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Hisense O8B (H55O8BUK) 4K OLED TV Review

A bargain OLED superstar?

by Phil Hinton
SRP: £1,199.00

What is the Hisense O8B OLED TV?

The Hisense H55O8BUK is a 55-inch OLED TV and the first from the Chinese manufacturer to be released in the UK. Only one screen size is available and like all other OLED TVs currently on the market, the panel is supplied by LG Display and is a 120Hz 2018 unit. Picture processing is controlled by a propriety Hisense system which includes the VIDAA U3 Smart TV system and OS.

With plenty of competition in the OLED TV space this year, the Hisense keeps things simple to come in at a competitive price point of £1199 at the time of this review in November 2019. That doesn’t mean you need to skimp on picture quality or features as the O8B offers many of the attributes of the latest Panasonic, Sony, Philips and LG screens.

There is support for HDR10, HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) and Dolby Vision HDR systems along with Dolby Atmos sound. Plus, you have the slick VIDAA U3 smart system which overlays a choice of apps including 4K HDR playback from YouTube, Amazon and Netflix. You also have a Freeview Play tuner and all the catch-up services for terrestrial channels. Picture controls are also comprehensive with full calibration controls for greyscale, gamma and a Colour Management System (CMS). Other features include a Frame Interpolation system for image smoothing.

The burning question from most readers will be, can this Hisense compete with other big brand name OLED TVs currently available, or have corners been cut to get to this price point? Let’s find out…

Design, Connections and Control

The use of an ultra-slim OLED panel does mean that the design of the Hisense O8B follows the same look as almost every other OLED TV this year, with a slim top part of the screen which widens at the bottom rear to house the speakers, electronics and connections. Build quality and materials are good with a bezel-less design and a 1mm thick metal strip running around the screen.

Hisense H55O8BUK

The only other item to see around the panel is a Hisense logo with a silver backing on the bottom left side of the screen. The stand is a V-shaped effort with silver sides and black top that has a large and heavy base to the rear of the set and a sturdy leg that screws into the centre rear of the panel. There is a provided plastic cover to tidy up the looks and enable some cable management.

Hisense H55O8BUK

Around the back, we have the sideways and rearward facing connections. Sideways we have a CI slot, RF and Satellite Antennas and a USB2.0 port either side of three HDMI 2.0b ports, with ARC on HDMI1. Rearward we have the fourth HDMI 2.0b port, Composite RCA and Stereo RCA inputs, and Optical digital output and Ethernet.

Hisense H55O8BUK

The remote controls supplied with the Hisense O8B are similar with one long thin example and a more traditional sized second remote. Both are well specified in terms of buttons and sit neatly in the hand with direct access keys within easy thumb reach when using one-handed. There are also direct keys for Netflix, Prime Video, Rakuten, YouTube and Freeview Play.

 Build quality and materials are good with a bezel-less design

Measurements

Out of the Box

As we always do within our reviews, we measured the out of the box picture presets to find those that get as close as possible to the industry standards. The idea is that a TV must get close to these standards in at least one of its picture modes so end users can see content as it was mastered and intended to be seen.

Calibration is a goal for some users, but for the majority, this is not an option, so actually knowing how accurate the out of the box presets are is very important in any honest TV review.

We see absolutely no point in assessing and reviewing TVs in only the perfectly calibrated picture modes as this doesn’t reflect what the vast majority of buyers will experience with the TV. Calibration and measurement are important for the overall assessment of the TV, but we don’t only focus on the calibrated performance here at AVForums.

Hisense H55O8BUK

We used the Cinema Night picture preset with colour temperature Warm and gamma set to 2.4 for a dim room. We switched off all other picture processing and motion features. We were surprised with just how well the greyscale tracked out of the box along with gamma. Blue energy was down around 5% across most of the brightness track with red the same percentage higher than where we would like, but accuracy was pretty good with DeltaE errors at the visible threshold of three or under. With onscreen images we could tell there was just a slight yellow push making things just a smidge too warm, but nothing that a normal viewer would pick up on in most cases. While Gamma wasn’t perfectly flat at 2.4 it was decent, with nothing that would worry us in terms of image quality.

Hisense H55O8BUK

Looking at the Rec.709 colour gamut, we were also impressed in the most part with the saturation tracking and coverage, however, magenta did exhibit a large hue error towards red, and blue was a touch undersaturated at each point. Our only concern was the magenta error and what effect that may have with actual viewing content but we didn’t really pick up on any blatantly obvious issues. Having done so well with other colour points, it would be good if Hisense engineers could push a little more for even better accuracy here.

