Hisense has decided to get aggressive with its A6G, a new 4K UHD entry-level screen available in a huge array of screen sizes. This model is clearly attempting to persuade upgraders to make the jump to UHD Dolby Vision and appears a good bet if you’re shortlisting affordable large screens for gaming and TV-watching.
The TV uses a regular LED backlight but boasts Dolby Vision HDR to make the most of streaming content from the brand’s increasingly slick Vidaa 5.0 streaming platform. But is it good enough to be one of 2021's best gaming TVs?
Features & Design
The A6G is a pretty decent looker for the cash. The panel is framed by a smart dark grey bezel, with two plastic feet left and right. If you’re near-field gaming, then you’ll need to invest in some accommodatingly wide AV furniture. Alternatively, this is actually a good screen to wall-mount, as it weighs a remarkably light (for the size) 11.3kg.
The set has three HDMIs on the rear. However, this won't be bursting onto our best 120Hz 4K TV guide as none offer 4K 120Hz support - which isn’t surprising given the price - but there is some HDMI 2.1 functionality, with low latency ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) and VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) support. There’s also eARC for routing audio out to a soundbar. Additional connectivity comprises an analog video minijack input, digital optical audio output if you need it, and Ethernet to support Wi-Fi.
We do have an early area of contention though. Hisense claims an input lag of better than 20ms for the A6G. However, we measured input lag at 48.2ms (1080/60) with Game mode selected, making it a potential stumbling block when looking at the A6G through the lens of the best TV for PS5 and Xbox Series X.
The TV comes with a single, slim remote control, peppered with content shortcuts: Netflix, Amazon Prime, Rakuten TV, YouTube, and Freeview Play all fall easily to thumb.
Connected smarts are good. For US buyers, the A6G ships with the Android smart platform. So that makes an extensive streaming app selection a given, and you also get Chromecast built-in. US buyers will get Google Assistant to chat with, while UK buyers are also offered Amazon Alexa.
The UK iteration of the A6G comes with the latest version of Hisense’s own Vidaa smart platform. This V.5 edition is built squarely around streaming apps and content curation. All the usual suspects are on board, including Netflix, Amazon Video Prime, YouTube, and Rakuten TV. The set also has Freeview Play, which adds all the main catch-up TV apps plus a huge number of free-to-view box sets.
Driving everything along is a quad-core processor, which keeps the set nice and responsive, too, which can sometimes be a stumbling block on more budget-level TVs.
I like the way the A6G presents itself. The set does a good job balancing the technical compromises that come with a fairly budget price tag, and all-important eye candy.
This flatscreen may not employ a wide color gamut panel, but that doesn’t stop it from being deliciously vibrant when required. The Korean Sci-Fi movie Space Sweepers (on Netflix) looks gorgeous, with the set showing off its ultra-fine 4K detail and striking visual effects. You have to be careful with the image presets on offer, though: standard and Dynamic are actually the most rewarding, with the dedicated Cinema presets often looking a tad drab.
The set employs 60Hz MEMC (Motion Estimation Motion Compensation) interpolation, which works really well. Appropriately named Ultra Smooth settings are available in Smooth, Standard, Clear, Film, and Custom guises. The latter allows for manual adjustment of judder and blur reduction. This cocktail works well for sports and action shows, although some might find the soap opera effect a bit of a turn-off for movies. I think the screen looks more filmic with interpolation switched off.
We measured peak HDR brightness at 300 nits in the Standard preset, with a 10 percent window. It delivers this level of intensity consistently, regardless of how small the specular highlight is. This level of performance is in line with what we’d expect to see at this price point so it's all safe and solid.
The good news is that Dolby Vision makes the most of compatible content, expertly tone mapping to ensure content looks as dynamic as possible. There is loads of Dolby Vision content to be had on Netflix, although infuriatingly not the new Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness show. There are three preset options to choose from: Dolby Vision Bright, Dolby Vision Dark, and Dolby Vision Custom. Generally, the Bright setting works best.
Here’s a tip for free, though: for the greatest contrast, don’t view programs in rooms with all the lights off, as this can cause deep blacks to grey out. A low level of ambient light will make all the difference when it comes to retaining dynamic contrast.
Elsewhere, rounding off the experience, the sound system is stereophonic, rated at a modest 2 x 8W. Our suggestion would be to select the Theater sound mode, as this unlocks the soundstage and it feels more open - alternatively rely on your best gaming headset candidate or pick up one of the best gaming sound systems to turn your set up to 11.
Overall - should you buy it?
The A6G is a superior budget TV offering, that often looks a good deal more highbrow than its price tag might suggest, and the brand’s smart connectivity ensures plenty of streaming options plus niceties like voice control. HDR peak brightness is par for the budget course, but the inclusion of Dolby Vision is a saving grace, ensuring its image always looks filmic.
The A6G is a fine choice for big-screen movies and TVs, and while not able to handle the PS5 or Xbox Series X in full 4K 120fps flight, looks suitably sharp with 4K 60Hz games. We would have liked to have seen 4K 120fps HDMI support, but given the price point, that would have been quite a big ask. We’ll settle for ALLM and VRR. Latency isn’t competition-grade though, so don’t buy for serious FPS gaming.
Thanks to powerful interpolation, it’s also good for sports, be it FIFA 21 or the real thing. If you’re looking for a well-specified flatscreen, then for the price, the A6G is difficult to resist.