Hisense 98" 98UX 4K Mini-LED TV Review


Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $8,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Very bright
Accurate color
Wide viewing angle
Massive screen
Competitive price in its category
Built-in NextGen TV (ATSC 3.0) tuner
Minus
$8,000 price tag
Shadow detail crushed in dark scenes (pending firmware update)
Screen reflections can be distracting
Onboard speakers sound boxy and hollow

THE VERDICT
Offering an excellent, very bright, large-screen flat-panel display, the Hisense 98UX simulates a movie theater experience at home with advanced features and one of the brightest pictures we’ve ever tested, though we noted some distracting screen reflections. Despite not being cheap, it is a relative bargain compared to other large-screen models, with a 110-inch version also available later this year.

The Hisense 98UX is an excellent, very bright, large-screen flat-panel display capable of simulating a movie theater experience at home in a way that few other LCD-based televisions can. The set is well suited to both movie viewing and live TV, offering an advanced anti-glare, very wide-angle screen. However, we noted some distracting screen reflections under certain conditions (more on this later).

The set comes loaded with many of the latest advanced features and produces one of the brightest pictures we’ve ever tested in a consumer display. In terms of cost, this set isn’t cheap at a suggested retail price of $8,000. However, when it arrives this summer, the price tag will still present a relative bargain at approximately $7,000 less than Samsung's 98-inch QN98QN90D 4K Neo QLED mini-LED model. In case 98 inches isn’t quite large enough for your home theater, Hisense will also offer a 110-inch 110UX model later this year (price and availability to be announced).

Features
When it comes to the latest features, the Hisense 98UX 4K mini-LED LCD TV doesn’t miss much. It's covered by a 2-year warranty and includes Wi-Fi, Filmmaker Picture Mode, IMAX Enhanced Picture Mode and certification, Google TV with Chromecast support, Dolby Atmos, DTS Virtual X surround sound, Dolby Vision, Dolby Vision IQ, Dolby Vision for Gaming, HDR10, HDR10+, HDR10+ Adaptive, and HLG high dynamic range (HDR) profiles. Additionally, it offers Quantum Dot (QLED) Color Enhancement, peak brightness of more than 5,000 nits, Game Mode Pro with a refresh rate of up to 144 Hz, 10,000+ mini-LED dimming zones with Hi-View local dimming, built-in far-field mics for hands-free voice control, a backlit Google voice remote, and support for Alexa devices and Apple HomeKit.

The set is also capable of tuning over-the-air ATSC 1.0 and NextGen TV (ATSC 3.0) broadcasts when connected to an optional antenna. This is important because broadcasters supporting the latter system are expected to begin delivering 1080p and/or 4K UHD content with HDR within the next five years.

In recent years, Hisense has made great strides in developing televisions that set new performance benchmarks for picture size, quality, and value. The 2024 98-inch 98UX might be the most dramatic example of this to date. Simply put, this is the brightest consumer TV we've ever tested. It also features a snappy and attractive Google TV interface that makes it easy to find and play streamed programs from hundreds of supported app partners, along with control for many smart home devices. The Hisense 98UX is positioned as a premium-level display for high-quality 4K HDR movies, TV programs, and video games. It includes support for a blazing fast 144 Hz refresh rate to accommodate the latest and most advanced PC game titles.

Please note that for this review, we tested a supplied pre-production sample, which exhibited some issues with shadow detail crushing and input lag. The latter was due to an issue on our part in getting our input-lag tester to sync properly with the set. We were assured that the issues we observed would be corrected in firmware updates before the television's release. Issues like these aren't unusual when new technologies are introduced. Therefore, we’ve withheld any deductions in these areas from our preliminary evaluation and will update our scoring if we find the problems persist after delivery.

