When discussing a big-screen TV, size is bound to be the primary topic of conversation, but with HiSense’s 100-inch Ultra HD Laser TV, bigness approaches a thought-terminating cliche — one I have been happy to let take over my puny mind.
“How’s the big TV?” more than one coworker asked after I agreed to review the $10,000 (around £7,500 but UK price TBA) device. “It’s really, really big,” I’d reply. Visitors to my Brooklyn apartment offered similar commentary. “Wow,” observed a friend. “It’s big.”
Yes, unnamed friend, it is big. It’s big like The Beatles. It’s big like basketball. It’s bigger than me and then another me and possibly a third me who came out kinda small.
100-Inch Ultra HD Laser TV
WHAT IS IT? A 100-inch monstrosity that entertains me with lasers.
PRICE $10,000 (around £7,500 but UK price TBA)
LIKE It's big as hell — like at the movies! Makes it easy to trick friends to come over to your house.
NO LIKE Noticeably washed out in daylight.
Technically, the TV consists of three units: a two-inch-thick screen that both a Titanic passenger and her forbidden lover could comfortably lie on; a short-throw laser projector that sits beneath it, looking something like a Xbox that has been experimenting with HGH; and a computer tower-sized subwoofer that looks like nothing. It’s the screen, however, that makes the impression. Even while off, it dominates its surroundings like the monolith from 2001, inspiring similar hoots and leaping from trembling hominids.
HiSense, however, tends to describe the Laser TV like a ballerina or exotic cat, emphasising its elegance and subtly:qualities that distinguish the minimalist projector system from bulkier large TVs. A comparably sized LED TV, for instance, would tip the scales at over 200 pounds (and cost a lot more).The Laser TV’s projector and screen weigh in at 42 and 56 pounds, respectively. Getting the Laser TV to my third-floor walk-up and hanging the screen were still two-person jobs, but it’s hard to imagine how a conventional giant TV would march up my cramped stairwell without the aid of the National Guard. Notably, delivery and installation are included with the Laser TV’s price tag.
For most, the TV’s toughest installation requirement is probably the wall space needed for the screen itself, a test my shamefully under-decorated apartment was designed (by neglect) to pass. It’s fair to say that the Laser TV is a far cry from the industrial fridge-like big screens of the past. Incidentally, Far Cry 5 looks sick as hell on this thing.
Blam, blam, blam!
Turning on the TV for the first time is what can only be described as a “holy shit” moment, something like visiting a modern art museum when a Rothko painting starts playing Thor: Ragnarok in perfect Ultra HD. Seated on a couch 15 feet away, the 100-inch monster was still more than enough screen, comparing favourably to a trip to an indie movie cinema. For a more immersive experience, I sometimes placed a chair just a few feet away and played Forza Horizon 3 in first-person, although a real windshield is admittedly smaller.
At every distance and angle, the image was sharp and comfortable to look at, more like a window than a giant, light-blasting display. The greatest challenge was finding 4K and HDR content to take full advantage of the TV’s alleged 8.3 million pixels (I did not count). For streaming, 4K is still mostly limited to pricey movie rentals and a few Netflix originals, but at a reasonable viewing distance, 1080p still looked great. And when I did put on a UHD Blu-ray of Planet Earth, the effect was remarkable. With its slim profile and 180-degree viewing angle, the screen transformed into an enclosure of unusually large birds. As long as my sightline was unbroken, it was easy to continue monitoring their flaps and roosting, even from the next room.