Should you buy a TCL TV? Our verdict on TCL, Roku TVs and more

Should you buy a TCL TV? Our verdict on TCL Roku TVs and more
(Image credit: TCL)

TCL is one of the biggest names around when it comes to budget TVs, especially in the US. This brand competes with other budget brands like Toshiba, Insignia, Amazon and Hisense, and like them TCL offers a wide range of TVs at different sizes and price points with different technology and features. What they all have in common, mind you, is seemingly affordable price tags compared to the ones attached to models by the more premium TV brands – your Sonys and LGs, for example.

Whether you’re in the UK or in the US, TCL’s ranges of television run the gamut, and while being able to pick out the display tech of your choice or the smart platform you like the best might be useful, it can make deciding on a TCL TV quite complicated.

So, to help you figure out which TCL TV might work the best for you, we have outlined the primary TV ranges that TCL sells in both US and UK territories, as well as what they offer and how they stack up against the many competitor brands out there in the budget TV space.

We’ve reviewed some TCL TVs at What Hi-Fi?, though even with the ones that haven’t passed through our test room doors there’s still something to be learned from their spec sheets. So, sit back, strap in, and keep reading to learn everything you need to know about TCL TVs and whether or not you should be keeping an eye on this brand… 

Should you buy a TCL TV? The short answer…

TCL 55RP620K

(Image credit: TCL)

Across the US and the UK, TCL TVs are serious competitors in the budget TV space – especially when it comes to peak shopping periods where excellent TCL deals appearing are as sure as night turning into day. You’ll often find TCL TVs with competitive features and specs sold at not just competitive prices but some of the lowest around.

If you’re in the market for a reasonably cheap TV but don’t want to get stuck with a tiny display running at a low resolution, TCL is there for you, offering up a slew of 4K TVs that’ll get the job done when it comes to streaming whatever content you could want on a budget.

TCL TVs may not be the best for gamers, largely opting out of supporting features like VRR or 120Hz at budget prices, but this is often the case across brands. High-end gaming features usually come with higher-end price tags, while TCL TVs will have no trouble with casual gaming, especially if you’re still playing on PS4 or Xbox One.

In general, premium TCL TVs that run up into the thousands and support Mini-LED tech or 8K might be harder to justify when you can alternatively opt for sets from established brands like Sony or LG that come with the popular and proven OLED display, or Samsung QLED TVs. But the budget and mid-range TCL TVs on offer are usually tough to beat in terms of value.

What do US TCL TVs offer?

TCL 4K HDR TV

(Image credit: TCL)

While TCL US is a budget brand, first and foremost, the company does offer quite a range of sets – from tiny, cheap 720p TVs with barebones features to big-screen Mini-LED sets that can cost thousands of dollars. Whether you want a Google TV over a Roku TV or you want 8K over 4K, TCL has you covered.

However, TCL’s most popular lines of US TV are on the cheaper end, so we’ll be focusing on three core lines of TCL TV: the 3-Series, 4-Series and 5-Series TVs. If you’re looking for 8K or Mini-LED tech, check out TCL’s 6-Series, though if your budget is over a thousand dollars, know that the competition gets a lot wider and your choice harder.

TCL’s flagship Roku TVs have a lot of commonalities between them, each coming with a 60Hz refresh rate, Dolby Digital Plus audio, HDMI ARC (or eARC) connections, and typical features like VESA mounts and an included remote. At their core is the Roku OS – a portal to streaming apps – though you can opt for Android/Google versions of these TVs over Roku if you prefer.

As you make your way up TCL’s lines, TCL TVs will offer HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, gaming-focused features like ALLM and VRR, and even QLED panels. The 6-Series will even offer up Mini-LED support and 8K support, too. Unsurprisingly, the more features you want, the more money you’ll be spending.

TCL TVs start out at under $200 for the HD 3-Series and top out at over $1000, while 6-Series TVs can scale up to thousands of dollars depending on size, and whether you’re looking for 8K support on top of Mini-LED support.

In general, pricing on TCL TVs is extremely competitive, especially when it comes to their more budget and midrange offerings. Sometimes, you’ll find sets with similar features for similar prices, but TCL TVs oftentimes offer up some of the best value out there, especially on sale, so these TVs are definitely worth keeping an eye on if you’re looking for a deal.

Should you buy a TCL 3-Series?

