The TCL 4 Series 2019 Roku Smart TV is a decent TV overall. It delivers decent picture quality and displays deep blacks in a dark room thanks to its high native contrast ratio. It can't get very bright, and although it has good reflection handling it isn't suitable for a bright room. It lacks a wide color gamut, and due to its low HDR peak brightness, it can't deliver HDR content with vivid colors and bright highlights. The response time is fast and the TV displays fast-moving content with very little blur trail. It offers a responsive gaming performance thanks to the low input lag but unfortunately, it lacks any support for advanced gaming features like FreeSync.
Update 11/21/2019: The TCL 4 Series 2019 was originally reviewed on May 1 2019. The text has been updated, but our overall findings haven't changed.
The TCL 4 Series is a decent TV for mixed usage. It has a decent picture quality but can't get very bright, so it's more suitable for dim rooms. It has decent motion handling and a fast response time that leaves only a small blur trail behind fast-moving objects. It has a very low input lag, and it's very responsive, suitable for gaming or use as a PC monitor.See our Mixed Usage recommendations
The TCL 4 Series 2019 is a mediocre TV for watching movies. It delivers deep blacks in a dark room but lacks a local dimming feature, and the black uniformity is just decent. There is no motion interpolation feature and unfortunately, the TV can't remove 24p judder from all sources. On the upside, upscaling 1080p content like from Blu-rays is excellent.See our Movies recommendations
The TCL 4 Series 2019 is a decent TV for watching TV shows. It's more suitable for an average lit room as it can't get very bright, but it can handle reflections well so a few more lights won't be an issue. You'll enjoy your TV shows more if you sit straight in front, as the image loses accuracy when viewed from the side. It has decent gray uniformity and the Roku TV smart interface gives you access to a large number of streaming channels.See our TV Shows recommendations
The TCL 4 Series is a decent TV for watching sports. It has a fast response time, so fast-moving content has only a small blur trail. It can handle reflections well, but it can't get bright enough for a bright room. Unfortunately, the viewing angles are poor, and if you're watching a game with a group of friends, those watching from the side won't enjoy the same accurate image as those sitting directly in front. Finally, some sports fans might be bothered by the amount of dirty screen effect this TV has.See our Sports recommendations
This is an impressive TV for playing video games. The input lag is very low and you'll enjoy a responsive gaming experience, while the response time is very fast and delivers crisp motion. Unfortunately, there's no support for any advanced gaming features like FreeSync that more serious gamers are usually looking for, but there's an auto low latency mode that is great for casual gaming.See our Video Games recommendations
The TCL 4 Series is decent for watching HDR movies. It delivers deep and fairly uniform blacks in a dark room where HDR is meant to be watched, but there's no local dimming support to improve performance. When in HDR, the peak brightness is low and since the TV can't display a wide color gamut either, HDR content doesn't have the vivid colors and the bright highlights as it's supposed to.See our HDR Movies recommendations
This is a good TV to play HDR games. This is mainly due to the very low input lag that makes it very responsive, and the fast response time that leaves only a small blur trail behind fast-moving content. The HDR performance of the TV isn't very good as it can't get very bright and it doesn't have a wide color gamut, so it lacks the means to deliver a great HDR picture.See our HDR Gaming recommendations
The TCL 4 Series is a great TV for use as a PC monitor. It has a very low input lag, and it responds immediately to your actions. It has no risk of permanent burn-in and the response time is very fast and leaves only a small blur trail behind a fast-moving object. Unfortunately, the viewing angles are poor, and you will have some uniformity issues on the sides of the screen.See our PC Monitor recommendations
The TCL 4 Series has a decent design. It has a wide plastic stand that supports it well, but can't prevent wobble if the TV is nudged. The back of the TV is very similar to last year's TCL S405. The top half is metallic, while the bottom part and the body are plastic. It isn't very thick and won't protrude much if wall-mounted. The build quality is decent, and you shouldn't have any issues with it.
The TCL 4 Series' stand is made of plastic and supports the TV well. It's almost as wide as the TV and looks like the stand from last year's TCL S405, though that had a silver finish. The legs can't be reversed, and the TV will wobble if nudged.
Footprint of the 43" model stand: 32.2" x 7.3"
The back of the TV is plain. The top part is metal, while the bottom half and the rest of the body are plastic. The TCL 4 series is available in many sizes and not all of them fit the same VESA mount size. Check here to see which VESA mount size is suitable for each TV size.
There isn't any cable management.
The borders are plain and have an average thickness. They won't distract you while you watch TV.
The TV has an average thickness when viewed from the side, and it won't stick out much if wall-mounted.
The TCL 4 Series has decent build quality. There aren't any gaps or loose ends, and although the TV doesn't have a premium look, we don't expect you to have issues with it.
The native contrast ratio is outstanding. Blacks look deep in a dark room and it's a significant improvement over last year's TCL S405. Unfortunately, there's no local dimming feature to improve dark room performance further.
The TCL 4 Series doesn't have a local dimming feature. The video is for reference only.
Disappointing SDR peak brightness. The performance is in the same ballpark figure as last year's TCL S405. This TV is okay for a moderately lit room, but it isn't suitable for a bright room. On the upside, the brightness remains unchanged no matter the scene, except for small highlights.
