Hisense XT770 LED TV

This Chinese-made TV has a stylish design and Smart TV features

Hisense XT770
  • Expert Rating

    3.25 / 5

Pros

  • Nice design
  • Decent picture quality

Cons

  • High price
  • Mediocre speakers

Bottom Line

Hisense’s XT770 TV is expensive for a Chinese-made model from a smaller manufacturer, but it has better image quality than we expected. It looks good, although the inbuilt speakers aren’t great.

Would you buy this?

Hisense is a budget Chinese television manufacturer, whose products you’ll find in JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and The Good Guys. They’re usually focused on cheaper models in the 42-inch and larger range, but the XT770 is their new top-of-the-range, 55-inch LED TV — and it’s got Smarts in the forms of an integrated Opera browser, SBS On Demand, and a host of other downloadable apps.

Hisense XT770: Design, connectivity and setup

The Hisense XT770 looks quite similar to Samsung’s 2010 range of chromed, four-legged LED TVs, if we do say so. It’s OK, though, because Samsung borrowed the idea from Loewe. Four chrome-finished plastic legs hold up a central stand that connects very securely to the XT770’s display with a total of six screws.

The 55-inch display itself is good-looking — a thin glossy black bezel of around 8mm around the LED-backlit LCD panel, with an equally thick perspex strip running outside of that.

The screen’s finish is a good compromise between glossy and matte, with moderate reflectivity but no problematic mirror effect that can be distracting. In any case, the screen is bright enough during operation to negate any but the brightest directly-reflected light sources.

The Hisense XT770 has a connectivity setup that’s generally competitive with other televisions at its price point. To see four HDMI ports included is good, although we were disappointed that the screen only has a single side-facing USB 2.0 port — there is a second downward-facing USB port for connecting a wireless keyboard/mouse or for permanently attaching an external hard drive.

There are legacy connectors for VGA, composite, and component, which is nice to see included. Ethernet is joined by integrated 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi for the TV’s Internet and network connections — beyond the Web browser and apps, the TV can also access any DLNA-shared media files on your home network on computers or mobile devices.

Hisense XT770: Picture and sound quality

The Hisense XT770 is a 55-inch, 1920x1080 pixel LED edge-lit LCD panel, with a refresh rate of 100Hz using motion smoothing. It’s got an adaptive backlight, although there’s no segment-specific local dimming option to increase per-frame contrast.

With picture preset modes ranging from Standard to Bright, Soft and a customisable User setting, the Hisense XT770 is reasonably set up for a range of viewing environments. The presets aren’t particularly varied, though — both Bright and Soft are just variants of the Standard mode with respective 5-point increases and decreases in brightness, contrast and saturation. For the best image we lowered contrast and saturation slightly in User mode, changed the colour temperature to warm and lowered sharpness.

During our watching of free-to-air digital TV on the XT770’s integrated HD tuner, Blu-rays of The Dark Knight and Batman Begins and some gaming of the Xbox 360, we were generally happy with the picture quality offered by the XT770.

As with almost all LED TVs the picture sharpness was set too high by default, with haloing on the edges of high-contrast objects on-screen. Backing off the sharpness setting makes everything look a lot more natural without robbing detail. Contrast and saturation are generally acceptable, with default settings crushing particularly bright, dark, or saturated scenes of video, but this is easily remedied and the end result is quite good for a television of the XT770’s pedigree.

With the adaptive backlight enabled, we found the XT770 was able to display a fair-to-good amount of detail in our Blu-ray test scenes. The adaptive backlight can be a little slow to react to particularly dark scenes in video, and at its lowest settings the changes in brightness are noticable, but for most viewing it does an acceptably good job of increasing detail in bright and dark scenes.

The sound quality of the Hisense XT770’s speakers is disappointing — it’s the least impressive aspect of the television by far. Straight out of the box in the Standard sound mode, the speakers have almost no mid-range, and no bass to speak of. Significantly tweaking the equaliser and adding some extra bass boost improves the situation considerably, as does switching to the Music preset. This shouldn’t be necessary, though, and our overall impression of the speakers were that they were under-powered and tinnier than a television of this size and price should be.

Adding enough bass boost to make the sound comparable to any Samsung or Panasonic, though, throws the balance of the speakers out slightly, since the ‘internal subwoofer’ is off-set to the TV’s right side. We were able to find a reasonable middle-ground after a bit of altering settings and repeated listening, but this is a step we would have thought would be addressed at the factory.

Hisense XT770: Smart TV

The Hisense XT770 has an acceptably responsive and detailed Opera Web browser integrated, as well as a range of apps through its HiSmart@ application service. The remote control has direct-access buttons for Opera, YouTube and the app library.

The HiSmart@ interface lets you add or remove apps, as well as access the TV’s playback options for directly- or network-connected media. It’s simply laid-out but looks a bit gaudy.

You’ll find Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, and the usual game suspects, as well as SBS’s On Demand streaming video library. We were disappointed to not see iView or the commercial networks included, but something is better than nothing in this case.

Hisense XT770: Conclusion

Decent picture quality and a nice (if inspired) design makes the Hisense XT770 stand out in a crowd of Chinese-made edge-lit LED televisions. Its asking price is quite high given its middling performance and specifications, but if you can find it for a significant discount it could represent good value. We just wish it had better quality speakers included without the need for fiddling in menus.

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