Over the past year, we have seen a number of brands enter the TV space in India, especially in the budget segment. 50K has become the sweet spot for those looking for a 55-inch TV with some impressive tech like support for HDR 10, Dolby Vision, smart UI and a decent build. We’ve seen the likes of Nokia, TCL, OnePlus and many more try to dominate this space. With more and more people spending time at home in 2020 for obvious reasons, the ‘not so idiot box’ has started gaining more importance. Today we have with us a TV from Hisense. This is the 55-inch A71F. The TV boasts of support for 4K resolution along with HDR including Dolby Vision and runs on the Android TV platform. The TV is priced at Rs 37,999. Is it a bang for your buck? Let’s find out.
Hisense 55A71F Specs at a glance
Panel Size: 55-inch
Panel Type: VA LED
Panel Resolution: 3840 x 2160 – 4K
Panel Refresh Rate: 60Hz
HDR 10 support: Yes
Dolby Vision Support: Yes
Weight (with stand): 12.6 kgs
HDMI Ports: 3
USB Ports: 2
Built-in storage: 16GB
Price: MRP: 37,999
Hisense 55A71F Display Panel and Picture Quality
Kicking things off with the display, the Hisense 55A71F has a VA panel which means you can expect good blacks with some compromises to the viewing angles. It is a 4K panel with support for both, HDR 10 and Dolby Vision. We do not know the maximum brightness of the panel. It also does not appear to have any dimming zones, but it does claim to have software-based Ultra Dimming to help with HDR content and contrast, so it will be interesting to see how that performs. The TV comes with a bunch of picture presents such as Dynamic, Standard, Movie etc. and when HDR content is playing, the picture presets change. For Dolby Vision, we have Dolby Vision bright, Dolby Vision Dark and Dolby Vision Custom. For HDR content we have HDR Dynamic, HDR Standard, HDR Sports, etc. Let’s take a look at the picture performance of this TV in detail.
4K and HDR performance
Netflix, Prime Video and even Hotstar have a decent catalogue of Dolby Vision and HDR content. Even though the TV supports Dolby Atmos, the native Netflix app only showed 5.1 encoding for its content and we got the Dolby Atmos logo when using a device like the Xbox One X.
For content, we used our standard slew of Dolby Vision and HDR content. We saw shows like Altered Carbon, Extraction, Our Planet and more on Netflix and found the experience to be extremely enjoyable. A show like Our Planet filled with lush and rich nature looks sublime and the God rays coming into the forest look good. The panel can get really bright especially when you have a bright sequence like the animals running through the desert or the open sky on screen. Altered Carbon Season 1 Episode 7’s warehouse fight sequence looked good with adequate detail in the dark sections and good contrast with the bright light coming from the glass roof of the warehouse.
Even with the HDR content on a show like Jack Ryan on Prime Videos which is notorious for being dimmer than it should on budget HDR TVs was very clear and enjoyable. The details in the darker sequences were clear and visible and some content which we found to be lacking on the OnePlus U1 was clear, visible and enjoyable on this Hisense TV.
Togo is a beautiful film and available in Dolby Vision on Hotstar. The sequence towards the end where people are sitting in a dimly lit cabin can be dark on some budget HDR TVs but was very easily viewable on the Hisense 55A71F.
When consuming content in Dolby Vision, you have the preset of Dolby Vision Bight, Dolby Vision Dark and Dolby Vision Custom. Dolby Vision Bright worked well for almost all lighting situations and even when the sun goes down, I recommend watching this TV in a room which has some light and keeping the setting on Dolby Vision Bright. It is an enjoyable experience.
Even for HDR content, most of the time switching between HDR Dynamic and HDR Standard was enough for content to look right. However, one thing to note is that you can go into the picture settings and customize them. From the white point to the gamma and the standard slew of picture settings are all available at your disposal.
Overall considering the price of the TV, the performance in HDR, Dolby Vision and SDR is brilliant.
One more thing to note is that the remote control has a P. Mode and S. Mode button at the bottom and this is one of the handiest ways of changing the picture and sound preset to your liking. You don’t need to press a menu button, go into settings, then picture settings. One button and the presets are at your disposal. Very convenient and a feature I used a lot.
We played a lot of FHD content from the TV like Young Sheldon, Mission Impossible, Mad Max Fury Road, a lot of videos of YouTube and more. Bright and vivid is the best way to describe the SDR performance of the TV. I mostly preferred the Dynamic or Standard preset for most of the content. In some cases, the Dynamic preset made the skin tones in some shows look a bit off and changed to Standard fixed this. For others, especially where you need the colours to pop, the Dynamic preset works wonders. Add to it the convenience of the P. Mode button on the remote control, and changing settings is a breeze.