TCL 3 Series

(Image credit: TCL)
  • Sizes: 32-inch, 40-inch
  • Display type: LED
  • Resolution: 720p (32-inch), 1080p (40-inch)
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • HDR: None
  • Audio: Dolby Digital Plus
  • HDMI: ARC

TCL’s 3-Series is the brand’s most basic flavor of US TV. These sets come in two sizes, 32-inch and 40-inch, and they come outfitted with LED panels, 60Hz refresh rates, HDMI ARC, and Dolby Digital Plus audio, while there’s no HDR support in sight.

You can pick up a 32-inch 3-Series for just $150, while you can grab a 40-inch for $200. Of course, you’ll see both of these TVs for less if you can find them on sale, too. Naturally, in 2022, HD or Full HD TVs aren’t really the best value, considering how cheap 4K sets have gotten, but these TCL TVs make a decent case.

Compared to other budget HD TVs in 2022, these TCL TVs are oftentimes the cheapest option. Insignia will sell you a 32-inch 720p TV for $200, while Insignia will do the same, and TCL manages to undercut them both by $50 without any sales involved. A lower price may not make HD more relevant today, sure, but for some, they aren’t watching 4K content anyways.

If you’re just looking for a cheap set to put in your kitchen or you use to only watch content that’s exclusively in HD, a nicer set with a higher resolution may not matter all that much to you, and for the price, it’ll generally be pretty tough to find a 4K/HDR set. In terms of saving money on a smart TV in 2022, TCL’s 3-Series is hard to beat.

Should you buy a TCL 4-Series?

TCL 4 Series

(Image credit: TCL)
  • Sizes: 43-inch, 50-inch, 55-inch, 58-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch, 85-inch
  • Display type: LED
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • HDR: HDR10, HLG
  • Audio: Dolby Digital Plus
  • HDMI: eARC

TCL’s 4-Series is the brand's flagship mid-range US TV. For most, if you’re looking a budget TV from TCL, the 4-Series is where you’ll look. Accordingly, this line has almost every size of TV you can imagine, and it comes with LED panels, 4K support, and HDR.

You’ll be getting HDR10 and HLG alongside HDMI eARC instead of just ARC; plus, you’ll get Roku smarts and virtual assistant support, too. All told, this is about what you’d expect from a relatively basic, modern 4K TV in 2022, but you might not expect the 4-Series’ pricing.

TCL’s 4-Series starts off at just $230 for the 43-inch model, $270 for the 50-inch model, and $300 for the 50-inch model, while it scales up to a massive $1278 for the 85-inch model. In terms of the larger budget TV market, these are just about the best prices you can find on 4K TVs today without nabbing something on sale.

For example, Insignia’s 4K sets start off at $300 for a 43-inch set, Toshiba starts off at $330 for a 43-inch set, and Amazon Fire TVs start off at $300 for a 50-inch set. TCL manages to undercut every one of these other budget brands, and by a fair margin too, saving you anywhere from $40 to $100. Of course, that number will only go up if you find a TCL TV on sale.

Accordingly, if you’re looking for a modern 4K smart TV that won’t either break the bank or sacrifice too many features, the TCL 4-Series is a good choice. Unless you find a strong sale on another similar TV, you probably won’t be beating the price, and unless you care a lot about image quality or gaming performance, you might not find spending more worth it.

Should you buy a TCL 5-Series?

TCL 5 Series

(Image credit: TCL)
  • Sizes: 50-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch
  • Display type: QLED
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • HDR: HDR10, HLG, HDR10+, Dolby Vision
  • Audio: Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos
  • HDMI: eARC

TCL’s 5-Series is a major step up over the 4-Series without too much of a major price bump. These TVs come in four different sizes, and they all manage to pack in QLED displays, and that’s on paper going to result in a substantial increase in image quality over the traditional LED displays of the 3-Series and 4-Series TCL TVs.

On top of QLED panels, the 5-Series also gets HDR10+ and Dolby Vision added in as well as Dolby Atmos support for all the spatial audio fans. For gamers, the 5-Series adds in VRR and ALLM support, too, though it’ll only do 4K/60Hz. All told, the 5-Series upgrades image quality, audio, and gaming performance in key areas over the 4-Series.

What’s more, though, is that a 5-Series starts off at $430 for the 50-inch and $500 for the 55-inch, while the 65-inch will run you $700 and the 75-inch goes for $1000. In terms of pricing, TCL’s QLEDs are quite competitive, beating out other budget brands even without sales.

For example, the 5-Series outclasses Toshiba’s F50 QLED Series TV, managing to add in HDR10+, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and VRR/ALLM for the same price, and this TCL QLED is much cheaper than Amazon’s Fire TV QLED line that starts at a meaty $800. In general, TCL’s QLED TVs are about the cheapest you’ll be able to regularly find.