Our tests were recently conducted in the company's temporary New York City showroom (shown above). There, we measured a jaw-dropping 5,367 nits of peak HDR brightness from a 5% D65 white window pattern in Filmmaker Mode, and 3,637 nits in the more customarily measured 10% white window size (still impressively high). On top of this, the QLED color enhancement film in the LCD panel stack enabled coverage of more than 97% of the DCI-D3 wide color gamut. Together with excellent contrast from very wide (OLED-like) viewing angles, these are elite scores that were only a dream a couple of years ago. As this set demonstrates, industry performance thresholds are advancing quickly.

How did they do it? The Hisense 98UX uses a new LCD panel technology called ADS Pro, produced by China-based panel maker BOE. Like In-Plane Switching (IPS) LCD panels, the technology uses a transverse electrical field to drive horizontally aligned pixels, achieving wide horizontal viewing angles that maintain color and contrast levels from the center axis. Additionally, ADS adds a longitudinal electrical field to drive the vertical pixel alignment, similar to VA LCD panel technology, without any drop in overall contrast or saturation from multiple angles. According to BOE, ADS technology also uses transparent and highly conductive Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) materials to achieve high brightness levels and fast response times across the large display area.

As with other mini-LED backlit televisions, the panel uses thousands of tiny LEDs arranged in a matrix of what we were told are more than 11,000 zones for superior local dimming. With this density level, light to individual zones can be turned off to achieve OLED-like inky black levels.

Hisense drives this panel with its ULED X processing system powered by a Hi-View Engine X chipset, which, to our eyes, delivers excellent clarity, high color volume, natural saturation levels, high refresh rates, reduced power consumption, reduced blue light, and minimal flickering artifacts.

Design
The Hisense 98UX has an attractive minimalist design for a TV of this size. It can be wall-mounted relatively snugly using a VESA-standard bracket (as shown in the photo below). The TV also comes with two bar-like metal feet that mount under the left and right ends of the screen, providing stable tabletop placement. The screen is bordered by a matte metallic bezel, presenting understated picture framing that doesn’t distract from the immersive view.


The Hisense 98UX in a tight fit in wall-mount application.

Side-firing speakers for the 4.2.2-channel onboard audio system are hidden within a recessed panel running along the edges of the screen, making them virtually invisible. The IR receiver for remote signals and far-field mics for picking up spoken commands for the Google Assistant system are located below the center of the screen’s chin.

Remote
To navigate the Google TV smart TV interface, Hisense provides a familiar-looking, candy-bar-shaped remote, nicely appointed in textured metallic gray. The main buttons are backlit for easier use in the dark. The controller has a well-balanced feel and supports both IR and Bluetooth connections for added convenience.


The Hisense 98UX backlit remote.

Hisense has positioned six quick-select buttons for some of the most popular streaming apps right at the top of the controller, just below the power and input buttons. Users will have fast access to Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Disney+, Tubi, and other popular services. Moving down you find a mic-activation button, a settings button, and a circular navigation pad located close to the center of the layout. Below this cluster are volume and channel rockers and controls for play/pause and menu.

Inputs
Movie lovers and gamers alike will find a good selection of port options to help stay connected with the latest external audio/video sources and gaming systems. This includes four HDMI ports (two 4K/144 Hz and one eARC), two USB ports (2.0 and 3.0), a 3.5mm composite video input, a stereo audio output (headphone) jack, an optical audio output, an Ethernet port, and an antenna/cable input. These are all arranged for side access on the left rear side of the TV panel.


Hisense 98UX input panel.

Smart TV
In North America, Hisense continues to support most of its premium TV offerings with the latest flavor of the Google TV operating system. The third-party software platform is growing rapidly worldwide and seems to improve in functionality, speed, and appearance every year. Google TV, running atop Android, has most of the streaming service bases covered through the app store and provides access to Google Cast to stream additional content through Android, Android-compatible mobile, and Chrome devices.

The platform also leverages Miracast/WiDi to mirror content from Windows PCs and Apple AirPlay to stream from iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Users can control various features of the TV and smart home devices via spoken commands using Google Assistant. This can be accessed via selectable far-field microphones built into the TV or the pushbutton-controlled mic at the top of the supplied remote.

