Updated: Mar 25, 2020
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This review is about the most affordable TCL 4K TV on the market - the TCL 55S425. The main selling point of this set is that it has built in Roku Smart TV features which are excellent, and fantastic response times which gamers will appreciate.
TCL has gone for a very basic design for this TV set. Black bezels go around the display, with a matte black panel at the back. The monitor is supported by plastic feet, as is the norm for a lot of modern day TVs.
The model I am reviewing is 55 inches. It is light enough to be moved around by a single person and assembled, which is always a plus. The TV is about 3.1 inches thick - and although it can be fitted on the wall with a mount, as a word of caution, be advised that it will stick out somewhat.
This TCL TV comes complete with three HDMI ports, including an ARC port which is useful for connecting a sound bar should you choose to - alleviating the need to attach additional audio cables for this function.
Wi-Fi is built in to this TV set, but you will also find an ethernet port for those who prefer a more secure wired internet connection.
On the downside, there is only one USB port available which you can use to stream media files straight from your USB stick - or it can also be used for a compatible streaming stick. A 3.5 mm jack has also handily been included to provided wired headphone compatibility.
The TCL 55S425 offers full 4K support with a 3840 x 2160 resolution. The TV is backlit with HDR support. These features are all that you need to benefit from basic 4K functionality, something that this TV delivers well for the price you pay for it.
The accuracy of colour leaves a little bit more to be desired. The TV seems to portray sandy desert colours in more of a pink and red tone rather than a colour that should be closer to orange. While this may stand out quite a bit if you're watching a movie like Mad Max Fury Road, it isn't very noticeable otherwise where the sandy backdrops aren't prominent.
On the downside, HDR performance could also be better. The way the TV handles scenes with a lot of shadows could be enhanced. What it tends to do is blend black and darker shades into a static grey tone, which isn't ideal.
Black levels also aren't perfect. Again the darkest portions of a picture which should be a deep black are mostly portrayed in a grey tone. This is due to this TCL set being directly backlit without any local dimming. Again not ideal, but most certainly won't be a deal breaker for most users.
The TV also has a tough time handling motion on some occasions. If it's a fast paced action scene you're viewing for example, there may be some motion blur. Smoothness is improved by switching between picture modes I've noticed.
4K gaming is supported by this TCL set. The frame rates are locked in at 24Hz however. HDR mode is also disappointingly not supported for gaming or streaming. As a result, you don't feel like you're getting the best 4K gaming experience compared to some other 4K TV sets on the market.
On a more positive note, this set offers fantastic response times which is really noticeable in the faster paced games. - quite possibly one of the best 4K TVs on the market in regards to responsiveness.
This TCL set comes with a pair of 8 watt speakers so the maximum volume won't always reach the levels users may desire. As a result this TV set is probably better suited to smaller rooms where the sound won't need to travel very far and these limitations wouldn't have much of an adverse impact.
Bass is also not up at the levels they probably should be. All in all, although the sound is passable, it wouldn't be the worst idea for users to invest in a good quality sound bar to enhance the audio experience.
This TCL TVs greatest features are the smart TV elements it has on offer. The Roku interface is state of the art, user friendly, and the app selection is varied and intriguing. Truly one of the best smart TV experiences on the market to date.
Although the remote control provided with this TV set does not contain a microphone allowing voice control, you are able to add this functionality by downloading the Roku app to your smartphone. You'll be able to complete basic search functions, without the inclusion of more advanced features you may find in an Amazon Alexa device for example.
You are able to pair separate Amazon Alexa and Google Home devices to the TV to provide additional voice interaction and smart home features.
Those who are familiar with Roku streaming devices will recognise the remote instantly - as it's the exact same remote you will get with this TCL TV set. The controller comes in the form of a pill shape of sorts, has a directional pad and other basic button controls.
Unfortunately the remote is powered by infrared which is disappointing in 2020. A Bluetooth connection would have been much more desirable, which would alleviate the need to directly point the remote towards the TV to operate it successfully.
The TCL 4 Series Roku TV 55S425 is a value for money 4K TV that offers good functionality. It does make a few compromises in regards to motion blur and its HDR capability. However, there is no denying that the TV overall offers the best bang for your buck compared to most 4K TVs with the same specifications. A fantastic bargain for anyone looking for an entry level 4K TV for their home.
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