To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Hisense U8K review: A well-specified Mini LED model

Our Rating :
£1,599.00 from
Price when reviewed : £1599
inc VAT

The Hisense U8K is feature-packed, delivers super-bright HDR and impressive audio, but is undercut on price by one key rival


  • Very bright HDR images
  • Impressive set of features
  • Excellent sound quality


  • Tone mapping could be better
  • Narrow optimal viewing angles
  • Some backlight clouding

The Hisense U8K is the brand’s top ULED 4K TV for 2023 and promises a superior HDR delivery thanks to a Mini LED backlight and Quantum Dot technology.

There’s a full house of HDR formats, including Dolby Vision, and a sound system that decodes Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. A 144Hz panel combined with HDMI 2.1 inputs ensures top-notch support for gaming, while a host of other features will doubtless prove popular. But how does it measure up to the competition?

Hisense U8K review: Key specifications

Screen sizes available:55in 55U8K
65in 65U8K
75in 75U8K
Panel type:LCD
Resolution:4K/UHD (3,840 x 2,160)
Refresh rate: 144Hz
HDR formats:Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10, HDR10+ Adaptive, HLG, IMAX Enhanced
Audio enhancements:Dolby Atmos, DTS Virtual:X
HDMI inputs: HDMI 2.0b x 2, HDMI 2.1 x 2
Tuners: Terrestrial and satellite
Gaming features:Game Bar, ALLM, VRR, AMD Freesync Premium, 4K/144Hz
Wireless connectivity:802.11bgn (2.4HGz & 5GHz), Bluetooth, AirPlay
Smart platform:VIDAA U (7.0)
Freeview Play compatibility: Yes
Smart assistants: Built-in Amazon Alexa

The Hisense U8K is a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) HDR smart LCD TV that comes in 55in, 65in and 75in screen sizes. It uses a 144Hz VA panel with a Mini LED backlight and Quantum Dot colour filters. The U8K supports HDR10, HLG, HDR10+ Adaptive, Dolby Vision IQ and the little-used IMAX Enhanced, plus it has a 2.1.2-channel sound system that decodes Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

There are a host of picture features, including Hisense’s Hi View Engine with AI processing, a Filmmaker Mode, and extensive calibration controls. The U8K runs the latest version of the VIDAA U smart platform, which includes a comprehensive selection of content streaming apps, along with Freeview Play, and features a Game Bar, plus gaming support for 4K/144Hz, ALLM and VRR.

READ NEXT: The best TVs for gaming

Hisense U8K review: Price and competition

At the time of writing, the Hisense U8K is reasonably priced for what is a higher-tier model within the brand’s lineup. You can buy the 55in version for £1,199, the 65in model reviewed here will set you back £1,599, and the 75in screen size costs £2,099.

If you want to save some money, the lower-tier Hisense E7K PRO is a great choice. It doesn’t have a Mini LED backlight, isn’t as bright, and there’s no 2.1.2-channel sound system, but it includes most of the same features and is a great choice for gamers on a budget. The 55in version costs £849, the 65in model is priced at £1,099, while the 75in screen size retails for £1,399.

The obvious competitor is the TCL C845K, which offers even better performance and a virtually identical set of features, plus a larger screen size, all at very attractive prices. You can buy the 55in version for £849, the 65in model will set you back £1,049, the 75in screen size costs £1,499, and the massive 85-incher is a very reasonable £1,999.

Hisense U8K review: Design, connections and control

The Hisense U8K sports an attractive design that’s befitting a higher-end model, with an excellent level of build quality. There’s black metal trim around the outer edges of the screen and a speaker that runs across the entire bottom of the TV. The panel sits on a metal foot plate that makes installing on narrower surfaces easy, and there are VESA mounts at the rear for wall mounting.

The connections are all side-facing, and far enough from the edge that you can’t see any cables. They consist of four HDMI inputs (2 x HDMI 2.1 and 2 x HDMI 2.0), a USB 2.0 port, terrestrial and satellite tuners, a CI (common interface) slot, optical digital output, Ethernet port, an AV adapter, and a headphone jack. There’s also dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and AirPlay 2.