HDR
The Hisense 98UX excels in presenting high-dynamic-range content. The set supports just about the gamut of available HDR profiles, including Dolby Vision, Dolby Vision for Gaming, Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10, HDR10+, HDR10+ Adaptive, and HLG HDR (for live broadcasts).

Within the time limits for this review, the company-supplied Hisense 98UX was tested for 4K HDR10 and BT.709 standard definition content. We used a Spectracal C6-HDR colorimeter, a Murideo SIX-G signal generator, and the most recent (at the time) version of Portrait Displays’ Calman calibration software. Note that as this was written, Portrait Displays had just announced that Hisense EU and U.S. Mini-LED and OLED TVs will now support 1D/3D LUT calibrations for both SDR and HDR via Calman AutoCal, part of the Calman Ready brand. Unfortunately, this wasn't ready for us to test at the time of the review, and we only had time to tweak settings for color temperature and D65 white level.

To evaluate peak brightness, we measured the HDR luminance of D65 white window patterns ranging from 1% to 100% of the screen within a solid black background. For our time-constrained test, we used Filmmaker Mode for the picture mode setting because we generally find this to be the most accurate picture mode in supporting models for color temperature and gamma for viewing movies. Filmmaker Mode also disables many of the picture noise reduction and motion processing systems in the set to present the film-like natural look preferred by most content creators.


Peak HDR10 brightness was measured in HDR Filmmaker Mode at 5365 nits in a 5% D65 white window using a Portrait Displays Calman HDR evaluation workflow (above).

The 98UX Full Array with Local Dimming (FALD) Mini-LED backlight system generated 4K/HDR10 signals we measured across a range of window pattern sizes. Brightness levels varied significantly between pattern sizes, with a peak of 5,367 nits coming from a 5% white window for a brief period. This dropped down quickly, with one pattern larger at 10% (the standard measured pattern size) and a reading of 3,635 nits, which was also incredibly bright. For comparison, the full screen 100% white screen measured 796.6 nits, also quite bright for this amount of screen coverage.


A view of the 98UX’s pre-calibrated HDR10 grayscale showing slightly raised EOTF brightness measured in Portrait Display’s HDR10 evaluation workflow.

Uncalibrated, the set's EOTF handling of HDR10 was very close to the brightness curve, though slightly elevated above the optimal level for creative intent. We expect this will be easily solved with a professional calibration from a certified ISF professional calibrator for a set of this caliber.

To test the 98UX's ability to handle HDR10 in dark content, we ran the moving starfield pattern from the Spears & Munsil 4K UHD HDR Ultra HD Blu-ray test disc. This produced slightly raised blooming artifacts, appearing as clouds around the groups of moving stars on the black space background toward the bottom of the screen at the brightest points in the test. More darkly lit portions of the ramped brightness levels in the pattern almost totally crushed the stars into the black background. We were told by company executives that Hisense is aware of the issue in the prototype model and that a firmware fix would solve the problem prior to release.


The brightest sequence of the Spears & Munsil HDR10 moving starfield test pattern showed slight blooming toward the bottom of the screen. Visible screen reflection was also observed at the top. But at lower brightness levels, these stars were almost totally crushed. The company said a firmware update is expected to correct the issue.

Just for grins, we put on the standard Blu-ray Disc version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows vol. 2, Chapter 12. This scene contains the infamous torture test where a faint swirling mist around the amassing evil wizard army on a hilltop at night is transformed into an amorphous black blob on some weaker performing FALD backlit LED panels. The shadow detail crushing kept us from seeing this mist in any form, along with other details in the frame. Similarly, during the opening title sequence of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray of The Martian, the stationary starfield in space around planet Mars showed fewer of the normally visible stars.

In contrast, the Hisense 98UX was quite good at presenting bright specular highlights from the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version of The Revenant. Here, the campfires in the dim forest scenes were nicely bright and detailed, with orange flames that appeared to nearly leap out from the dim, wooded background. The colorful opening credit scene of Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 sparkled with flashes of bright, neon-like colors in the Ultra HD Blu-ray edition.

