Hisense 55A85H OLED TV Review

The TV manufacturer makes an impressive splash with this well-featured 4K HDR screen, says Steve May. But it's not for picture quality purists…

Some OLED TVs are designed for The Batman, predisposed for darkness and shadow. The Hisense A85H is more of a Strictly Come Dancing kinda screen. Pictures pop like candy, and dynamics have all the subtlety of a sledgehammer blow. If you want wow, you'll find it here.

It's not stingy on features either. There's Dolby Vision onboard (with Dolby Vision IQ), support for high-frame-rate gaming, HDR10+ compatibility, a content-rich smart platform, and even IMAX Enhanced certification.

Also available in 48in and 65in screen sizes, the 55in A85H is pitched directly against LG's C2 model. So is this surprisingly bullish Hisense the dark horse in the 2022 OLED race?

Style Icon
The manufacturer is probably best known for its affordable LED models, but there's certainly nothing budget about the A85H's design and build. The panel is framed by a dark micro bezel, and, going almost unnoticed, there's a silver trim across the bottom of the screen. The panel sits on a smart-looking central stand, which not only suits most types of AV furniture, but can be spun for the optimum viewing angle.

Got a PlayStation 5 or next-generation Xbox? Two of the four HDMI inputs are v2.1 and support 4K/120Hz gameplay, as well as auto low-latency mode and VRR 120Hz. One of these is also eARC compatible. Other connections include two USBs, Bluetooth 5.0 and high- speed Wi-Fi 6, plus inputs for standard DVB-S2 satellite and Freeview Play tuners.

Hisense's remote control is a bit of a button fest, with a plethora of dedicated keys for (take a breath) Disney+, YouTube, Prime Video, Rakuten TV, Plex, Deezer, Facebook Watch, YouTube Kids, NBA, Netflix, Vidaa TV and Vidaa Free. Hit the Vidaa TV button and you're taken to a collection of IP-delivered linear channels, while Vidaa Free delivers an aggregated collection of gratis content, sourced primarily from Pluto TV and Plex.

Vidaa is Hisense's proprietary platform, here in 6.0 guise, and it's grown up a lot since I last used it. The Homepage offers rapid access to all resident apps and services, which also include Britbox, Apple TV+, Amazon Music, BBC Sounds and Freeview Play. Stacked content rails include On Now, which covers the key mainstream linear channels, and Featured, which has catch-up suggestions. There are also genres rails for Drama & Soaps, Comedy, etc.

Choose Wisely...
When it comes to picture quality, the A85H has plenty of kerb appeal. It delivers a high level of colour vibrancy, razor-sharp detail and punchy contrast – but the image presets are all over the place.

Normally, Standard would be the conservative everyday viewing choice, but here it veers toward the unashamedly lairy, with luminous reds and blues. It could pass as a Vivid setting, were it not for Hisense's provision of Dynamic, which enthusiastically oversaturates colours even more and bumps up the average picture brightness level for good measure. Cinema Day is the more authentic option, at least when it comes to colour reproduction.

The TV's HDR performance is impressive. I measured peak brightness at just under 750 nits (in Dynamic mode), with a 5 per cent patch window, which reflects its performance with typical specular highlights. Our 55in model also reached 625 nits with a 10 per cent window.

HDR modes include Day, Night, Standard, Dynamic, Sports, IMAX Cinema and Filmmaker. The latter is, in my opinion, usually the dullest choice, but here turns out to be one of the best. For DV content, in addition to Dolby Vision IQ, there's Dolby Vision Dark and Dolby Vision Custom. The Curse of Bridge Hollow (Netflix, Dolby Vision), provides plenty of opportunity to showcase low-level shadow detail, but the A85H doesn't quite have the refinement to make the most of it. The TV certainly delivers dynamically, with bright whites and inky blacks, but there's also a certain amount of crushing that seems to rob the image of subtle, near-black detail.