If you’re a big gamer, you’ll definitely be well served by VRR and ALLM, but you might want to spend a little more and go for a 4K/120Hz 65-inch Toshiba M550 set for $600; however, you will be getting an LED display as opposed to a QLED display. So, if you’re just looking for a cheap QLED set, TCL’s 5-Series is tough to beat.

What do UK TCL TVs offer?

TCL

(Image credit: TCL)

Much like TCL’s US side, TCL UK offers up a huge slew of budget TVs with different features at different price points. From 720p TVs to 4K Mini-LED sets that cost thousands, UK TCL TVs run the gamut as well.

Accordingly, if you’re looking for a Roku TV or 144Hz support or anything else, you can find it within TCL’s many different UK TVs on offer; however, for the purposes of this guide, we’ll be focusing on TCL’s flagship, lower-cost TVs with the most mainstream appeal.

Three lines of TV make up TCL’s most budget-oriented TVs: the S52K Series, the P63K Series, and the C63K Series. These TVs go from 720p to 4K and scale up in terms of price and features like HDR, QLED displays, Dolby Atmos, and more.

These are Android TVs, though TCL UK does offer TVs that run other smart platforms, so you’ll be able to stream whatever content you’d like on all of these, and across all of them, you’ll get familiar features like VESA mounting, HDR, Dolby Audio, virtual assistant support, and more.

TCL UK’s core lines of television aren’t especially gaming-focused, though, with none of these three flagship lines coming with 120Hz support or VRR, though you will find some with ALLM. So, if you’re a big gamer and that’s the most important thing for you, you may want to check out some of TCL’s more expensive TVs with higher refresh rates and VRR.

In general, TCL’s UK TVs are competitively priced, and you’ll be able to find some of the best value around when it comes to budget TVs with TCL sets. Sometimes, you may find better deals elsewhere, but TCL TVs are almost never bad value.

Should you buy a TCL S52K Series?

TCL S52K Series

(Image credit: TCL)
  • Sizes: 32-inch, 40-inch
  • Display type: LED
  • Resolution: 720p (32-inch), 1080p (40-inch)
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • HDR: HDR10
  • Audio: Dolby Digital Plus

TCL’s S52K Series is TCL UK’s most basic line of TV, coming in two sizes both with LED panels, 60Hz refresh rates, and HDR support alongside Dolby Digital Plus. The 32-inch is 720p HD, while the 40-inch is 1080p Full HD. Both come with smarts courtesy of the Android TV OS. As far as TVs in 2022 go, these are about as basic as they come.

However, for HD and Full HD TVs, HDR support is something of a rarity, so it’s nice to see that even if you aren’t interested in watching 4K content you can still take advantage of HDR on a shoestring budget. In general, we don’t recommend buying HD TVs in the modern day, as you can often get 4K/HDR sets for cheap, but the S52K Series isn’t the worst buy.

Compared to other budget brands like Toshiba, you can find a 32-inch 720p set going for £229, while the S52K Series starts off at the same £229 with just about the same features. Though, you can find the S52K routinely on sale for less than its retail price.

If you don’t need 4K support and just want a cheap set, and you aren’t a big gamer or are still playing on a PS4 or Xbox One, the S52K can get the job done, but you can find better sets for similar prices. For example, TCL’s P63K Series of 4K TVs might retail for £100 more for the 43-inch model, but you can find them on sale for the same price as the S52K.

All told, this TCL line of TVs provides decent value for the money, but you can get better value elsewhere if you really want it.

Should you buy a TCL P63K Series?

TCL P63K Series

(Image credit: TCL)
  • Sizes: 43-inch, 50-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch, 
  • Display type: LED
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • HDR: HDR10, HLG
  • Audio: Dolby Audio

The P63K Series is TCL’s flagship budget UK TV that’s a major step up from the S52K Series but doesn’t have the more premium features (or price tags) of the C63K Series. The P63K Series comes in a variety of different sizes, and all of them come with LED 4K/60Hz panels, HDR10 and HLG, and Dolby Audio as well as Android TV smarts.

As far as 4K TVs go, the P63K packs in all the expected features of a modern budget 4K with ALLM for the gamers out there thrown in for good measure. What’s more is that the features of the P63K Series aren’t the only thing that’s competitive, as so is this line’s pricing, too.

The P63K Series starts off at £329 for the 43-inch model, but you can routinely find these TVs in pretty meaty sales, and the 43-inch model, for example, can be found for as little as £238 on sale. At retail, the P63K is already competitive with other budget sets, like Toshiba’s 4K UF3D Series which starts at £369 for the 43-inch model.

