The TCL D100 is a basic 1080p TV with decent picture quality. It lacks many of the features found in higher end TVs to improve the picture quality further, and has sub-par motion performance. Unlike most other TCL TVs, it almost completely lacks a smart platform.
The TCL D100 is a very basic looking TV, and certainly won't be the centerpiece of any room. It has a wide plastic stand, with a similar design to other TCL TVs such as the S305. It appears a bit thick when viewed from the side, but the HDMI inputs are fairly easy to access.
The TCL D100 1080p LED TV has a decent picture quality. Dark room performance is very good since it has a great contrast ratio and an excellent black uniformity which in turn makes for very good dark scenes with deep blacks. When set in a bright room, the D100 doesn't perform as well since it can't get that bright and it can't deal that well with reflections. The gray uniformity is okay and dirty screen effect not too strong, which is good new for sports fans out there. The viewing angle is disappointing and unfortunately, it relegates the best picture quality to narrow zone right in from of the TV.
Okay SDR peak brightness. The brightness remains constant no matter the content shown, which is good (the real scene brightness is measured near the edge of the screen where it's not as bright). Unfortunately this brightness, while good enough for a dim room, isn't good enough for a very bright room. However few budget TVs like this are any brighter, in fact the D100 is brighter than the pricier TCL S305 and S405.
The TV does not support HDR.
The gray uniformity is average for the D100. Looking at our 50% gray uniformity picture, you can clearly see that most of the uniformity issues are from the corners being too dark. The center is more even though and although dirty screen effect is present at some level, is not too distracting.
Looking at the 5% gray test picture, we see that the edges are a bit brighter, but this is not very apparent in dark scenes with normal content.
Poor viewing angle, not as good as TVs with an IPS panel but better than most TVs with a VA panel. Blacks turn grey and colors shift when viewed from a moderate angle, with brightness dropping to half soon after. This TV is not a good fit for a room where people often view the TV from the side.
Excellent black uniformity for the TCL D100. Not much clouding can be seen on our test picture besides some brighter edges along the screen, similar to what was present on the 5% gray uniformity picture. Overall, this is a very good result and great for movies, especially in dark scenes.
The D100 is decent at handling reflections. It has a semi-gloss finish which slightly reduces the intensity of direct reflections by diffusing them across the screen. It is okay for an average room, but for a room with a few wide windows or lots of light this may be an issue.
Out of the box, TCL D100 accuracy is sub-standard and the white balance, even when set to the color temperature 'Warm', the final temperature color is cooler than what is usually preferred. With a white balance dE of 5.95, this level of inaccuracy is high enough that most people could notice it. As a result of the bad white balance, since the gamma and white balance are closely related, the gamma is also off our 2.2 target.
Unfortunately, the color dE is not better. With a dE 4.90, the color accuracy is high enough so that almost anybody could notice that the color are wrong. Most of the issues start with the fact that the white point is off target and the same drift can be seen for all the other color, resulting in a high dE for all of them.
Unfortunately, there is no calibration option on the TCL D100, so it is impossible fix those imperfections.
You can see our recommended settings here.
720p content such as cable looks good (but a bit soft) once upscaled. The native resolution isn't a multiple of 720p, so the TV applies a zoom and it isn't possible to fit to the screen. This also causes some added softness, so it may be worth increasing the sharpness slightly for low quality content. An example of sharpness 10 can be seen here.
Poor color volume. The TV's already narrow color gamut narrows further for very dark colors, and fully saturated red can't get bright enough.
The TCL D100 has an 8-bit panel, as the banding usually seen with 8-bit panel is visible on our test picture. Beside the 8-bit panel, the D100 is very good at displaying our test image, as no real tint or color shade issues can be noticed.
Perfect result for the image retention on the D100 as no image retention could be noticed at all during our test.
We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.
The horizontal VA pixel structure looks almost identical to the S305.
The motion handling of the D100 is lacking. The response time is good, resulting in a short trail of blur following fast moving objects and the response has some overshoot, resulting in a pale trail following dark objects moving against a lighter background. The TV flickers at 120 Hz to dim, so motion isn't as smooth as some other TVs but most people won't notice it. This TV is unable to play movies at 24p without judder, even directly from a 24p source such as a movie played on a DVD player. The D100 cannot interpolate lower frame rate content and is therefore unable to produce any soap opera effect.
The response time of the D100 is good, resulting in a short trail following moving objects. This is adequate for most people when watching fast-paced content. It also has some overshoot, visible as a lighter trail following our logo in the above picture. This is a better response than the 1080p TCL S305, but worse than the 4K S405.
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 helps clear up motion slightly, but results in duplications following moving objects.
This TCL TV has a 60Hz panel, and doesn't support any variable refresh rate features.
The D100 is unfortunately a 1080p SDR TV, so it cannot play 4k or HDR content. It does have low input lag, though not as low as many TVs that have a 'Game Mode' setting.
Low input lag, though not as low as many TVs with a 'Game Mode' option like the TCL S405. As the TV does not have a game mode and shows 4:4:4 color in any picture mode, the input lag is always the same.
