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It was time. My old Vizio TV had served me well, but it was a mere 55-inch model that couldn't even do 4K. Meanwhile my daughter was moving into a new place and needed a TV, so it was decided: She'd get the hand-me-down, I'd get an upgrade.
OK, but what to choose? I've typically been pretty satisfied with the budget end of the TV market, opting for brands like Vizio and TCL and enjoying bigger screens at lower prices. And given the overall advancements in TV technology in recent years, I know that even budget models can be quite good. (A rising tide lifts all boats, after all.)
I also know that this is the time of year that brings some great TV deals. I looked at the latest on Insignia, Samsung, and TCL screens, but then a Hisense promotion caught my eye: a "100-day no regrets guarantee." Just purchase a select model from a select retailer and you've got a full 100 days to try it out. If you don't like it, you can return it for a full refund.
That blows away pretty much every other standard return policy. Although stores like Amazon and Best Buy are currently offering extended return windows, in most cases you're lucky to get 30 days.
Why does this matter? Wouldn't I know within a week or so whether I like the TV? Maybe, but this way I can really "live into it," taking plenty of time to mess with various settings, try watching lots of different content and so on. Heck, maybe at day 90 a better deal will come along and I'll decide to cut bait.
Mostly I just admire Hisense's approach: "We know we're not a household name, but we're confident enough in our products to let you keep one for over three months."
Those products are spread out across four different model lineups: The U6G, U7G, U8G and L9G Laser TV ultra-short-throw projectors. You must choose one of the qualifying sizes and purchase it from a participating retailer. Some shortcuts to help you find them:
Hisense U6G Series: Starting at $400 (50-inch)
Hisense U7G Series: Starting at $647 (55-inch)
Hisense U8G Series: Starting at $750 (55-inch)
Hisense L9G Projector Series: Starting at $4,500 (100-inch)
I decided on the Hisense U6G 75-inch, currently on sale at Best Buy for $850. On the feature front, this is actually a little higher-end than I'm used to: The U6G offers not only 4K HDR, but also quantum-dot technology (which promises a wider color spectrum), Dolby Atmos sound support and local dimming, which helps improve the contrast in individual areas of the screen (rather than just across the board).
The onboard Android TV user interface isn't my cup of tea, but that's easily remedied by the addition of one that is, courtesy of a Roku streamer. (My pick: The Roku Streambar Pro, which feeds two birds with one scone.) That said, it's great for anyone accustomed to Google, and the remote accepts voice commands.
Having spent about two weeks with it, here's what I've learned:
A 75-inch screen is unbelievably awesome. Anything larger would comically overwhelm our family room, and even this required a new piece of furniture. But, wow, sports? Movies? Just amazing at this size. (Pro tip: If the feet won't fit your current TV stand, consider swapping them for a universal base like this one. It swivels, too!)
If you haven't purchased a new TV in several years, the first thing you'll want to do is turn off motion-smoothing. Enabled by default (on this TV and most others), it creates the dreaded soap-opera effect. Yuck. Turn it off. (Even Tom Cruise hates it!)
The U6G produces crisp, uniform images, with excellent black levels and rich colors. I'm no expert at this stuff; I just know what makes my eyes happy. I will say this isn't the brightest TV I've tried, which which may explain why colors don't "pop" the way they do on some higher-end screens. This lines up with the only real complaint I've seen in reviews and elsewhere: The U6G could be brighter.
So here's the thing: I want to take some time to decide if I'm truly happy with the U6G or just awed by its size. I suspect it'll be the former, but I'm glad I have ample opportunity to find out.
I'm not saying a 100-day guarantee should be the sole deciding factor in which TV you choose, but it can be a factor. Me, I'm off to watch more Netflix, because I can't tear myself away from this beautiful behemoth.
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