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Hisense H43AE6100UK review: Fancy a 43in 4K TV for under £300?

Sasha Muller Vincent Teoh
17 Jul 2019
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
329
inc VAT

Hisense delivers a stunningly affordable 4K TV, but you'll want to read this review before buying

Pros 
Low price
Decent sound quality
Comprehensive suite of UK catch-up TV and streaming apps
Low input lag
Cons 
Low brightness means HDR is a write-off
Narrow viewing angles
Screen uniformity is poor
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Hisense has been steadily making inroads in the high-end TV market, but its core television business (at least in the UK) is more affordable sets that focus on value for money. The company's latest H43AE6100UK 4K LED LCD is a perfect example: a 43in TV that retails for a faintly ludicrous £329.

What you need to know

The Hisense AE6100 LED LCD series features a native 4K UHD resolution, uses direct-lit LED backlighting, and runs on the Chinese brand's VIDAA Smart TV platform. There's HDR support for both the open-standard HDR10 and broadcast-friendly HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) formats, too.

Three screen sizes are available, namely the 43in Hisense H43AE6100UK (tested), 50in H50AE6100UK and 65in H65AE6100UK. All models are being discounted on Black Friday. The deals have been trickling through steadily all week at Amazon, with the 43in model dipping down to £279 and the 50in model currently retailing for the same RRP as the 43in model – a mere £329. Check out the link above for details. 

Price and competition

To be honest, we haven't covered this budget end of the TV market over the past couple of years, but looking online, the most affordable 4K TVs from LG (the 43in UK6400) and Samsung (the 40in NU7120) will set you back £369, which makes the Hisense 43AE6100 one of the cheapest around.

Looking for the best sub-£300 TV? Buy the Hisense 6200 Series instead

If you want a dirt-cheap 4K TV that is worth having, then buy the 6200 Series instead – it's currently only around £20 more expensive than the 6100. The 6200 is brighter, and produces a decent 4K image for peanuts. Check out the link above for our full review.
Amazon
18% off RRP
£269

Features and design

With a black bezel framing the fairly reflective LCD screen, the design of the Hisense H43AE6100 is a strictly no-frills affair – which is no surprise at this price point. That said, the chassis isn’t as chunky as some other LCD TVs we’ve seen that use direct-lit LED backlights, although the bottom half does bulge out to accommodate the internal components, power supply and speakers.

A pair of feet slot into both ends of the display, which isn't the best design. In fact, it's one of our pet hates as it necessitates an AV rack that's almost as wide as the screen – you'll want to check the width of your rack before buying.

Three HDMI inputs are provided, of which two are full-bandwidth HDMI 2.0b ports that support 4K HDR videos at a higher frame rate, bit depth or chroma.

Sound quality is above average, with decent bass and clarity, and navigating the user menu and smart TV platform proves to be a pleasantly responsive experience. All of the major UK catch-up TV apps, including BBC iPlayer, are onboard thanks to Freeview Play, and Hisense is looking after streaming junkies with in-built Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube apps that all support 4K HDR playback.

Picture quality and gaming responsiveness

There isn’t much to get excited about: the H43AE6100UK doesn’t feature any sort of local dimming at this price and the VA-type panel has the usual pros and cons. The screen technology delivers deep blacks by LED LCD standards, but suffers from narrow viewing angles. This means that images become progressively paler and more washed out as you move away from head-on. If you can’t sit in front of this TV, it’s simply not going to look its best.

Picture quality is better than you might have expected at the price, though. Thanks to the deep blacks and contrast, colours on the Hisense H43AE6100 look acceptable – even if the out-of-the-box picture presets aren’t that colour-accurate compared to pricier sets. Hisense does actually provide a comprehensive array of calibration controls, but in our opinion no-one in the market for a £329 TV will go to the trouble of calibrating it.

One major downside, however, is the limited brightness on offer. The Hisense only manages to produce a light output of 140cd/m² full-screen and struggles to combat ambient light in a bright room, meaning it's best reserved for dark-room/bedroom duties.

Screen uniformity on our review sample is also below par, with banding and dirty screen effect visible across the panel. The 60Hz panel also causes problems for motion smoothness and clarity: while pricier sets use motion interpolation or black frame insertion to combat the blur typical of LCD-based televisions, the Hisense has no such capabilities.

View the latest TV and appliance discounts

You can write off the HDR support completely, too. As peak brightness only measures a paltry 140cd/m² both on a 10% window and full-screen, there simply isn’t enough brightness to recreate the burning bright highlights in HDR content. DCI-P3 colour gamut coverage came in at 82%, again falling short of any respectable HDR TV these days.

If you’re looking for a big-screen gaming TV on a budget, though, the Hisense may be worth considering. Despite not offering any dedicated Game mode, the Hisense H43AE6100 is responsive enough to be used for playing games, with input lag coming in at 27ms in both 1080p SDR and UHD HDR modes.

Hisense H43AE6100UK review: Verdict

If you can forgive its useless HDR compatibility and low brightness, the Hisense H43AE5100UK is a reasonable TV at a very keen price. If the price tumbles well below the £300 mark, though, it could be a great option for a bedroom for late-night viewing duties.

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