Calibrated

The Hisense O8B OLED does have calibration controls available in the extensive menu system and if they work properly, we should be able to get more accuracy from the TV.

Hisense H55O8BUK

What we did find was the 2 and 20-point greyscale controls don’t quite work as well as they should. The 2-point is very coarse with inputs and as such, it is very difficult to balance out the tracking of all the points high and low. Then, when you try to use the 20-point controls at the various stimulus points to correct the errors, the inputs are not big enough to make the correct adjustment, so you have nothing happen at all with any inputs. Once again, the Hisense engineers need to spend a bit more time refining the systems so they work better. As it was, we managed to get a reasonable looking tracking graph with DeltaE errors all well under the visible threshold of three and no colour tint or push visible within whites. Just like the greyscale controls, we also could manipulate the gamma editor in a way that corrected the slightly wayward gamma tracking.

Hisense H55O8BUK

Moving to the Rec.709 colour gamut, we were able to balance out the issues with the out of the box results using the provided CMS but it was a case of making adjustments that didn’t affect other points within the gamut. In the end, we managed to get a result that was more accurate and with lower than three DeltaE errors, but the graph doesn’t look so pretty afterwards. Once again, we would like Hisense to develop a more usable CMS and better accuracy out of the box.

 What we did find was the 2 and 20-point greyscale controls don’t quite work as well as they should

HDR Results

As with all OLED TVs currently on the market, HDR performance can be highly dynamic thanks to the per-pixel self-emissive nature of the technology, with bright whites next to inky deep blacks with no blooming. However, due to the nature of the technology, the actual peak brightness achievable is slightly less than the high-end LED LCD TVs out there. However, in a dim room and with its sheer dynamic range capabilities, OLED can produce some of the best HDR images available. So how did this Hisense measure up?

Hisense H55O8BUK

We measured a peak brightness of 610 nits on the industry-standard 10% window in the most accurate picture mode at D65 white point. It did manage higher numbers than that with smaller window sizes as you can see in the graph and a full white screen measured 144 nits. However, as we keep saying in our reviews, peak brightness is just one measurement that makes up a much wider image of how the Hisense performs with HDR content, as it also has static HDR10 tone mapping and Dolby Vision dynamic metadata systems.

Hisense H55O8BUK

Looking at the PQ EOTF results and we can see that the O8B tracks the ST.2084 standard accurately with a good white balance until it has to roll off as it reaches peak brightness. It has the same roll-off from around 400 nits with both 1000 and 4000 nit content and this roll-off ends without a hard clip at around 610 nits. This helps the Hisense retain some of the peak highlight details without excessive clipping of bright details in most content.

Hisense H55O8BUK

Looking at the P3 Wide Colour Gamut coverage in the saturation chart and, yet again, the Hisense is full of surprises with very good tracking of the gamut. While it is not perfect, most of the 75% and below tracking points are there or thereabouts with only a few issues like a hue shift in magenta. But overall, there are very few issues here that will be visible in any way within actual viewing content onscreen. We measured BT2020 at 68% XY and 71% UV with P3 coming in at 95% XY and 97% UV.

  ...the Hisense is full of surprises with very good tracking of the gamut

Performance

We set about testing this Hisense to see if it could compete with the other big-name sets we also had here at the same time. First of all, we checked panel uniformity at 5% stimulus and we could see light strips and bands but nothing that was obvious within normal viewing content. Brighter slides also didn’t show up any issues with dirty screen effect, so apart from the light banding, the Hisense did well. We also tested for black flashing in poorly compressed content and it was present in chosen scenes, but again it was nothing that would distract us on a regular basis, it only appears with specific content. We also found that the ABL circuit within the Hisense was also relaxed and didn’t suddenly dim the light output when the full screen moved from dark to bright scenes.

Upscaling was also good with no issues of edge ringing or other artefacts and HD to 4K content was fault-free. We also didn’t see any instances of back door processing or noise reduction. With Ultra Smooth Motion turned off, the panel managed to correctly show 24fps material with the right pulldown applied with no signs of induced judder present. You can, of course, add in frame interpolation with the Ultra Smooth Motion system in various amounts, or use the custom setting to manually adjust blur and judder to your taste. We did find that the higher settings introduced lots of edge errors and other artefacts as the system struggled to create new frames correctly. However, with some experimentation, we are sure you’ll find settings that work well with Football and other fast-moving sports.

There is a Freeview Play tuner onboard and normal HD TV content looked good with plenty of detail and decent motion. Moving to Blu-ray and, again, the SDR performance was very good with excellent black levels and shadow detail, although we did note some black crush within some content. Colours look natural with skin tones having a lifelike and nuanced appearance. Jaws looked very cinematic with excellent image detail and sharpness.

