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    Table of Contents
  1. Intro
  2. Design
    1. Stand
    2. Back
    3. Borders
    4. Thickness
    5. Temperature
    6. Build Quality
  3. Picture Quality
    1. Contrast
    2. Local Dimming
    3. SDR Peak Brightness
    4. HDR Peak Brightness
    5. Gray Uniformity
    6. Viewing Angle
    7. Black Uniformity
    8. Gradient
    9. Pre Calibration
    10. Post Calibration
    11. 480p Input
    12. 720p Input
    13. 1080p Input
    14. 4k Input
    15. Color Gamut
    16. Color Volume
    17. Image Retention
    18. Reflections
    19. 3D
    20. Pixels
  4. Motion
    1. Motion Blur
    2. Image Flicker
    3. 24p Playback
    4. Motion Interpolation
  5. Inputs
    1. Input Lag
    2. Supported Resolutions
    3. Side Inputs
    4. Rear Inputs
    5. Total Inputs
    6. Inputs Specifications
  6. Sound Quality
    1. Frequency Response
    2. Distortion
  7. Smart Features
    1. Interface
    2. Ads
    3. Apps and Features
    4. Remote
    5. Remote App
    6. TV Controls
    7. In The Box
    8. Misc
  8. Sizes and Variants
  9. Compared
  10. Conclusion
  11. Q&A
Reviewed on Jul 10, 2017 , Ian Cumming, Mehdi Azzabi, Martin Leduc, Eric Bousquet

TCL S Series 4k 2017 S405
TV REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.1
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Test Benches:

  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2015
  • 0.9: Winter 2014
  • 0.8: Winter 2013
7.2 Mixed Usage
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What it is General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
Score components:
Recommended if under (USD)
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What it is: Maximum price to be a better value than its competitors.
How to use it: This product is the best choice in its range if you can find it below this price.
Automatically calculated every hour based on the scores and prices of all other products we've tested.
: $360
Value for price beaten by
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What it is: Product with the best value in this price range
Other best choice in a cheaper price range
Other best choice in a pricier price range
Automatically updated every hour based on the scores and prices of all other products we've tested.
: none
6.8 Movies
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What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
Score components:
6.9 TV Shows
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What it is TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
Score components:
6.8 Sports
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What it is Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
Score components:
8.2 Video Games
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What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
6.7 HDR Movies
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What it is HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
7.6 HDR Gaming
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What it is HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
7.6 PC Monitor
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What it is PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
Type : LED
Resolution : 4k
Refresh Rate : 60 Hz

The TCL S405 is a good entry-level 4k Roku TV with decent picture quality and motion. It has low input lag and little motion blur, making it a great pick for video games. Unfortunately, though, its viewing angle is quite narrow, and it doesn't get very bright, making it less suitable for well-lit environments.

This TV is currently our best Value for Size under $500.
Test Results
Design 6.5
Picture Quality 7.1
Motion 7.1
Inputs 9.4
Sound Quality 5.8
Smart Features 7.7
Pros
  • Very low input lag
  • Great contrast, blacks are deep
  • Low motion blur keeps fast content clear
Cons
  • Doesn't get very bright
  • Picture quality deteriorates at an angle
Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.
Update 7/18/2017: It was discovered that 4:4:4 color is only properly displayed in PC mode. The TV forces PC mode when it detects a PC input. The review has been updated.

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6.5

Design

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Score components: Subjectively assigned
TCL S405 Design Picture
Curved : No

The design of the TCL S405 is quite basic and in line with other TCL TVs such as the US5800 from 2016. It has a wide stand which requires quite a large table but supports the TV well.   

Stand
TCL S405 Stand Picture

The stand does a good job of holding the TV steady but is made of plastic. It feels quite cheap but does support the TV well.

Footprint of the 43" TV stand: 7.8" x 30.2"

Back
TCL S405 Back Picture
Wall Mount : Vesa 100x100

The rear of the TV is simple, with a metallic top half and plastic body.

Update 11/20/2017: Note that the different sizes of the TV have different VESA mounts. The 49" (49S405) and 55" (55S405) have a 200x200 VESA mount, and the 65" (65S405) has a 300x300 VESA mount.

Borders
TCL S405 Borders Picture
Borders : 0.39" (1.0 cm)

The borders have an average thickness but look fine. There is a bit of a gap before the beginning of the picture.

Thickness
TCL S405 Thickness Picture
Max Thickness : 2.91" (7.4 cm)

The TV has an average thickness when viewed from the side. It will stick out a bit if wall mounted.

Temperature
TCL S405 Temperature picture
Maximum Temperature
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What it is: The peak temperature found on the TV.
When it matters: If the TV is placed in an enclosed space.
Good value: <35°C
Noticeable difference: 5°C
:
37 °C
Average Temperature
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What it is: The average temperature measured on the TV.
When it matters: If the TV is placed in an enclosed space.
Good value: <35°C
Noticeable difference: 5°C
:
33 °C

The TV's screen stays fairly cool, but a few spots along the back get warm to the touch, though never warm enough to cause any problems.

6.5 Build Quality
TCL S405 Build quality picture

The build quality of the S405 is decent. The top half of the back is metal, but the bulk of the TV is plastic (including the borders). This won't present problems during use but doesn't feel as premium as other high end TVs, or even the LeEco Super4.

7.1

Picture Quality

The TCL S Series 4k LED TV has a better than average picture quality. When set in a dark room, blacks look deep and dark scenes from movies are reproduced very well thanks to the great native contrast ratio and the excellent black uniformity. When set in a bright room with more lighting, the S405 can't really overcome glare since it can't get very bright and can't deal very well with reflections. The viewing angle is also not that good and the best picture quality is only reserved for a narrow zone in front of the TV. The gray uniformity could be better and dirty screen effect is noticeable. Finally, HDR is average and the lack of a wide color gamut, low HDR peak brightness, and lack of local dimming doesn't make HDR content stand out.

8.4 Contrast
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What it is: Brightness difference between white and black. This is the main component of picture quality.
When it matters: Always, but especially when watching dark scenes.
Score components:
TCL S405 Checkerboard Picture
Native Contrast
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What it is: Ratio of the white brightness divided by the blacks measured on our checkerboard test pattern with a white target of 100 cd/m².
When it matters: Dark scenes in a dark room.
Good value: > 3,000
Noticeable difference: 500
:
4171 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
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What it is: Ratio of the white brightness divided by the blacks measured on our checkerboard test pattern with local dimming turned on (maximum) with a white target of 100 cd/m².
When it matters: Dark scenes in a dark room.
Good value: > 3,000
Noticeable difference: 500
:
N/A

The TCL S405 has a very good native contrast ratio for a LED TV. With over a 4000:1, the S405 contrast ratio is over what we consider to be a good value for a TV and will procure deep enough blacks to make dark scene pleasant to watch, especially when the TV is set in a bright room. In comparison, this is a small improvement over the 2016 TCL US5800.

0 Local Dimming
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What it is: The lights behind the LCD layer adapt to the picture displayed, improving the contrast ratio.
When it matters: Dark scenes viewed in a dark room.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Local Dimming
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What it is: Whether it has a feature that controls the LEDs behind the LCD layer, to match the picture and darkens the dark portion of it.
When it matters: On LED TVs only. Dark scenes viewed in a dark room.
:
No
Backlight
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What it is: Configuration of the lights of the backlight.
When it matters: Effectiveness of the local dimming.
Good value: Full-array/direct lighting is better for local dimming. As for the uniformity of the screen, it depends on the implementation. Some edge-lit TVs have more uniform blacks than some full-array TVs.
:
Direct

The TCL S405 does not have a local dimming feature. The video is for reference only.

