Current deal: The Sony X900H 75” has dropped by $400 on Amazon.com. See all Black Friday deals on TVs.

TCL 4 Series 2019 TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Updated Nov 11, 2020 at 09:54 am
TCL 4 Series 2019 Picture
6.8
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: Hisense R6090G
6.5
Movies
Value for price beaten by
: Vizio V Series 2020
6.7
TV Shows
Value for price beaten by
: Toshiba Fire TV 2020
6.8
Sports
Value for price beaten by
: Toshiba Fire TV 2020
7.6
Video Games
Value for price beaten by
: none
6.2
HDR Movies
Value for price beaten by
: Vizio V Series 2020
7.1
HDR Gaming
Value for price beaten by
: none
7.4
PC Monitor
Value for price beaten by
: none
This TV was replaced by the TCL 4 Series 2020
Type LED
Sub-Type
VA
Resolution 4k

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.

Our Verdict

6.8 Mixed Usage

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.

Pros
  • Outstanding native contrast ratio.
  • Decent reflection handling.
  • Great response time.
Cons
  • No local dimming.
  • Doesn't get bright.
  • Fails to display wide color gamut.
6.5 Movies

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.

Pros
  • Outstanding native contrast ratio.
  • Decent black uniformity.
Cons
  • No local dimming.
  • Can only remove judder from native 24p sources.
6.7 TV Shows

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.

Pros
  • Decent reflection handling.
  • Upscales lower-resolution content well.
Cons
  • Doesn't get bright.
  • Narrow viewing angles.
6.8 Sports

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.

Pros
  • Decent reflection handling.
  • Upscales lower-resolution content well.
  • Great response time.
Cons
  • Doesn't get bright.
  • Narrow viewing angles.
  • Visible dirty screen effect.
7.6 Video Games

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.

Pros
  • Outstanding native contrast ratio.
  • Great response time.
  • Low input lag.
Cons
  • No VRR support.
  • No BFI feature.
6.2 HDR Movies

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.

Pros
  • Outstanding native contrast ratio.
  • Decent black uniformity.
Cons
  • No local dimming.
  • Doesn't get bright.
  • Fails to display wide color gamut.
7.1 HDR Gaming

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.

Pros
  • Outstanding native contrast ratio.
  • Great response time.
  • Low input lag.
Cons
  • Doesn't get bright.
  • No VRR support.
  • Fails to display wide color gamut.
7.4 PC Monitor

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.

Pros
  • Decent reflection handling.
  • Low input lag.
  • Displays chroma 4:4:4.
Cons
  • Doesn't get bright.
  • Narrow viewing angles.
  • Visible dirty screen effect.
  • 6.8 Mixed Usage
  • 6.5 Movies
  • 6.7 TV Shows
  • 6.8 Sports
  • 7.6 Video Games
  • 6.2 HDR Movies
  • 7.1 HDR Gaming
  • 7.4 PC Monitor
  1. Update 11/11/2020: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  2. Update 5/21/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.5.
  3. Update 2/21/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The TCL S425 is a budget, entry-level TV. It sits below the TCL 5 Series/S525 2019. It's the replacement of the TCL S Series/S405 4k 2018. It's comparable to most other manufacturers' budget models, like the Samsung RU7100, the LG UK6300, or the Vizio E Series 2018.

Design
6.5
Design
Style
Curved No

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.

Design
Stand

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"

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 100x100

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.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.59" (1.5 cm)

The borders are a bit thicker than most TVs, but shouldn't distract you.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 2.91" (7.4 cm)

The TV itself isn't very thick and shouldn't stick out when wall-mounted.

6.5
Design
Build Quality

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.

Picture Quality
9.1
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
6054 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
N/A

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.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
Direct

This TV doesn't have a local dimming feature. The video above is for reference only.

4.4
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
168 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
142 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
177 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
177 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
177 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
177 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
141 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
177 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
177 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
177 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
177 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.017

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.

