our DeltaE errors were also under one, which is well under the visible threshold of three, meaning no errors would be seen when watching TV and Film content.

Hisense 50A7GQ
Calibrated Rec.709 colour gamut results

We were also able to get very good results with the Rec.709 colour gamut with some balancing out of errors to get more accuracy, and without adding more pressure on the processing power of the TV by using too many corrections within the colour management system (CMS). While we still have some errors at the 100% saturation level, such as green, magenta and blue, from 75% and below almost all the points were there or thereabouts. DeltaE errors were an average of 1.9 which is again under the visible threshold of three and not visible with TV and Film content. 

HDR Results

While the Hisense A7GQ is compatible with HDR10, HDR10+, HLG and Dolby Vision flavours of HDR, it is not really bright enough to really display HDR at its best. This is a mid-range LCD TV in the Hisense range and is rated at 300 nits by the company, so we set about measuring the peak brightness of the TV as we always do with various window sizes.

Hisense 50A7GQ
Peak vs. window size

As you can see, in the most accurate picture mode for D65 white, which is HDR Night, the A7G is only capable of 250 nits brightness with all window sizes. This is what we would expect to see at this end of the market and means that the HDR picture performance, even in Dolby Vision, will only have a peak brightness of 250 nits before clipping.

Hisense 50A7GQ
PQ EOTF Results

The PQ EOTF in the HDR Night mode also tracks correctly to the PQ EOTF standard ST2084 curve before hard clipping at its peak brightness of 240 nits. Other HDR picture modes may look brighter but they do not follow the PQ EOTF standard and push brightness, which just makes images look flat and bright with no dynamics or pop. 

Hisense 50A7GQ
DCI-P3 within Rec.2020

The DCI-P3 colour gamut within BT.2020 does reach the claimed 90% coverage with the saturation tracking also doing a decent job of aiming for accuracy with WCG content. This is a nice result that is rarely seen at this level of the market and means that colour errors in the most accurate HDR Night mode are small, giving a good representation of the HDR content for wide colour.

Hisense 50A7GQ
BT.2020 coverage

We measured BT.2020 at 65% XY and 69% UV with P3 coming in at 91% XY and 93% UV.

Hisense 50A7GQ
DCI-P3 coverage

 

This is a nice result that is rarely seen at this level of the market

Picture Performance

We are reviewing the 50-inch version of the A7G and the larger sizes in the UK use an IPS panel, while the 50-inch is a VA panel. This means that we cannot guarantee that performance will be the same between the 50-inch and the larger sized models.

 

Colours look natural with lifelike skin tones and motion is also decent for most content

The 50-inch A7GQ we are reviewing has a VA 60Hz (8bit+FRC) panel that has a measured black level of 0.05 cd/m2 (using a checker chart) and a peak brightness of 240 cd/m2 (nits) giving it an on/off contrast ratio of 4800:1. It has a direct LED backlight but with no local dimming, it’s a global system and as such the panel is a little deeper than an edge-lit TV. Panel uniformity was reasonable with a darker centre and lighter edges. With some content, it was easy to make out the lighter sides and bottom edge when sitting directly on. With a 5% slide, the edges were again slightly brighter than the centre. Apart from this, the panel was clean with no obvious dirty screen effect (DSE) or banding, so sports looked good with camera pans not showing up any DSE. Viewing angles were a downside on the A7GQ which is important if you will be using the TV in a living room with seating off to the sides. We found that just being 20 degrees off centre introduced gamma and colour shift with the screen washing out quickly the further you moved off-axis. Sitting straight onto the screen the image quality was very good, so the positioning of seating will be important with this 50-inch model. The larger screen sizes in the A7GQ line-up use IPS panels which have much better off-axis viewing angle performance, but weaker contrast.

Hisense 50A7GQ

Motion was also reasonably good with 24fps material looking decent for the most part, with only occasional judder noticeable with Ultra Smooth Motion switched off. 50Hz content also looked fair for the majority of content we viewed, without Ultra Smooth Motion engaged. We did notice some trailing edges on moving objects with action scenes or sports. When Ultra Smooth Motion is used, we encountered Soap Opera Effect (SOE) with the interpolation modes and, depending on the level of interpolation used, we also noticed more image artefacts with fast-moving objects breaking up at the edges as the system attempted to keep up with creating new frames with fast motion. As always, for purists, we would recommend disabling the Ultra Smooth Motion settings for film and drama content, but there are user settings for use with video content and sports if you feel you need those. 

Upscaling performance was reasonable with a slightly soft-looking image with some good quality SD channels and DVD discs, but HD 1080i and 1080p did look nice with solid straight lines and only minor signs of ringing around edges with some content. 

 

It will playback HDR content, but it does so with limited dynamic range in terms of image brightness

Out of the box, SDR image quality in the Cinema Night mode did look accurate to the eye with decent natural-looking colours and lifelike skin tones. Blacks were good when viewed in a well-lit room with just some slight crush being visible in darker scenes. In dim viewing conditions, the black levels were satisfactory but with some noticeable lighter edges to the panel and even if slightly off-axis these black started to look milky and navy, losing the deep black look. The lack of absolute contrast is more obvious when viewing in dim surroundings and black crush is also more noticeable with tricky scenes, like the opening of John Wick: Chapter 3, where backgrounds lose shadow detail in the darker parts of the image. This TV is better suited to normal living room viewing conditions with some ambient lighting, or bias lighting, where these issues are not as noticeable. The A7G was at its strongest when used as an everyday TV in a well lit or bright room and is not a display for critical movie viewing in the dark.

