Hisense 43” H43M3000 4K UHD SmartTV Review Conclusion - PC Gaming, Movies & Summary
Of course true native 4K gaming is an area that I would have liked to have tested fully because it does put more strain on the TV in terms of input lag (far more than HD). Sadly my graphics card is only a Geforce GTX 650 which is not geared for 4K gaming!
Even so it did not stop me from plugging it into the TV to see what the results were like. At first I did run into some problems with a Green/purple image being displayed on-screen, which could have been a result of the new cables I purchased having a fault, but I tried several cables and it produced the same results.
I was plugging the cable into the 4K 60Hz HDMI port, but in the 4K 30Hz port it was fine, so I thought it may be the graphics card. Yet I then tried it again in the 4K 60Hz port 10 minutes later and it was OK this time. I then tried to reduce the resolution down to Full HD and likewise I attempted to run a game that was at a lower resolution and this resulted in that purple screen again.
I managed to sort the problem out with the game by using the Geforce Experience software to set the game at the screen's native resolution and this worked.
However I believe the problem could be caused because the Xbox One S was plugged into the other 4K 60Hz port (something I mentioned above). This seems to cause it some issue in terms of switching resolutions, which is baffling because the port is separate.
Yet I also need to mention that my card only has a HDMI 1.4 connection and Nvidia managed to use some trickery to allow it to run at 4K 60Hz, so perhaps this was more the primary cause of the problem.
Either way I used the PC this morning before I finished the review and the PC was running fine on 4K at 60Hz. I could also down-grade the resolution without any problems whatsoever. The only difference was the Xbox One and Xbox One S had been disconnected.
Despite the above I have to admit once the PC was running on the screen properly, all I can say is wow! Forget the TV's built-in apps or the Xbox One S, when my 4 year old + PC was connected to the Hisense the quality was awesome! I've never seen the on-screen icons looking this vibrant or sharp! Granted Steam's interface looked more grainy as it may not have been designed with 4K in mind, but things like YouTube 4K content looked stunning!
For sure my card struggled at 60FPS with YouTube 4K playback, but standard 4K footage looked the business!
I couldn't run games on this card though! Yet it did not stop me from trying and I fired up the ancient Left 4 Dead 2 for a laugh and put it in a 4K resolution with most of the options set high. Amazingly it ran and I think it averaged at 30fps! It's one of the factors that makes the PC such a great platform, in that I can take an old game and spruce this up to 4K without any compatibility issues whatsoever. I even ran Crysis 3 for an even bigger laugh and of course this crippled the card, but I could still see the visual side of things.
I now wish I had not seen the PC on the screen because it makes me wonder if it's a better option to upgrade my graphics card and get back into PC gaming!
PC 4:4:4 Support
On my PC due to the HDMI 1.4 port I could only run at 60Hz using Chroma 4:2:0.
I can't vouch for 4:4:4 support, but according to other users of the screen they have got it to work with 4:4:4 Chroma at 4K 60Hz (vital for lag free gaming). However remember because the Hisense does not have a 10-bit panel it won’t provide true 4:4:4 support, as the panel is only 8-bit FRC.
Note: You just need to be running the latest Hisense Firmware and your graphics card needs to support HDMI 2.0 to tap into the above. Your HDMI cable also needs to be capable of handling bandwidth of at least 18 Gbit/s or higher.
Blu-ray & 4K Movie Impressions
I played Blu-ray movies using the Xbox One to start with and then switched over to the Xbox One S to see what movies looked like in HD and 4K. For testing I tried 'The Martian' which is a pretty dark and orange coloured film (given the nature of the setting). I also had a copy of Pan.
I have to admit on standard Blu-ray the Martian looked good even on the Xbox One and my family who were watching the film with me all commented that the picture was top draw. So from a HD point of view it passed the family Sunday afternoon cinema standard test.
On a serious note I then compared the same film running on the Xbox One S in both Blu-ray and Ultra-HD, as my copy of the Martian came with both. The latter film also benefits from HDR support.
On first impressions I found the main difference with the Ultra-HD version was certainly the HDR support (not just the resolution bump). This certainly enhances the detail of say darker scenes or the actors clothing.
