Hisense 55T710DW LED TV Review
A strong core performer that struggles with its presentation.
A simple process, with one glaring caveat.
Calibrating the 55T710DW took a good while longer than our usual calibration process because its Sharpness setting works in a very odd manner. On 99% of HDTVs—be they LCD or Plasma—the Sharpness setting is a holdover from the analog age. It works to emphasize or de-emphasize lines and borders, but usually only in older, analog-based sources such as from a composite (AV) connection. Hisense's Sharpness setting is hard at work on all sources, however, and it's very hard to get it just right.
The problem occurs when looking at the relationship between the sharpness of on-screen text versus on-screen images. The TV is always over-sharpening. Thus, having the text at its proper sharpness results in a highly over-sharpened picture, and having the picture at its proper sharpness results in extremely under-sharpened text. Hisense's default setting of 8 (out of 15) was a little too sharp. We found that 7 was the best at striking a middle ground between blurry text and overly sharp picture, but think that Hisense's engineers need to look into tackling this problem for the sake of their 2013 TVs.
The remaining calibration of Brightness, Picture, and Color was somewhat easier. In the Cinema picture mode, Hisense's default for Brightness was 50, which we shifted to 49. Their Contrast was set to 45, which we shifted to 49. Color was set to 42, and we raised it 46. The result can be seen in the color and contrast results we gathered during testing.
As testers and reviewers of display products, our primary concern is with color integrity. By our standards, color adherence and spectrum availability are what make or break a display. The 55T710DW did very well during each of our color tests, better than we expected for its price range.
Its color gamut, a representation of its peak red, green, blue, and white, is very close to the Rec. 709 international standard for HDTVs. Green and red are spot on, with blue a little oversaturated, and the white point just a touch too cyan. These errors are technical only, and won't be perceptible to non-robotic eyes. This is a very strong result.
Color temperature is a measure of the degrees in Kelvin of a theoretical heated black body; our color test checks for deviations from a starting temperature, which would result in a visual imbalance across the television's greyscale. Again, the 55T710DW did well here, showing only a little visible cooling and warming in its temperature towards the shadow side of the spectrum—mild deviations at best, though they are worth keeping in mind if you're a purist about your picture quality.
Our color and greyscale curves test measures how well a television transitions from neighboring shades and hues across its input intensity range, and how much detail is given to shadows, midtones, and highlights. This Hisense's curves were even and smooth (which is good), peaking around when they should and giving ample detail across the intensity range.
A television's horizontal viewing angle is a big determinant of its viewing flexibility, and how many people can watch together comfortably. Watching a movie is often more fun with a group of friends, but a poor viewing angle means less space wherein the TV's content can be viewed without distortion.
The 55T710DW did poorly here, testing with the narrowest viewing angle out of the other 55-inch TVs we pulled for comparison. It really only allows for two people (or three children, or maybe like four dogs) to watch comfortably without contrast loss as viewing approaches larger off-angles. This is the result of a cheap screen, which is partially what keeps the price of this TV down. It's a pros and cons game, but this is something to keep in mind if you're considering purchase.
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