TCL has become one of the most popular TV brands on the market today thanks to its combination of affordable pricing and robust smart TV features.
But are TCL smart TVs worth buying over other brands?
This comprehensive guide examines the pros and cons of TCL smart TVs to help you decide if one is right for your home entertainment needs.
Overview of TCL TVs
TCL is a Chinese consumer electronics company that has been manufacturing TVs since the 1980s, but only gained major popularity in North America in recent years.
Key things to know about TCL TVs:
- Budget-friendly pricing, generally cheaper than major brands
- Focus on smart TV features and streaming
- Range of screen sizes from small to very large
- Both 4K and 8K resolution models available
- Partnership with Roku provides acclaimed smart TV software
- Solid picture quality and audio for the price
- Minimalist, functional design aesthetic
TCL offers smart TVs under its main brand as well as a more premium range under the Roku TV branding. We’ll look at models from both lines to help assess if TCL TVs are worth purchasing.
Pros of Buying a TCL Smart TV
There are many advantages that TCL smart TVs can offer buyers:
The main appeal of TCL TVs is their budget-friendly pricing. For frugal shoppers, they provide similar smart capabilities as more expensive brands at a fraction of the cost. Even the largest screens cost substantially less than comparable offerings from Sony, Samsung, LG and others.
For example, a 65″ 4K TCL Roku TV retails for around $600 whereas a 65″ Sony 4K smart TV costs over $1000.
Strong Smart TV Features
TCL TVs run Roku TV software, which provides an excellent smart TV interface and extensive app/streaming support. Roku TV is widely praised as one of the best smart TV systems available. The software is intuitive and makes it easy to access popular apps like Netflix and Disney+ as well as cable/satellite content and inputs like gaming consoles.
Good Picture Quality
While they make some tradeoffs to achieve lower prices, TCL TVs deliver very solid 4K picture quality and color vibrancy. Features like HDR and local dimming provide enhanced contrast and black levels. For most non-AV enthusiasts, the picture quality meets or exceeds expectations at the respective pricing tiers.
Range of Sizes
Another advantage of TCL is that they offer both small and extra large screen size options to suit different home setups. TCL’s smart TVs range from 43 inches up to a tremendous 98 inches! There are sizes for studio apartments as well as expansive home theaters.
Decent Sound Quality
TCL TVs typically have decent built-in audio for the price. Higher-end models have features like Dolby Atmos support for more cinematic sound. For most owners, the standard speakers are sufficient, though home theater buffs may still want a soundbar or surround system.
While not top-end panels, TCL TVs provide reliable performance for streaming, gaming, and everything in between. The user experience is smooth and responsive thanks to the capable Roku TV platform. TCL TVs work great as central hubs for home entertainment.
Strong Customer Satisfaction
Across retail sites, buyers give high ratings and positive reviews for TCL smart TVs. Customers praise the affordable pricing, smart capabilities, easy usability and solid performance. For shoppers on a budget, TCL delivers impressive bang-for-buck.
Cons to Consider
TCL smart TVs can be a great choice for many, but there are some downsides to weigh as well:
Mediocre Viewing Angles
One area where TCL TVs fall short is off-angle viewing. Colors and contrast wash out more than top LED/LCD brands when viewing from the side. This isn’t a huge issue for head-on viewing but could affect larger rooms with wide seating.
Functionality takes priority over form with TCL sets. They have simple, plastic construction without much aesthetic flair. Those wanting a TV as an interior design element may find the styling underwhelming.
No Dolby Vision
While they support standard HDR10 for improved contrast, TCL TVs lack support for advanced Dolby Vision HDR. It provides better color and brightness, though only some content can take advantage of it.
No Next-Gen Gaming Features
For hardcore console or PC gamers, TCL sets lack cutting-edge gaming features like 4K/120FPS, VRR, and ultra-low input lag. Casual gamers will likely find the performance adequate.
Mediocre Off-Brand Software
On non-Roku sets, TCL’s own smart TV software is below average, with a more limited app selection and less refinement. The Roku TV powered models offer far superior smart functionality.
There are some complaints about premature failures or quality control issues, particularly for earlier 4K models. TCL’s warranty support is also mixed. This could be a concern for longevity.
While not perfect, these cons reflect the cost-cutting necessary to meet the lower price points. No TV provides every feature – it’s about balancing performance, features and price. Overall TCL smart TVs deliver great streaming entertainment value.
TCL vs Other Brands
How do TCL smart TVs compare to the major players? Here’s a quick brand vs brand rundown:
TCL vs Samsung: Samsung TVs perform better but are priced much higher. TCL competes well on features and value.
