The Hisense 88L5VG Laser TV is designed to replace a TV in a living room by projecting a very large image. It consists of an ultra-short-throw 4K laser projector and an 88″ (2.23m) anti-glare projection screen with an integrated audio system for daytime projection. The Hisense 88L5VG Laser TV can be placed less than 20cm from the screen. The lifespan of its laser lamp is estimated at a minimum of 25,000 hours. Priced at €3,990, can it do as well as competing ultra short-throw projectors and very large TVs?
Hisense 88L5VG: packaging & accessories
The Hisense 88L5VG comes in two separate boxes: a first very large box for the screen, which is already assembled, and a second, also quite large (71.5 x 31.5 x 50cm), for the projector. The CLR screen comes with a wall mounting system. The projector comes with several accessories: a power cable, an RCA audio cable for the connection with the screen, a USB extension cable, two pairs of gloves for handling the screen, a cleaning kit for the lens (blower, brush and microfiber cloth), an instruction manual and a remote control. The latter is very well designed with an aluminum casing that instills confidence and well laid out keys. Its only flaw: it is not backlit!
Hisense 88L5VG: presentation
The Hisense 88L5VG Laser TV 4K projector uses Texas Instruments’ DLP projection technology combined with an X-Fusion Laser lamp. In addition to its very long lifespan, the lamp remains stable over time to deliver a pure luminous flux from the first hour to the last. Its maximum brightness reaches 2150 lumens, which is sufficient for day and night projection thanks to the included anti-glare CLR screen. As this projector is placed at the foot of the projection screen on a TV stand, it is equipped with an ingenious eye protection mode that immediately reduces the light intensity of the lamp if someone or something crosses the beam.
This Hisense projector is HDR compatible (HDR 10 and HLG) and features Motion Estimation Motion Compensation video processing (MEMC) for smoother, sharper images during soccer and tennis matches, for example. DTT, DVD and Blu-ray programs are also upscaled to near native 4K quality (see slideshow below).
The Hisense 88L5VG Laser TV is equipped with a DTT, cable and satellite decoder with two antenna connectors. The common interface (CI+) allows the addition of a TV reception module to enjoy additional channels via subscription. It provides TV recording on a USB flash drive or external hard drive and also offers the Timeshift function to pause the current program and resume it later. The USB key then acts as a buffer.
The projector’s connectors also include four HDMI 2.0 (4K 60Hz) connectors, a mini-jack audio input, an RCA stereo audio output (to connect the acoustic screen), as well as an optical audio output. Two USB ports are also present to read multimedia files and record TV programs. Finally, the connection to the local network and to the Internet can be carried out via WiFi or with an Ethernet network cable.
This Hisense 4K projector comes with the proprietary Vidaa U 4.0 operating system. The Internet connection gives it access to an app store to enjoy streaming services like Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Rakuten TV, Deezer and many more. Its built-in media player allows you to play videos, audio files and photos, via USB or via network using WiFi or Ethernet (DLNA). The Plex application (client) is also pre-installed to easily enjoy movies stored on a NAS and indexed by a Plex server. The network connectivity also allows you to wirelessly share the screen of a PC, a tablet or a smartphone connected to the same local network.
The 88″ diagonal (2.23m) acoustic screen of the Hisense 88L5VG Laser TV incorporates a Dolby Audio and Dolby Atmos-compatible audio system that uses its entire surface as the cone of a giant driver. To do this, it exploits Distributed Mode Loudspeaker (DML) technology, which produces a sound comparable to that generated by the body of an acoustic guitar or a piano soundboard. It’s as if the screen were filled with multiple drivers. It generates an acoustic wave that radiates evenly from the surface, providing a consistent, uniform sound pressure level throughout the listening area.
