Over the past several years, Hisense has made a name for itself in the value TV space. Despite carrying a bargain price tag, it’s often produced televisions that punch above their weight, so to speak, and provide a fantastic mid-range option. And the Hisense U6K may be the best one yet.
For the 65-inch model I tested, pricing still sits right at $549 after Amazon’s October Prime Day event. The 55″ will cost you $399, while the 75″ is $749. Upgrading to the largest panel, the 85-inch, will set you back $1,399. That pricing is a little higher than last year’s line, but it’s a fair trade-off given that Hisense continues to upgrade its sets a decent amount year over year.
This year’s most notable upgrade is a mini-LED panel, which means more dimming zones and better contrast, especially in dark scenes. This also brings a noticeable upgrade to the overall brightness of the picture, making the U6K one of the value TVs in its price range.
Hisense 65-inch U6K Mind-LED TV
A mid-range TV that punches above its weight, delivering crisp and vivid imagery thanks to a new mini-LED panel.
Right out of the box, the thin bezel of the U6K immediately caught my eye. It’s fairly thin for a mid-range model TV and makes the set itself look a lot more modern than competing sets.
The TV has four HDMI slots, but none of them support the new HDMI 2.1. Of course, this set isn’t claiming to be a gaming powerhouse, so the omission is forgivable. In fact, if you’re a casual gamer and fine with a 4K 60Hz refresh rate, the U6K will do the job perfectly fine. For 120Hz, you’ll have to drop the resolution to 1080p.
Setting up the TV was fairly straightforward, with the television going from box to powered on in under 10 minutes. There are two options for attaching the legs: wide or narrow. I found this useful as the wide option would have put the legs a little too close to the edges of where it was sitting.
The legs do have to be screwed in rather than snapping in like a lot of manufacturers, and this only added an extra minute to set up, but it made it a little difficult to do by myself.
The first thing I did once the TV was set up was venture into the display settings to tune the brightness to my room. My living room is fairly bright, and this display was bright enough so that I didn’t have to close my blinds to watch.
All HDR formats are supported, including Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HDR10. 4K content like a UHD show on Netflix looked gorgeous, a noticeable upgrade from my usual TV. The increased contrast made a difference for darker shows like Stranger Things and brighter shows looked fantastic.
Since I’m a child of the 80s, I tested out the upscaling with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Indy looked refreshed, but not to an unnatural amount — and I was happy to see the upscaling kept the 80s “feel” of the content.
I tested out the gaming side of this TV with my PlayStation 5, and the upgraded brightness and contrast courtesy of the mini-LED display was evident right away.
Like a lot of TVs these days, there are settings specific to video game consoles that you only see when the console is active. Turning on “Instant Game Response,” or auto low latency mode, provides a faster response by removing elements like motion smoothing and noise reduction. With “High Refresh Rate Mode” activated, I tested several games and never noticed any stuttering or drop in frame rate.
On the audio side of things, I’ll admit I was a little worried going in, as many mid-range televisions don’t do well in this area. On my main TV for example, which was a big box store brand Black Friday special, the audio was so bad I had to attach a sound bar just to get passable quality.
The U6K surpassed my expectations here though, as setting the volume to the 30-40 range (out of 100) was plenty sufficient for movies, regular shows, and gaming — and that’s with near-constant background noise from two kids and a dog in the house. Dolby Atmos sound is supported if you have a sound system (I didn’t for this test), and there are six different audio presets to choose from.
The TV runs on the Google TV operating system, which I was able to navigate easily despite being accustomed to Roku. It’s also compatible with Amazon Alexa for changing channels, inputs, volume, and more.
ZDNET’s buying advice
Overall, the Hisense U6K is a very solid television and perhaps the best mid-range TV I’ve tested yet. The U6K avoids many of the problems that are common among this level of TV, and adds in some features usually only seen on higher-end models.
It’s, of course, not the very best television for gaming, and not the very best at providing a theater-level experience for watching movies. What it is though is a set that’s quite capable of doing all of those things for a price that’s significantly more accessible.