5.5 SDR Peak Brightness
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What it is: How bright the screen can get. Measured with local dimming and with SDR content.
When it matters: Bright living rooms; bright objects; SDR content.
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
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What it is: The maximum luminosity the TV can obtain while playing a movie or while watching a TV show. Our Real Scene was selected to represent a more regular movie condition. All measurements are made with the TV set to be as bright as possible, but with a 6500k white. Measured with local dimming on, max backlight and with an SDR signal. Scene: here.
When it matters: When watching movies and TV shows in SDR.
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
161 cd/m2
SDR Peak 2% Window
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What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 2% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: Bright highlights, present on screen for a short time
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
190 cd/m2
SDR Peak 10% Window
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What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 10% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: Bright objects, present on screen for a short time
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
190 cd/m2
SDR Peak 25% Window
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What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 25% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: When watching in a bright room.
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
191 cd/m2
SDR Peak 50% Window
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What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 50% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: When watching in a bright room.
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
191 cd/m2
SDR Peak 100% Window
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What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 100% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: When watching in a bright room.
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
191 cd/m2
SDR Sustained 2% Window
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What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 2% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: Bright highlights, persistent during a scene.
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
189 cd/m2
SDR Sustained 10% Window
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What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 10% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: Bright objects, persistent during a scene.
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
190 cd/m2
SDR Sustained 25% Window
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What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 25% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: When watching in a bright room.
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
191 cd/m2
SDR Sustained 50% Window
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What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 50% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: When watching in a bright room.
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
191 cd/m2
SDR Sustained 100% Window
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What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 100% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: When watching in a bright room.
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
191 cd/m2
SDR ABL
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What it is: The standard deviation of the SDR sustained brightness, after linearizing for noticeable differences in luminosity
When it matters: Content with large bright areas, such as for PC or video game use, and sports such as hockey
Good value: <0.07
Noticeable difference: 0.01
:
0.001

Plot over time

Disappointing SDR peak brightness, good enough for a moderately lit room but not bright enough for a well lit room. The brightness does remain unchanged no matter the scene shown, which is good. The edges of the screen are slightly dimmer than the center, as seen by the lower real scene brightness. This brightness is very similar to the lower tier TCL S305, but a lot less than the next tier P607.

4.8 HDR Peak Brightness
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What it is: How bright the screen can get. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright living rooms; bright objects; HDR content.
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
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What it is: The maximum luminosity the TV can obtain while playing a movie or while watching a TV show. This scene was selected to represent a more realistic movie condition. All measurement are made with the TV set to be as bright as possible, but with a 6500k white. Measured with local dimming, max backlight and over HDR signal. Scene: here.
When it matters: When watching movies or watching TV show in HDR.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
169 cd/m2
HDR Peak 2% Window
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What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 2% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright highlights, present on screen for a short time; especially for HDR content.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
189 cd/m2
HDR Peak 10% Window
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What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 10% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright objects, present on screen for a short time; especially for HDR content.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
190 cd/m2
HDR Peak 25% Window
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What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 25% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright rooms; bright objects in HDR video.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
190 cd/m2
HDR Peak 50% Window
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What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 50% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright rooms.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
190 cd/m2
HDR Peak 100% Window
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What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 100% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright rooms.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
191 cd/m2
HDR Sustained 2% Window
Show Help
What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 2% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright highlights, persistent throughout a scene; especially for HDR content.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
189 cd/m2
HDR Sustained 10% Window
Show Help
What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 10% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright objects, persistent throughout a scene; especially for HDR content.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
190 cd/m2
HDR Sustained 25% Window
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What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 25% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright rooms; bright objects in HDR video.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
190 cd/m2
HDR Sustained 50% Window
Show Help
What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 50% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright rooms.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
190 cd/m2
HDR Sustained 100% Window
Show Help
What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 100% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright rooms.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
191 cd/m2
HDR ABL
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What it is: The standard deviation of the HDR sustained brightness, after linearizing for noticeable differences in luminosity
When it matters: HDR content with large bright areas, such as HDR gaming
Good value: <0.07
Noticeable difference: 0.01
:
0.001

Plot over time

Bad HDR peak brightness, highlights in HDR will not be shown much brighter than the rest of the scene. The brightness does remain consistent no matter the scene due to the TV's lack of CE dimming, which is good. This brightness is a lot lower than the more expensive TCL P607.

7.1 Gray Uniformity
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What it is: Evenness of colors onscreen (not just gray).
When it matters: Solid colors. Sports, panning shots.
Score components:
TCL S405 50% Uniformity Picture
50% Std. Dev.
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What it is: Average squared difference of pixels when displaying a mid 50% gray.
When it matters: Solid colors. Sports, panning shots.
Good value: < 2.5%
Noticeable difference: 1%
:
3.112 %
50% DSE
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What it is: High-frequency variance of uniformity. Dark spots on the screen.
When it matters: Solid colors. Sports, panning shots.
Good value: < 0.165%
Noticeable difference: 0.025%
:
0.195 %
TCL S405 5% Uniformity Picture
5% Std. Dev.
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What it is: Average squared difference of pixels when displaying a mid 5% gray.
When it matters: Dark scenes.
Good value: < 1.15%
Noticeable difference: 1%
:
1.872 %
5% DSE
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What it is: High-frequency variance of uniformity. Dark spots on the screen.
When it matters: Dark scenes.
Good value: < 0.116%
:
0.115 %

The S Series gray uniformity could be better and a lot of the uniformity problems come from the edge of the screen being a bit darker than the center, especially the corners. There is also a large darker band on the top of the screen with some smaller vertical one that is a bit warmer/dirtier than the rest of the screen. Dirty screen effect is visible when watching some specific content like hockey of football, where there are large panning shots over a uniform surface. For normal content like movies or TV show, dirty screen effect is less of a problem though.

Looking at our 5% test picture, we can see that both sides are a bit brighter than the center, but this is not really a uniformity problem, but more a visual effect due to the narrow viewing angle.

4.6 Viewing Angle
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What it is: Color accuracy when viewed from the side.
When it matters: Large living rooms with multiple viewing positions.
Score components:
LCD Type
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What it is: Type of LCD technology used by the TV.
When it matters: Different technologies have different viewing angle properties.
Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle.
:
VA
TCL S405 Color Shift Picture
Color Shift
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What it is: Angle where the colors noticeable shift compared to when viewed from directly in front of the TV. 0 ° means directly facing the TV. Measurements are up to a maximum of 75 °.
When it matters: Large living rooms with multiple viewing positions.
Good value: > 50°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
16 °
TCL S405 Brightness Picture
Brightness
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What it is: Angle where the brightness drops to 50% of the brightness directly in front of the TV. 0 ° means directly facing the TV. Measurements are up to a maximum of 75 °.
When it matters: Large living rooms with multiple viewing positions.
Good value: > 50°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
41 °
TCL S405 Black Level Picture
Black Level
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What it is: Angle where the black level drops to 50% of the black level directly in front of the TV. 0 ° means directly facing the TV. Measurements are up to a maximum of 75 °.
When it matters: Large living rooms with multiple viewing positions.
Good value: > 50°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
11 °

Bad viewing angle, but fairly typical for a TV with a VA panel. Blacks become gray and colors shift when the TV is viewed from even a small angle, while brightness decreases more gradually at an angle. This TV is not well suited for a room where people will be often viewing the TV from the side.