Several surround effects are available to improve the sound according to the program being viewed (Standard / Cinema / Music / Voice / Night), as well as an equalizer to adjust the bass and treble. It’s a pity that the buyer doesn’t have the choice between different screen sizes…
Hisense 88L5VG: key specifications
- Anti-glare acoustic screen: 88” (2.23m)
- Definition: 4K Ultra HD
- Projection technology: DLP, laser lamp
- Projector brightness: 2,150 lumens
- HDR formats: HDR 10, HLG
- Ultra HD Upscaling
- Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, Plex
- 4 HDMI 2.0 connectors
- USB and DLNA player
- Dolby Atmos & Dolby AC-4 compatible
Hisense 88L5VG: configuration
For our review of the Hisense 88L5VG Laser TV, the manufacturer provided us with the model used during presentations in stores and at trade shows. It came with a dedicated cabinet that can accommodate the screen and has a shelf to place the projector at the ideal height.
The first step of the installation is to connect the projector to the audio system of the screen with the supplied RCA cable (length: 2.8m). Then you can connect the TV antenna for DTT channels and the various sources to the projector’s HDMI connectors. In our case, we connected a 4K UHD Blu-ray player and a USB hard drive containing several movies.
To obtain an image that fits perfectly in the frame, the projector must be placed thirty-seven centimeters below the base of the screen and twenty centimeters away from the wall. A TV cabinet or a wall shelf that is fifty centimeters deep is therefore sufficient to accommodate it. As the lens is slightly offset to the right in relation to the projector’s chassis, the latter must be placed slightly to the left during installation (by 28mm).
Upon first use of the projector, an installation guide appears on the screen. After choosing the country and the language of the menus, you need to connect the Hisense 88L5VG Laser TV to your home’s WiFi router. This allows you to use the automatic adjustment system with a smartphone. But before that, the projector must be positioned so that the edges of the image are aligned with those of the CLR screen. When this is done, the adjustment guide prompts us to launch the automatic correction by scanning the QR code displayed on the screen to access the dedicated web interface. A test pattern appears on the projection screen, displaying four lines of four aligned crosses that must be photographed via the interface on a smartphone. After analyzing the photo, adjustments are applied to the image so that it is perfectly aligned with the edges of the screen. Simple and very practical, this adjustment system is quite effective. If you wish, you can then go to the projector’s settings menus to fine-tune the image by carrying out a manual geometric correction. This allows you to adjust the position of the corners of the image and the midpoints on each side.
Hisense 88L5VG: our impressions
Connected Laser TV
The DTT tuner on the Hisense 88L5VG provides access to all DTT channels. The sensitivity of the tuner is excellent with a precise indication of the quality and intensity of the signal received by the antenna. The image quality is very good with HD programs, especially sports. During this test, we were able to enjoy very nice HD images during the Roland Garros matches, but also the Ultra HD test channels on which some matches were broadcast in 4K HDR10 and HLG, with Dolby AC4 sound. The Hisense provided a very detailed picture and realistic sound.
As for the Smart TV aspect, the proprietary interface was pleasant to use and generally quite responsive, although we did notice a lag between pressing a button on the remote and its effect on the screen. The home page, accessible from the dedicated button (house pictogram), provides access to the main online streaming applications: Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Molotov TV, Salto and Rakuten TV are all included. Disney+ is absent for the moment, but the manufacturer has announced that this service will be available at the end of the year! The myCanal application should be available before the end of the summer.
Via its USB ports, this Hisense laser TV can play a wide range of video and audio file formats, in both HD and 4K HDR, with support for Dolby and DTS audio formats. The same applies to playback of files shared on the local network via the built-in media player. In both cases, playback was smooth, with no loading problems. Those who want to can also use the Plex client installed by default to enjoy their shared video library.
Can be used in daylight
One of the major advantages of the Hisense 88L5VG Laser TV is its ability to project a clear image even in daylight. Thanks to the CLR screen’s gray canvas, which is treated to limit glare and the effects of light pollution, you can enjoy TV programs and movies comfortably without having to darken the room. Naturally, the contrast is better in semi-darkness or in the dark, but you can enjoy a game or a movie during the day as you would with a TV set, which is difficult if not impossible with a classic projector and a white projection screen.
However, we were surprised and a little disappointed to see that the CLR screen created a reflection of the image on the ceiling. In a brightly lit room it isn’t very visible and therefore isn’t very distracting, but it is more visible in the dark and can be distracting for the viewers.
