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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Update 01/13/2021: We remeasured the footprint of the stand because we originally measured it with the feet twisted outwards, creating a larger footprint.
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.
Note: There's an 85 inch model whose feet are placed at the left and right edges.
Footprint of the 55" TV: 38.7" x 12.2".
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.
Note: There's an 85 inch model with a different back, somewhat similar to the TCL 6 Series/R635 2020 QLED.
The borders are relatively thin, especially for an entry-level TV, and shouldn't be distracting.
This TV is somewhat thick, but shouldn't stick out too much when wall-mounted.
Note: There's an 85 inch model with a different back, somewhat similar to the TCL 6 Series/R635 2020 QLED, so it may be a bit thicker.
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.
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.
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.
This TV doesn't have a local dimming feature. The video above is provided for reference only.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
720p content, such as from a cable box, is upscaled well without any obvious artifacts.
1080p content, like Blu-rays or game consoles, looks almost as good as native 4k content.
Update 12/15/2020: We retested the 4k input to see if there's any spatial dithering because there's some crosshatching in the shadows. We tested other pictures and didn't notice any spatial dithering.
Some of the blue pixels appear dimmer but this doesn't result in any picture quality issues.
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.
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.
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.
There aren't any signs of image retention, 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 mediocre response time, and it's much slower than the TCL 4 Series 2019. Sadly, there's visible motion blur with most content.
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.
There's no optional Black Frame Insertion feature. The TV flickers at 120Hz if you set the Backlight to '18' or below.
This TV doesn't have a motion interpolation feature.
Due to the slow response time, lower-frame rate content doesn't appear to stutter.