When the the first Roku TV in the form of the Hisense Roku B7120UK arrived, it instantly marked itself out as one of the best cheap TVs on the market.
The Hisense and Roku combo returns in the Hisense R50A7200GTUK Roku TV, adding new features while maintaining its affordable price for even more value-tastic appeal.
They say lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place but – allow us to mix our metaphors – Hisense and Roku look to have struck gold again with the A7200G.
Hisense R50A7200GTUK Roku TV price and availability
The Hisense Roku A7200G – or Hisense R50A7200GTUK Roku TV to give its longwinded model name – went on sale in early 2021.
Like the B7120UK it comes in 43-, 50-, 55- and 65-inch sizes. The 50-inch model we’re reviewing here is priced at £399, £20 more than the R50B7120UK model it replaces.
This Roku TV is exclusive to the UK and can be bought from Argos.
Hisense R50A7200GTUK Roku TV design – A case of déjà vu
- Virtually the same as the original
- Slimmer and nicer bezel design
- Easy set-up
It’s a case of déjà vu with the Hisense R50A7200GTUK Roku TV’s design. The chassis is almost identical, so build quality is rather plastic – not surprising for a cheap TV.
At 9.8kg, it’s slightly heavier and measures at 1116 x 648 x 82mm (without the stand) – so again, very similar. Feet are stationed out wide, and assembly means slotting them in and tightening the screws. Getting to the TV’s start menu takes minutes once the TV has been registered.
Roku says the bezel has been slimmed and rounded; it’s neater in appearance than the original, from what I can remember. It allows for a little more real estate for the on-screen images, and presents a less obtrusive design than before.
The remote is the same as packaged with the B7120UK. It still feels plasticky and lightweight, but the basics are covered with buttons for Netflix, Spotify and for those Google Play Movies (RIP) and Rakuten TV fans. There’s a Freeview Play hotkey, navigation buttons but – surprisingly, given the Streambar remote featured it – no voice button.
Hisense R50A7200GTUK Roku TV feature – Wide compatibility
- Adds Apple AirPlay 2/HomeKit support
- Wide streaming app support
- Zippy Game mode
I’ve appreciated Roku’s platform agnostic sensibilities, and it’s good to see the feature list expand with the Hisense Roku A7200G. There’s wide app support – Netflix, Prime Video, BT Sport, Disney+, Apple TV – with Freeview Play bringing the catch-up and on-demand UK apps. There are many more besides, and it’s a strength that puts Roku TVs ahead of other competing budget sets (even Hisense’s own models).
There’s still no Chromecast or Bluetooth, but a substitute for the former is screen mirroring from a mobile device, or the Discover and Launch protocol for Netflix and YouTube. Alexa and Google voice assistants aren’t built in, but are supported via connected devices.
Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support arrived on the Roku OS in 2020 – the former enabling streaming from iOS devices, while the latter offers control over smart devices within the Apple ecosystem. These additions help widen the breadth of the Roku TV platform, looking outwards rather than in. Inclusion, like in other walks of life, can only be a good thing in this respect.
The Roku interface continues to be one of the most savvy and accessible platforms I’ve used. It lacks the flashy identity of LG’s webOS and Samsung’s Tizen-based Eden, but it’s clearly laid out and easily navigable via its menus: Home, My Feed, Freeview Play, Search, Streaming channels and Settings.
In My Feed, films and TV shows can be tracked, sending alerts when they pop up on streaming services. Streaming Channels is home to the Roku Channel that offers oodles of free content – some good, some not so good – but there are decent films (Zulu, Halloween, Camp X-Ray), TV series/reality shows (lots of Gordon Ramsay) as well as content to keep the kids happy. The Roku Channel will also be the home of the short-lived, short-form video service Quibi, sometime in 2021.
Accessibility options cover language selection, subtitles, hard-of-hearing settings and audio description. There’s no zoom function (no, not that one) – the fonts used are with accessibility in mind – and Roku has told me it’s working with Digital UK to enable the Accessibility Guide on Freeview Channel 555.
There’s little change in terms of physical connections: 3 x HDMI 2.0, a CI 1.4 slot, 3.5mm jack for headphones, DVB-T2/T UK tuner, AV composite video input, USB, digital optical out and LAN. HDMI ARC provides audio passthrough to a connected device, and although Roku has informed me that you can operate other connected devices, all I could control with the remote was the soundbar. Perhaps I’ve missed something there.
A Game mode is included and needs to be manually switched on. With it on, latency falls to an impressive 11.8ms – great for fast-twitch or racing games that require smooth inputs.
Hisense R50A7200GTUK Roku TV picture quality – Another super budget performance
- Limited HDR/black level performance
- Inconsistent upscaling with SD content
- Colourful, naturalistic images
The B7120UK offered an enjoyable performance, although it had a few weak spots in my estimation – namely HDR brightness and SD upscaling. Little seems to have been changed in that respect, but that’s no bad thing. The Hisense R50A7200GTUK Roku TV remains an impressive performer for the price.
In terms of upscaling, the A7200G’s upscaling powers flit between very good and so-so. The problem seems to be an inconsistency with standard definition SDR content, as the Hisense A7200G Roku TV struggles with the varying quality it is served with. In general, SD content lacks sharpness, detail and clarity, but some programmes are handled much better than others.
Standard Definition High Definition
Look at the SD and HD comparisons of The Tipping Point quiz show on ITV, and the difference in terms of colours, detail (or lack thereof), skin tones and sharpness is stark. Faces are softer and colours are off – the red of the shirt is a completely different shade. Cheers on Channel 4 is more consistent, so it seems to depend on the quality of the broadcast; the A7200G’s upscaler struggles to bridge that gap in a uniform way.
HD sources are managed with more finesse. There’s better definition to textures and faces, finer levels of sharpness, and colours are depicted with more volume, clarity and in a pleasingly natural way – not a trait I normally associate with Hisense’s more saturated output.
Watching a Blu-ray of The Favourite, colours looked spot on – nuanced and lifelike in appearance – and the detail brought out in the period costuming and production design was consistently good. Skin tones are natural, images colourful with fine detail, impressive showing and good levels of clarity – at times I forgot it was a 1080p signal.