The Hisense 43A6GTUK is a 43-inch 4K HDR TV that costs £329 / $310. And nope, that’s not a typo. It really does cost just £329 / $310. And that’s despite, remarkably, supporting features such as Dolby Vision HDR, Dolby Atmos sound, and even 120Hz gaming.
In other words, the 43A6GTUK has the potential to perfectly encapsulate why Hisense’s marketing-heavy, high output, low cost arrival on the global TV scene must have become the stuff of nightmares to the more established TV brands. Provided, that is, that the set proves as good in action as it looks on paper.
Many thanks to Box.co.uk for supplying the Hisense 43A6GTUK sample tested here.
There’s not much that needs to be added here. You don’t need to have been testing home entertainment gear for 45 years to figure out that £329 (or just $310 in the US) has no right to be buying you a 43-inch LCD TV. Never mind one that is, as we’ll see, as well featured as the 43A6GTUK.
Samsung’s rival 43AU7100, for instance, is a whole £100 more expensive. Admittedly that set also deploys a PurColor system to deliver what should be a wider colour range (unless the 43A6GTUK is about to really surprise us), but still: if Hisense’s entry-level TV for 2021 has any quality to go with its headline-grabbing price, it’ll likely shift like hot cakes.
Note that the US version of the 43A6 is not exactly the same as the UK version; for instance, the US model gets the Android TV smart platform, while the UK model gets Hisense’s VIDAA system. We can’t guarantee, therefore, that everything we discuss here about the UK set also applies to the US model.
Not surprisingly, the 43A6GTUK’s design is fairly basic. Its build quality is so lightweight that you can easily pick it up - even with its feet attached - with one hand.
The trim depth of most of its rear and its angled bottom edge are about as close to style as the 43A6GTUK gets. And in the latter’s case, any momentary ‘ooh’ it might inspire is immediately snuffed out by the presence below of a pair of feet that look a little cheap by modern standards.
The 43A6GTUK’s remote is actually more stylish than the TV, feeling comfortable, reasonably weighty to hold and sporting a decently spacious and well-organised button layout.
Far from just showing pictures and making noise, the 43A6GTUK has a few handy extras up its sleeve.
Gamers, for starters, will be pleased to hear that as well as delivering a very respectable 14.1ms of input lag when set to its Game mode, Hisense’s set supports 120Hz frame rates (albeit only at 1080p resolutions); variable refresh rates (VRR); and the Auto Low Latency Mode feature that enables compatible devices to turn the TV's Game mode on or off automatically, depending on whether the source device is playing video or game content.
Xbox Series X owners will also be delighted to hear that the 43A6GTUK’s support for Dolby Vision HDR extends to the console’s new Dolby Vision gaming support. This is all excellent stuff that makes the lack of such features on many more expensive entry-level and even mid-range TVs tough to take.
The 43A6GTUK’s HDR support doesn’t extend to the HDR10+ format established as a rights-free rival for Dolby Vision. But since HDR10+ sources are much less common than Dolby Vision ones, if you had to just pick one ‘active’ HDR format to support, Dolby Vision seems the sensible choice.
Screen type LCD w/ direct LED backlight
Operating system VIDAA
HDR formats HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Optical out Yes
Dimensions w/o stand (hwd) 56 x 96 x 7.4cm
The 43A6GTUK also manages to provide a bit of video processing to back up its 50Hz pictures, including a motion processor with handy Clear, Film and Custom settings.
Hisense’s VIDAA smart system still manages to run nicely even on this entry-level TV, too. The menus are responsive and clearly laid out, and their integration with the built-in Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice recognition systems is effective.
The only catch is that while Freeview Play, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Rakuten, Britbox, Plex and YouTube apps are all present, there’s currently no sign of Disney Plus or Apple TV. The former is said to be arriving before the end of the year, but we always need to take such claims with a pinch of salt until the app actually turns up.
The 43A6GTUK’s sound is potentially bolstered by built-in Dolby Atmos decoding, though it remains to be seen if such a cheap TV has a good enough sound system to really derive much benefit from what Dolby Atmos can do.
Three HDMIs dominate the 43A6GTUK’s connections, and it’s worth adding that these support eARC lossless Dolby Atmos pass through as well as their unexpected bounty of gaming features.
