The TCL 4 Series 2019 is an alright overall budget TV with built-in Roku TV. It delivers decent picture quality and displays deep blacks thanks to its VA panel's outstanding contrast ratio. Although it has decent reflection handling, it doesn't get very bright and isn't suitable for a well-lit 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 it 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 advanced gaming features like FreeSync.
The TCL S425 is an alright TV for mixed usage. It has 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, making it suitable for gaming or use as a PC monitor.
The TCL S425 is an okay TV for watching movies. It delivers deep blacks in a dark room thanks to its high contrast ratio but lacks a local dimming feature, and black uniformity is just decent. There's no motion interpolation feature and unfortunately, the TV can only remove judder from native 24p sources. On the upside, it upscales 1080p content, like from Blu-rays, with no artifacts.
The TCL S425 is an alright 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 fairly well so a few more lights won't be an issue. Unfortunately, it has narrow viewing angles so you have to sit in front to get an accurate image. The Roku TV smart interface gives you access to a large number of streaming channels.
The TCL S425 is okay for watching sports. It has a great response time, so fast-moving content has minimal blur trail. Unfortunately, it doesn't get bright, but it has decent reflection handling. Also, it has poor viewing angles, which isn't ideal if you want to watch the big game with a group of friends. There's also visible dirty screen effect in the center, which is distracting during sports.
The TCL S425 is a good TV for playing video games. The input lag is very low and you should enjoy a responsive gaming experience, while the response time is 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's great for casual gaming.
The TCL S425 is mediocre 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 display the vivid colors and the bright highlights it's supposed to.
The TCL S425 is decent for HDR gaming. 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 this 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.
The TCL S425 is a decent 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 fast and leaves only a small blur trail behind a fast-moving object. Unfortunately, the viewing angles are poor, and there are some uniformity issues on the sides of the screen.
The design is simple and in line with other TCL TVs. It's mainly made out of plastic and doesn't have a premium look to it, but its build shouldn't cause many issues. It's a bit different from the TCL S Series/S405 4k 2018 as it has black feet.
The stand is made of plastic and supports the TV well. It's almost as wide as the TV and looks like the stand from the TCL S Series/S405 4k 2018, but with a black finish. The legs can't be reversed, and the TV wobbles 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 S425 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.
Sadly, there isn't any cable management.
The borders are a bit thicker than most TVs, but shouldn't distract you.
The TV itself isn't very thick and shouldn't stick out when wall-mounted.
The TV has alright 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 TCL S425 has an outstanding contrast ratio, which is expected from a VA panel TV. It can produce deep blacks, but unfortunately, there's no local dimming feature to further darken those blacks. Note that contrast may vary between units.
The TCL S425 has bad peak brightness. It doesn't get bright enough to combat glare in well-lit rooms. Its brightness remains very consistent for the most part, except small highlights are a bit dimmer. We measured peak brightness after calibration in the 'Movie' Picture Mode.
This TV has bad HDR peak brightness. It gets brighter than in SDR, but it doesn't get bright enough to make highlights stand out. Once again, small areas aren't as bright as larger areas.
We measured HDR peak brightness in the 'Dark HDR' Picture Mode with TV Brightness set to 'Brighter'.
This TV has some uniformity issues as the corners of the screen are darker, but this may vary between units. There's also visible dirty screen effect in the center, which could be distracting during sports. In near-dark scenes, uniformity is worse as there's backlight bleed along the edges.
The black uniformity is decent, but this may vary between units. There's visible backlight bleed at the edges which is noticeable when you watch dark scenes in a dark room.
This TV has bad viewing angles, which is normal for a VA panel. You quickly lose image accuracy when viewing from the side.
If you want an IPS TV with better viewing angles, check out the LG NANO85 2020.
The TCL S425 has decent reflection handling. The semi-glossy finish limits the amount of light reflected, and you shouldn't have any issues using it in a moderately-lit room. However, it may struggle with direct sunlight on it.