 Upscaling was also good with no issues of edge ringing or other artefacts and HD to 4K content was fault-free

Moving to HDR and once again we were impressed with the dynamic performance of the Hisense O8B OLED. It certainly manages to compete well with other OLED screens for image performance and accuracy with HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Skin tones look incredibly accurate with superb fine details adding depth, while colours are natural and saturated, but without blooming or clipping at higher brightnesses. Motion is once again very good and image sharpness and detail with 4K sources is excellent. Our only complaint with the image quality was some faint floating blacks seen within certain scenes in Pan in HDR10. However, overall we really couldn’t fault the image quality in HDR and while it doesn’t quite have the more natural and neutral colour palette of the Panasonic's and features of the LG, we certainly found it offered excellent value for money for the performance, especially when comparing it to similarly priced LED LCD sets, like the Samsung Q70R and Sony XG95. Dolby Vision performance was especially good and we noticed more highlight detail in brighter sections of the image, as well as much better just above black shadow retrieval, which in HDR10 crush more. The colour performance was also better with Dolby Vision material and we were impressed with the image quality on offer overall.

 Dolby Vision performance was especially good and we noticed more highlight detail in brighter sections of the image, as well as much better just above black shadow retrieval

Gaming performance was a little disappointing with an input lag that didn’t stay constant when in game mode and all processing switched off. It moved between 37 and 59ms and we couldn’t get any more conclusive results than that.

Elsewhere, we found the Smart TV system was very responsive and had all the 4K HDR apps like YouTube, Netflix, Rakuten and Prime Video along with all the UK catch-up services. It was fast and stable in use and while not as advanced as LG WebOS or Samsung’s Tizen systems, we didn’t feel hard done by using the VIDAA U3 system at all. We also found the menus to be well laid out and intuitive to use.

Verdict

8
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

The Good

  • Very good SDR & HDR picture quality
  • Decent accuracy out of the box and calibrated
  • Good black levels and dynamic range performance
  • HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision
  • Dolby Atmos
  • Price vs. performance
  • Easy to use OS and Smart TV system

The Bad

  • Black crush with SDR and HDR10 content
  • Calibration controls need improvement
  • Some banding is seen at 5% stimulus and also some black flashing with dark poorly compressed content
  • Input lag needs to be better

Hisense O8B (H55O8BUK) 4K OLED TV Review

So does the Hisense match or better the competing OLED TVs? Yes and no is the truthful answer. There is no doubt it gets very close with picture quality with some content, and the Smart TV and OS also work well. But, it lacks the finer attributes of the Panasonic GZ950 and LG C9, which perform better just above black, with panel uniformity and nicer colour palette capabilities. Plus, the use of AutoCal and better calibration and image accuracy from the GZ950 and C9 sets also stand them out as the better enthusiasts TVs.

But we think the Hisense O8B offers excellent value for money in terms of SDR and HDR image quality, along with a decent Smart TV and OS. It can be found for £1199 at the time of this review, but we have seen special offers where it has been available for as low as £899. This will be a set to keep an eye on if you fancy an OLED TV bargain without feeling you are missing out on features or overall image quality.

We didn’t find any serious issues with the Hisense, in fact, it competes incredibly well with its peers from the big brands and offers SDR and HDR image quality that can get accurate. It also has good quality video processing with a strong upscaling performance and good motion for 24fps, as well as a full-on frame interpolation system for those who want image smoothing. There are a few small niggles with uniformity and black flashing with poor compressed content, but these are not seen within 90% of the content we viewed on the Hisense.

The design and build quality also match the competition, with a nice design to the stand and a panel that looks contemporary. You also get two remote controls and a fully-featured menu system with calibration controls, although these do need further input from the engineers to get them working better.

Sound quality is also decent for a slim TV with Dolby Atmos decoding and, overall, we think the Hisense does make sense at the price point.

In the run-up to Black Friday, we may see some of the competition coming down towards the O8B price point, but as things stand it certainly is an OLED bargain and deserves a recommendation.

Recommended

Scores

Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level

.
9

Screen Uniformity

.
.
8

Colour Accuracy

.
9

Greyscale Accuracy

.
9

Video Processing

.
.
8

Picture Quality

.
.
8

SDR Picture Quality

.
.
8

HDR Picture Quality

.
.
8

Picture Quality Out-of-the-Box

.
.
8

Picture Quality Calibrated

.
9

Sound Quality

.
.
.
7

Smart Features

.
.
.
7

Build Quality

.
.
8

Ease of Use

.
.
8

Value for Money

.
.
8

Verdict

.
.
8
8
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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