TCL vs LG: LG OLED TVs are superior for image quality, but far more expensive. Value seekers prefer TCL.
TCL vs Sony: Sony TVs exceed TCL in picture accuracy and motion handling but cost a lot more.
TCL vs Vizio: Similarly priced and both offer great bang-for-buck overall, though Vizio trails in smart features.
TCL vs Hisense: Very similar, though Hisense models have slightly better picture quality at low price points.
While no longer bottom of the barrel, TCL still sits a tier below the major brands in performance and quality, but delivers an amazing value overall.
Best TCL Smart TVs
Within TCL’s lineup, these models stand out as great smart TV options:
TCL 32S5400 – 32″ Smart Full HD TV
- Seamless Voice Control and Smart Assistant Integration: With TCL 32S5400, you can effortlessly navigate and control your TV using voice commands through Google Assistant. Enjoy the convenience of hands-free operation and access to a wide range of entertainment options with just your voice.
- Immersive Visual Experience with FHD HDR 10 and Micro Dimming: Immerse yourself in stunning picture quality on the TCL 32S5400’s Full HD display, enhanced with HDR 10 technology for vibrant colors and improved contrast. Micro dimming further enhances the visual experience by dynamically adjusting brightness levels, ensuring every detail is clear and vivid.
- Sleek Metallic Bezel-less Design: The TCL 32S5400 features a sleek metallic bezel-less design that adds a touch of elegance to any living space. With its ultra-thin frame, this TV seamlessly blends into your home decor while maximizing the screen-to-body ratio for an immersive viewing experience.
- Google TV with App Store: Experience a world of entertainment at your fingertips with the TCL 32S5400’s integrated Google TV platform. Access a vast library of apps, games, movies, and shows from the Google Play Store directly on your TV screen, opening up endless possibilities for entertainment and productivity.
- Powerful Performance and Big Memory: The TCL 32S5400 is equipped with ample memory to ensure smooth performance even when multitasking or running resource-intensive applications. Enjoy seamless navigation between apps, quick loading times, and effortless switching between different content sources for uninterrupted entertainment.
TCL 43S5400 – 43″ Full HD Android Smart TV
- Superior Visual Experience: Enjoy stunning picture quality with the TCL 43S5400’s FHD HDR 10 and Micro dimming technology, which enhances contrast and delivers vibrant colors for an immersive viewing experience.
- Seamless Voice Control: Take command of your entertainment with the latest Google TV and integrated Google Assistant, allowing you to effortlessly search for content, control your smart home devices, and navigate through a wide range of apps with just your voice.
- Enhanced Audio Performance: Immerse yourself in rich, cinematic sound with Dolby Audio technology, delivering crystal-clear audio that enhances the overall viewing experience for movies, shows, and games.
- Bezel-less Design: The TCL 43 FHD features a sleek metallic bezel-less design that not only adds a touch of elegance to your living space but also maximizes the screen-to-body ratio for a more immersive visual experience.
- Crystal-Clear Picture Quality: With a screen resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, the TCL 43S5400 offers sharp details, vibrant colors, and lifelike visuals that bring your favorite movies and TV shows to life in stunning clarity. Whether you’re watching Netflix or browsing through photos, every moment is displayed with exceptional precision and detail.
- TCL 6-Series: Top picture quality and features at a mid-range price point. Best bang-for-buck all around.
- TCL 5-Series: A more affordable option with very solid performance and streaming. Great choice for most mainstream buyers.
- TCL 3-Series: Basic HD and 4K models but still with Roku TV. Ideal for kids rooms, secondary spaces.
- TCL XL Collection: Massive display sizes of up to 98″! Made for home theater enthusiasts.
Stick to TCL’s Roku TV models for the best smart experience. Focus on the latest 2022 or 2023 models for the most up to date performance and features.
Is a TCL Smart TV Worth Buying?
In the end, is a TCL smart TV worth buying and should you consider TCL for your next television?
The answer for most budget-minded shoppers is a resounding yes!
While more costly brands edge them out in performance, TCL smart TVs provide an absolutely fantastic value. Features like 4K resolution, HDR support, and the acclaimed Roku TV platform make TCL an outstanding option for streaming media, casual gaming, and everyday entertainment.
If you want good smart TV functionality and performance without breaking the bank, a TCL model will prove a very satisfying choice. The combination of low prices and strong overall quality makes TCL smart TVs absolutely worth considering for shoppers wanting to maximize their budget. Just be sure to opt for a TCL Roku TV model to enjoy the best smart features.
For buyers looking purely for the absolute best TV picture or build quality, higher tier brands may be warranted.
But for most households, a TCL smart TV is sure to deliver everything needed for an excellent home theater experience at a very appealing price point.