7.7 Black Uniformity
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What it is: Evenness of blacks.
When it matters: Dark scenes viewed in a dark room.
Score components:
TCL S405 Native Black Uniformity Picture
Native Std. Dev.
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What it is: Average of the squared difference of the blacks.
When it matters: Dark scenes viewed in a dark room.
Good value: < 1%
Noticeable difference: 1%, but keep in mind that it varies a lot by unit, even of the same model; yours likely will not end up exactly like ours.
:
0.96 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
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What it is: Average of the squared difference of the blacks with Local Dimming enabled
When it matters: Dark scenes viewed in a dark room.
Good value: < 1%
Noticeable difference: 1%, but keep in mind that it varies a lot by unit, even of the same model; yours likely will not end up exactly like ours.
:
N/A

The native black uniformity of the TCL S405 is very good. Looking at the black uniformity test picture, we can see some clouding near the top and bottom edge but luckily, this is really faint and does not really affect our test result and also it did not show up in dark scene while looking at regular video content. Note that here, the black level of the test picture doesn't look that deep, but here the test is evaluating the uniformity of the screen and not the black level.

9.2 Gradient
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What it is: How finely levels of color can be displayed.
When it matters: Details in shadows, sky and skin tones. Matters more for HDR content.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
TCL S405 Gradient Picture
Color Depth
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What it is: Number of bits per pixel to represent a specific color. Note: we consider 8-bit with dithering to be equivalent to 10-bit, as long as the 10-bit gradient looks smooth.
When it matters: HDR content like UHD Blu-ray players. Won't matter for cable TV, regular Blu-ray movies, video game consoles or content displayed from a Windows PC. Those are limited to 8-bit color.
Good value: 10-bit.
Noticeable difference: 1 bit.
:
10 Bit

The S405 can display our test gradient very smoothly and without any banding normally seen on 8-bit panels. Some little imperfection can be seen on the dark green and toward the end of the dark grayscale, but this is very minimal. Banding in HDR movies was not a problem and the performance is very good overall.

8.0 Pre Calibration
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What it is: TV's color accuracy before a full calibration. Only the picture mode, color temperature, and backlight level were changed.
When it matters: All video on an uncalibrated TV. This represents most people's use cases.
Score components:
TCL S405 Pre Calibration Picture TCL S405 Pre Gamma Curve Picture TCL S405 Pre Color Picture
White Balance dE
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What it is: Average inaccuracy of shades of gray.
When it matters: Overall color temperature of all video.
Good value: < 3
Noticeable difference: 1
:
2.95
Color dE
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What it is: Average inaccuracy of colors.
When it matters: All colors.
Good value: < 3
Noticeable difference: 1
:
2.08
Gamma
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What it is: Brightness of shades of gray.
When it matters: Shadows.
Good value: Between 2.1 and 2.3 (our target is 2.2)
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
2.24

Out of the box, the TCL S405 accuracy is impressive and for most people, even enthusiasts, it would be very hard to notice the little inaccuracies. Overall, the colors are tracking their target pretty well and the white balance and gamma too, which is pretty good. At this level of accuracy, a calibration would not be needed and could be used as is in most case.

9.7 Post Calibration
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What it is: TV's color accuracy after a full calibration with a spectrophotometer.
When it matters: All video on a TV that has been professionally calibrated. This isn't that useful, because most TVs can achieve a pretty good calibration if you spend enough time on them.
Score components:
TCL S405 Post Calibration Picture TCL S405 Post Gamma Curve Picture TCL S405 Post Color Picture
White Balance dE
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What it is: Average inaccuracy of shades of gray.
When it matters: Overall color temperature of all videos.
Good value: < 3
Noticeable difference: 1
:
0.29
Color dE
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What it is: Average inaccuracy of colors.
When it matters: All colors.
Good value: < 3
Noticeable difference: 1
:
0.48
Gamma
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What it is: Brightness of shades of gray.
When it matters: Shadows.
Good value: Between 2.1 and 2.3 (our target is 2.2)
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
2.2

After calibration, the TCL S405 is one of the most accurate TV we ever reviewed. At this level of accuracy, most imperfections are not even noticeable. Since the TV was already very accurate out of the box, the calibration was done in a breeze and no real issues came up during the process.

Like other TCL TVs, the calibration is only possible via the mobile apps and is one of the easiest methods available from all the major brand of TV we have worked with. The 11 points white balance control and the color space control are fairly responsive and procure a very easy way to do the calibration.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0 480p Input
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What it is: Quality of a 480p input.
When it matters: Standard definition TV, DVDs.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
TCL S405 480p Picture

Upscaling of low-quality content such as DVDs is good. As with other TCL TVs, the image isn't too soft and details are preserved.

8.0 720p Input
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What it is: Quality of a 720p input.
When it matters: HD channels, some streaming videos.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
TCL S405 720p Picture

720p sources such as cable are upscaled well. Details remain clear.

9.0 1080p Input
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What it is: Quality of a 1080p input.
When it matters: Blu-rays, streaming video, video files, video games.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
TCL S405 1080p Picture

1080p content such as Blu-rays look sharp and detailed.

10 4k Input
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What it is: Quality of a 4k UHD input.
When it matters: Streaming video, UHD Blu-rays, some PCs.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
TCL S405 4k Picture

No issues can be seen with native 4k content.

7.3 Color Gamut
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What it is: How many colors the TV can display.
When it matters: HDR content. Includes some streaming videos and UHD Blu-rays.
Score components:
Wide Color Gamut
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What it is: Whether the TV has an option to enable wide color gamuts.
When it matters: HDR content. Includes some streaming videos and UHD Blu-rays.
:
No
TCL S405 Color Gamut DCI-P3 Picture
DCI P3 xy
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What it is: Coverage of the DCI P3 colorspace on CIE 1931 xy.
When it matters: DCI P3 content. Includes HDR, UHD Blu-rays.
Good value: > 90%
Noticeable difference: 5%
:
81.43 %
DCI P3 uv
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What it is: Coverage of the DCI P3 colorspace on CIE 1976 u' v'.
When it matters: DCI P3 content. Includes HDR, UHD Blu-rays.
Good value: > 90%
Noticeable difference: 5%
:
87.72 %
TCL S405 Color Gamut Rec.2020 Picture
Rec 2020 xy
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What it is: Coverage of the Rec.2020 colorspace on CIE 1931 xy.
When it matters: Rec.2020 content. Includes HDR, UHD Blu-rays.
Good value: > 90%
Noticeable difference: 5%
:
58.66 %
Rec 2020 uv
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What it is: Coverage of the Rec.2020 colorspace on CIE 1976 u' v'.
When it matters: Rec.2020 content. Includes HDR, UHD Blu-rays.
Good value: > 90%
Noticeable difference: 5%
:
64.85 %
TCL S405 EOTF

Narrow color gamut, only good enough for SDR content. The true color gamut is shown by the maximum red, green and blue in the Rec 2020 gamut picture. All other colors in the Rec 2020 picture, and all the P3 colors are shown horribly undersaturated, likely because the TV is prioritizing brightness over color accuracy because the TV is so dim. These tests were done at 75% brightness stimulus; shown here and here are tests done at a dimmer 50% stimulus that have much better accuracy. Most colors in HDR content will be at a dim stimulus and have decent accuracy, but very bright colors will have poor accuracy.

