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The more I see of Mini LED technology, the more convinced I am that it's the LCD TV technology of the future. Last year, though, Hisense had the unfortunate privilege of being the one brand that bucked the generally positive Mini LED trend by creating something of a territorial battleground when it came to picture quality.

While buyers in the US were treated to a (well-reviewed, by the way) VA panel in its flagship U8 Mini LED model, UK buyers had to put up with a lesser, low-contrast IPS panel in the UK version, resulting in a sub-par picture performance.

While this proved that Mini LED technology isn't enough to guarantee excellent picture quality automatically, the much-improved efforts of the new 65U7KQ Mini LED TV reviewed here suggests that Hisense has opted to learn from previous mistakes rather than repeat them.

Hisense U7K
Hisense/ Pocket-lint
Hisense U7K

Despite only belonging to the mid-tier of a new triple-layer offering of Mini LED TVs, the Hisense U7K improves massively on its more expensive predecessor. Its aggressive pricing brings Mini LED into the reach of a much wider audience, too.

  • Seriously aggressive pricing
  • Good all-round picture quality
  • Room-filling sound
  • Some backlight clouding
  • Some strange colour smudging
  • It's up against some tough competition


The Hisense 65U7KQ's design is a mixed bag. On the upside, the frame around the screen is reasonably narrow, and the curved bar-style stand you get with the UK model (other territories get more basic-looking feet) is attractive and distinctive. The UK stand design also means you can place the TV on a relatively narrow piece of furniture, which is always welcome when screen sizes get larger.

Build quality is only fair, though, with the screen feeling a little lightweight and plasticky when you're attaching it to its stand. It's pretty chunky round the back by today's standards, too - though as most sane folk will spend the vast majority of their time looking at the front of their TVs, this protruding rear is only something to be considered by those hoping to wall mount their TV.

The 65U7KQ ships with a remote that's arguably more stylish and premium than the TV. Its gleaming silver finish looks high-end, and its long shape and sharply defined buttons make it easy and comfortable to hold and use.


Until recently, I'd have said the 65U7KQ's Mini LED screen technology was its headline feature. This has changed, though, thanks to the huge price cut Hisense has just applied to its new mid-range Mini LED TV.

The price in the US, in particular, is incredible, and what was a $1,050/£1,499 TV now sells for just $730/£999. That would be cheap for any 65-inch TV, never mind one that's using Mini LED technology, but the most significant thing about the new price is that it makes the 65U7KQ even cheaper than the TCL 65C845K Mini LED TV I was so impressed by recently (most closely matched by the TCL QM8 in the US).

If this is the first time you've heard of Mini LED technology, the key point behind it is to improve light control and brightness by illuminating LCD TVs using much higher numbers of much smaller LEDs. The light control point is further bolstered on the 65U7KQ by local dimming technology, where the mini LEDs are divided into separately controllable zones capable of outputting different amounts of light for each and every frame of the picture. The result, hopefully, is more contrast and dynamic range where it should be.


To my count, the 65U7KQ has 384 dimming zones - a much higher number than you've any right to expect of a 65-inch TV costing less than $750/£1,000.

The number of dimming zones a TV carries, though, is only part of the story. How cleverly those zones are applied to incoming picture signals is just as important. So it's good to find Hisense applying a new AI-infused Hi-View processing system to the 65U7KQ, despite this set only sitting in the middle of the brand's three new Mini LED series (below the flagship U8KQs).

This processor doesn't just handle the local dimming system, of course. It'll also contribute to the 65U7KQ's upscaling of sub-4K images, colour and especially (given some previous Hisense issues in this area) motion processing.

The 65U7KQ claims to be capable of delivering more than a billion separate colour shades, thanks to a combination of its latest processor and a Quantum Dot colour system rather than a traditional LCD RGB filter approach.

The set's remarkable value proposition continues with the number of sources it can support. For starters, two of its four HDMI ports can handle 4K/120Hz images from the latest premium game consoles and PCs (or the 144Hz feeds possible with some PC titles), along with variable refresh rates.