All four HDMI inputs support 4K/60Hz, HDR10, HLG, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision, but only the two HDMI 2.1 inputs can handle 4K/144Hz, ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), and VRR (Variable Refresh Rate). One of the HDMI 2.1 inputs is also used for eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel), meaning you can’t simultaneously connect two next-gen consoles and a soundbar.

The elegant remote matches the TV’s minimalist design, with a slim shape and silver and black two-tone finish. The zapper is comfortable to hold, easy to use with one hand, and intuitively laid out. All the buttons are present and correct, including direct access to the three main streamers (Netflix, Prime and Disney+), YouTube, Freeview Play, and Hisense’s VIDAA TV service.

Hisense U8K review: Smart TV platform

The Hisense U8K runs the latest version (7.0) of the brand’s VIDAA U smart platform, which remains well-designed and intuitive. There’s a clean interface that presents content in an easy-to-understand layered fashion, with simple navigation up, down and across. It also has a quad-core processor with sufficient power for a responsive user experience and built-in Amazon Alexa.

The apps appear along the centre of the home screen, and above this is promotional content related to the platform. Beneath the apps are rows of content based on the available services and recommendations, while down the left-hand side are icons for searches, inputs, settings, and notifications. There’s also extensive file support for anyone wanting to stream their own content.

The interface is slick, customisable and easy to navigate thanks to the ergonomic remote control. There’s a good selection of streaming services, including Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+, and YouTube. There’s also Freeview Play, which not only means you get all the UK TV catch-up services but also ensures they are seamlessly integrated into the TV guide.

Hisense U8K review: Image quality

The Hisense U8K is a higher-end model in the brand’s lineup, and promises a superior level of performance thanks to the combination of a 4K VA panel with a Mini LED backlight and Quantum Dot colour filters. The ability to handle frame rates up to 144Hz should also result in better motion handling, as well as prove popular with PC gamers or those using the latest consoles.

The VA panel certainly produces excellent black levels, with a native contrast ratio of 4,861:1, but the unfortunate trade-off is that the optimal viewing angles are fairly narrow. I counted an impressive 1,000 (40×25) dimmable zones, and this proved effective at eliminating blooming around bright objects without aggressively dimming, meaning shadows were free of black crush.

The U8K ships in the Standard picture mode, but as is often the case, this setting delivers an inaccurate picture when compared to the industry standards. There’s a significant excess of blue energy in the greyscale, a gamma with a large dip in the middle, and over-saturated colours that result in average DeltaEs (errors) of 12 for the greyscale and around nine for the colours.

Switching to the Filmmaker mode significantly improves matters, however. Doing so sees the greyscale composed of equal amounts of red, green and blue, with an average error of 0.7. The gamma tracks around 2.3, and the colours hit their saturation targets, producing an average error of one.

The screen uniformity on the review sample was so-so and should have been better considering the number of dimmable zones. There was also a degree of dirty screen effect, although is is fairly common with LCD panels. On the plus side, the large number of dimmable zones does deliver deep blacks and bright objects without the attendant haloing or blooming seen on lesser TVs.

The video upscaling and processing is generally good, with the U8K upscaling lower-resolution content in an effective manner, making use of all the additional pixels in its 4K panel. The U8K also displayed native 4K content with plenty of crisp detail, while the processing minimised any unwanted artefacts in heavily compressed streaming material or low-quality digital TV channels.

The overall motion handling is also excellent, with the panel’s ability to handle frame rates up 144Hz playing an important role in this regard. There’s no blurring of the motion in fast-paced sports action, but the U8K also handles 24p content without introducing additional judder, allowing movies to enjoy a degree of smoothness while retaining a film-like quality.

Hisense U8K review: HDR performance

The Hisense U8K is a great TV for HDR, using its Mini LED backlight to deliver incredibly punchy highlights with a peak brightness of 2,000cd/m2 on a 10% window, and peaks up to 2,250cd/m2 on a 25% window. The U8K was also capable of hitting 862cd/m2 on a full-field pattern, and to Hisense’s credit, the brand claims more conservative HDR numbers than those in its marketing literature.

The greyscale is also very accurate, with equal amounts of red, green, and blue, apart from where the U8K’s tone mapping rolls off against the target PQ curve. However, the tone mapping does match this curve precisely for most of the range, which means the HDR image looks especially good with content graded at 1,000 nits, ensuring no crushed blacks or clipped highlights.