The TV's EOTF follows the HDR PQ curve fairly closely until 50% stimulus grey, where it rolls off very early to ease the transition to the TV's low peak brightness. This test was done with the 'Gamma' set to '2.0' in the TV's advanced picture settings in the Roku app; at the default 'Gamma' of '2.2' the EOTF was dimmer than the PQ curve, shown here, and shown here with 'Game Mode' enabled. Users can change this 'Gamma' setting to suit the brightness of their room.

6.1 Color Volume
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What it is: How many colors a TV can display at different luminosity levels.
When it matters: HDR content. Includes some streaming videos, UHD Blu-rays and HDR games.
TCL S405 P3 Color Volume ITP Picture
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
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What it is: How much of the DCI-P3 colorspace a TV can display at different luminosity levels
When it matters: HDR content. Includes some streaming videos, UHD Blu-rays and HDR games.
Good value: 80%
Noticeable difference: 5%
:
67.7 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
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What it is: How much of the DCI-P3 colorspace a TV can display at different luminosity levels when compared to an ideal 10,000 nit TV
When it matters: HDR content. Includes some streaming videos, UHD Blu-rays and HDR games.
:
21.8 %
TCL S405 2020 Color Volume ITP Picture
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
Show Help
What it is: How much of the Rec. 2020 colorspace a TV can display at different luminosity levels
When it matters: HDR content. Includes some streaming videos, UHD Blu-rays and HDR games.
Good value: 80 %
Noticeable difference: 5 %
:
55.1 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
Show Help
What it is: How much of the Rec 2020 colorspace a TV can display at different luminosity levels when compared to an ideal 10,000 nit TV
When it matters: HDR content. Includes some streaming videos, UHD Blu-rays and HDR games.
:
17.7 %

Disappointing color volume. The TV's color gamut narrows significantly when showing very dark saturated colors, which is visible in both color volumes. The color gamut remains full for bright saturated Rec 2020 colors, but the gamut narrows significantly when showing bright P3 colors, likely due to the TV's tone mapping prioritizing brightness over color accuracy because the TV is so dim.

10 Image Retention
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What it is: How much a static image is retained on a TV screen after a certain amount of time.
When it matters: When watching TV show, playing video games or when using your TV as a PC monitor.
TCL S405 Image Retention Picture
IR after 0 min recovery
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What it is: Image retention measured right after the static image exposure, without recovery time.
When it matters: When changing channels while watching TV, right after changing the type of content (i.e. stopping playing video game to watch a movie) or changing input.
Good value: 0 is perfect.
Noticeable difference: 0.015%
:
0 %
IR after 2 min recovery
Show Help
What it is: Image retention measured after a recovery time of 2 minutes.
When it matters: When changing channels while watching TV, right after changing the type of content (i.e. stopping playing video game to watch a movie) or changing input.
Good value: 0 is perfect
Noticeable difference: 0.015%
:
0 %
IR after 4 min recovery
Show Help
What it is: Image retention measured after a recovery time of 4 minutes.
When it matters: When changing channels while watching TV, right after changing the type of content (i.e. stopping playing video game to watch a movie) or changing input.
Good value: 0 is perfect.
Noticeable difference: 0.015%
:
0 %
IR after 6 min recovery
Show Help
What it is: Image retention measured after a recovery time of 6 minutes.
When it matters: When changing channels while watching TV, right after changing the type of content (i.e. stopping playing video game to watch a movie) or changing input.
Good value: 0 is perfect.
Noticeable difference: 0.015%
:
0 %
IR after 8 min recovery
Show Help
What it is: Image retention measured after a recovery time of 8 minutes.
When it matters: When changing channels while watching TV, right after changing the type of content (i.e. stopping playing video game to watch a movie) or changing input.
Good value: 0 is perfect.
Noticeable difference: 0.015%
:
0 %
IR after 10 min recovery
Show Help
What it is: Image retention measured after a recovery time of 10 minutes.
When it matters: When changing channels while watching TV, right after changing the type of content (i.e. stopping playing video game to watch a movie) or changing input.
Good value: 0 is perfect.
Noticeable difference: 0.015%
:
0 %

No image retention could be detected on the TCL S405 and this is in line with other TVs that use VA panels.

7.0 Reflections
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What it is: How much light is reflected by the TV.
When it matters: Bright rooms.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
TCL S405 Reflections Picture TCL S405 Bright Room Picture
Reflection
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What it is: Ratio of ambient light reflected by the TV.
When it matters: Ambient light in the room.
Good value: < 1%
Noticeable difference: 0.5%
:
2.4 %
Screen Finish
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What it is: Type of coating on the screen.
When it matters: Bright objects in the direct reflection path (for example, opposite the TV).
Good value: Glossy is good for ambient light, but not for direct reflections.
:
Semi-gloss

The reflection handling of the TCL S Series is okay. It has a semi-gloss finish which causes reflections to appear larger, diffused across the screen. This does help to reduce their intensity slightly though. For an average room it's ok, but in a bright room, the reflections are distracting.

0 3D
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What it is: Optional 3D video capability on TV.
When it matters: 3D movies and videos.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
3D
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What it is: If it can display a picture in 3D.
When it matters: 3D movies & videos.
:
No
3D Type
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What it is: The 3D technology used by the TV.
When it matters: 3D movies & videos.
Good value: Active have better resolution, but flickers. Passive is more comfortable, but loses half the vertical resolution.
:
No
2D to 3D
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What it is: Feature that converts 2D content to 3D.
When it matters: If you want to watch 2D content in 3D. Note that the quality is not as good as that of native 3D.
:
No

The TCL S405 does not support 3D as the rest of TCL lineup.

Pixels
7.1

Motion

The motion performance of the S405 is decent. The response time is great, resulting in a very short trail following fast moving objects. The image flickers at all backlight settings, but since the backlight flickers at 120Hz, this is not noticeable for most people. Black frame insertion cannot be used with this TV, so fast motion will always be affected by some eye tracking blur. This TV can play 24p movies without judder, but some minor judder can be seen when playing movies from 60 fps sources, which is not noticeable to most people. The S405 offers no motion interpolation options, so it cannot produce smoothed video, also know as the soap opera effect.

8.2 Motion Blur
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What it is: Amount of blur on fast movement.
When it matters: Sports, video games.
Score components:
TCL S405 Motion Blur Picture TCL S405 Response Time Chart
80% Response Time
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What it is: How quickly pixels can reach 80% of a full transition from one color to another.
When it matters: Fast movement.
Good value: < 8 ms
Noticeable difference: 4 ms
:
6.3 ms
100% Response Time
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What it is: How quickly pixels can fully transition from one color to another.
When it matters: Fast movement.
Good value: < 20 ms
Noticeable difference: 10 ms
:
14.4 ms

The response time is great, resulting in only a short trail following fast-moving objects. This is a noticeable improvement over TCL 4K TVs from 2016, the US5800 and UP130, and is better than the S305 from 2017.

