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

TCL 4 Series 2020 TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Nov 13, 2020 at 07:43 am
TCL 4 Series 2020 Picture
6.6
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: Hisense H6510G
6.8
Movies
Value for price beaten by
: Hisense H6510G
6.8
TV Shows
Value for price beaten by
: Toshiba Fire TV 2020
6.3
Sports
Value for price beaten by
: Toshiba Fire TV 2020
6.9
Video Games
Value for price beaten by
: Toshiba Fire TV 2020
6.3
HDR Movies
Value for price beaten by
: Hisense H6510G
6.7
HDR Gaming
Value for price beaten by
: none
6.8
PC Monitor
Value for price beaten by
: Hisense H6510G
Current deal: The TCL 4 Series 2020 55" has dropped by $70 on BestBuy.com. See all Black Friday deals on TVs.
Type LED
Sub-Type
VA
Resolution 4k

The TCL 4 Series is an entry-level 4k TV and provides okay overall performance. It's a low-cost option that lacks many features, but this is expected from a TV in this price range. It has a VA panel with an outstanding contrast ratio that helps it display deep blacks, but it doesn't have local dimming to further enhance the contrast. It doesn't have any issues upscaling lower-resolution content, such as from DVDs and cable boxes, and it removes judder from native 24p sources like Blu-rays. The built-in Roku TV is easy-to-use and there's a variant with Android TV as well if that's what you prefer. It has a low 4k input lag that increases significantly with 1080p content, so it's best-suited for 4k gaming. Unfortunately, it has a slow response time that results in motion blur. Also, HDR content doesn't look all that different from SDR content because it has bad peak brightness and doesn't display the wide color gamut needed for HDR content.

Our Verdict

6.6 Mixed Usage

The TCL 4 Series is an okay TV for most uses. It performs best for watching movies in dark rooms because its VA panel has an outstanding contrast ratio, but it lacks local dimming. It has decent reflection handling if you watch shows or sports in rooms with some light, but it doesn't get very bright. It's okay for gaming because of its low input lag; however, the slow response time results in motion blur. Lastly, HDR content isn't anything special as it can't get bright and fails to display a wide color gamut.

Pros
  • Outstanding native contrast.
  • Decent reflection handling.
  • Upscales lower-resolution content well.
Cons
  • Doesn't get bright.
  • Narrow viewing angles.
  • Doesn't display wide color gamut.
6.8 Movies

The TCL 4 Series is okay for watching movies. It has a VA panel with an outstanding contrast ratio that allows it to display deep blacks. However, black uniformity is just okay, and there's no local dimming feature. It displays 1080p and 4k content without any artifacts and removes judder from 24p sources, such as Blu-ray players or native apps.

Pros
  • Outstanding native contrast.
  • Removes judder from 24p sources.
Cons
  • Black uniformity is just okay.
  • No local dimming.
6.8 TV Shows

The TCL 4 Series is okay for TV shows. It has decent reflection handling, but it doesn't get bright enough to combat glare in a well-lit room. It upscales lower-resolution content without any problems, and it doesn't have the risk of permanent burn-in from constant exposure to static elements. Sadly, it has narrow viewing angles and you quickly lose image accuracy as you move off-center.

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

The TCL 4 Series isn't bad for watching sports. It has decent reflection handling for when you want to watch in a room with some lights, but it doesn't get bright enough to combat a ton of glare. It has a slow response time that results in some motion blur with fast-moving content. It also has narrow viewing angles, so it's not an ideal choice for watching the game with a large group of people.

Pros
  • Decent reflection handling.
  • Upscales lower-resolution content well.
Cons
  • Doesn't get bright.
  • Narrow viewing angles.
  • Slow response time.
6.9 Video Games

The TCL 4 Series is okay for video games. It has an incredibly low input lag when gaming with a 4k resolution, but it increases significantly with 1080p content. The response time is slow, resulting in motion blur, and it doesn't have any extra gaming features like variable refresh rate (VRR) support. However, if you game in a dark room, it has an outstanding contrast ratio.

Pros
  • Outstanding native contrast.
  • Low input lag.
Cons
  • Slow response time.
  • No extra gaming features.
6.3 HDR Movies

The TCL 4 Series is unremarkable for HDR movies. It has an outstanding contrast ratio that results in deep blacks, but there's no local dimming feature to further improve it. Unfortunately, HDR content doesn't look all that different from SDR content because it fails to display a wide color gamut and has bad peak brightness, so highlights don't pop how they should.

Pros
  • Outstanding native contrast.
  • Removes judder from 24p sources.
Cons
  • No local dimming.
  • Doesn't get bright.
  • Doesn't display wide color gamut.
6.7 HDR Gaming

The TCL 4 Series is alright for HDR gaming. It provides okay gaming performance thanks to its low HDR input lag, but it has a slow response time that results in motion blur. It has an outstanding contrast ratio that makes black appear deep, but HDR content doesn't look good because it doesn't get bright, fails to display a wide color gamut, and lacks local dimming.

