Hisense Roku TV (B7120UK) full review
Hisense and Roku have teamed up to create a seriously good budget smart TV, which has finally made its way to the UK. The Roku B7120UK is a bit of an anomaly, packaging up a wide variety of promising features into a bargain price.
The outer design is simple yet effective, and you can see Roku's influence in the remote, with the purple directional pad being a signature. It's not the only place that Roku's influence is felt, and by and large this 4K TV punches above its weight in most areas.
This Roku range is the only one in the UK and it's currently only available at Argos. The exclusivity hasn't driven up prices though, with the 43-, 50-, 55- and 65in models available for remarkable prices starting at just £329 matching many budget smartphones.
We've tested the 55in model, which is £479, an obscene price for what's being offered up. The entire range is available from Argos in the UK.
Check our best smart TV chart to see what your other options are.
Design & Build
While the design on this TV is nothing to write home about, it still looks fairly classy for a budget television. The design, familiar to anyone who has glimpsed a Hisense TV before, keeps things simple and it's kind of elegant.
On the back, there is a mess of protruding boxy segments and the casing has some serious ribbing. However, all being well you should have this wedged up against a wall anyway, so you'll never have to actually look at or acknowledge your new TV's darker side. In exchange for this, you get a USB port, three HDMI 2.0 ports, and also sockets for headphones, composite, optical and ethernet.
It's unlikely you'll want to regularly move a 55in TV, but it is remarkably light and was easy for me to get set up, at just 13kg for the TV and stand. The feet, my least favourite design feature, were easy to attach with the provided screws, and felt sturdy enough after that stage. However, the way that they are angled - moving from inside to outside - made them a pain to fit on my TV stand, and were just generally a little unsightly.
The remote is clean. It's rounded and feels chunkier than many remotes, but the buttons are well spaced out, with specialised buttons for Netflix, Spotify, Google Play, the Freeview Play catch-up app and Rakuten TV.
Roku's UI is pretty incredible, from the setup process all the way to how easy it is just to fire the TV up to watch a movie on Netflix or have a few rounds of FIFA 20. If you've used any of Roku's streaming boxes or sticks then it will be familiar.
It's hard to find a single notable flaw in Roku's interface or experience, because it often just works. This is great news, as budget TVs have often been lumbered with budget operating systems, and despite being a common choice in the price range, Android TV can often be quite a frustrating experience.
Roku isn't the best: I still have a fondness for the WebOS found on LG TVs, and Samsung's range of exclusive apps have rightfully won it fans, but at this price point Roku feels like the most solid offering.
This means that many of Roku's strengths are the TVs strengths, too: using the TV is reliable and simple, the icons are well-organised and easy to navigate, and it's hands-down better to use than many other smart TV experiences.
This TV has a 4K panel, but can also handle anything HD you throw at it. On the 55in screen (other sizes available), upscaling seemed to be a little light for HD content, and the image wasn't as sharp as perhaps I might have wanted, with some fuzzy edges. If you're still gaming on a PS4 or Xbox One instead of their 4K siblings, you might notice.
Otherwise, it's not so bad. There's very little noise or artefacts. The TV does fine at pulling in colour, even for the SDR (standard dynamic range) sources, which will be pretty much everything that doesn't boast about having HDR (high dynamic range), although when using Cinema mode the colour output is flattened out, leaving things looking a little fuzzy and washed out.
If you're using this for SDR content, you might have some luck by using the Standard colour mode, which bumps the contrast up but doesn't amp the colours up to retina-scorching levels.
For 4K / HDR sources, things are great. The picture quality is impressive, with formidable quality for the price you're paying. You expect extra sharpness with a 4K screen, but the HDR processing here seems to bump it up: watching John Wick and the sequel in 4K delivered great performance whether it had fight scenes in darker rooms or neon-lit clubs.
Better yet, the fur on John Wick's dog(s) looked natural and fluffy, whereas some sets can make the texture look sharp and overprocessed. Again, the default setting here is probably fine for most.
Gaming is a breeze. Response time is <50ms, which doesn't say much, but I found playing DOOM looked great and I wasn't having any trouble with near-instant reactions. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare similarly looked great, and both were played in 4K HDR.
Roku's set has a few different audio settings, which was a pleasant surprise. I often struggle to pick up spoken words when things get loud - meaning I'm constantly reading subtitles. This TV has a speech mode which brings up voices and pushes other noise into the background. If you're going the other way, there's a Theatre mode which will boost up other frequencies for a cinema-esque experience.
Sound isn't incredible from the two fairly basic 8W drivers, but it's hard to really fault it, too. Given the choice, you'll want to connect a soundbar, but there are ample connections on the back of the TV to enable this and really, if we're being honest, you should probably use a soundbar to get the best out of even more expensive sets. However, in the meantime, the TV will serve you fine.
TVs under £500 generally aren’t great and are often worth actively avoiding, but this Hisense is a worthy exception.
Its picture is perfectly capable with most content in native 4K or upscaled HD, and it even makes a fine stab at demanding HDR content.
Rarer still is a budget TV that offers a good smart operating system, and this is where the Roku software really makes a difference. Put it together and you’ve got a pretty unbeatable proposition.
Hisense Roku TV (B7120UK): Specs
- Screen size/resolution: 55in, 3840 x 2160 pixels
- HDR: HDR10, HLG
- Contrast ratio: 4000:1
- Brightness: 300 nits
- Speakers: 2x 8W
- Audio Support: Dolby Audio, DTS Studio Sound
- Built-in tuner: Freeview Play DVB-T2/T
- Streaming services: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, Demand 5, 4OD, Amazon Prime, YouTube
- Inputs: 3 x HDMI 2.0 (one ARC), Composite (AV), Outputs: Digital audio optical, headphone jack
- Networking: 10/100 Ethernet, Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi
- Ports and slots: 2 x USB 2.0, CI slot
- Physical dimensions (w stand): 1242 × 277 × 781mm
- Weight w/stand: 13kg, w/o stand: 12.5kg
- Energy rating: A+
- Warranty: 2 years
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