2.8 Image Flicker
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What it is: Luminosity pattern when displaying images
When it matters: Sports, video games, when TV is used as a PC monitor
Score components:
TCL S405 Backlight Picture
PWM Dimming Frequency
Show Help
What it is: Flickering pattern at different luminosities.
When it matters: For people sensitive to flickering.
Good value: N/A or high frequencies (> 300 Hz). Frequencies that are multiples of 60Hz are better.
:
120 Hz
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
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What it is: Option to turn screen black between frames
When it matters: Reduces eye tracking blur in sports or video games
Good value: Yes
:
No
BFI Frequency
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What it is: Lowest possible frequency of flickering pattern
When it matters: Reduces eye tracking blur in sports or video games
Good value: 60 Hz
:
120 Hz
BFI In Game Mode
Show Help
What it is: Option to insert black frames when in the best settings for gaming
When it matters: Reducing eye tracking blur for video games
Good value: Yes
:
No

The TV uses PWM at 120Hz to dim the backlight, starting at 100/100 backlight setting. Lowering the setting shortens the duty cycle, while amplitude remains constant. Backlight PWM results in duplications following fast-moving objects, visible in the motion blur box. Unfortunately, the S405 has no option to reduce the flicker frequency and use black frame insertion to clear up fast-paced content, similar to other TCL TVs.

7.1 24p Playback
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What it is: Whether 24p content can play without any judder.
When it matters: Only 24p content (mostly just movies).
Judder-free 24p
Show Help
What it is: Judder-free movies over 24p signal.
When it matters: Blu-ray and DVD movies; 24 hz PC signal.
:
Yes
Judder-free 24p via 60p
Show Help
What it is: Judder-free movies over 60p signal.
When it matters: Movies from streaming devices (Apple TV, Fire TV, etc.); 60 hz PC signal.
:
No
Judder-free 24p via 60i
Show Help
What it is: Judder-free movies over 60i signal.
When it matters: Movies from cable/satellite boxes.
:
No

Like the 2017 TCL P607 and 2016 TCL US5800, the S405 can only display without judder 24p movies when they are played from 24 sources like DVDs or Blu-rays. 24p Movies playing from 60p/60i sources like cable or satellite boxes will have some judder.

There is not specific feature or option needed to be turn on to remove judder from 24p movies on 24p sources, as the TV detect and display them correctly.

0 Motion Interpolation
Show Help
What it is: Also known as 'Soap Opera Effect'. It is an optional feature that increases the frame rate of the video, smoothing movement.
When it matters: If you like the look of smoothed video. Not everyone does.
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
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What it is: Whether the TV can take a 30 fps input and heighten the frame rate to at least 60 fps.
When it matters: 30 fps or lower videos. Includes movies, TV shows, some video games.
:
No
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
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What it is: Whether the TV can take a 60 fps input and heighten the frame rate to at least 100 fps.
When it matters: 60 fps videos. Includes some video games, some sports channels.
:
No

The S405 is unable to produce motion interpolation, so fans of the soap opera effect could be disappointed.

9.4

Inputs

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Score components:

The S405 can display nearly any content, including HDR. However, its chroma 4:2:0 support is inconsistent. It has outstanding low input lag, good enough even for competitive gamers.

9.6 Input Lag
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What it is: Delay between input and onscreen reaction.
When it matters: Video games; when TV is used as PC monitor.
4k @ 60Hz
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag possible on TV when displaying 4k @ 60Hz.
When it matters: Video games and also when TV is used as PC monitor.
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
14.9 ms
1080p @ 60Hz
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag possible on TV with a 1080p @ 60Hz input.
When it matters: Video games and also when TV is used as PC monitor.
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
14.6 ms
4k @ 60Hz + HDR
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag possible on TV when displaying 4k @ 60Hz with HDR.
When it matters: HDR Video games.
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
14.9 ms
1080p @ 60Hz + HDR
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag possible on the TV when displaying 1080p @ 60Hz with HDR.
When it matters: HDR video games from a console outputting a 1080p signal.
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
15.0 ms
4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
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What it is: Lowest input lag possible on the TV when displaying 4k @ 60Hz in a fully featured picture mode.
When it matters: For playing video games while retaining access to all features of the TV.
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
32.5 ms
1080p @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag possible on the TV when displaying 1080p @ 60Hz in a fully featured picture mode.
When it matters: For playing video games while retaining access to all features of the TV.
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
48.3 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag possible on TV when displaying 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4.
When it matters: PC Monitor
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
15.1 ms
1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag possible on TV when displaying 1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
When it matters: PC monitor.
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
14.9 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + 8 bit HDR
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag possible on TV when displaying 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 with HDR enabled at 8 bit
When it matters: PC Monitor with an HDR capable graphic card
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
15.1 ms
1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + HDR
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag possible on TV when displaying 1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 with HDR
When it matters: PC monitor with an HDR capable graphics card
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
15.0 ms
4k With Interpolation
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag for 4k content when the motion interpolation feature is turned on.
When it matters: When you want to play video games with the Soap Opera Effect enabled.
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
N/A
1080p With Interpolation
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag for 1080p content when the motion interpolation feature is turned on.
When it matters: When you want to play video games with the Soap Opera Effect enabled.
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
N/A
1080p @ 120 Hz
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag possible on TV with a 1080p @ 120Hz input.
When it matters: When the TV is used as PC monitor.
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
N/A

Excellent low input lag, good enough for even competitive gamers. All picture modes have the same low input lag when the 'Game Mode' setting is on, and 4:4:4 color is displayed properly in all modes. This input lag is very similar to the higher tier TCL P607.

Update 07/18/2017: The TV only shows 4:4:4 color properly when in 'PC mode'. For most sources this is accomplished by changing the input's icon to 'Computer'. For a PC, if the TV detects a PC as its source it forces PC mode, and this cannot be avoided except by intercepting the AVI infoframes sent from the PC. The 4:4:4 input lag measurements were in error, but all input lag measurements have now been updated (essentially unchanged).

8.0 Supported Resolutions
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What it is: Different resolutions supported by TV.
When it matters: PC monitor usage.
Score components:
  • 20% 1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
  • 20% 1080p @ 120Hz
  • 20% 4k @ 30Hz @ 4:4:4
  • 20% 4k @ 60Hz
  • 20% 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Show Help
What it is: Crisp text on 1060p @ 60 hz signal.
When it matters: PC productivity and 60 fps gaming.
:
Yes
1080p @ 120Hz
Show Help
What it is: 120 fps 1080p signal supported.
When it matters: PC gaming.
:
No
4k @ 30Hz @ 4:4:4
Show Help
What it is: Crisp text on 4k @ 30 hz signal.
When it matters: PC productivity and gaming.
:
Yes
4k @ 60Hz
Show Help
What it is: 60 fps 4k signal supported.
When it matters: PC productivity and gaming.
:
Yes
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Show Help
What it is: Crisp text on 4k @ 60 hz signal.
When it matters: Productivity and 60 fps gaming in 4k.
:
Yes

Most resolutions are supported. 4k @ 60 Hz is only supported when the HDMI input used is set to HDMI 2.0 in the TV's settings. 4:4:4 color is displayed properly in all picture modes.

The TV's 4:2:0 color support is inconsistent. 4:2:0 isn't displayed properly from some sources, such as a PC (whites turn pink, scanlines), while our HDR Blu-ray player had no such issue. This inconsistency could be a problem for 4k @ 60 Hz sources that only support HDMI 1.4, as 4:2:0 is needed for these sources to remain within the bandwidth cap of HDMI 1.4.

Update 07/18/2017: The TV only shows 4:4:4 color properly when in 'PC mode'. Sharpness also has no effect in PC mode, even though the slider can still be changed. For most sources PC mode is activated by changing the input's icon to 'Computer'. For a PC, if the TV detects a PC as its source it forces PC mode, and this cannot be avoided except by intercepting the AVI infoframes sent from the PC. Changing the input's icon does not avoid this forced PC mode. This behavior was not known during initial testing, leading to the incorrect assumption that 4:4:4 color is displayed properly in all modes.