Among the strengths of this Hisense Laser TV is the ability to adjust many picture settings and to store different profiles for each mode: brightness, contrast, saturation and sharpness can be precisely adjusted. Adaptive contrast (depending on ambient light), motion compensation (MEMC), noise reduction can also be adjusted in different levels, as well as the color temperature.
The manufacturer also offers an automatic mode that adapts the image and sound settings according to the content. In the middle of the day in a bright room, this mode offers an image with vivid colors and high brightness so that the image is perfectly readable. However, this mode tends to oversaturate the image a little. It is suitable for a sports program, but is not necessarily appropriate for movies and series. By deactivating the automatic mode and switching the color temperature to “standard”, the images are more natural.
HDR movies and programs
Overall, this Hisense projector and its technical acoustic screen delivered satisfying images in HDR, whether it was with UHD TV programs, via Netflix or with Blu-ray playback. It delivered bright images with rich, accurate hues. However, during the day in a bright room, the contrast was perfectible in both day and night HDR mode, with a lack of legibility in the darkest areas of the image. This flaw disappears when the room is completely dark, with a better contrasted and more pleasant picture.
With the Netflix series Life in Colour, the projector allowed us to take full advantage of the image quality offered by this wildlife documentary. Whether with butterflies, flamingos or poison dart frogs, we were able to enjoy intense and realistic colors. The same goes for the 4K HDR Blu-ray edition of The Shining, with its distinctive cinematography and typical seventies colors. We were easily immersed in this movie’s unique atmosphere and its eerie soundtrack was well reproduced by the acoustic screen.
Convincing acoustic screen
We were rather sceptical before our test, but we were actually quite impressed by the audio section of this Hisense laser TV. The sound was lively and detailed, voices were clearly audible and the cinema mode added both width and height to the soundstage, provided that the Atmos mode was activated. Not very widespread except on Sony OLED TVs under the name Acoustic Surface Audio, this acoustic screen technology provides excellent immersion and contributes to a perfect coherence between the image and the sound.
Hisense 88L5VG: compared to…
With its cinema-like picture with accurate colors magnified by the Lumene technical screen, the Optoma easily outperforms the Hisense in terms of image quality. But on many practical aspects, it falls behind the 88L5VG, which has a DTT tuner, features Netflix and Prime Video, is DTS compatible via USB and offers a much better sound quality.
The lack of Smart TV functions and DTT tuner is a disadvantage for this BenQ, even though its HDR image quality is superior. With the ALRS01 screen, the BenQ is able to project effortlessly in the middle of the day, but it is noisier and its integrated soundbar does not reach the sound performance offered by the 88L5VG.
The image size and Smart TV features are fairly similar between these two TVs, although the Samsung TV provides access to more online services, including Disney+ and Apple TV+. Its HDR content management is also more efficient thanks to its HDR10+ compatibility, which allows you to adjust brightness peaks frame by frame. The Samsung stands out especially for its HDMI 2.1 connectivity and 4K compatibility up to 120 fps with support for ALLM and VRR FreeSync Premium for video games.
Hisense 88L5VG: who is it for?
The Hisense 88L5VG Laser TV is for those who want a very large picture with XXL sound in their living room without the constraints of a large TV on a piece of furniture and the clutter of a full home theater audio system.
Hisense 88L5VG: conclusion
The Hisense 88L5VG laser TV is an interesting alternative to large 4K HDR TVs and conventional projectors. With its screen optimized for daytime projection, there’s no need to watch movies and series in a dark room. And because its screen is acoustically enhanced, you don’t need an AV receiver or a set of speakers taking up space in your living room to enjoy convincing surround sound.
The Chinese manufacturer still has to resolve the issue of image reflections on the ceiling, and has to offer a backlit remote control as well as a range of different screen sizes to make this laser TV even more convincing. On this last point, the manufacturer has implied that larger screens could be available in 2022. Stay tuned…
- Being able to use it during the day
- The fact that it had all the same features as a TV
- The convincing acoustic screen
We would have liked
- A backlit remote control
- To have been able to choose the screen size
- No reflections of the ceiling