More expensive TVs hoping for a picture horror show from the 43A6GTUK should brace for disappointment. The set is actually anything but a video nasty, producing pictures that in some ways humble those of some much more expensive models.
This is particularly the case when it comes to the key matter of black levels. While there’s inevitably for this price point a slight grey pall hanging over very dark scenes, especially with HDR, it’s far less aggressive and distracting than we'd expect. The uniformity of the backlight is also impressive, with practically no evidence of clouding even when viewing the TV in near darkness.
Add to this some decent shadow detail retention in the darkest image corners and you’ve got dark scenes that don’t instantly and distractingly look like some poor relation to bright scenes. This level of consistency is enough in itself to embarrass an uncomfortable number of more expensive TVs.
Despite its very solid handling of dark scenes, the 43A6GTUK also delivers more brightness than most at this level. It runs noticeably brighter than the excellent Samsung UE50AU7100, for instance, despite only being a little less impressive with its black depth. This brightness holds up, too, with both bright objects in otherwise dark scenes, and full-screen bright HDR content.
We’re not saying the 43A6GTUK’s HDR impact is any sort of rival for what a premium LCD or OLED TV might do. It’s certainly unexpectedly potent for its price point, though.
The 43A6GTUK delivers native 4K sources with a very respectable level of sharpness and detail, too - enough to appreciate what 4K can bring even to a relatively small 4K screen, especially when it comes to giving images a more three-dimensional look.
Even its upscaling of HD isn’t at all bad, adding at least a little texture and detail without exaggerating noise.
The motion processor manages to retain a reasonable amount of the 43A6GTUK’s native sharpness when there’s movement in the frame too - though really large amounts of rapid motion onscreen at once can cause momentary flickering and double imaging issues that the best cheap TVs are able to avoid.
These occasional motion artefacts are not the only issues with the 43A6GTUK’s images. For starters, following a frustrating trend with Hisense’s current TVs, most of its picture presets aren’t helpful, with all but the Standard mode creating looks that really aren’t at all convincing.
The 43A6GTUK’s colour palette can skew rather pale at times, too - especially with skin tones and in very bright HDR areas. Unsurprisingly, this issue extends to noticeable clipping of shades and detail in near-white parts of HDR pictures.
There’s more colour trouble, too, in the shape of striping/banding noise in areas of HDR imagery that should contain subtle colour blends.
Finally, while we’re appreciative of the efforts the 43A6GTUK makes to accommodate gaming, its gaming pictures are impacted in Game mode by quite noticeable resolution loss - especially when playing at 4K 60Hz - whenever you pan around a gaming world.
Having expected the sound from a £329 43-inch 4K TV to sound like roughly the equivalent of two cans and a piece of string, the 43A6GTUK actually turns out to be pretty easy to listen to.
It sensibly limits its maximum volume to a level its speakers can cope with, for instance, so that you don’t have to worry about the sound devolving into crackling, popping or buzzing distortions when a meaty action scene gets down to business.
This volume limitation does mean the set can’t keep escalating its sound as far as the most raucous scenes would like it to, resulting in a rather thin, swallowed effect right where you’d hope for the speakers to really be letting rip. This is hardly unusual for the TV world, though, and impacts many sets that cost way more than the 43A6GTUK does.
Knowing and working within its limitations also helps the 43A6GTUK avoid sounding too harsh through the treble region during densely mixed scenes, and it even delivers a mild Dolby Atmos benefit in the shape of a respectable amount of extra ‘throw’ to the left and right of the screen when an Atmos source is detected.
The biggest audio issue is that there isn’t much bass around to help give impact sounds more, well, impact. But the mid-range is dynamic enough to stop soundtracks from being completely thin or flat, and that’s probably as much as you could reasonably ask for at this level.
The 43A6GTUK is another lesson from Hisense in how you can no longer judge a TV by its price point. Yes, there are weaknesses - its unhelpful presets, for example, and the slight de-saturation and occasionally banding in its colours. The bottom line, though, is that the 43A6GTUK offers more features and delivers a much greater level of picture and sound consistency than we’d have thought possible for so little money.
- Picture 4
- Sound 3
- Features 4
Read our review of the Samsung UE43AU7100
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