The TCL UP130 is a budget 4k LCD TV, with above average picture quality. Unfortunately the motion handling is below average and the input lag is also far from ideal. It can't get very bright to deal with reflections, and when viewed at an angle the picture quality degrades rapidly. The Roku smart platform works great though.
- Great contrast ratio for dark scene performance
- Roku smart platform works well
- Visible dirty screen effect
- Picture quality degrades at an angle
- Can't get very bright
The design is an improvement on most TCL TVs. It won't stand out in any room, but still looks better than average. It is a simple plastic TV, with some metallic finishes that look quite good.
- 11% Contrast
- 4% Black Uniformity
- 6% Local Dimming
- 6% HDR Peak Brightness
- 6% SDR Peak Brightness
- 6% Gray Uniformity
- 7% Viewing Angle
- 4% Pre Calibration
- 1% Post Calibration
- 6% 480p Input
- 9% 720p Input
- 11% 1080p Input
- 6% 4k Input
- 4% Color Gamut
- 4% Color Volume
- 2% Gradient
- 1% Image Retention
- 6% Reflections
- 1% 3D
The picture quality is above average for the TCL UP130. The native contrast and the black uniformity are great and should perform really well in a dark room. The coverage of the color gamut is below average but luckily, the TV displays a relatively good color gradient, so banding should not be a problem. Picture quality degrades when viewed at an angle a bit faster than other TVs and finally, the peak brightness is very low, gray uniformity is bad and there is no local dimming feature.
Native contrast ratio is very good. One of the best contrast ratios seen in the budget TV range. Blacks are very deep, resulting in a great dark room performance.
Black uniformity is very good for this TV. No clouding or other problems can be seen on our set whatsoever.
There is no local dimming feature on the TCL UP130. This video is for reference only.
This TV does not support HDR.
Peak brightness performance is not so great. At around 220 cd/m², it will be good enough for a dark environment, but will certainly be lacking in a situation where the TV needs to fight the glare of a bright light or a window
Gray uniformity is bad. All 4 corners are very dark and there is also some vertical bands that are a bit warmer and darker. Dirty screen effect is going to be noticeable in a scene with a big panning shot over an uniform background in a movie, or in sports like hockey or baseball.
Viewing angle is below average. The color and contrast degrades really fast when viewed at an angle, leaving you with a faint and bland image when viewed from the side.
Prior to calibration the TCL UP130 delivers accurate colors and a good white balance which closely follows our target 2.2 gamma curve. This is a great result.
There is no wide color gamut support. Displays Rec. 709 content well, but not suitable for HDR content.
The TCL UP130 has a 10 bit panel. It is not perfect though, because you can see some imperfections in the dark green and also some tints in the grayscale.
The UP130 is average at dealing with reflections. It has a semi-gloss finish which diffuses glare directly on the screen. For an average or dark room, this should not be an issue.
The TCL UP130 doesn't support 3D.
Motion handling is slightly better than average. Fast moving objects appear slightly more clear than average. The TV lacks any motion interpolation features, so those who like the soap opera effect may be disappointed.
Motion performance of the UP130 is slightly better than average, and only a short trail can be seen following the logo. The backlight uses PWM to dim, with a 200Hz flicker. This is not a multiple of the 60Hz refresh rate, and results in fast moving objects appearing shaky.
It does not have judder when playing movies from Blu-rays, DVDs or from streaming apps. On the other hand, it cannot remove judder from movies playing from 60p or 60i source like cable/satellite or set-top box. Most people don't notice judder, so this is not an issue.
The TCL UP130 has a 60Hz panel, and does not support any motion interpolation features.
The input lag of the TCL UP130 is slightly better than average, and for most people this should not be an issue. It supports the basic resolutions for PC use.
The input lag remains the same regardless of the picture mode chosen. It is slightly better than average, so should be ok for casual gamers.
- 20% 1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
- 20% 1080p @ 120Hz
- 20% 4k @ 30Hz @ 4:4:4
- 20% 4k @ 60Hz
- 20% 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
It features two 3.5mm analog audio jacks. One is situated on the back of the TV and the other one is on the left side of the remote. This is very practical for those who want to listen to the TV privately without the need of a long extension cord.
The UP130 has poor sound quality. The frequency response is not accurate, and distortion is always present, especially pronounced at higher volumes. Even a cheap sound bar would be an improvement over the TV audio.
Poor performance. Frequency response is below average, but maximum loudness and low-end cutoff are poor, even for a TV. This means that this TV won't get very loud and won't be able to produce much bass/punch. There is also some compression and pumping present at higher volumes.
Poor distortion performance. The overall amount of harmonic distortion at 75 and 85dB SPL are elevated. Additionally, there is considerable rise in distortion at maximum volume, even though the rise in volume will be minimal and the only noticeable rise will be in distortion.
The TCL UP130 features the Roku smart platform. Roku is very simple to use and feels responsive. Since it is a very popular platform, the app ecosystem is well maintained and kept well updated. The UP130 also has the capacity to play your media files straight from your own USB flash drive.
The included remote is simple and easy to use. It includes quick access buttons for some of the most popular applications. Unlike the TCL US5800, it includes a headphone jack on the side, allowing 3.5mm headphones to listen to the TV sound wirelessly.
Differences between Sizes and Variants
We tested the 55" (55UP130). For the most part, we expect our review to be valid for the 50" (50UP130) and 43" (43UP130).
If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their TCL UP130 doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review.
Note that the 43" model has a slightly different Vesa mount (100x200).
Compared to other TVs
The TCL UP130 is a budget TV, providing average performance. The biggest strength is the Roku smart platform, and would be the main reason for choosing the TV at this price point. Other similarly priced 4k TVs offer better picture quality or more features. Keep that in mind when viewing our recommendations below.
The TCL US5800 is basically the same TV, providing the same picture quality and features. The advantage of the TCL UP130 is the improved remote control which includes an analog headphone jack but this comes at an additional cost. In both cases there are similarly priced TVs offering better picture quality, so go with the TCL US5800 if you like the Roku interface.
The Vizio D Series 4k 2016 is a similarly priced TV, which offers more features to improve the picture quality and better motion handling. It is also much better for gamers due to the excellent input lag and minimal motion blur. The smart platform is not as intuitive or fully featured as the TCL UP130, so if you really like the Roku platform go with the TCL UP130. For most people, the Vizio D Series 4k 2016 is a better choice.
The Samsung KU6300 is a step up in price, but provides better overall performance and picture quality. It also provides a brighter image, an advantage for those in a room with more reflections or glare. If you can afford it, the Samsung KU6300 is a better pick.
The LG UH6100 is an entry level 4k TV, with slightly below average picture quality due to the poor dark scene performance and less accurate pixels. For bright rooms with wide seating it as a good pick, as the picture quality remains when viewed at an angle. It is also good for watching sports due to the great motion handling. For those in a dark room or when viewed from infront, the TCL UP130 is a better choice.
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