Last year, I reviewed the Hisense H8 TV and I loved it. That was despite the flaws the television had. None of those flaws were hardware-based, mind you.
Sadly, the 2017 H9D continues this trend. Still, there’s good news at the end. Keep reading.
Let’s talk hardware first
My H9 is a crazy thin-bezel HDR that looks fantastic sitting in my den. There are both 55″ and 65″ models (we tested the 55″) and both have a plethora of ports. 4 HDMI (two running at 60HZ, two at 30HZ – you don’t want to hook your game console to those), 3 USB ports, component, composit, digital audio, 1/8 jack, and a dedicated ethernet port are all good things.
The edge-lit screen is not as bright as I like my sets to be, but it’s crisp. Certainly better if you turn the lights off. I’d argue it’s a better screen than Amazon’s FireTV set that I tested. Colors are workable need adjusting. Sound, for a crazy-thin TV, is passable. Don’t expect deep bass and you’ll be happy.
But about that software…
Unfortunately, the software situation on the H9 is miserable.
Last year’s software was limiting, this year even more so. Hisense Smart TV Platform is the OS and Hisense says it’s made up of Linux OS with a Hisense UI and using the Vewed (formerly Opera) browser. Despite that, it’s just not smart enough. Yes, there’s Netflix and Amazon and a few random apps but that’s it. The app store is a wasteland. The apps that are there mostly work fine and the interface was simple enough for my non-techy mother-in-law to use, so that was good. But it also was buggy. For example, if I turned off the set while watching Netflix without first exiting out of Netflix. I would get errors when I turned it back on. Which meant having to exit Netflix then and try again. Sorry, I know “off” is “standby”, but this software should exit or pause states better.
The remote, by the way, is very busy, and in a good way. You can do everything with it and it’s all there in plain English. Sadly, what I mostly do is use it to select input 1 and use my Nvidia Shield. But great remote!
Honestly, at list price in the $700s, I can’t recommend the Hisense H9D line – not even on sale at Sam’s Club for $498 – there’s just too much at that price point that beats the software experience.
The good news is that the H10 line was shown off at CES, and Hisense will be making the jump to AndroidTV (complete with Alexa and Google Assistant). In fact , they’ll also be doing so for the H9, with the new H9E. So the H9D we reviewed serves as a great proof of concept that Hisense can make top tier hardware. All the software issues I had will hopefully be directly addressed. The new H9E is the focus for 2018 – and the H9D we reviewed is already old news.
Note: Hisense provided us this H9 for review purposes.