Pros
  • Outstanding native contrast.
  • Upscales lower-resolution content well.
  • Low input lag.
Cons
  • Doesn't get bright.
  • Slow response time.
  • No extra gaming features.
  • Doesn't display wide color gamut.
6.8 PC Monitor

The TCL 4 Series is okay to use as a PC monitor. Its VA panel doesn't have the risk of permanent burn-in, and it displays chroma 4:4:4 with a 1080p or 4k resolution. It also has a low enough input lag for desktop use and has decent reflection handling. However, it doesn't get bright, and it has narrow viewing angles, so the image looks washed out if you sit too close.

Pros
  • Decent reflection handling.
  • Low input lag.
  • Displays chroma 4:4:4.
Cons
  • Doesn't get bright.
  • Narrow viewing angles.
  • Slow response time.
  • 6.6 Mixed Usage
  • 6.8 Movies
  • 6.8 TV Shows
  • 6.3 Sports
  • 6.9 Video Games
  • 6.3 HDR Movies
  • 6.7 HDR Gaming
  • 6.8 PC Monitor

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The TCL 4 Series is an entry-level 4k TV in TCL's 2020 lineup and replaces the TCL 4 Series 2019. It sits above the TCL 3 Series 2020 and below the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED. Its main competitors are the Toshiba Fire TV 2020, Hisense H6570G, and the Vizio V Series 2020.

Design
6.5
Design
Style
Curved No

The TCL 4 Series is a basic TV with an okay design. It looks a lot like the TCL 4 Series 2019 with a different pattern on the back. It has wide-set feet and the overall build feels cheap.

Design
Stand

The wide-set stand is made of plastic, and the TV wobbles a bit. The position of the feet can't be changed to accommodate smaller tables.

Footprint of the 55" TV: 42.6" x 11.7".

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 300x300

The back of the TCL 4 Series is different than the TCL 4 Series 2019. The back panel is made out of metal that feels a bit cheap, and the part where the inputs are is also made from cheap plastic. Sadly, there's no cable management. Note that not all variants have the same VESA mount size.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.47" (1.2 cm)

The borders are relatively thin, especially for an entry-level TV, and shouldn't be distracting.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 3.35" (8.5 cm)

This TV is somewhat thick, but shouldn't stick out too much when wall-mounted.

6.5
Design
Build Quality

The TCL 4 Series has an okay build quality. The overall build feels cheap and there's some wobble. The plastic on the back has some flex and the metal doesn't feel premium.

Picture Quality
9.1
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
6067 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
N/A

The TCL 4 Series has an outstanding native contrast ratio. It displays deep blacks, which is expected from a VA panel. 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 provided for reference only.

4.7
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
168 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
201 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
201 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
201 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
201 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
201 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
200 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
200 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
200 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
201 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
201 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.008

The SDR peak brightness is poor. It doesn't get bright enough to combat glare in well-lit rooms. Luckily, its brightness is very consistent across different content.

We measured peak brightness after calibration in the 'Movie Picture Mode. If you don't care about image accuracy and want the brightest image possible, we reached 268 cd/m² in the 2% window in the 'Vivid' Picture Mode.

If you wat a budget-friendly TV that gets brighter, check out the Hisense H6510G.

4.5
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
199 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
220 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
220 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
221 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
221 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
221 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
219 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
220 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
220 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
221 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
221 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.001

The TCL 4 Series has bad HDR peak brightness. It gets brighter than in SDR, but it's not enough to make highlights stand out.

We measured peak brightness in the 'Dark HDR' Picture Mode with TV Brightness set to 'Brighter'. We got a brighter but less accurate image in the 'Bright HDR' Picture Mode, with everything else at their default settings. We achieved 267 cd/m² in the 10% window.

6.6
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
2.731 %
50% DSE
0.216 %
5% Std. Dev.
2.712 %
5% DSE
0.138 %

Our unit of the TCL 4 Series has okay gray uniformity, but this may vary between units. The edges of the screen are noticeably darker and there's dirty screen effect (DSE) in the center, which could be distracting during sports. There's less DSE in near-dark scenes, but there's visible backlight bleed along the edges.

4.6
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Washout
20 °
Color Shift
20 °
Brightness Loss
29 °
Black Level Raise
10 °
Gamma Shift
10 °

This TV has narrow viewing angles, which is expected from a VA panel. You quickly lose image accuracy as you start to move off-center. If you want a budget-friendly TV with wide viewing angles, look into the LG NANO80.

