Hisense just debuted a Roku TV in the UK, and it wasn’t a minute too soon considering the company’s success in the United States. The Hisense Roku TV (R50B7120UK) boasts a 4K HDR display, a surprisingly powerful sound system, and the intuitive Roku operating system.
Even though it’s housed in plastic that looks cheap and there are other TVs in this price range that are better, you should still give this one a try. Even if Hisense’s OLED attempt (the O8B OLED) didn’t last very long, it’s encouraging to see that the company is still putting its efforts into developing cutting-edge televisions.
We think this Hisense Roku TV is great just based on the specs alone; keep reading to learn why.
Price and Availability
Exclusive to Argos in the UK, this Hisense Roku TV model comes in 43-, 50-, 55-, and 65-inch screen sizes. Starting at just £329 and increasing to £379, £479, and a whopping £649 for the largest model, the price is surprisingly low considering what you get.
Hisense offers a number of Roku TVs in the United States at roughly the same price point, with the exception of the R8F, which features a more cutting-edge ULED display; the United Kingdom, meanwhile, offers only one Roku series at this time.
Hisense’s Roku TVs are featherweight in comparison to other models. The 50-inch model we tested weighed only 13.5 kg, making it a fantastic option for individuals who need to move their TV frequently between rooms or into and out of storage.
The TV’s low price tag explains why the plastic housing looks and feels so poor. Aside from that, we weren’t giving it much thought because its simple black style and silver rim aren’t particularly noticeable. The TV is attached to the two feet with minimal effort, and the whole thing stands about 65mm taller than the counter (two screws each).
All of the TV’s connections—including USB, three HDMI 2.0 ports, composite, optical, ethernet, and AV—are located on its back. The TV’s back isn’t particularly aesthetically pleasing, what with its ribbed shell and protruding parts to house the ports, but you’ll probably be putting it up against a wall anyway, so they won’t be seen.
There are dedicated buttons for Netflix, Google Play, Rakuten TV, Spotify, and the Freeview Play catch-up service, as well as the usual numeric keys and volume, playback, and channel navigation buttons. The remote control has a slightly bulbous shape, but the buttons are well-spaced out and responsive. Included, too, is a purple directional pad taken straight from the Roku remote included with Roku streaming devices like the Roku Express and Roku Premiere.
Home (with a tiny house icon) takes you directly to your list of streaming apps, while TV (and Guide) are only relevant if you have a live TV set up. There are two buttons that seem very similar to one another: back and return. The former is used for navigating menus, while the latter is used for skipping back during video play, such as when rewinding a Netflix movie by 10 seconds.
This is the first Hisense TV we’ve seen in the UK to run the Roku TV platform, which is also present on a small number of Roku-made streamers and a few other TVs in other regions.
If this is so fascinating, please explain. While it may not be the most visually striking smart TV platform (with honour likely going to the outstanding webOS on LG TVs), it is, unlike some others, dependable, well-organized, and simple to use.
You don’t have to put up with flaws or a clumsy user interface because you couldn’t purchase a high-end OLED TV, because it’s also found on affordable sets like this one.
The Roku platform, in general, is full of small but welcome improvements in usability, such as how opening the Home tab and clicking on “Roku – Streaming players, smart TVs, wireless speakers & audio | Roku” here is much simpler than searching through sources on our Samsung TV.
With a menu structure that cycles back to the top of a section once you’ve navigated to the bottom of it, the Home tab displays a list of programmes, services, and inputs in rows of three with clear tile icons. One can change the app list’s order, add and remove apps, and even add an HDMI input for a specific device like a speaker or gaming console.
Roku organises movies and television shows separately (80 in each category) and links out to rental and streaming services like Apple TV Plus, Amazon Prime Video, and Now TV that carry the selected content.
If you want to adjust the audio or video settings without pausing the show, simply press the asterisk (*) button on your remote. We’ll go over the intricacies of this menu in the following sections.
The Hisense Roku TV is one of many inexpensive televisions with a 4K display, despite the fact that it is perfectly capable of displaying standard definition content.
However, the upscaling appears subpar, so the TV doesn’t make the most of the 4K panel’s pixel count for HD sources, and the picture isn’t very sharp. This wasn’t too much of a problem on the 50-inch model we tested, but it could become more pronounced on the larger 55- and 65-inch displays.
However, other than some small issues with motion smoothing, we hardly saw any video noise or artefacts. We saw some stuttering in frame rate during La La Land’s sweeping, panning vistas over the city’s film sets or bustling streets, however, the motion smoothing prevented these pauses from appearing particularly violent.
The Hisense Roku TV is capable of extracting satisfactory colour from standard dynamic range (SDR) sources. Since the Cinema mode reduces the colour output and causes the already low level of visual detail to drop even further, creating a smooth but fuzzy filter over the action with, oddly, a slight yellow tinge, this TV is one of the few we’ve tested that performs well in this regard even with the Standard picture setting.
It’s better to go with Standard (the default) or Vivid (which boosts colour without radically raising contrast) picture modes.
As the first product of the Hisense-Roku partnership, the Hisense Roku TV represents a triumphant entrance to the UK market. One of the best TVs under £500 currently available, thanks to its sharp and colourful picture, excellent HDR for the price, and the inclusion of the Roku smart platform.
Minor difficulties around frame rates are to be expected at this price; frankly, we would have expected worse with a TV this cheap. The upscaling from HD only goes so far, so this may not be the best Hisense Roku to have if you’re looking for a larger screen than 50 inches. The rest of the time, though, it’s a pleasure and a breeze to endorse this collection.