Side Inputs
Rear Inputs
Total Inputs
HDMI : 3
USB : 1
Digital Optical Audio Out : 1
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm : 1
Analog Audio Out RCA : 0
Component In : 0
Composite In : 1
Tuner (Cable/Ant) : 1
Ethernet : 1
DisplayPort : 0
IR In : 0
SD/SDHC : 0

Inputs Specifications
HDR10
Show Help
What it is: Standard HDR format.
When it matters: Most common format. All UHD Blu-ray discs are required to have it.
:
Yes
Dolby Vision
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What it is: Better format, due to its dynamic nature.
When it matters: Dolby Vision mastered content. Current available from streaming services (Netflix, Amazon Video), some Blu-Ray players, the Apple TV 4k and ChromeCast Ultra.
:
No
5.1 Passthrough ARC Dolby Digital
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What it is: TV can receive and pass Dolby Digital 5.1 signal to receiver via HDMI ARC.
When it matters: 5.1 audio on DVDs and Blu-rays.
:
Yes
5.1 Passthrough ARC DTS
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What it is: TV can receive and pass DTS 5.1 signal to receiver via HDMI ARC.
When it matters: 5.1 audio on DVDs and Blu-rays.
:
Yes
5.1 Passthrough Optical Dolby Digital
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What it is: TV can receive and pass Dolby Digital signal to receiver via digital optical.
When it matters: 5.1 audio on DVDs and Blu-rays.
:
Yes
5.1 Passthrough Optical DTS
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What it is: TV can receive and pass DTS signal to receiver via digital optical.
When it matters: 5.1 audio on DVDs and Blu-rays.
:
Yes
HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwith : Yes (HDMI 1,2,3)
ARC : Yes (HDMI 1)
USB 3 : No
HDCP 2.2 : Yes (HDMI 1,2,3)
CEC : Yes
MHL : No
Variable Analog Audio Out : Yes

Not all features of CEC are supported with all devices. When the TV is powered off CEC capable devices are also powered off, but the TV's remote couldn't be used to navigate the menu of our PlayStation 3 or any other device tested.

5.8

Sound Quality

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What it is: How well and accurately the audio is reproduced.
When it matters: When a good and accurate sound reproduction is needed.
Score components:

The S405 unfortunately sounds quite poor. Even an entry-level soundbar will be a significant upgrade.

5.6 Frequency Response
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What it is: How accurately the sound level of each frequency is being produced.
When it matters: For a balanced and neutral sound.
TCL S405 Frequency Response
Low-Frequency Extension
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What it is: The lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: Movies, Gaming. Shows how extended the bass is.
Good value: < 60Hz
Noticeable difference: 10Hz
:
119.87 Hz
Std. Dev. @ 70
Show Help
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard deviation) in frequency response measured at 70dB SPL, as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: Shows the TV's frequency response at quiet listening levels
Good value: < 4 dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5 dB
:
6.87 dB
Std. Dev. @ 80
Show Help
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard deviation) in frequency response measured at 80dB SPL, as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: Shows the TV's frequency response at moderate listening levels
Good value: < 4 dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5 dB
:
6.82 dB
Std. Dev. @ Max
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What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard deviation) in frequency response measured with the TV at maximum volume, as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: Shows the TV's frequency response at under maximum load
Good value: < 4 dB
Noticeable difference: 2 dB
:
5.75 dB
Max
Show Help
What it is: Maximum volume reached by the TV at their optimum viewing distance (size dependent)
When it matters: For listening to loud audio.
Good value: > 88 dB
Noticeable difference: 2 dB
:
91.5 dB SPL
Dynamic Range Compression
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What it is: The amount of difference between the TVs frequency response performance at 70dB SPL and Max dB SPL. Too much compression will result in pumping in the sound.
When it matters: When an accurate and free-of-pumping performance is required at higher volumes
Good value: < 3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
2.68 dB

Very poor frequency response. The S405 has an incredible overemphasis on lower frequencies causing it to sound quite boomy and imbalanced.

6.4 Distortion
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What it is: Deformation of an output signal compared to its input, usually clipping, harmonic distortion, or inter-modulation distortion caused by non-linear behavior of the sound system.
When it matters: When a clean, pure and transparent reproduction is desired.
Score components:
TCL S405 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80
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What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 80dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at moderate listening levels.
Good value: < 0.100
Noticeable difference: 0.100
:
0.146
Weighted THD @ Max
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What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at the TV's maximum SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at moderate listening levels.
Good value: < 0.100
Noticeable difference: 0.100
:
4.885
IMD @ 80
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What it is: The average amount of inter-modulation distortion produced by the TV under maximum load. The percentage shown here is the average result of 3 separate test signals/standards: SMPTE, DIN, & CCIF
When it matters: When a clean and free of aliasing reproduction is desired
Good value: < 5%
Noticeable difference: 2
:
4.43 %
IMD @ Max
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of inter-modulation distortion produced by the TV under maximum load. The percentage shown here is the average result of 3 separate test signals/standards: SMPTE, DIN, & CCIF
When it matters: When a clean and free of aliasing reproduction is desired
Good value: < 5%
Noticeable difference: 2
:
17.03 %

The S405 has high amounts of THD. It is about average at lower volumes, but it skyrockets when the level is set higher. Unfortunately, the S405 also utilizes a lot of aliasing, making higher volumes better left unused.

7.7

Smart Features

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Score components:
  • 42% Interface
  • 2% Ads
  • 37% Apps and Features
  • 16% Remote
  • 3% Remote App
TCL S405 Smart TV Picture
Smart OS : Roku TV
Version : 7.6

The S405 runs the Roku TV smart platform, which is more simple than other platforms but is very easy to use and has a great app. The interface is remarkably smooth, with little lag or frame drops. The Roku platform doesn't have as many apps as some other platforms, but it has most of the popular ones like Netflix. The remote is very basic and has few buttons, but the Roku app for smartphones and tablets can do many things to the TV, such as changing between apps and inputs, acting as the TV's remote and casting the phone or tablet's own media to the TV.

8.0 Interface
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What it is: The usability, features and performance of the main interface of the TV, not including the interfaces of the apps themselves.
When it matters: Anytime when using the TV, but especially when changing settings and using apps.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Ease of Use
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What it is: How easy the interface is to navigate, affected by the organization of its layout, placing frequently accessed elements in areas that are faster to access, etc.
When it matters: When using the smart features.
:
Easy
Smoothness
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What it is: How smooth the interface is to navigate, affected by lag and frame drops.
When it matters: When using the smart features.
:
Very Smooth
Time Taken to Select YouTube
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What it is: How long it takes to select YouTube for launch, starting from HDMI 1 input, when YouTube is placed first on the list of apps or added as a shortcut. This does not include app launch time, and does not use a fixed YouTube button on a remote. This serves as an indication of the time needed to select any app.
When it matters: When launching any app.
:
4 s
Time Taken to Change Backlight
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What it is: The time it takes to navigate to the 'Backlight' setting ('Brightness' on Sony TVs). This serves as an indication of how long it takes to navigate to basic TV settings.
When it matters: When changing TV settings.
:
4 s
Advanced Options
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What it is: Whether advanced options and settings are available, such as color calibration.
When it matters: When customizing the TV and using the smart features.
:
Many

The Roku interface responds lightning fast, with smooth animations and almost no lag. The column based layout is easy to use, and all lists loop to the bottom when pressing 'up' on the first item, making navigation faster. Unfortunately almost all navigation must pass through the home menu, which adds extra steps to many interactions.

