TCL&#039s New Roku 4K Television Is Really Fantastic and Superbly Low-priced

All photos: Adam Clark Estes

The TCL P-Series sounds much too good to be true. At just about 50 % the selling price of likewise outfitted sets, these Roku-driven 4K TVs attribute higher-conclusion options like comprehensive-array community dimming, higher dynamic selection (HDR), and Dolby Vision. All that, and a 55-inch model will only established you again $650. So is it definitely much too good to be true? A minimal little bit. But only a minimal little bit.

We have composed a large amount about this enjoyable new era of 4K TVs, when these impossibly sharp shows eventually cost less than a used Mercedes. And currently, some versions cost less than a good bicycle. TCL is one particular of the models which is led the way in bringing higher quality shows to the masses for magically reduced price ranges. The new P-Series opens up a complete new chance to purchase gorgeous photo quality in the $500 to $seven hundred selection. How these new TVs do it is, largely, pretty extraordinary. Because dammit, the TCL P-Series seems good.

Does it glimpse fantastic? That is dependent on your place-of-perspective.

The Roku is hardly the greatest detail about this Television.

Here’s me: I just finished examining the new Element: Amazon Hearth Television Edition. As the identify implies, individuals 4K TVs run on a new Amazon Hearth Television running system which is fun to use, and they attribute an eminently satisfactory display. They also cost about the same as the new TCL P-Series TVs. But, in extremely relevant manner, the Amazon TVs never have comprehensive-array community dimming, HDR, or Dolby Vision.

The distinction a Television that has individuals 3 options and one particular that does not is far more than some writing on the box. The TCL P-Series display definitely does develop noticeably richer contrasts and far more vivid colours, two of the major items you’d assume from a substantially far more high-priced Television. This is surely many thanks to the seventy two-zone HDR contrast regulate. For non-Television nerds, this suggests that the backlight adjusts by itself in seventy two independent places to spotlight brighter colours or tone down darker types. With assistance for the HDR-ten structure, the display can also deal with a wider shade gamut which will help make individuals reds, greens, and blues definitely pop. And they definitely do pop.

On best of all this, the TCL P-Series options a 120-MHz refresh price which suggests you won’t have to fuss with that nauseating soap opera influence. (Soap opera influence is that unusual much too-easy glimpse made by program that prevents shows with a reduce refresh price from on the lookout much too jerky.) When viewed side-by-side with the new Amazon TV—along with its deficiency of HDR and sixty MHz refresh rate—the TCL P-Series made available substantially far more organic motion and incredibly abundant colours.

Behold: the colours.

But, as I figured out through increasingly certain tests, the display is not fantastic. The contrast is just about much too spectacular, in particular in darker scenes where the borders concerning grays and blacks commences to disappear. Bright, out of doors scenes from a film like Deadpool, appeared amazing and enjoyable with comedian book-degree clarity. Dim, indoor scenes from a movie like Goodfellas, left my squinting to see where the mobsters’ jackets finished and the nightclub commenced.

There’s a chance that this could be corrected by changing the gamma configurations. (Gamma establishes the equilibrium concerning the mild and the dark places on the display.) While they are fairly in depth, even so, the superior configurations on the TCL P-Series never present a way to change gamma. So comprehension that this grey-to-black challenge was a serious challenge, I determined to run some far more meticulous exams.

The TCL P-Series configurations present substantially far more regulate than the Amazon Television, but there are nevertheless a number of items lacking.

Can you consider of a better way to test how a display specials with contrast and darkness than a trio of war films, featuring Brad Pitt killing Nazis? I simply cannot, which is why which is just what I did. By watching Inglorious Basterds, Fury, and Allied on the TCL P-Series, I recognized how well the TCL P-Series could deal with the shade red and how substantially it struggled with dark grey.

The opening sequence of Inglorious Basterds serves as a fantastic illustration of that jacket-fading-into-the-history influence. The creepy, campy Christoph Waltz and his dark grey Nazi uniform just about grow to be one particular with the history of the French farmhouse, where he’s hunting Jews. Meanwhile, Brad Pitt as a Canadian officer in a dark blue jacket basically disappears in the course of the air raid scenes of Allied. Do not even get me started out on the dark tank scenes in Fury.

Glimpse at how the dark grays blend into the blacks on the TCL P-Series (left) when they stand out on the Amazon Television (appropriate).

This is not an unachievable challenge. Once more, the superior configurations on the TCL P-Series are not as in depth as they could be, but they’re granular sufficient. (In this respect, the Amazon Television, and its dearth of certain configurations, definitely suffers.) You can change down the contrast and improve the brightness to get far more defined strains in these dark scenes. Nonetheless, you are going to also wash out some of individuals vivid HDR-fueled highlights. Through some tinkering, I eventually landed on a modified model of the TCL’s “Brighter” preset that appeared pretty great for any film or Television demonstrate.

So which is the display, and it’s truthfully the greatest aspect about this Television. Sadly, the in general Roku expertise generally sucks. Though I’m a longtime Roku user and fan, there is no cause I would purchase the TCL P-Series for the Roku-centered running system. Because, truthfully, the Roku expertise is painfully dated at this place. The program feels the same as it did 3 a long time back, and when I value Roku’s idea of an open system, the interface is sluggish and clunky. The increased Roku distant, which serves as the major distant for the Television, is badly built. (My major grievance: the quantity buttons are on the side, so you are going to conclusion up strike mute by accident, a large amount.) And damnit, the complete system is buggy and bothersome to use.

That quantity regulate on the side is bothersome.

This is easy for me to say soon after utilizing the Amazon Television, due to the fact the increased Hearth Television interface in that established is frankly amazing. Alexa has grow to be one particular of the greatest platforms for voice regulate, and the Amazon Television holds up to the sensible TV’s promise of convenience and flexibility. The Roku-driven TCL P-Series does not. That said, you can obviously plug a Hearth Television, an Apple Television, or Nvidia Protect into the P-Series and appreciate your chosen established-best box expertise. And when a 55-inch 4K HDR Television only costs $650, you’d have some more funds to do the job with.

Base line is, the TCL P-Series is an exceptionally fantastic worth for a Television with some severe chops. The Roku running system will leave you seeking, but that does not definitely make any difference considering the fact that you won’t be compelled to use it.


Does the complete deal amount of money to a better purchase than the likewise priced Amazon Television? Perfectly, that is dependent on what you’re on the lookout for. If you worth simplicity and convenience—and never know what the phrase “color gamut” means—the Amazon Television is sufficient for you. If you want the greatest display for the funds and never treatment about the foolish sensible Television program, the TCL P-Series is for you.


  • At $650 for a 55-inch model, the TCL P-Series is the most inexpensive 4K Television with comprehensive-array dimming, HDR, and Dolby Vision we’ve ever found.
  • The display struggles with dark grays and blacks under the default configurations, but some tinkering can remedy that challenge.
  • Do not trouble with the Roku program. It’s sluggish, clunky, and dated.
  • Did we mention the display is gorgeous? And low-priced? Because it’s gorgeous and low-priced and frankly value your thing to consider centered on individuals two info.

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