We've reviewed 11 TCL TVs. TCL TVs have shown to offer great value over the past few years. They're a newcomer in the space, but they came in with quite a strong splash by associating themselves with Roku for their smart features (check our article about the best Roku TVs). We made a few TCL TV reviews last year, and as they've shown popular, we will keep reviewing them in the future.
Compared to Vizio, TCL's lineup is a lot more budget-oriented. Their budget offerings are quite competitive, with similar picture quality. The Roku TV interface is better than Vizio's SmartCast.
LG's lineup spans far and wide, from budget models to high-end OLEDs. Comparing price-for-price, though, LG TVs usually perform slightly worse than similarly-priced TCL TVs. LG typically has better viewing angles, though.
Overall, TCL's TVs offer good picture quality and great features at a low price. Although they aren't as feature-packed or as well-built as more expensive models, TCL TVs typically offer great value.
The best TCL TV we've tested so far is the TCL 6 Series/R617 2018. This is a great 4k TV with excellent peak brightness, outstanding contrast, and a passable full array local dimming feature. It has very good motion handling, with a great response time, decent motion interpolation feature, and an excellent black uniformity feature. It can also remove judder from all sources, which is great for movie lovers. Although it doesn't have any advanced gaming features, like FreeSync support, it has outstanding low input lag that should please most gamers.
Like most TCL TVs we've tested, it runs the excellent Roku smart platform. Although not the most graphically intense user interface, it's fast and easy to use, and it has an excellent selection of streaming apps, covering the vast majority of the most common streaming services. Unfortunately, there are ads in the home menu, though, and they can't be disabled.
If you're looking for something a bit cheaper than the TCL R617, the TCL 4 Series/S425 2019 is the best budget TCL TV we've tested so far. Although not as advanced as the R617, this is a decent 4k TV with outstanding low input lag, a fast response time, and excellent contrast. It has the same great smart features as the R617, though, and an outstanding selection of available streaming apps.
Unfortunately, it isn't very bright, and it has very limited motion processing, as there is no motion interpolation feature, and it can't remove judder from a cable box or the native apps. Overall, it's a decent choice for most uses and it outperforms most similarly-priced models.
If you want something truly inexpensive that still has a great set of features, look for the TCL S305/325 1080p LED TV. Its picture quality doesn't match the TCL R617 above, but it can be found for significantly cheaper. This is the perfect model for those looking for a simple TV for a bedroom, since it doesn't get too bright, but it's still a better TV than the average one found at this price.
TCL TVs use the Roku interface. The interface itself is easy to use, but not the most advanced or graphically intense. They have a huge selection of apps, known as channels, covering the vast majority of the common streaming services. Although the interface has remained relatively unchanged over recent years, TCL releases frequent updates and has added some new features recently, even to older models.
The interface is very basic, with simple graphics and limited animations. This results in a very easy to use, fast interface that is relatively bug-free. It's also one of the few smart interfaces that supports themes, so you can customize it a bit.
Unfortunately, the TCL interface has large, intrusive ads in the main home menu, and it is impossible to disable them. The ads generally promote other TCL products or services and sometimes contain suggested content.
The Roku Channel Store is where you'll find all the apps available on Roku, and there are quite a lot of them. All the big ones like Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO GO, Hulu, and many more are available.
Some TCL TVs support voice controls, either from the advanced remote or the remote app, but they only support basic commands. Through voice control, you can launch certain apps, as well as search across multiple apps for content. Unlike some TVs, you can't control the TV's settings through the voice controls.
The TCL Smart TVs come with a remote you would think was mistakenly placed in the box. This isn’t a bad thing since it's very comfortable and responsive. The TCL branding is impressively minimal and much like the interface, it’s a carbon copy of the ones you can find with the Roku boxes.
There are two versions of the remote. One is slightly thicker and has an integrated microphone for voice control. This model is found on the 2018 R617, and it doesn't require line-of-sight to the TV. The other model doesn't have voice control and requires a direct line of sight to the TV.
One of the best features of the Roku platform is its remote app you can find on both iOS and Android. It's capable of doing everything that the smart remote found with the P607 can do and more, so it's quite fully featured. All the basic remote controls are available, even powering the TV on and off. You can plug in headphones to your device and listen to the TV privately through the app as well.
TCL's lineup is mostly budget-oriented, and they do very well in that area. Their smart platform rivals the very best, which can't be said of TVs multiple times more expensive. Plus, their picture quality has been consistently good across their models. Overall, it's tough to beat them when it comes to budget TVs, and that makes them a pretty safe bet.