6.9
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
1.416 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

This TV has alright black uniformity, but this may vary between units. There's a bit of blooming around the center cross and sadly, there's noticeable backlight bleed along the edges. This can be distracting in dark scenes.

7.3
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
5.4 %
Indirect Reflections
0.3 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
5.1 %

The TCL 4 Series has decent reflection handling. It handles a moderate amount of light well but struggles if you place it in a room with a ton of glare.

8.6
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
1.90
Color dE
1.86
Gamma
2.26
Color Temperature
6261 K
Picture Mode
Movie
Color Temp Setting
Warm
Gamma Setting
2.2

This TV has excellent out-of-the-box color accuracy, but this may vary between units. There are hardly any inaccuracies with most colors and white balance. Gamma follows the target curve fairly well, but most scenes are too dark. Lastly, the color temperature is a bit warm, giving the image a red/yellow tint.

9.7
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.07
Color dE
0.63
Gamma
2.20
Color Temperature
6504 K
White Balance Calibration
11 point
Color Calibration
Yes
Auto-Calibration Function
No

The accuracy post-calibration is simply incredible. Any remaining color inaccuracies can't be spotted without the aid of a colorimeter, and the color temperature is nearly spot on our 6500K target. Gamma isn't perfect, as some scenes are slightly over-brightened, but this shouldn't be very noticeable.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

The TCL 4 Series displays 480p content, such as from DVDs, well. However, it has some trouble properly scaling 4:3 content, so the photo is taken in PC mode, resulting in over-saturated colors compared to other photos.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p content, such as from a cable box, is upscaled well without any obvious artifacts.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

1080p content, like Blu-rays or game consoles, looks almost as good as native 4k content.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

There aren't any artifacts with native 4k content as this TV displays it perfectly. It looks more like the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED than the TCL 4 Series 2019.

0
Picture Quality
8k Input

This is a 4k TV that doesn't display an 8k input.

Picture Quality
Pixels

Some of the blue pixels appear dimmer but this doesn't result in any picture quality issues.

6.7
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
No
DCI P3 xy
74.28 %
DCI P3 uv
80.82 %
Rec 2020 xy
53.63 %
Rec 2020 uv
60.13 %

The TCL 4 Series has an okay color gamut, but it's not considered a wide color gamut for HDR content. It has good coverage of the commonly-used DCI P3 color space, but limited coverage of the wider Rec. 2020.

The EOTF follows the target PQ curve fairly well until it slowly rolls off at its peak brightness, but most scenes are slightly dark. The 'Game' mode EOTF is the exact same.

If you find HDR too dim, set Gamma in the Roku phone app to '1.8'. This results in a slightly brighter image, as you can see in this EOTF.

5.9
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
68.2 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
24.1 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
49.8 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
17.5 %

This TV has a disappointing color gamut. It's mainly limited by its lack of wide color gamut and low peak brightness. However, it displays dark colors well thanks to its high contrast ratio.

8.4
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.088 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.098 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.088 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.111 dE

The gradient handling is impressive. Most of the banding is visible in the darker shades, especially in the grays and greens. There's a Noise Reduction setting available in the Roku mobile app, but it doesn't improve the gradients at all.

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 aren't any signs of image retention, 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
6.0
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
8.1 ms
100% Response Time
18.0 ms

This TV has a mediocre response time, and it's much slower than the TCL 4 Series 2019. Sadly, there's visible motion blur with most content.

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

This TV uses Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) to dim its backlight at any level below '18', and the 120Hz flicker may result in some image duplication. The backlight is flicker-free above that 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 optional Black Frame Insertion feature. The TV flickers at 120Hz if you set the Backlight to '18' or below.

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

This TV doesn't have a motion interpolation feature.

8.1
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
23.7 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
0.0 ms

Due to the slow response time, lower-frame rate content doesn't appear to stutter.

7.8
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
Yes

This TV automatically removes 24p judder from native apps or Blu-ray players. You don't need to adjust any settings for it to work.

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 4 Series doesn't support any variable refresh rate technology.

Inputs
8.2
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60 Hz
29.0 ms
1080p @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
59.0 ms
1440p @ 60 Hz
N/A
4k @ 60 Hz
12.6 ms
4k @ 60 Hz + 10 bit HDR
12.4 ms
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
29.2 ms
4k @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
53.7 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 a great low input lag, as long as you're in 'Game' mode. It's lowest at 4k, but it increases significantly at 1080p, which may be too high for reaction-based video games. It has an 'Auto Low Latency Mode' that automatically switches into 'Game' mode when a game from a compatible device is launched, and there isn't a setting to enable it.

It automatically detects when a computer is connected, switching into 'PC' mode. However, the input lag is a bit high in 'PC' mode, and you may notice a delay if you type really fast. If you want a TV with even lower input lag, check out the Hisense R6090G.

8.3
Inputs
Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4