This TV has disappointing out-of-the-box color accuracy, but this may vary between units. Most colors are noticeably inaccurate, and it has a warm color temperature, giving the image a red/yellow tint. White balance is off and gamma doesn't follow the target well, so most scenes are darker than they should be.
This TV has outstanding color accuracy post-calibration. 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. 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.
1080p content, like Blu-rays or game consoles, looks great with no obvious issues.
This TV has a decent color gamut, but it's not considered 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 DCI 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 follows the target curve fairly well until it rolls off, but most scenes are too dark. The 'Game' mode EOTF is similar, 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 results in this EOTF, which is a little brighter than before.
The color volume is mediocre. It's limited by the lack of a wide color gamut, and it can't display dark, saturated colors.
This TV has great gradient handling. A little banding is visible, especially in darker shades of green and gray, but this shouldn't be a problem with real content. The Noise Reduction setting doesn't improve the gradients all that much.
There isn't any temporary image retention on this TV, but this may vary between units.
We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.
This TV has a great response time. There's some overshoot in the darker transitions, but overall, there's minimal blur trail behind fast-moving objects. This is a big improvement over the TCL S Series/S405 4k 2018.
The TV uses Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) to dim the backlight, but only below a 17/100 backlight setting, at which point it results in a 120Hz flicker which might bother some people. This is very different behavior than the TCL S Series/S405 4k 2018, which used PWM dimming throughout the entire range of its backlight level.
There's no Black Frame Insertion feature to improve the appearance of motion.
Unfortunately, this TV can't interpolate lower frame rate motion, which won't please the fans of the 'Soap Opera Effect'.
There's a little stutter due to the fast response time that results in a higher frame hold time of 24p content, like movies.
This TV can only remove judder from native 24p sources, like from Blu-rays. However, it can't remove it from native apps.
There's no specific option to remove judder as the TV does it automatically.
The TCL 43S425 has a 60Hz panel and doesn't support any variable refresh rate technology.
This TV has excellent low input lag provided you turn Game Mode to 'On.' The Game Mode is available in all picture modes. During our test, there were times where we had to turn off the TV or disconnect and reconnect the HDMI to get the lowest input lag. When we changed to Game Mode it went to an in-between state that had a higher input lag, and we got the lowest input lag after restarting the TV. Let us know in the discussions if you experience the same issue.
This TV supports the most common resolutions at 60Hz. It displays proper chroma 4:4:4 automatically when you connect a PC, which is important for reading text. For other sources, besides a PC to display 4:4:4, change the icon to 'Computer'.
When you connect a PC, the TV switches automatically to PC mode. There's no way to use the TV with a PC and be outside of PC mode.
For signals that require full bandwidth HDMI 2.0, enable the HDMI 2.0 setting in the 'HDMI Mode' settings page.
It supports CEC, but we were unable to make it work with our Blu-ray player.
If you want to enable Dolby over ARC, you have to select the Dolby D/DTS setting.
This TV has mediocre frequency response. It can't produce any rumble or thump in its bass, but above the low-frequency extension, it performs well, so dialogue sounds clear. It can get fairly loud, but not enough for loud environments. Overall, this is better than the high-end TCL 6 Series/R625 2019.
The distortion performance is okay. There's not that much distortion at moderate listening levels, but it gets more noticeable at its max volume. However, this depends on the content and not everyone may hear it.
The Roku interface is very responsive, smooth, and has almost no lag. The navigation menu is easy to use, but nearly all navigation has to pass through the home menu, which can be tiring at times.
We saw no ads during our testing, but TCL TVs are known to have ads. You can opt-out of personalized ads, but then you get ads that are not targeted. To opt-out of personalized ads, you have to enable the 'Limit Ad Tracking' option in the Advertising menu.
Roku offers a great selection of apps that you can download and they work smoothly for the most part.
The remote is very simple. It has basic navigation buttons and four dedicated app buttons. The volume controls are on the side of the remote and can be hard to find the first time. It doesn't have voice control, but you can use voice control through the Roku app on your mobile device.