The VRR support includes the AMD Freesync Premium format as well as the generic HDMI format, and as I almost expect as standard from any remotely ambitious TV these days, the HDMIs also support the auto low latency mode (ALLM) switching system for activating the TV's fastest-reacting game mode when a game source is detected.

I measured the time the 65U7KQ takes to render graphics in its Game preset at just over 13ms. That's not quite the fastest response time in this year's TV world, but it's not far off.

Hisense's latest operating system introduces a dedicated Game menu system, which pops up automatically, in place of the regular set-up menus, when the TV is playing a game source. This includes a decent set of game-specific features, such as the option to increase the brightness of dark picture areas and, impressively, support for the super-wide aspect ratios available with some PC titles.

The 65U7KQ continues to impress with its HDR support, which extends to both the advanced Dolby Vision and HDR10+ formats, as well as the basic HDR10 and HLG formats. In fact, thanks to an onboard light sensor, the 65U7KG supports the Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ Adaptive systems, where the premium HDR formats can adapt their output depending on the amount of ambient light the TV is operating in.


Finally, the fact that the 65U7KQ uses Hisense's own VIDAA smart TV platform would once have been a problem. Over the past couple of years, though, Hisense has improved the presentation, stability and, most important of all, amount of content VIDAA carries to the point where, while it might not be the slickest-looking system in town, it's now an asset rather than a hindrance for Hisense TVs.

However, it's worth noting that in the US, the 65U7KQ uses Google TV rather than VIDAA. Considering my experience with that system on Sony TVs and elsewhere, I'd be confident in suggesting that it's a great - and potentially better - alternative.

Picture performance

Even though it sits in a lower strata of Hisense's 2023 TV range than the brand's sole 2022 Mini LED TV, it's instantly obvious that the 65U7KQ offers a whole other world of picture quality compared with its predecessor.

The biggest reason for this appears to be Hisense's switch for the 65U7KQ to a VA style of panel rather than the IPS panel type used in its predecessor. This matters because, while IPS panels can support wider effective viewing angles than VA ones, they struggle to control light, causing milky-looking dark scenes and excessive backlight clouding problems.

The 65U7KQ, by comparison, delivers some of the best black levels I've seen on an LCD TV. Never mind a 65-inch mini LED LCD TV now selling as cheaply as this. Fade to blacks can achieve almost OLED-like levels of purity and consistency, in fact.

The 65U7KQ's new-found black-level talents are achieved naturally enough, too, by the latest local dimming system to ensure that dark parts of the picture still contain plenty of subtle shadow detail.

Hisense U7K
Display Size
55, 65 & 75 inches
145 x 89 x 31cm
Operating System
Display Type
Mini LED
Display Resolution
4K (3840 x 2160)
4 x HDMI inputs (2 x HDMI 2.1), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Apple Airplay 2
Refresh rate
Peak Brightness
1000 nits
Response Time

Joining the 65U7KQ's much darker black levels greatly reduced backlight blooming problems that troubled its predecessor. The issue hasn't completely gone, though. Very extreme content - stuff like street lights or a full moon shining against an inky black sky - can cause some faint traces of extraneous light to spread out beyond the edges of the bright object.

This blooming can extend further from the bright object in such extreme circumstances, too - moreso than I might have expected from 384 dimming zones. Crucially, though, unlike with its predecessor, as well as this blooming cropping up less frequently, it also appears much more faintly, creating more of a general mistiness rather than a defined and distracting blooming area.


The 65U7KQ's deeper, more controlled black levels also contribute to a good sense of contrast. Bright HDR objects that appear against dark backdrops are sometimes slightly dimmed to try and limit the potential for backlight blooming, but this really is a pretty gentle effect that's much less obvious than it is on Samsung's Mini LED TVs, like the X95L.

