Your browser is not supported or outdated so some features of the site might not be available.
357
TVs store-bought and tested, supported by you via insider access, and when you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Driven by data, run by a passionate team of engineers, testers, technical writers, developers, and more. We are hiring!

The 3 Best TCL TVs of 2022 Reviews and Smart Features

Updated
Best TCL TVs

We've tested more than 10 TCL TVs under the latest test bench. TCL TVs have shown to offer great value over the past few years. They're a relatively young company in the TV market, but they came in with quite a strong splash by associating themselves with Roku for their smart features. Every year, TCL releases models that compete with giants like Sony and Samsung. While they're traditionally known for their basic models with limited features, some of their recent releases feature the latest technology, including Mini LED backlighting and variable refresh rate (VRR) support. They're often available at a lower cost than their competitors, and most people should be pleased with their higher-end models.

Updates

Best TCL Smart TVs


  1. Best TCL TV

    The TCL 6 Series/R646 2021 QLED is the best TCL TV we've tested. It's an impressive TV, with a new Mini LED backlight that provides a brighter picture and finer control of the local dimming zones. It delivers outstanding contrast, with one of the best contrast ratios with local dimming that we've ever tested. However, the local dimming isn't as good at improving the picture quality in real content as other TVs. Luckily, it's incredibly bright, so there's no need to worry about visibility, even in a bright room, and HDR content stands out and looks close to how the content creator intended. It's excellent for gaming, with low input lag, a great response time, and support for variable refresh rate technology.

    Unlike most TCL TVs, it runs the Google TV smart platform, which is more polished than Roku, but some people might find it harder to use. It has a huge selection of apps, so you're sure to find your favorite streaming service, and the remote has a built-in mic for voice control. Sadly, it can't display 480p content properly, so it's not ideal for watching DVDs. It also has a VA panel with narrow viewing angles, so the image looks washed out from the sides, and it's not a good choice if you have a wide seating area. Despite its flaws, it's an impressive TV overall.

    See our review

  2. Best Budget TCL TV

    The TCL 5 Series/S546 2021 QLED is the best TCL TV we've tested in the budget category. Although TCL is mainly a budget-friendly brand, this one offers the best value for a low cost, as the higher-end TCL 6 Series/R646 2021 QLED is competitively priced with high-end TVs from other brands. The S546 is part of the 2021 lineup, and like the other models, it features Google TV instead of Roku TV. Although differences in the smart platform are subjective, Google tends to have a wider selection of apps available to download, so you know you won't need to use an external streaming device to watch your favorite content. It's a straightforward TV with good picture quality, and it performs well both in dark and bright rooms.

    Unfortunately, there are some issues with its picture quality as it has terrible out-of-the-box accuracy, which results in a red tint that looks distracting. It has the same upscaling issues as the higher-end model, so it's not good for watching DVDs. However, if you want to use it for gaming, you should be happy to know it has variable refresh rate support to reduce screen tearing, but it's limited to a 60Hz panel and HDMI 2.0 bandwidth, so you can't use it for high-frame-rate gaming. However, we expect this for a budget model, and it's still one of the best TCL TVs we've tested.

    See our review

  3. Best Small TCL TV

    The best TCL 4k TV that you can get in a small size is the TCL 43S435. It's an entry-level 2020 model, and even though you won't get many of the same features or performance as the higher-end TVs, it's still a decent choice as a secondary TV in a small room. It has a VA panel with an outstanding contrast ratio, and it displays deep blacks. It doesn't have a local dimming feature, and its black uniformity is okay, which may vary between units. It comes with the same built-in Roku TV as the higher-end models, although there's a TCL 4 Series/S434 Android 2020 variant that has Android TV instead. It doesn't have any trouble upscaling lower-resolution content, like DVDs, and displays native 4k content perfectly.

