With its impossible to remember name, ridiculously cheap price and more or less unknown brand, on paper the Hisense LTDN50K321UWT doesn't set our AV pulse racing. But that all changes when you switch it on. Hisense's UK debutante, while not perfect, is far better than you've any right to expect for so little money.
Good picture quality overall
Easy to build design
Basic smart system
Limited viewing angles
Not particularly accurate picture
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While a number of once-strong brands have been forced to depart the UK TV scene in recent years, Chinese company Hisense believes there's now space in the market for it to launch a concerted assault on UK living rooms.
As well as throwing vast sums of money at making sure its brand name gets out there – not least by becoming one of the sponsors of the Infiniti Red Bull Formula 1 team – Hisense has also taken the pruning shears to its pricing. So much so that the first TV we've seen from the brand, the horribly named LTDN50K321UWT, offers 50 inches of 4K UHD screen for just £499.
That's a price/screen real estate combination deliberately designed to give the more established TV brands a heart attack. But surely such a large, cheap 4K TV can't also be any good, can it?
Aesthetically it's solid. You can't ignore the fact that there's a lot of plastic in its build quality, but nor can you ignore the fact that its frame is as slim as those wrapped around the majority of the competition. Its deep grey colouring is quite attractive; and the addition of some gloss to the bottom edge is a cute touch that shows Hisense's design department isn't just running on autopilot.
While the pair of feet the TV sits on aren't especially glamorous, they do deserve kudos for being incredibly easy to attach compared with the insanely fiddly efforts you get with the majority of today's TVs.
The LTDN50K321UWT is much better connected than I would have expected for its money. Its four HDMIs, for instance, is as good as you get with even the most expensive TVs out there right now.
What's more, two of these HDMIs are capable of playing 4K UHD signals at up to 60 frames a second, making them ready for the first generation of 4K broadcasts (delivered via external set top boxes such as BT's latest Humax box and, eventually, the upcoming Sky Q).
You also get a trio of USBs for playing back multimedia files from USB storage devices, and integrated Wi-Fi for both streaming in multimedia from networked DLNA-enabled devices, and taking the LTDN50K321UWT online.
The only disappointment – though it's scarcely that, really, given how affordable the TV is – is that there's no support through the LTDN50K321UWT's connections for high dynamic range (HDR) playback.
4K streaming support
The online connectivity actually goes further than expected in one way by supporting 4K UHD Streaming from both Netflix and Amazon if you've subscribed to their UHD services.
This is a hugely welcome touch for such a budget 4K set, and joins with a BBC iPlayer app in showing that Hisense is up for the challenge of forging content/app relationships with key local players in its push towards a global TV presence.
Before anyone gets too excited about the LTDN50K321UWT's smart features, it must be stressed that the onscreen interface for accessing them is pretty basic by modern standards. Also, while the iPlayer might be present and correct, there's no sign – yet, anyway – of any of the other key UK catch-up services.
Though there is rather too much sign of foreign language apps, which clutter up the interface and run counter to the sense of localisation created elsewhere.
It's hard to gripe too much about the limitations of the LTDN50K321UWT's smart features, though, when you remember that £499 price.
No HDR, no 3D
I mentioned earlier that the LTDN50K321UWT doesn't support HDR, and that's not its only omission; it also can't play 3D. This may upset a few people, I guess, but in truth the lack of 3D isn't a surprise at all now that more and more big-name manufacturers are starting to strip 3D off their entry level and even lower-midrange TVs.
When it comes to getting the LTDN50K321UWT's pictures looking how you want them to look, there's a solid set of tweaks and adjustments at your disposal.
These include noise reduction processing, motion clarity processing, white balance management, an adjustable dynamic contrast system, and a backlight adjustment alongside the usual contrast and brightness controls.
Colour management is fairly limited, though, and as we'll see later, if you're after really 'accurate' pictures the LTDN50K321UWT may not be for you.
John has been writing about home entertainment technology for more than two decades - an especially impressive feat considering he still claims to only be 35 years old (yeah, right). In that time he’s reviewed hundreds if not thousands of TVs, projectors and speakers, and spent frankly far too long sitting by himself in a dark room.