Running through test patterns that support every HDR variant reveals the U8K is better with certain content compared to other graded material. The test footage in Dolby Vision looked excellent, as did HDR10 content graded at 1,000 nits. However, the same footage in HDR10+ content does show some signs of clipping, as does content graded 4,000 and 10,000 nits.

The U8K covers the majority of the DCI-P3 colour gamut, reaching 98%, but the colours aren’t as accurate as we’d like with cyan skewing towards green, magenta shifting towards red, and some undersaturation in blue. However, these minor errors aren’t apparent with actual viewing material, and in general this TV delivers bright, saturated colours that retain plenty of visual impact.

The U8K supports every version of HDR – HDR10, HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma), HDR10+, and Dolby Vision. Thanks to Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ Adaptive the tone mapping can also be adjusted based on the measurements from a light meter, allowing the HDR to generally appear brighter overall when watching in ambient light, even if purists will prefer watching in the dark.

When moving on to actual viewing material, the U8K really impresses with its HDR capabilities and the slight clipping on some material is rarely apparent. The large number of dimmable zones in the backlight also means that despite the massive HDR luminance levels there was no obvious blooming or haloing around bright objects, even when watching very challenging material.

The daytime scenes in 1917 look excellent, with plenty of fine detail and nuanced colours dominated by various shades of green and brown. The sky is free of clipping, with plenty of definition in the clouds, while the nighttime scenes also look great. There are deep blacks and bright flames in the burning church, and the flares look particularly good against the black sky.

To test the Hisense U8K we used Portrait Displays Calman colour calibration software.

Hisense U8K review: Gaming

The Hisense U8K is a fantastic choice for gamers, with the brand’s Game Mode PRO combining all the latest gaming-specific features. ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) will instantly detect a games console and switch to the low-latency mode, which measured a decent 13ms, although even without the game mode engaged the U8K still produces a surprisingly low lag of 21ms.

In addition to the fast response times, the U8K also supports high frame rates up to 4K/144Hz, VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), and AMD Freesync Premium. As a result, PC and console gamers can enjoy an incredibly smooth and enjoyable overall gaming experience. A pop-up Game Bar provides information on the TV’s gaming status, such as ALLM, VRR, frame rate and HDR.

Since the U8K uses an LCD panel there’s no danger of image retention or screen burn-in, even after all-day gaming sessions, and the overall performance is excellent thanks to the low input lag, detailed 4K images, and incredibly smooth high frame rate motion. The colour gamut really pops, and the HDR tone mapping is good, making this TV an ideal choice for gamers.

READ NEXT: Our favourite TVs under £500

Hisense U8K review: Sound quality

The Hisense U8K includes a powerful sound system that enhances this TV’s sonic credentials using a 2.1.2-channel speaker system based around a pair of front-firing drivers, two upward-firing drivers built into the top, and a subwoofer at the rear. This allows the U8K to actually bounce sounds off the ceiling to create the overhead effects with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

The overall sound quality is excellent for a modern TV, and all those speakers are driven by sufficient power to allow the U8K to go loud without distorting or losing its composure. There’s good stereo separation, helped by the 65in screen size, and plenty of width and height, making films more cinematic and games more immersive without compromising the acoustic balance.

There’s some nice clarity to the delivery, which helps bring out details in soundtracks and ensures that dialogue is clear and focused on the screen. The built-in sub adds a touch of depth to basic mixes, but anything with a demanding LFE track will reveal the U8K’s limitations in this area. While the audio is good, if you really want scale to go with your big screen size, invest in a soundbar.

Hisense U8K review: Verdict

The Hisense U8K is an excellent performer, and you’ll struggle to find a more feature-packed TV on the market. The design is attractive, the image highly accurate, and the sound surprisingly good for a modern TV. There’s an impressive number of local dimming zones as well, which results in deeper blacks and brighter highlights, while the quantum dots deliver purer colours.

The result is some fantastic HDR, with incredibly bright highlights and colours that really pop. The VA panel limits the viewing angles, but otherwise the only complaints relate to backlight uniformity and some overzealous tone mapping. The gaming features are first class, which makes this Mini LED TV a great all-rounder, but there are equally good and cheaper options from the competition.

Read more