Color
The 98UX's ability to present rich, natural color was excellent for both SDR and HDR content. The pre-calibrated 98UX measured an impressive 97.2% of the 1931 xy and 97.86% of the 1976 uv of the DCI-P3 wide color gamut, only slightly missing the magenta and red targets. According to the multi-industry Ultra HD Alliance, a reading of 90% and above is considered 'Premium' Ultra HDTV level for an LCD-based television.


The pre-calibrated Hisense 98UX showed nearly perfect coverage of DCI P3 wide color gamut recommendation, exceeding 97% in the Portrait Displays Calman HDR evaluation workflow.

In real-world HDR content, the color in the reef fish sequences from the BBC's Blue Planet II Ultra HD disc dazzled us with splashes of brilliant shafts of sunlight penetrating the shallow depths, seemingly spotlighting the rainbow hues of the aquatic life below.

Color accuracy was excellent for both SDR and HDR, with only a slight adjustment for a 2-point white balance needed in SDR to dial in D65 white level. Color balance was also close to spot-on for SDR BT.709, with average Delta E color well below 3.

In real content, colors from the Full HD 1080p Blu-ray Disc of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End appeared rich, crisp, and lifelike in both sunlit and dark shadowed scenes. We noticed only slight low-light noise artifacts from the camera, which is typical for most premium 4K TVs.

Gaming
Because we needed to travel to the Hisense showroom to test the 98UX, we weren't able to test the manufacturer's claimed 144 Hz refresh rate with supported advanced PC games. Additionally, as previously noted, the Bodnar input-lag tester we had available didn't sync properly with the test model in Game Mode. We were told that Full HD 1080 and 4K/60 Hz are expected to read at or close to a very fast 8ms. Again, we'll have to take their word for it for now.

The Hisense 98UX is designed to be a highly capable gaming display. In addition to up to a refresh rate of up to 144 Hz, the TV supports variable refresh rate (VRR), AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, Dolby Vision Gaming, and two HDMI 2.1 4K/144 Hz inputs.

Audio for Video
The Hisense 98UX features a "Cinestage X" 4.2.2-channel audio system. This is further supported by the Dolby Atmos sound stage and virtual surround sound expansion, DTS: Virtual-X surround sound, and IMAX Enhanced mode, which supports DTS. The overall sound from the speaker package is clear and powerful, although the tone seemed somewhat hollow and boxy during our quick analysis, influenced by less-than-perfect room acoustics and a wall-mounted display.

As with almost every premium television we review, we recommend adding a suitable external surround-sound speaker system or at least a premium soundbar for the whole immersive experience. However, when this isn't possible, the 98UX will provide clear, intelligible dialogue and reasonably strong bass effects to keep you engaged.

Conclusion
If you've got the space, the desire, and the cash for a 98-inch flat-panel television, the Hisense 98UX is one of the most intriguing choices this year. A few glitches will need to be cleared up before shipping, but by the time it ships, we expect this brilliant 4K QLED mini-LED LCD TV will present natural-looking colors, nice wide viewing angles, and excellent overall contrast performance from a wide viewing radius.

At nearly $8,000, this is far from one of Hisense’s usual value-priced mainstream products, but as mentioned, compared with some other very large screen models in 2024, it’s competitively priced and stands up well in comparison. Beyond the previously referenced Samsung QN98QN90D, some other options in 2024 include the 85-inch Samsung 8K Neo QLED 85QN900D model ($5,000), the 98-inch BRAVIA 9 (XR98X90L) 4K Mini-LED TV from Sony ($8,000), the 98-inch 4K QLED Mini-LED 98QM8 from TCL ($5,000), and the 97-inch Signature Series wireless M3 OLED EVO TV from LG ($25,000).

TV prices are moving targets, the prices listed are approximate current retail prices found at major retailers at the time this review was posted.

Specs
Full specs to be added soon.

COMMENTS
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