We used the following calibration settings to review the TCL 55" S525 (55S525), and we expect them to be valid for the 43" (43S525), 49" (49S525), and the 65" (65S525) versions. These settings should apply to most types of content, except for gaming or use as a PC monitor, which require a few additional changes, listed below.
One of the first things we did was disable all of the auto power savings options, as we don't want the TV to adjust the image during testing.
For SDR content, there are five preset picture modes. We recommend choosing the 'Movie' picture mode, as it is the most accurate one out of the box, and allows for the most customization. From the Advanced Picture Settings menu, we recommend setting contrast to '100', brightness to '50', and sharpness to '20'. We also set Color to '45', and Tint (G/R) to '0'. Finally, we chose the 'Warm' Color Temperature, and we set the Gamma mode to 'Off,' as that is closest to our calibration target.
To make the image brighter in SDR, you should first select the TV brightness range in the TV picture settings menu to one of the 5 preset options and then adjust the Backlight on the Advanced Picture Settings depending on your specific viewing conditions. Changing this setting does not have any impact on the overall picture quality. The Brightness setting is a picture adjustment setting, and we do not recommend adjusting it.
As we aim for an image that is as close as possible to the content creator's intent, we disable most image processing options, including Dynamic Contrast. You should adjust these to your personal preference, though.
HDR is automatically enabled for the native apps. When you start playing HDR content, a small HDR icon appears next to the picture mode on the quick settings menu. Once you start playing HDR content, some of the settings change automatically, including the Backlight. We recommend leaving these settings to their default settings in HDR.
For HDR to work from external devices, HDMI 2.0 usually has to be enabled from the HDMI menu for the input you are using. Older devices may have compatibility issues if this option is left enabled, so it is recommended to only enable this setting for devices that require it.
If you find HDR content too dim, increase the Gamma, in the phone app to 1.8, as this produces a noticeably brighter picture in HDR.
Although we disable most motion enhancing functions for most of our tests, you should adjust these to whatever looks best for you. Some settings may need to be adjusted depending on the specific content you are watching.
The TCL s525 is able to remove judder from 24p sources like a DVD or a Blu-ray player, as long as the Natural Cinema setting is enabled.
This TV can enter game mode from any picture mode. When you start gaming, it should set Game Mode to 'On' to get the lowest possible input lag. Continue using the recommended settings for SDR or HDR. For HDR gaming, it is important to make sure that HDMI 2.0 is enabled for the input you are using.
The s525 will automatically detect when it is connected to a PC, and will automatically enter PC mode. If it doesn't detect your PC, simply change the input icon to 'Computer'.
The following are the results of the white balance and colorspace calibration on our unit. They are provided for reference, and should not be copied as the calibration values vary per individual unit even for the same model and same size as the TV we reviewed due to manufacturing tolerances. If you want to try them you will need to enter all values shown, as all of them are active at the same time. If you end up with worse picture quality, simply reset them to the default values.