The TCL UP130 is a budget 4k LCD TV, with above average picture quality. Unfortunately the motion handling is below average and the input lag is also far from ideal. It can't get very bright to deal with reflections, and when viewed at an angle the picture quality degrades rapidly. The Roku smart platform works great though.
The design is an improvement on most TCL TVs. It won't stand out in any room, but still looks better than average. It is a simple plastic TV, with some metallic finishes that look quite good.
The stand is quite wide, and requires a fairly large table. The feet have a metallic finish, which looks quite good.
Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 8.5" x 38.7"
The back is simple, but provides easy access to most of the inputs which are located to the side.
The borders are of an average thickness, with a thin metallic finish on the side. Most of the border is plastic.
The TV has an average thickness, and will stick out slightly if wall mounted. The widest part is near the bottom of the TV.
The picture quality is above average for the TCL UP130. The native contrast and the black uniformity are great and should perform really well in a dark room. The coverage of the color gamut is below average but luckily, the TV displays a relatively good color gradient, so banding should not be a problem. Picture quality degrades when viewed at an angle a bit faster than other TVs and finally, the peak brightness is very low, gray uniformity is bad and there is no local dimming feature.
Native contrast ratio is very good. One of the best contrast ratios seen in the budget TV range. Blacks are very deep, resulting in a great dark room performance.
There is no local dimming feature on the TCL UP130. This video is for reference only.
Peak brightness performance is not so great. At around 220 cd/m², it will be good enough for a dark environment, but will certainly be lacking in a situation where the TV needs to fight the glare of a bright light or a window
This TV does not support HDR.
Gray uniformity is bad. All 4 corners are very dark and there is also some vertical bands that are a bit warmer and darker. Dirty screen effect is going to be noticeable in a scene with a big panning shot over an uniform background in a movie, or in sports like hockey or baseball.
Viewing angle is below average. The color and contrast degrades really fast when viewed at an angle, leaving you with a faint and bland image when viewed from the side.
The viewing angle testing methodology has been updated, but the UP130 was not retested. The results have been interpolated.
Update: We have changed the methodology of testing. Since this is an old TV which we don't have anymore, we extrapolated the results.
Black uniformity is very good for this TV. No clouding or other problems can be seen on our set whatsoever.
The TCL UP130 has a 10 bit panel. It is not perfect though, because you can see some imperfections in the dark green and also some tints in the grayscale.
Prior to calibration the TCL UP130 delivers accurate colors and a good white balance which closely follows our target 2.2 gamma curve. This is a great result.
480p content like DVDs or SD TV channels look good, but the upscaled picture is a little softer than on other TVs.
720p content like cable TV looks good without any problems being noticeable once the image is upscaled.
The native resolution looks sharp. Some of the pixel substructure can be seen from close up, but this is only visible within 1 or 2 feet.
There is no wide color gamut support. Displays Rec. 709 content well, but not suitable for HDR content.
The UP130 is average at dealing with reflections. It has a semi-gloss finish which diffuses glare directly on the screen. For an average or dark room, this should not be an issue.
Setting the color temperature to 'Warm' results in an unusual pixel pattern. Alternate blue pixels are dimmed. This can only be noticed from within 1 or 2 feet of the TV.
Motion handling is bellow average. Fast moving objects appear slightly more clear than average. The TV lacks any motion interpolation features, so those who like the soap opera effect may be disappointed.
Motion performance of the UP130 is slightly better than average, and only a short trail can be seen following the logo. The backlight uses PWM to dim, with a 200Hz flicker. This is not a multiple of the 60Hz refresh rate, and results in fast moving objects appearing shaky.
It does not have judder when playing movies from Blu-rays, DVDs or from streaming apps. On the other hand, it cannot remove judder from movies playing from 60p or 60i source like cable/satellite or set-top box. Most people don't notice judder, so this is not an issue.
The TCL UP130 has a 60Hz panel, and does not support any motion interpolation features.
The input lag of the TCL UP130 is slightly better than average, and for most people this should not be an issue. It supports the basic resolutions for PC use.
The input lag remains the same regardless of the picture mode chosen. It is slightly better than average, so should be ok for casual gamers.
It features two 3.5mm analog audio jacks. One is situated on the back of the TV and the other one is on the left side of the remote. This is very practical for those who want to listen to the TV privately without the need of a long extension cord.
The UP130 has poor sound quality. The frequency response is not accurate, and distortion is always present, especially pronounced at higher volumes. Even a cheap sound bar would be an improvement over the TV audio.
Note: Sound Quality test for TVs reviewed before 2017 was performed at 75dB, 85dB, and Max SPL. Starting 2017, the target SPL levels have been changed to 70dB, 80dB, and Max dB SPL.
Poor performance. Frequency response is below average, but maximum loudness and low-end cutoff are poor, even for a TV. This means that this TV won't get very loud and won't be able to produce much bass/punch. There is also some compression and pumping present at higher volumes.
Poor distortion performance. The overall amount of harmonic distortion at 75 and 85dB SPL are elevated. Additionally, there is considerable rise in distortion at maximum volume, even though the rise in volume will be minimal and the only noticeable rise will be in distortion.
The TCL UP130 features the Roku smart platform. Roku is very simple to use and feels responsive. Since it is a very popular platform, the app ecosystem is well maintained and kept well updated. The UP130 also has the capacity to play your media files straight from your own USB flash drive.
All the major apps like Amazon Video, Netflix and HBO Now are available on the Roku 'Channel Store'. Since Roku is a very popular smart platform, you can be sure that most of the apps are going to be updated frequently and that any new popular apps are going to be available on it.
Controls are located behind the right side of the TV. They provide access to all of the TVs functions, but may be a little difficult to use if the TV is wall mounted.
The included remote is simple and easy to use. It includes quick access buttons for some of the most popular applications. Unlike the TCL US5800, it includes a headphone jack on the side, allowing 3.5mm headphones to listen to the TV sound wirelessly.
We tested the 55" (55UP130). For the most part, we expect our review to be valid for the 50" (50UP130) and 43" (43UP130).
If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their TCL UP130 doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review.
Note that the 43" model has a slightly different VESA mount (100x200).
The TCL UP130 is a budget TV, providing average performance. The biggest strength is the Roku smart platform, and would be the main reason for choosing the TV at this price point. Other similarly priced 4k TVs offer better picture quality or more features. Keep that in mind when viewing our recommendations below.
Slightly above average overall performance. Performs well in dark scenes. Above average picture quality. Unfortunately can't get very bright. Slightly better than average motion handling. Picture quality degrades rapidly when viewed at an angle.
Better than average for movies in a dark room. Dark scene performance is good. No local dimming feature to improve performance. Colors are quite accurate.
Below average for TV in a bright room. Picture quality is above average but degrades rapidly when viewed at an angle. Can't get bright to overcome glare. Average at dealing with reflections. Smart platform works well for casual viewing.
Average for sports. Picture quality is above average, but degrades rapidly when viewed at an angle. Motion blur is slightly better than average. Uniformity is not good, so dirty screen effect is visible.
Good for gamers. Picture quality is above average, and motion handling is good. Unfortunately for serious gamers, input lag is average but this should not be an issue for most people.
Doesn't support HDR. Picture quality is above average, but highlights can't get bright and only supports a limited range of colors.
Below average PC monitor. Motion blur is slightly better than average. Input lag is average which may be noticeable to some. Picture quality is above average but degrades when viewed at an angle.