I should stress, though, that one of the reasons the occasional slight dimming of stand-out bright objects on the 65U7KQ is less noticeable than it is on Samsung's mini LED sets is that Samsung's TVs are much brighter. In fact, the 65U7KQ's peak brightness of just under 700 nits makes it one of the least bright mini LED TVs I've tested.

This inevitably limits its impact with HDR footage and may be a consideration if you're looking for a TV to go into a typically very bright room. The black levels and light control are good enough, though, that I didn't feel the screen lacked punch, especially in the context of its price.

The 65U7KQ's colours are much improved over its predecessor, too - not least because the improved backlighting means colour tones appear with much more consistent light behind them, giving them more uniformity across the screen. Their tones are generally richer as well, and for most of the time, the new processor helps to combine the vibrancy with subtle shading and blending.


Colours aren't quite as heavily saturated, even in the 65U7KQ's punchiest picture modes, as those provided by key Mini LED rivals from Samsung, Sony and TCL. There is, though, a little more discipline about the 65U7KQ's colour approach than you get with TCL C845K models. At least if you stick with the TCL's out-of-the-box presets.

The 65U7KQ's picture typically looks crisp and detailed with native 4K footage, and while its upscaling of HD sources isn't quite as natural or refined-looking as it is with premium sets from the likes of Samsung and Sony, it's good enough not to become a distraction.

Hisense's engineers have helped the 65U7KQ's sharpness out, too, by improving its motion handling. Film sources running at 24 frames a second, in particular, look less juddery/stuttery and blurry than they did in 2022, and the 'low' setting of the motion processing system doesn't throw up too many processing side effects.

There are a couple of final picture niggles to cover, though. First, colour and contrast drop off a bit if you have to watch the TV from much of an angle - the downside to switching to a VA panel. Also, oddly, background areas of the picture, particularly in low-lit areas towards the image's edges, can sometimes look strangely unrefined - almost smudged. No setting tweaks really address this issue, either - though fortunately, it doesn't affect 'focus' parts of the image and only appears relatively rarely.

Audio performance

Hisense has partnered the 65U7KQ's mostly winning pictures with the most flat-out loud sound I've heard from a sub-£1,000 TV. The 40W, 2.1-channel set-up doesn't feature one of those built-in soundbar arrangements that have featured in Hisense's flagship TVs in recent years but still manages to fill your room and challenge your ears even when only running at around half of its maximum volume.

Having so much, essentially excess, volume at its disposal could be seen as a bit pointless, I guess, but I'd argue that using speakers with so much headroom helps the TV deliver plenty of clear, harshness-free detailing. It means it is able to shift through plenty of gears as big action scenes expand and grow and produce a nice, open-sounding mid-range.

The impressive extent to which the sound is cast beyond the TV's physical frame helps it create a decently convincing sense of space with Dolby Atmos soundtracks, too, into which effects are placed - virtually - with reasonable precision.


The dedicated subwoofer, meanwhile, makes its presence known more readily, effectively and deeply than the bass efforts of the vast majority of built-in TV audio systems. It's very impressive indeed.

That said, the 65U7KQ's more aggressive approach to sound can become a little undisciplined and strained during the densest movie soundtrack moments, and the subwoofer's typically impressive bass efforts can start to distort during Hollywood's most extravagant low-frequency drops. Such in-extremis niggles are pretty easy to forgive, though, in the context of how impressive this startlingly affordable TV sounds for most of the time.


With its latest Mini LED offering, the 65U7KQ sees Hisense taking a huge stride in the right direction. Picture quality is much improved over its Mini LED predecessor, and sound quality is among the most powerful I've heard from any TV - never mind a 65-inch premium-tech LCD model coming in this cheap.

Slashing its initial launch price to get this big-screen TV into three figures may well have have hurt Hisense's margins, but the fact that the 65U7KQ is now even cheaper than TCL's dazzling 65C845K Mini LED rival has made it massively more competitive - and compelling - than it might have been before.