This isn’t the first Hisense TV I’ve reviewed, and it continues the same trend: a well-made budget HDTV with just a few missing features.
Let’s talk the positives first: the 55” 4K HDR display on the H8E is fantastic for the price class. It’s surprisingly light for the size, and the body is nice and slim, especially considering it’s backlit.
All three HDMI ports support 4K HDR (at 60 HZ). There’s also Ethernet, coax, USB, digital optical (does anyone use those), 3.5 audio jack, and RCA composite jacks. There’s also Bluetooth and a pretty snappy WiFi connection.
You can use that WiFi connection to manage the Hisense smart TV interface. This uses the same smartOS as the last few Hisense TVs. I’m used to it, but I think it’s a hard sell. The lack of Hulu in 2018 is a bit silly, and there’s no way to add it (or HBO Go). The addition of Plex is nice though: we use the heck out of that. If you only need Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and a small selection of services, the OS will be just fine.
Honestly, most people will love the H8E right out of the box. I liked it enough to box up my H9D, a TV that is technically “better”. Sorry no, the H8E is a sharper TV at a better price
Turning on enhanced viewing (no it’s not on by default for some silly reason) shows why the TV is worth buying. Colors pop, blacks are deep. For a $379 55” TV, it’s impressive as all get out.
Also, I know people tend to talk about TVs in a visual sense, but I need to note that of the several budget TVs I have reviewed in the last year or so, the H8E was absolutely the best sounding. I can’t wait to hook the Bluetooth up to a nice sound system.
But wait, there’s more.
Hisense has also added the ability to control your TV via Amazon’s Alexa. You need to make a Hisense account and add the skill. Then you can control the TV from your Echo or other Alexa device. You can also spring for an extra $40 remote. Hisense pitches this as a huge selling point, but I’m not certain it is. You can get better virtual assistant control from other TVs. Still, it works.
Pay no attention to the grumpy old man:
I know I should be more enthusiastic about the H8E. I mean, it has everything I need (minus Hulu) and does it well. Except Part of me is grumbly. Marrying a fantastic set of hardware to meh software should not be Hisense’s signature. I should be able to use more apps. Thankfully, Hisense has heard and has started making Android TVs… for a much higher price tag. Um, maybe I will stick to my H8E for now.
Also, when doing setup you will get the below screen:
Do not consent. Seriously.
Such a deal I have for you!
At the end of the day, it’s really hard to find a $379 55" smart TV with a backlit screen and images this high-end and sound this excellent. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming, I strongly suggest you keep an eye out for a good sale on the H8E
Note: Hisense provided me with a H8E for review purposes. I use it daily. You could too.