4.4
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
191 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
199 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
206 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
207 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
207 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
207 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
199 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
206 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
207 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
207 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
207 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.003

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'.

6.8
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
2.926 %
50% DSE
0.203 %
5% Std. Dev.
3.116 %
5% DSE
0.112 %

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.

4.8
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Washout
19 °
Color Shift
23 °
Brightness Loss
27 °
Black Level Raise
15 °
Gamma Shift
12 °

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.

7.3
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
1.142 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

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.

7.4
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
5.3 %
Indirect Reflections
0.6 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
4.7 %

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.

5.9
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
3.36
Color dE
5.69
Gamma
2.33
Color Temperature
6130 K
Picture Mode
Movie
Color Temp Setting
Warm
Gamma Setting
2.2

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.

9.1
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.50
Color dE
2.10
Gamma
2.22
Color Temperature
6532 K
White Balance Calibration
11 point
Color Calibration
Yes
Auto-Calibration Function
No

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.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

Upscaling of low-quality 480p content, such as DVDs, is good.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p sources, such as cable boxes, are upscaled well.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

1080p content, like Blu-rays or game consoles, looks great with no obvious issues.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

Native 4k content has no issues.

0
Picture Quality
8k Input

This is a 4k TV that can't display an 8k signal.

Picture Quality
Pixels
7.2
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
No
DCI P3 xy
80.17 %
DCI P3 uv
86.24 %
Rec 2020 xy
57.74 %
Rec 2020 uv
63.53 %

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.

6.3
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
70.9 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
22.8 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
55.7 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
17.8 %

The color volume is mediocre. It's limited by the lack of a wide color gamut, and it can't display dark, saturated colors.

8.3
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.099 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.109 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.084 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.109 dE

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.

10
Picture Quality
Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 2 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 4 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 6 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 8 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 10 min recovery
0.00 %

There isn't any temporary image retention on this TV, but this may vary between units.

10
Picture Quality
Permanent Burn-In Risk
Permanent Burn-In Risk
No

We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.

Motion
8.1
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
4.7 ms
100% Response Time
12.1 ms

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.

4.0
Motion
Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
120 Hz

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.

5.4
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
No
Min Flicker for 60 fps
120 Hz
60 Hz for 60 fps
No
120 Hz for 120 fps
N/A
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
120 Hz

There's no Black Frame Insertion feature to improve the appearance of motion.

Motion
Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
No
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
No

Unfortunately, this TV can't interpolate lower frame rate motion, which won't please the fans of the 'Soap Opera Effect'.

7.2
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
29.6 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
4.6 ms

There's a little stutter due to the fast response time that results in a higher frame hold time of 24p content, like movies.

5.6
Motion
24p Judder
Judder-Free 24p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60p
No
Judder-Free 24p via 60i
No
Judder-Free 24p via Native Apps
No

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.

0
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
60 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
No
HDMI Forum VRR
No
FreeSync
No
G-SYNC Compatible
No
4k VRR Maximum
N/A
4k VRR Minimum
No VRR support
1080p VRR Maximum
N/A
1080p VRR Minimum
No VRR support
1440p VRR Maximum
N/A
1440p VRR Minimum
No VRR support
VRR Supported Connectors
No VRR support

The TCL 43S425 has a 60Hz panel and doesn't support any variable refresh rate technology.

Inputs
8.9
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60 Hz
12.9 ms
1080p @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
48.6 ms
1440p @ 60 Hz
12.8 ms
4k @ 60 Hz
13.0 ms
4k @ 60 Hz + 10 bit HDR
12.9 ms
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
13.0 ms
4k @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
29.7 ms
4k @ 60 Hz With Interpolation
N/A
8k @ 60 Hz
N/A
1080p @ 120 Hz
N/A
1440p @ 120 Hz
N/A
4k @ 120 Hz
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
N/A
1440p with VRR
N/A
4k with VRR
N/A
8k with VRR
N/A
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
Yes

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.

8.3
Inputs
Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
1080p @ 120 Hz
No
1440p @ 60 Hz