TCL 4 Series 2019 TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Updated May 28, 2020 at 08:00 am
TCL 4 Series 2019 Picture
6.8
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: none
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
Type LED
Sub-Type
VA
Resolution 4k

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 decent 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.

Our Verdict

6.8 Mixed Usage

The TCL 4 Series 2019 is a decent 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
  • Very low input lag, great for games.
  • Great smart features.
Cons
  • Can't get bright enough.
  • Image degrades when viewed at an angle.
6.5 Movies

The TCL 4 Series 2019 is an okay TV for watching movies. It delivers deep blacks in a dark room but lacks a local dimming feature, and black uniformity is just decent. There's no motion interpolation feature and unfortunately, the TV can't remove judder from all sources. On the upside, it upscales 1080p content, like from Blu-rays, really well with no artifacts.

6.7 TV Shows

The TCL 4 Series 2019 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. You would 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.

6.8 Sports

The TCL 4 Series 2019 is decent for watching sports. It has a great response time, so fast-moving content has minimal blur trail, and it has decent reflection handling. Unfortunately, it doesn't get bright and 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.

7.6 Video Games

The TCL 4 Series 2019 is a good TV for playing video games. The input lag is very low and you'll 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 is great for casual gaming.

6.2 HDR Movies

The TCL 4 Series 2019 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.

7.1 HDR Gaming

Decent for 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 TCL 4 Series 2019 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.

7.4 PC Monitor

The TCL 4 Series 2019 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.

  • 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 5/21/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.5.
  2. Update 2/21/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The TCL 4 Series is a budget VA panel 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.

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 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.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.59" (1.5 cm)

The borders are a bit thicker than most TVs, but won'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

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.

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

Excellent contrast ratio, which is expected from a VA panel TV. It's able to produce deep blacks, but unfortunately, there's no local dimming feature to further darken those blacks.

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

Poor SDR peak brightness. It's okay for a moderately-lit room, but it isn't suitable for a bright room as it can't combat glare. On the upside, the brightness remains unchanged no matter the scene, except for small highlights.

We performed our measurements after calibration with the 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.

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 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 almost as bad as the TCL S Series/S405 4k 2018.

We performed our measurements without calibration with the 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.

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. 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 °

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

Decent black uniformity. There's visible backlight bleed at the edges which is only noticeable when you watch a very dark scene 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 4 Series has decent reflection handling. The semi-glossy finish limits indirect reflections, so 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.

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

Disappointing out-of-the-box color accuracy. Most colors are inaccurate and the color temperature is warm, giving the picture a red/yellow tint. The gamma doesn't follow the target well as most scenes are darker than they should be. The colors red and white also clip quite a bit, unless the TV is in 'PC' Picture Mode. Lowering the contrast also helps with this issue, but it worsens the overall picture quality, so we don't recommend doing that.

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

Excellent 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 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.

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 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 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 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.

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 %

Mediocre color volume. 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 impressive 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.

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.

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

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 17/100 backlight setting. Backlight PWM dimming 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 levels.

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. However, at lower brightness levels, its 120Hz PWM backlight does help somewhat to make motion look clearer but causes duplications.

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

Unfortunately, this TV 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 have some judder.

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