Likewise even brighter sequences of the film allowed you to see a bit more detail in places. However unless you run the two copies side by side you won't instantly know the difference as you are naturally watching the film rather than studying it from a technical point of view.
Out of the two Ultra-HD films are better, yet if I'm being honest both versions look good. I think the Hisesnse screen also handles the black colours pretty well. Mind you I did notice a problem with screen juddering on the Blu-ray disc running on the Xbox One S more so. This runs at 24Hz. Strangely this only happened with the Blu-ray version of the film and not the 4K disc.
Either way at the time I was using the Xbox One S cable and remarkably switching this over to the KabelDirekt cable seemed to eliminate the judder. So again something to be aware of!
In Pan it was a similar story, darker scenes benefited from HDR and likewise brighter scenes looked better.
HDR is probably not as impacting as a true 10-bit panel, but it does bring out detail in certain areas compared to the Blu-ray version.
It did get me thinking though that Sony's admission of an Ultra-HD blu-ray player may not be as bad as I first thought. HD films on this TV look top-draw and it's only when I compared the footage I captured on my PC that I could really see the differences more clearly.
Either format looks good, but as you have to pay a premium for the films in 4K I expected to be blown away by them and I wasn't. I think with the two films I picked as test examples they may not have been the best transfers, but I don't feel they were really worth the additional cost.
Of course it's early days and hopefully 4K UHD footage will take off next year with more quality transfers to disc.
Note: I forgot to mention that when watching films the TV's audio options are really useful, in that switching to say the Voice mode certainly helped with hearing the actors speak in 'The Martian' film. It has certainly got a lot of grunt when it comes to output, albeit it's treble and base balance are less effective. On the whole it still delivers on the audio front.
Below you can view various un-edited photos I took when recording footage from the TV (videos will be uploaded next week to YouTube)....
For me I purchased this screen at a time when 4K was still tinkering on the edge of ridiculously expensive and I wanted to see if you could get a screen that delivered 4K/HDR support for far less than the recommended £600+ sets that seemed to be advertised for the Xbox One S, PS4 Pro and upcoming Xbox Scorpio.
In some ways the Hisense H43M3000 has delivered on this front by providing ample gaming prowess on both standard gaming and 4K upscale gaming (Xbox One S). Additionally it works for game/movie playback with HDR support (albeit it simulates 10-bit colour with its 8 bit FRC) and produces mouth watering 4K visuals from Amazon’s The Grand Tour. All the above for less than £300 at the time of purchase.
The only downsides with the Hisense is that there are bugs, mainly with the internal apps and I suspect the HDMI 4K 60Hz port issue I mentioned earlier (these hopefully are going to be fixed in December). You also have to work at the settings, as by default they require a lot of tinkering, plus the SD quality from the TV is poor.
Yet once setup for a screen that cost me less than a HD TV did at the time of purchase, is still does a solid job when it comes to image quality (with a top-notch source put through it, the Hisense delivers).
However If I was being brutality honest because the larger screens in the family are now a lot cheaper, plus the Black Friday deals and similar sales that are kicking in are likely to bring the likes of the LG/Samsung 4K TV’s down in price, unless you get the Hisense H43M3000 below the £300 mark like I did (its currently wavering at £350/£329) the more recognised brands may be a safer bet if you are a stickler for higher-end quality.
Yet on the whole the 4K experience for me has been a great learning curve. It’s no surprise that people are confused as to the 4K/HDR buzz words that are flying about because there is a lot of mumbo jumbo involved. The biggest problem is it’s really difficult to showcase the benefits of 4K and HDR without seeing it in person, but I believe 2017 will be a better year for the technology when it finally comes alive with more support.
I say 2017 because in 2016 the issue for me has been getting hold of some decent 4K footage. Then again even if you are not taken in by 4K yet the screen in my eyes produces a better Full HD image than my actual Full HD TV that it replaced.
As I sit here concluding the review I personally love the screen, not because I have purchased one, but more so because if I really think about it I am happy with everything it does, especially now that I have managed to get my PC working with it! So despite its faults and niggles, for the price I can’t really fault it!
8Overall8Design/Build8Features8Visual & Audio Quality7Performance9Price
Best online price at the time of writing £349 from Amazon.