    Unfortunately, it's best to avoid placing it in a well-lit room because it doesn't get bright enough to combat glare, and the reflection handling is only decent. Fast-moving content may look blurry due to the slow response time, and the backlight flickers at 120Hz at low levels, which causes image duplication. On the upside, it removes judder from native 24p sources and has excellent out-of-the-box color accuracy. It has narrow viewing angles, but if you want something with an IPS panel instead, the newer TCL 4 Series/S446 2021 is a good alternative. Overall, this is the best TCL TV that you can get in a small size.

    See our review

Compared to other brands


  • Inexpensive. TCL is one of the cheaper brands on the market, and their TVs offer great value for their cost.
  • Great smart OS. TCL TVs either use Roku or Google TV smart platforms, which are user-friendly and have many apps you can download.
  • Starting to include extra features. As of their 2021 lineup, TCL is starting to include extra gaming features like HDMI 2.1 bandwidth and VRR support on their higher-end models.
  • Low peak brightness. Besides the premium models, most TCL TVs we've tested have low brightness measurements.
  • Not very polished. TCL TVs aren't as polished as other brands, as there are often issues with upscaling and local dimming.
  • Not good for wide seating areas. Except for a few entry-level models, their TVs usually have VA panels with narrow viewing angles, so they're not good if you have a wide seating arrangement.

TCL vs Hisense

Hisense and TCL are direct competitors in the budget TV market. Their TVs usually offer the same features and similar performance, although some TCL TVs don't get as bright. They each have flaws as TCL tends to have picture quality issues, while Hisense has motion problems.

TCL vs Vizio

Vizio and TCL aim to produce TVs in the budget market, although Vizio makes a few more high-end models. Vizio TVs tend to have better dark-room performance and more gaming features, but the Roku platform on the TCLs is much better and easier to use than the Vizio SmartCast.

Overall, TCL TVs offer good picture quality and great features at a low price. Although some models aren't as feature-packed or as well-built as more expensive options, their TVs typically offer great value and have more features. If you need a simple TV with a good smart system, you should be happy with most of their offerings.

TCL Smart Features

The majority of TCL's TVs use Roku as its smart interface, but they released a few in 2021 with Google TV instead. The Roku interface is easy to use but isn't the most advanced or graphically intense. They have a big selection of apps, known as streaming channels, covering the vast majority of 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.

If you want to learn about the Google interface on a few 2021 models, you can read more about Google TV on Sony models here.

Interface

TCL Smart Interface

The interface is very basic, with simple graphics and limited animations. This results in a very easy-to-use, fast interface that's relatively bug-free. It's also one of the few smart interfaces that support themes, meaning you can customize it a bit.

Ad-free

TCL Ads

Unfortunately, the TCL interface has large, intrusive ads in the main home menu and throughout the interface, and it's impossible to disable them. The ads generally promote other TCL products or services and sometimes contain suggested content.

Apps & Features

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 major streaming services are available through the store.

Voice Controls

Some TCL TVs support voice controls, either from the advanced remote or the remote app, but they only support basic commands. You can launch certain apps through voice control and search across multiple apps for content. Unlike some TVs, you can't control the TV's settings through voice controls.

Remote

TCL Smart TV Remote

TCL smart TVs come with a small remote you would think was mistakenly placed in the box. It 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 different versions of the remote, and the differences are usually with the features. Some have better wireless capabilities, so you don't need to point directly at the TV for it to work. Usually, the higher-end models come with the better version of the remote.

Remote App

TCL Smart TV Remote App

One of the best features of the Roku platform is its remote app you can find on both iOS and Android. It can do everything the smart remote can and more, so it's 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. Lastly, the app also allows you to access settings that aren't available on the TV, like the calibration settings.

Recent Updates

  1. Mar 04, 2022: Replaced the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 with the newer TCL 5 Series/S546 2021 because it has more features; updated the Smart Features section to be consistent with the current Roku platform.

  2. Nov 04, 2021: Replaced the TCL 6 Series/R635 2020 QLED with the TCL 6 Series/R646 2021 QLED, as the newer model is much better overall for about the same price.

  3. Jul 07, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. No change in recommendations.

  4. Mar 09, 2021: Verified picks and updated text for accuracy.

Conclusion

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.

Test results

Discussions