From the vast desert in Mad Max to the fast-paced bike chase scene in Mission: Impossible and the family-filled laughter in Young Sheldon, all the content looks captivating and immersive and really bright. It’s insane how bright this panel can get with some SDR content.
Hisense 55A71F Gaming performance
We played our standard slew of games from the Xbox One X including Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Forza Horizon and Gears 5. Before we get into the gaming performance there is one thing to note. When we connected the console, the HDMI 2.0 feature was off by default on the TV. Thankfully the setting is upfront when you press the menu button, adding to the convenience of switching it on and off as you please.
Once switched on, the console was recognized as an HDR-enabled device and we played our games in HDR. Sadly, when playing games in HDR, there is no “game” mode. Game mode exists in the SDR picture presets only.
So, addressing the absence of a “Game mode” when playing games in HDR, honestly, there was no issue I faced when playing fast-paced action games like Gears 5 or Assassins Creed. The experience was fun. Players looking to drop into Warzone in Call of Duty may want to reevaluate their options, but for the single-player experience, there is no issue.
Visually, the games look vivid. Gears 5 has some dingy dark corridors and the content was clearly visible on screen without loss of details. A game like Assassin’s Creed which is bright and vivid with the colourful countryside of Greece looks rich. Assassin’s Creed is one game where we have encountered a warm colour tone on some budget HDR TVs but that wasn’t the case here which is also a good thing.
Overall, the gaming performance of the TV is great even for games that present a dark environment.
Hisense 55A71F Audio Performance
The Hisense 55A71F has 30W of sound output and not only is the sound from the TV loud, but it is also quite clear. For a minute I was surprised how loud the speakers of this TV got. For the room I set up the TV in, I didn’t need to raise the volume more than 20. At about 17 or 18 I got room-filling sound and the dialogue was clear from movies. Heck, I even enjoyed some action blockbusters and of course during some action sequences I missed my soundbar but for the most part, if you are looking for a TV with decent speakers then this one will not disappoint you.
From a movie like Togo on Disney+ Hotstar which has some incredible ice-breaking sound effects to Mission Impossible with its fast-paced action accompanied by a background score and even games like Forza Horizon that have a roaring engine that commands attention, it was well audible on this TV considering these are TV speakers.
The Hisense 55A71F runs on Android and the UI is exactly the same as we’ve experienced on TVs from OnePlus, Xiaomi, TCL and many more packing the Android TV punch. While most of the UI will be familiar to those that have used an Android TV, there are some subtle changes that are for the better. As mentioned above, you can quickly bring up the picture and presets with the hotkeys on the remote control and controlling HDMI 2.0 settings doesn’t involve you digging through menus.
Overall, Android on this TV runs as good as any competing TV and the slight changes to the settings menu are welcome.
Now let’s move to something I don’t like about this TV – the remote control. Let’s talk about the good first. It has dedicated hotkeys for the picture and sound presets which is awesome. Above the mute button, it has a button to put off the display. So, if you have your favourite music playlist running on YouTube, you can switch off the display and just use the speakers. It also has dedicated hotkeys for Netflix, Prime Video, Hotstar, YouTube and Google Play as well.
However, the navigational buttons are too close to the menu, home, back and a few other buttons. Because of this, instead of pressing ‘up’ I end up pressing the assistant button. Instead of pressing down, I ended up pressing the home button. This might sound like a small thing but try pressing home a number of times while trying to bring up the seek bar for a streaming service! It can get quite annoying. The quality of some of the buttons on the remote too felt a little cheap.
Apart from this, the remote is quite functional and gets the job done.
Build and design
Coming to the build of the Hisense 55A71F, the display has almost no bezels giving you quite an immersive experience. The TV has two separate feet that hold it in place and while the quality of the feet doesn’t feel as premium as the ones found on the OnePlus U, it gets the job done.
The TV has a relatively slim profile with all the ports at the back. The only downside is that the ports aren’t close to the side of the TV, rather closer to the center making it quite inconvenient to reach if the TV is wall mounted. You may want to do your cable management before mounting this TV on a wall.
As far as connectivity options are concerned, the TV has headphones out, 3 HDMI ports, 2 USB ports, ethernet, optical and an AV port. It also has a good old antenna port.
It’s easy to recommend the Hisense 55A71F considering the price and the features it brings to the table. It has a smooth UI, is a feature-rich TV and above all has great picture performance for both consuming content from OTT and playing games. The only qualm I have is with the design of the remote control. If you are looking for a 55-inch 4 HDR TV under Rs 40,000 then you can definitely consider the Hisense 55A71F.