We performed our measurements after calibration with picture mode set to ‘Movie.’ Different settings may produce a brighter picture.
You can check our settings page to see how to set the brightness.
The TCL 4 Series has poor HDR peak brightness and can't display bright HDR highlights. Just like in SDR, the brightness remains unchanged no matter the scene. This is a similarly bad performance to last year's TCL S405.
We performed our measurements without calibration with picture mode set to ‘dark HDR' and 'brighter.' Different settings may produce a brighter picture.
You can check our settings page to see how to set the HDR settings.
The TCL 4 Series has decent gray uniformity. There's some vignetting, which is more visible at the corners, and some dirty screen effect, which might disappoint sports fans. Unfortunately, in near-dark scenes, there are noticeable uniformity issues on both sides of the screen, but the uniformity is better in the center.
The TCL 4 Series has poor viewing angles, as expected for a VA panel TV. Any move off-center and the image loses accuracy. This is similar behavior to last year's TCL S Series S405. This TV isn't a good choice for a room with a wide seating arrangement. If viewing angles are important to you, then check out an IPS TV like the LG UK6300.
The black uniformity is decent. There's visible backlight bleed at the edges which, however, is only noticeable when you watch a very dark scene in a dark room.
The TCL 4 Series has good reflection handling. The semi-glossy finish limits indirect reflections, and you shouldn't have issues if you place the TV in a room with lots of small lights. However, if you place it across from a large window, reflections might become distracting.
Unfortunately, the out-of-the-box color accuracy is disappointing. The errors we measured both in the white balance dE and in the color dE are large. The color error, especially, might be noticeable by many. The TV clips reds and whites when it isn't in PC mode. In order to see a significant improvement, you'd have to lower the contrast a lot, but we don't recommend that as it affects the picture quality. The color temperature is warmer than the 6500K target, so the image has a slight reddish and yellow tint. The gamma doesn't follow the target, so dark scenes are significantly darker than they should be.
After calibration, the TCL 4 Series has excellent accuracy. It's almost impossible to spot any remaining white balance inaccuracies. On the other hand, some color inaccuracies, mainly in the reds and the greens, remain after calibration and some enthusiasts might be able to spot them. Just like with other TCL TVs, calibration is only possible via the mobile app, but you still need to use a colorimeter.
You can see our recommended settings here.
720p sources, such as cable, are upscaled well. Details remain clear.
1080p content, like Blu-rays or game consoles, looks good with no obvious issues.
The TCL 4 Series doesn't have a wide color gamut. The true color gamut of the TV is shown by the maximum red, green, and blue in the Rec 2020 gamut picture. Unfortunately, all other colors in the Rec 2020 picture and all the P3 colors are under-saturated. We assume that this happens because the TV is prioritizing brightness over color accuracy because it's so dim. These tests were done at 75% brightness stimulus. When we performed the same tests at a dimmer 50% stimulus, the accuracy was much better as can be seen in the following images:
The TV's EOTF is dimmer than the PQ curve, and at about 50% stimulus gray it starts to roll off very early to smooth the transition to the TV's low peak brightness. The same performance is found in 'Game' mode as you can see here.
If you wish to make the HDR brighter, you can set gamma to 1.8 in the phone app. This will result in this EOTF which is a little brighter than before.
The TCL 4 Series has mediocre color volume. The TV can't display very dark saturated colors. When the TV is trying to display bright P3 colors, the gamut narrows significantly, probably due to the TV's tone mapping prioritizing brightness over color accuracy because the TV is so dim.
There isn't any temporary image retention on the TCL 4 Series.
We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.
The TCL 4 Series 2019 has an excellent response time. Fast-moving content has only a small blur trail. In dark scenes, however, some smearing may be present due to the longer transition between darker shades, such as from 0% to 20%. Nonetheless, this is an improvement over last year's TCL S405.
The TV uses PWM to dim the backlight, but only below 17/100 backlight setting. Backlight PWM dimming results in a 120Hz flicker which might bother some people. This is a very different behavior than the TCL S405, which used PWM dimming throughout the entire range of its backlight levels.
Just like last year's S405, the TCL 4 Series can't reduce its flicker frequency to 60Hz to make the image look crisper. However, at lower brightness levels, its 120Hz PWM backlight does help somewhat to make motion look clearer but causes duplications.
The TCL 4 Series, just like last year's TCL S405, doesn't provide any motion interpolation feature to please the soap opera effect fans.
The TCL 4 Series has a little stutter due to the very fast response time that results in a higher frame hold time of 24p content, like movies. Unfortunately, the TV doesn't offer any option to help you reduce stutter.
Unfortunately, the TCL 4 Series can only remove judder from 24p movies when they are played from 24p sources like DVDs or Blu-rays. 24p movies played from 60p/60i sources like cable, satellite boxes, or even through the native apps will have some judder.
There's no specific feature or option to turn on so as to remove judder from 24p movies on 24p sources. The TV detects it and displays the movie properly.
The TCL 4 Series has a 60Hz panel and doesn't support any advanced gaming features like FreeSync.