The TV controls are located on the underside of the TV, near the TCL logo. The functionality is limited, and you can only turn the TV On/Off, change input sources, and adjust the volume.
We tested the 43 inch TCL 4 Series 2019 (43S425). For the most part, we expect our review to be valid for the 49 inch (49S425), 50 inch (50S425), 55 inch (55S425), 65 inch (65S425), and 75 inc (75S425) versions. The S421 variant appears to be sold at Walmart only and the S423 is nearly the same, except the feet are silver. If you find any performance differences in the S423 or S421, please let us know in the discussions.
|Size||Standard Model||S423||Walmart||VESA Mount|
|43"||43S425||43S423||43S421||100 x 100|
|49"||49S425||-||-||200 x 200|
|50"||50S425||50S423||-||200 x 200|
|55"||55S425||55S423||55S421||200 x 200|
|65"||65S425||65S423||65S421||400 x 200|
|75"||75S425||75S423||-||300 x 300|
If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their TCL S425 doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review. Note that some tests, such as gray uniformity, may vary between units.
The unit we tested was manufactured in January 2019.
The TCL 4 Series 2019 is an okay TV that can deliver decent picture quality and is equipped with great smart features. It's a cheap option that's available in a wide range of sizes. Also see our recommendations for the best budget TVs, the best Roku TVs, and the best smart TVs.
The TCL 4 Series 2019 is slightly better than the TCL 4 Series/S435 2020. They're very similar TVs, but the 2019 model has a much quicker response time and lower input lag. However, the 2020 model removes judder from native apps and has much better out-of-the-box color accuracy.
The TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED is much better than the TCL 4 Series 2019, mainly because it sits higher up in the lineup. The 5 Series has a decent-performing full-array local dimming feature, which the 4 Series doesn't have. It also displays a wide color gamut and gets much brighter, so it's a better choice for watching HDR content. Lastly, the 5 Series removes 24p judder from any source, while the 4 Series can only remove it from native 24p content.
The Vizio V Series 2019 is a bit better than the TCL 4 Series/S425 2019. The Vizio can get brighter, which is great if your room has more ambient light, but it's also better in a dark room thanks to the much more uniform blacks. The TCL, on the other hand, has a lower input lag and a faster response time that make it a better choice for gamers or those who want to use it for a PC monitor.
The TCL 6 Series R617 is much better than the TCL 4 Series S425. The TCL R617 has better dark room performance, thanks to its local dimming feature, and better black uniformity. The TCL 6 Series can get brighter and has a better color leading to better HDR performance. The R617 can display judder-free movies, whereas the TCL S425 has a lower input lag, great for games, and a little faster response time, so motion looks slightly crisper.
The Vizio V Series 2020 and the TCL 4 Series 2019 are very similar. The Vizio has better reflection handling and color accuracy, and it gets brighter to combat glare. However, the TCL has a much faster response time and a higher native contrast ratio.
The TCL S Series S405 4k and the TCL 4 Series S425 have very similar performance. The TCL S425 has marginally higher contrast ratio, which is great for watching movies in a dark room, and a slightly lower input lag, which is good for playing video games. The S405, on the other hand, can remove 24p judder from the native apps.
The TCL 5 Series S517 is a bit better than the TCL 4 Series S425. The S517 can get brighter and is more suitable if you have a bright room; it can display a wider color gamut, which helps HDR performance. Also, the S517 has a motion interpolation feature to please the soap opera effect fans and can display judder-free movies. The TCL S425 has somewhat lower input lag, which is great for video games, and delivers a little crisper motion thanks to the faster response time.
The LG UN6950 is slightly better than the TCL 4 Series 2019. The LG we tested has a VA panel like the TCL, but there are variants with an IPS panel. It has a lower input lag, it removes judder from native 24p sources, such as apps, and it gets a bit brighter. However, the TCL has a better contrast ratio, a quicker response time, and the built-in Roku TV is easier to navigate.