Hisense 50A7GQ

HDR was a struggle for the A7GQ with its lack of peak brightness and no local dimming. Dolby Vision was the best performer of all the HDR flavours available as the dynamic metadata approach allows more visible specular highlights and better mid-tones adding some depth to the image. But it still struggles to give the A7G any dynamic pop you get from screens able to produce more brightness. It will playback HDR content, but it does so with limited dynamic range in terms of image brightness, but the wide colour performance is good. Colours do continue to look natural and lifelike in the HDR Night preset with skin tones also appearing as they should. But the lack of brightness does dampen down the overall HDR experience, but we don’t know of many screens at this price point that go much brighter than the A7G.

 

The smart TV system is also good with VIDAA U5.0 providing a decent range of apps and services

The smart TV system is also good with VIDAA U5.0 providing a decent range of apps and services and also being fairly speedy in operation. It did slow down on occasions or apps took a little longer than normal to open now and again, but overall, the system worked as expected and the quality of streaming playback was good. The menu system also works well and is logically laid out in an intuitive manner, with all the calibration controls we would need. However, some of these settings didn’t quite work as expected and will need some tweaking by Hisense, such as the 20-point white balance controls. 

Gaming Performance

The A7G uses HDMI 2.0a ports but these do support some HDMI 2.1 features such as eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel), ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) and VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) at 48-60Hz. We were unable to test the VRR capabilities at the time of the review, but all the other features do work. We measured input lag at 4K/60Hz as 14ms which is fast enough for almost all gamers out there. We found the HDR performance was again a struggle for the A7G given its lack of brightness, but we found gaming on the set to be a decent experience with no major issues with motion in the games mode.

Hisense 50A7GQ

Sound Performance

The Hisense A7GQ has two 10W speakers built into the chassis and it will also decode Dolby Atmos audio as well as offer broadcast stereo sound. There are a few settings available via the menu system to tailor the sound to your environment, but it is strictly a two-channel affair. 

I found the sound quality to be useable for everyday TV viewing in a living room but it lacks any large soundstage or weight for movie soundtracks. Dialogue is intelligible with all content types but the overall sound quality is a little boxed in and lacking any real dynamic range. It is perfectly serviceable for everyday soaps, news channel or documentaries, but if you want more depth and substance to your TV audio I would suggest that a soundbar is a must.

 

The A7G was at its strongest when used as an everyday TV in a well lit or bright room

Conclusion

Pros

  • Decent out of the box performance
  • Good colour reproduction for SDR & HDR
  • Very good calibrated results
  • Dolby Vision & Atmos
  • HDR10+
  • VIDAA is a good smart TV system
  • Ideal TV for a second room

Cons

  • Not a TV for enthusiasts or dark room viewing of movie content
  • Bright edges to panel uniformity
  • Black crush with SDR and HDR content
  • Poor viewing angles
  • Lacks HDR brightness

Hisense A7G (50A7GQ) QLED TV Review

The Hisense A7GQ is an LCD TV built to a price point and is designed to be an everyday workhorse in a normal living room with soaps, sports and some gaming use. It is not intended to be used for critical movie viewing in a dimly lit environment and it is not really an HDR TV, even though it can playback HDR content, it is just not bright enough to fulfil that role.

With all that said and understood, the Hisense is a good LED LCD TV for a second room or kitchen and has some decent gaming features and input lag for those who want a bedroom panel for that use and some normal TV viewing. It has good image quality out of the box, that while not reference or highly accurate, is good enough for the use case this TV will fulfil. Colours look natural with lifelike skin tones and motion is also decent for most content. Blacks are good in a well-lit room but there is black crush evident, which will probably go unnoticed by the demographic this TV is aimed at. 

HDR is a disappointment on the A7G as it is just not bright enough to create peak highlight details or the steps of contrast required to produce a high dynamic range image that pops. Dolby Vision manages to use the dynamic metadata and tone mapping to make DV content look better than HDR10, but it is still hampered by a lack of peak brightness and dynamic range available from the panel. But, this is consistent with other panels and LCD TVs at this price point. 

So the A7G is not a TV aimed at the enthusiast market and that is no bad thing at all. As a mid-range LCD TV with an LED backlight and Quantum Dot technology it provides decent looking image quality with everyday TV viewing, has worthy gaming capabilities and can also playback most HDR standards to a satisfactory level. The Smart TV system is also up to scratch with a good selection of apps and this set would be perfectly suited to a kitchen or bedroom role within most homes. The build quality is good, but plastic, and the remote is solid and fits with the design and price point.

Scores

Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level

.
.
.
.
6

Screen Uniformity

.
.
.
7

Colour Accuracy

.
.
8

Greyscale Accuracy

.
9

Video Processing

.
.
.
7

Picture Quality

.
.
.
7

SDR Picture Quality

.
.
8

HDR Picture Quality

.
.
.
7

Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box

.
.
.
7

Picture Quality Calibrated

.
9

Sound Quality

.
.
.
.
6

Smart Features

.
.
8

Build Quality

.
.
.
7

Ease Of Use

.
.
8

Value for Money

.
.
8

Verdict

.
.
.
7
7
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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