10 Ads
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What it is: Whether or not ads can be found on the TV's smart platform.
When it matters: When using the smart features.
Score components:
Ads
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What it is: Whether the TV's main interface has ads. This does take into account ads in third-party apps.
When it matters: When using the smart features.
:
No
Opt-out
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What it is: Whether you can opt out of the ad services or not. A TV only passes this test if it allows you to remove them completely, not only disable the personalized advertising.
When it matters: When using the smart features.
:
N/A
Suggested Content in Home
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What it is: Whether suggested content appears in the TV's home menu or main menu. Suggested content can include recommended movies, TV shows, YouTube videos etc.
:
Yes
Opt-out of Suggested Content
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What it is: Whether the suggested content feed in the home menu can be removed or hidden
:
No

The main interface has no ads, though third party apps can have ads. You can opt out of personalized advertising for these ads in apps using the TV's 'Limit Ad Tracking' option. The home menu has a large box for suggested content, which can be annoying.

8.0 Apps and Features
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What it is: The usability, features and performance of apps and other smart features.
When it matters: Only when using smart features such as apps, casting and USB playback.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
TCL S405 Apps Picture
App Selection
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What it is: The number and variety of apps available to download for the smart platform.
When it matters: When downloading new apps.
:
Many
App Smoothness
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What it is: How smooth it feels to navigate the interfaces of apps, affected by lag and frame drops.
When it matters: When using apps.
:
Average
Cast Capable
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What it is: Whether apps on a phone or tablet can cast content to the TV.
:
Yes
USB Drive Playback
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What it is: Whether the TV can play content from a drive connected to one of the TV's USB ports.
:
Yes
USB Drive HDR Playback
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What it is: Whether HDR files played from a USB drive can be displayed properly.
:
Yes
HDR in Netflix
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What it is: Whether HDR content on Netflix can be played back in HDR using the native Netflix app.
:
Yes
HDR in Amazon Video
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What it is: Whether HDR content on Amazon Video can be played in HDR using the native Amazon Video app.
:
Yes
HDR in YouTube
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What it is: Whether HDR content on YouTube can be played in HDR using the native YouTube app.
:
Yes

Roku calls its apps 'Streaming Channels', but they work like normal apps. There aren't as many apps for Roku as for some other smart platforms, but most of the popular ones are available such as Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Video. Apps run smoothly with little lag or frame drops, like the rest of the interface.

6.0 Remote
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What it is: The usability and features of the TV's physical remote.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
TCL S405 Remote Picture
Size
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What it is: How big the remote is
:
Small
Voice Control
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What it is: The capabilities of the TV's voice control feature
:
No
CEC Menu Control
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What it is: Whether the remote can act as a universal remote for HDMI CEC enabled devices. This was tested on our Samsung UBD-K8500 4K Blu-ray player, and may not be valid for other CEC devices as implementations vary by manufacturer.
:
No
Other Smart Features
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What it is: Whether the remote has any other smart features, such as a pointer, universal remote support for non HDMI CEC devices, etc.
:
No

The remote is very basic, with only Roku navigation and app buttons, playback control and volume control on the side. It lacks the features found on the higher tier TCL remotes such as a headphone jack and speaker for playing the TV's audio, and the 'Find Remote' feature where the remote makes noise so it can be found. This basic remote is nearly identical to that of the TCL S305 and last year's US5800.

8.0 Remote App
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What it is: The features of the official phone and tablet app for the TV.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
TCL S405 Remote App Picture
Acts as the Remote
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What it is: Whether the remote app can emulate all the buttons of the physical remote.
:
Yes
Launches Apps and Inputs
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What it is: Whether the remote app can launch the TV's apps and change between its inputs.
:
Both
Inputs Text in YouTube
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What it is: Whether the remote app can enter text for YouTube searches.
:
No
Inputs Text in Netflix
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What it is: Whether the remote app can enter text for Netflix searches.
:
Yes
Streams Device Files
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What it is: Whether the remote app can stream files from the phone or tablet to the TV, files such as pictures, music and video.
:
Yes
Controls TV Settings
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What it is: Whether the app can change all or some of the settings on the TV, such as the backlight.
:
Some
Voice Control
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What it is: Whether the remote can send voice commands to the TV.
:
No

The Roku app has more features than most smart TV apps. The TV's calibration settings are in the app itself, not in the TV's interface. The app can also play the TV's sound trough the device running the app, but not for HDMI, composite or antenna input.

TV Controls
TCL S405 Controls Picture

The TV has three buttons on the bottom, which can power on and off the TV, change inputs and change the volume.

In The Box
TCL S405 In The Box Picture

  • Manual
  • Batteries
  • Remote

Misc
Power Consumption : 45 W
Power Consumption (Max) : 70 W
Firmware : 7.6.2 • build 4144-30

Differences between Sizes and Variants

We tested the 43" (43S405). For the most part, we expect our review to be valid for the 49" (49S405), 55" (55S405) and 65" (65S405) versions. 

If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their TCL S405 (S-Series) doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review. The TCL S305 is essentially the same TV, but it features a 1080p or 720p resolution and can be found in smaller sizes.

Update 08/04/2017: The TCL S403 and S401 are nearly identical to the S405, and can be considered equivalent.

Size Model Variant - S403 Variant - S401
43" 43S405 43S403  
49" 49S405 49S403  
55" 55S405 55S403 55S401
65" 65S405 65S403 65S401

Compared to other TVs

TCL S405 Group Shot Picture
Top left: Vizio E Series 2017 (E65-E1). Bottom left: LG UJ6300 (43UJ6300). Middle: TCL S405 (43S405). Top right: Samsung MU6300 (UN55MU6300). Bottom right: TCL P607 (55P607).  Unlike our other photographs, this picture wasn't taken under a controlled environment, so do not draw conclusions from it.

The TCL S405 offers great value for money, since it delivers picture quality and a feature set uncommon for its budget price range.

Vizio E Series 2017
50" 55" 60" 65" 70" 75" 80"

The E Series 2017 is the entry-level 4k Smartcast LED TV from Vizio. It features similar picture quality to the S405 with the addition of a bare-bones local dimming feature. Overall, it is very similar in performance to the TCL, but it has a few shortcomings. It's input lag isn't quite as low, and the Roku smart platform found on the S405 is significantly more powerful and intuitive than the Vizio. Since it is usually found cheaper, the S405 is the better choice.

LG UJ6300
43" 49" 55" 65"

The UJ6300 is a low-end 4k RGBW TV from LG. It has a wider viewing angle than the TCL S405, but comes short in about every other aspect of its performance. While some users might prefer the smart platform found on the LG, it's a far less compelling package usually found at a higher price. Unless your usage requires viewing from an angle, the TCL is a better TV.

Samsung MU6300
40" 43" 50" 55" 65" 75"

The MU6300 is the cheapest 4K TV sold by Samsung. It's a versatile TV with decent capabilities all around, and is notably brighter than the S405. Unfrotunately though, it doesn't offer much to justify the significant price difference between the two TVs, so if you don't require the additional brightness, save your money and go for the S405.