The LG UM7300 is a better TV than the TCL 4 Series 2019 for most uses. The LG uses an IPS panel, which gives it better viewing angles but worse black levels. The LG can get a lot brighter, has better gray uniformity, and more accurate colors. On the other hand, the TCL has a slightly wider color gamut and better gradient handling.
The TCL 4 Series/S425 2019 is much better than the TCL 3 Series S325. The TCL S425 supports HDR and has a better dark room performance, thanks to its higher native contrast ratio. The TCL S425 supports 4k and has a faster response time, which is great for watching sports and playing video games.
The TCL 4 Series 2019 is better than the Hisense H6570F. The TCL displays 720p cable content significantly better than the Hisense, and has a better input lag with HDR content, which is great for games. Also, the TCL can remove judder from movies but has worse black uniformity, which matters in dark scenes when in a dark room.
The TCL 6 Series/R625 2019 is a much better TV than the TCL 4 Series 2019. The R625 looks a lot more premium, has much better picture quality thanks to its local dimming feature, significantly brighter screen, better black uniformity, and better viewing angles. If you watch a lot of HDR content, the R625 is a much better choice thanks to its much higher HDR peak brightness and wider color gamut. While the 4 Series has a much faster response time, the R625 has a significantly better black frame insertion feature and less noticeable on-screen flicker, giving it better motion handling overall. On the other hand, the 4 Series may represent better value for some people.
The Samsung NU6900 and the TCL 4 Series 2019 are similar-performing TVs. The Samsung looks a bit more premium, can get brighter, has better gray and black uniformity, has a better black frame insertion feature, and has a motion interpolation feature. On the other hand, the TCL handles reflections better, has a wider color gamut, has a faster response time, and a better smart interface.
The TCL 4 Series 2019 is slightly better than the Toshiba Fire TV 2020. The TCL has a higher contrast ratio, better color accuracy, and lower input lag. It also has better gradient handling and can display chroma 4:4:4 properly. The Toshiba gets much brighter, though, and it has better reflection handling.
The Vizio E Series 2018 is better than the TCL S425. The Vizio can get much brighter and has a local dimming feature to improve dark room performance. It also includes an optional black frame insertion feature that can help make motion crisper. The TCL S425 has a lower input lag which is great for playing video games.
The TCL 4 Series 2019 is better than the Hisense H6570G. The TCL has a much quicker response time, much lower input lag, upscales native 4k content properly, and the built-in Roku interface is easier to use. However, the Hisense gets brighter, has better color accuracy, and removes judder from 24p sources via native apps.
The TCL 4 Series S425 is better than the Toshiba Fire TV 2019. The S425 has better contrast, a better response time, it can remove judder from some sources, and has significantly lower input lag. The Toshiba is brighter and has an optional motion interpolation feature.
These are two different types of TVs. If you have a bright room with a wide seating arrangement, then the LG UK6300 is a better choice as it can get brighter and has wide viewing angles thanks to its IPS panel. The TCL S425, on the other hand, is more suitable if you watch movies in a dark room and you sit straight in front. The TCL S425 has deeper blacks thanks to the higher native contrast ratio. The LG UK6300 has an optional motion interpolation feature to please soap opera effect fans.
The TCL S525 is a bit better than the TCL S425. The S525 is a lot brighter, and it can remove judder from all sources. The S525 also has an optional motion interpolation feature. The S425 has better reflection handling.
The Samsung NU7100 is a bit better than the TCL 4 Series S425. The Samsung NU7100 can get brighter and is more suitable for a bright room. The NU7100 has slightly better gray uniformity, which can be important to sports fans, and a motion interpolation feature to please the soap opera effect fans. The TCL S425 has a faster response time that delivers crisper motion and handles reflections slightly better, which can be important when you watch TV shows in a brighter room.
The Samsung RU7100 is somewhat better than the TCL S425. The Samsung RU7100 can get brighter and is more suitable for a bright room. It also incorporates a motion interpolation feature to please the soap opera effect fans. The TCL S425, on the other hand, can remove 24p judder from native 24p sources and has a faster response time that can deliver a crisper image.