One flaw is that the TV's input lag cycles by ~6 ms: it starts at 27.9 ms, increases to 33.5 ms then loops back to 27.9 ms. This isn't really a concern though, and should only be noticeable by very competitive gamers who are sensitive to input lag. Most TVs do not show this cycling, they maintain a constant input lag (though some take a minute or so to settle, like Samsung TVs).
Another interesting detail is that the TV refreshes the screen from the bottom to the top, so the bottom has the lowest input lag. This is the opposite of most TVs because they refresh from the top to the bottom. We always measure input lag at the center of the screen so this doesn't affect our measurements.
The TV has a 1080p @ 60 Hz panel, so the best resolution it can show is 1080p @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4. 4:4:4 color is supported globally, in any picture mode, which is great.
The TV does not support DTS, only Dolby Digital, which shouldn't be a concern because most sources and Blu-rays support both formats.
Unfortunately, the TCL D100 sounds quite bad. It has a poor frequency response which greatly impacts the sound quality of the TV. Any sort of external sound system will probably be an upgrade.
Poor frequency response. The D100's higher frequencies are subdued giving it a dark signature. Its bass does not extend very far either, which means it will lack a lot of thump and presence. Unfortunately, there is no self-calibration feature available to take care of these issues.
Average distortion performance. While it won't be noticeable in most cases, the TCL D100 does have a fair amount of distortion at higher volumes. IMD shows a strong bump when volume is maxed which is in part caused by the TV's use of aliasing in the higher frequencies.
The TCL D100 is not a smart TV, its only smart feature being the ability to play photos and music files from a USB drive (but not videos). To use apps and streaming services users will need an external device like a Chromecast or Roku TV. It also lacks many advanced settings such as color calibration. Still, it's able to perform all basic TV functions such as playing HDMI and component inputs, and tuning to antenna and cable channels. The interface also responds lightning fast because it has no animations.
The TV's interface is very basic, only containing TV centric options and settings. It is very responsive, reacting almost instantly to button presses on the remote, partly because there are no animations.
The TV's remote is rather large, but unfortunately it doesn't make very effective use of that size. Its buttons aren't as wide as on similarly sized remotes, and so aren't as easy to press; and there's a lot of wasted space between the buttons, so there's fewer buttons than on comparable remotes like the large Sony remotes. Also the LG basic remotes are smaller yet have more buttons than the TCL remote, because they make more effective use of space.
We tested the 40" (40D100). For the most part, we expect our review to be valid for the 32" (32D100) and 49" (49D100) versions. The 32 inch (32D100) has a 720p resolution.
If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their TCL D100 doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review.
The TCL D100 is a passable inexpensive TV that can suit those with basic needs for a TV quite well. It doesn't offer a load of features but it's also often much cheaper than its competition. See our recommendations for the best TVs under $300 and the best budget TVs.
The TCL 3 Series (S305) is marginally better than the TCL 1 Series (D100). The TCL S305 runs the Roku TV smart platform whereas the TCL D100 does not have a smart feature platform. If you wish to use it as a smart TV, you need to use an external box or dongle. The TCL S305 can remove 24p judder from movies whereas the TCL D100 can display crisp text when used as a monitor.
The Samsung N5300 is marginally better than the TCL D100. The Samsung N5300 has a good smart platform whereas the TCL D100 is a plain TV. The Samsung also has better viewing angles due to its IPS panel, and better reflection handling which makes it a better choice if your room has many small light sources. The TCL D100 has better dark room performance due to the high contrast ratio of its VA panel, and a lower input lag to please those who play video games.
If you have a room with a wide seating arrangement, the Vizio D series 1080p 2017 is a better choice as it has better viewing angles. On the other hand, the TCL D100 has much better contrast and can display a better picture quality if you sit directly in front. The Vizio is a smart TV whereas the TCL D100 does not have a smart feature platform. If you wish to use it as a smart TV, you need to use an external box or dongle. The Vizio has a lower input lag, and this is great if you play video games, whereas the TCL D100 can display crisp text when used as a monitor since it supports 4:4:4.
The TCL D100 is a better choice if you have a dim room and will be sitting right in front. The D100 has a better contrast ratio and a better black uniformity, and thus blacks look deep, and the overall picture quality is improved. On the other hand, if you will be viewing the TV from the side, then the LG LJ5500 is a better choice due to the better viewing angles. The LG LJ5500 is a smart TV and runs LG's WebOS, whereas the TCL D100 has no smart features. To get access to smart features on the D100, you must connect it to an external device or a dongle.
The Samsung M5300 is somewhat better than the TCL D100 and is more suitable for a wide room as it has an IPS Panel with better viewing angles. The TCL D100 has a VA panel and thus better contrast and better black uniformity so it can display better blacks is a dark room. The Samsung M5300 is a smart TV whereas the TCL D100 has no smart platform and you need to use an external device so that you get smart features. Finally, the Samsung M5300 has a motion interpolation feature for the fans of the soap opera effect.