TCL P607
55"

The P607 is a step up in TCL's line of televisions. It features a slew of HDR related features like a wide color gamut and a powerful local dimming feature. Put simply, it is like an upgraded variant of the S405 with no real downside except the price. If you can stretch it, it is worth the upgrade, especially since it is still a fairly affordable TV.

Conclusion
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

7.2Mixed Usage
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What it is General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
Score components:
The TCL S405 is a good TV for a mixed usage. Its picture quality when viewed directly in front is pretty good, and it handles fast motion well. Its low brightness and deterioration of picture quality at an angle makes it a little less versatile though.
6.8Movies
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What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
Score components:
Decent TV for watching movies in a dark room. Can display dark scenes well with a high native contrast ratio, but lacks a local dimming feature to improve picture quality further. Movies from a Blu-ray player or DVD player are smooth.
6.9TV Shows
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What it is TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
Score components:
Below average for watching TV in a bright room. The Roku smart platform works well for casual viewing, but the TV can't get very bright to fight glare and isn't the best at handling reflections. When viewed at an angle, the image accuracy degrades.
6.8Sports
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What it is Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
Score components:
Decent TV for sports. Motion handling is good so very little blur is present but TV can't get bright to fight glare. Decent picture quality from directly in front, but this degrades when viewed at an angle.
8.2Video Games
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What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
Great choice for gamers. Picture quality is decent, but has good motion handling and feels very responsive with low input lag.
6.7HDR Movies
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What it is HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
Supports HDR10 and has decent picture quality, but unfortunately can't produce a wide range of colors or get very bright. Lacks a local dimming feature to improve the dark scene performance.
7.6HDR Gaming
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What it is HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
Great TV for HDR gaming. Decent picture quality, but has great low input lag and can display fast moving content with very little blur.
7.6PC Monitor
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What it is PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
Decent PC monitor. Supports chroma subsampling for clear text across a range of resolutions, but when viewed from up close the edges of the TV lose accuracy.
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Questions & Answers

10 ANSWERED QUESTIONS
10
This TV is dimmer than its P Series counterpart. If I am only looking for one for 4k gaming specifically, and I tend to play in a dark room, is it better to save more for a P Series instead of the S Series?
Both TVs are excellent for gaming in general, but the P607 stands out due to its good HDR capabilities. Even in a dark room, the difference in peak brightness and contrast will be noticeable for highlights. Otherwise, both TVs are evenly matched in terms of input lag and handling of motion, which contributes to making them both good gaming TVs. If you intend to play on modern consoles in the near future and care about HDR content, the P607 is the way to go, otherwise save the money and go with the S405.
5
Just a dumb question but I'm looking at this and the Vizio M Series. How wide is the stand? My table is 38" across. Are any of these wide stand TVs going to fit?
It is not a dumb question at all! The feet of our 43-inch TCL S405 are 30 inches apart, and the feet of our 65-inch Vizio M Series are 51 inches apart. Keeping the same proportions, you could fit up to a 55-inch TCL S405 on your table, but just barely, the feet would be exactly 38 inches apart. A 49-inch model would be safer and fit nicely, with feet 34 inches apart. As for the Vizio M Series, since its feet are closer to the edges of the screen, even the smallest model (50 inches) still has feet that are 39 inches apart, so slightly too wide for your table.
4
I will be using the TV at least half the time watching content (movies, TV shows ect.) from my PC connected by HDMI cable. Will the 4:4:4 color issue when connected to PC (that was noted 7/18/2017) affect the viewing enough that this TV would be a bad choice for my situation. If not are there any setting suggestions.
4:4:4 support is functional but only works when used in the TV's PC mode. This just means that you might need to calibrate or re select your settings for that input for movie watching. In general, 4:4:4 is only important when reading text such as when you are using the TV as a PC monitor. For movies and TV shows, it should not cause issues.
3
How well does this TV take advantage of HDR content? I want to game in 4K HDR... so is there a noticeable difference between running a game with HDR setting on compared to running it with HDR off? What are the nits on this thing? Thanks! :-)
The S405 has a peak brightness of 169 nits in a normal HDR scene. This is the lowest HDR peak brightness we've tested yet, and content viewed in HDR on the S405 tends to look darker than the same content in SDR mode. It is therefore highly preferable to view HDR content on this TV in a dark room. Other options include setting 'Tv brightness' to Brighter and 'Dynamic contrast' to Off, which also helps increase the visibility of darker areas in HDR content on the TCL S405. If it is still too dark, the Roku app can be used to change the Gamma from the default 2.2 to 2.0 or 1.8, which also raises the brightness of darker areas, at the cost of some color accuracy in the brighter areas.
3
With your update to the S405 review concerning the 4:4:4 color, does that change which mode you would recommend for gaming? For example for HDR gaming on a Xbox One S, would it be better to use the PC mode instead of the gaming mode?
It won't make a difference for console gaming. 4:4:4 is only really important if you plan to use your TV as a PC monitor where you'll read a lot of text.
3
I just purchased this TV and I can't get it to run @ 4K 60 HZ with my PC. I tried all three HDMI inputs, and the icon is set to 'computer' Running 4k @ 30 HZ has a ton of input lag and when I change the resolution to 4K 60HZ the screen turns green and purple. Is there something I can do to get 60HZ to work?
It might be due to the TV's HDMI's settings being set to HDMI 1.4 (see our recommended settings). It also might be due to an issue on the S405 with chroma 4:2:0, This might be what you are experiencing if your graphics card does not support HDMI 2.0 and automatically switches its output signal to fit into the bandwidth constraints of HDMI 1.4. If you do have a PC which supports an HDMI 2.0 output, this might also be due to your cable not supporting the full HDMI 2.0 bandwidth. 4k 30hz fits within older the older HDMI 1.4 interface, but HDMI 2.0 is required for 4k 60hz with chroma 4:4:4 for PC use.
1
Does this TV support HDR 10?
Yes. See the Inputs Specifications section of our review for a full list of supported inputs.
1
Hello, This website is great! My question is, what are the differences in the 2016 and 2017 model? I saw on Walmart's website that they are selling the 2016 model for the same price amazon is selling the 2017 model. Also, I went into Target to and saw this TV for the same price as amazon, but the Target employees couldn't tell me if it was a 2017 or 2016 model on display. Is there a difference, or are all the S405's 2017 models?
Thank you for your comments! The TCL S405 came out in 2017, so there are no 2016 S405s. The closest equivalent 2016 model is the TCL US5800. Both TVs look quite similar physically, so the best way to differentiate them is to look at the sticker on the back of the TV. If you're buying a S405 though, it's already certain to be a 2017 model. Also note that the S401 sold at Walmart is the same TV as the S405, barring some minor cosmetic differences.
0
How do you guys feel about TCL as a company? And do you believe their TVs last a long time? I never heard of this company before. And I once purchased a 55 inch Samsung TV that broke on me in a few years. I'm trying my best to minimize my chances of a lemon. Thank you!
We haven't noticed any trends relating to reliability across brands, so we can't really comment on that. Generally though, TVs either break earlier on or many years later, so if it remains functional for the first few months then the risk of having issues in the future is much lower.
0
I have just purchased a TCL 49S405 TV and would like to know where I can get a manual. I would like to know what is the recommended USB to be able to use the pause up to 90 minutes feature and how to do that.
Any USB drive should work for the pause live TV feature if it has at least 16 GB of storage. A good option is the Samsung Fit, the 64 GB version is especially good value. Unfortunately a full manual for the S405 doesn't seem to exist, just a quick start guide, but TCL does provide articles for some features like pause live TV, see here.
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