Hisense recently announced its update to the R8 series, the company’s 4K Roku TVs, and once again, they’re a pretty incredible value. The R8F 4K Ultra HD Roku TV will be available in 55-inch ($500) and 65-inch ($700) sizes starting in mid-December from both Amazon and Walmart.
The R8 models have always offered an impressive array of features, including 4K, HDR10, Dolby Vision, and local-dimming, but this year Hisense has added Dolby Atmos to the mix and brings its own proprietary ULED technology for enhanced picture quality. Full-array local dimming now has 56 discreet zones (60 zones on the 65-inch model), which should deliver some really good black levels, especially in scenes with high contrast ratios.
Hisense makes smart TVs that use the Android TV platform, but the R8F models leverage the Roku OS for their smarts and ease-of-use. Another big benefit to the Roku platform is the incredible array of content on offer, through the many third-party channels that can be downloaded as well as the Roku Channel itself, which has tons of ad-supported free movies and TV shows.
The R8F is compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant devices, giving you the ability to control certain features with your voice, but for a more immediate experience, the built-in Roku Voice feature lets you speak quick and simple commands right into the remote. You can search for content, change channels, turn the volume up and down, and turn the TV on or off.
Unlike the remote offered on the Roku Ultra, there is no headphone jack on the R8F’s remote, but you can always use the free Roku app on your smartphone or tablet to take advantage of private listening. The app also lets you search for and add channels to your Roku experience, and it functions as a full remote control should you ever misplace the Roku remote.
To put the Hisense R8 series in perspective from a price and features point of view, TCL’s 6-Series is a similarly-equipped Roku TV — with 4K, HDR, Dolby Vision, and Atmos, and it comes in both 55- and 65-inch sizes. However, the Hisense is $100 less for the equivalent sizes.
How does picture quality compare? We can’t say for sure until we get an R8F in for testing, but we suspect it will definitely give TCL some serious competition.