If you’re looking for something perfect to pair with a PS5 or you want the image quality bump associated with a QLED panel, this may not be the TV line for you. However, if you want a modern set capable of streaming whatever you like in 4K/HDR that’s about as cheap as these sorts of TVs can go, the P63K is worth considering.

Should you buy a TCL C63K Series?

TCL C63K Series

(Image credit: TCL)
  • Sizes: 43-inch, 50-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch, 
  • Display type: QLED
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • HDR: HDR10, HLG, HDR10+, Dolby Vision
  • Audio: Onkyo speakers + Dolby Atmos

TCL UK’s C63K Series is one of the budget brand’s more premium TV offerings, managing to pack in robust HDR support on top of a QLED display and Onkyo speakers that support Dolby Atmos versus the cheaper P63K Series of TCL UK TVs.

This Android TV is the real deal, with just about all the features you could want from a TV in 2022, including ALLM for the gamers out there. Sure, you won’t be getting an OLED display, 120Hz, or VRR, but these features are very often relegated to the more expensive sets, and one of the most important parts of the C63K Series comes down to price.

The C63K Series starts off at £449 for the 43-inch model, which is more expensive than competitors like Toshiba’s QA5D QLED that starts out at £399 for the 43-inch model, but the C63K Series does come with HLG and HDR10+ as well as Onkyo speakers and ALLM over the Toshiba set. What’s more though is for how little you can buy this set on sale.

The C63K, the 43-inch model for example, can be found for as little as £288, which makes this set about as cheap as TCL’s much smaller, much less feature-packed HD TVs. So, while the value of the C63K might be just average at retail price, this set can be amazing value on sale, if you manage to find one at the size you’re interested in.

All told, this QLED set has a competitive feature set and competitive pricing, and while you might be able to find a cheaper TV if you look for it, on sale the C63K is often the best value around when it comes to 4K/HDR QLED smart TVs.

MORE:

The best TV you can buy, including 4K Ultra HD panels

Need help? How to choose the right TV 

Save big with our pick of the best TV deals

Ruben Circelli
Staff Writer

Ruben is a Staff Writer at What Hi-Fi? and longtime consumer technology and gaming journalist. Since 2014, Ruben has written news, reviews, features, guides, and everything in-between at a huge variety of outlets that include Lifewire, PCGamesN, GamesRadar+, TheGamer, Twinfinite, and many more. Ruben's a dedicated gamer, tech nerd, and the kind of person who misses physical media. In his spare time, you can find Ruben cooking something delicious or, more likely, lying in bed consuming content.

With contributions from
  • hybridauth_Google_101888933069938064971
    What a misleading article! It doesn't answer the question and it doesn't give your verdict.

    You haven't tested any of these TVs so don't know if they are any good.

    This is just an overview of their range.

    I have no object ion to you providing an overview of a product range. In fact they can be very useful for comparison purposes, but please be honest with what you are providing.

    I expect higher standards of journalism from your (normally excellent) magazine/website. Please don't lower your standards to "click bait."
    Reply
  • LowFiWhat
    To be clear, TCL 6 Series is on the R625 model in the United States now. This seems like a copy/paste article from Jan 2018. The upcoming 2020 6 Series will have the mini-LED technology from the 2019 8-series to pair with quantum dots (available on 2019 R625 model). In this price range, few TV's offer the best bang for the buck.
    Reply
  • SMTIPS
    I've owned this 55R635 for less than a month. It was fine for a week. Then audio sync issues started no matter what I watch on it. Then I started researching and Roku forums are full of complaints about it. There are 11 pages of complaints. There seems to be no fix for it. This has been going on with Roku/TCL TV's for well over a year.
    I spent HOURS last night trying to adjust and correct this, both through my new Denon 650H receiver and through the TV and through Prime Video/Firestick settings. There is no fix for it. The only possible fix I've seen is to completely disable all Roku by resetting and not connecting it to the internet and just using your own devices (Firestick, Streaming Box, DVD etc.).
    This is really unacceptable. Half the reason I bought it was for the "cool" factor of the Roku built in to this TV and the high ratings of the Roku app. I could buy any TV but this one had what I wanted. And now in less than a month I'm extremely unhappy with it. To get proper audio syncing I have to disable the entire Roku feature of this!!Reconsider your choice on purchasing this TV. Neither TCL nor Roku has offered any explanation or fix for this issue and it's been happening to many customers since at least 2018.
    Reply
  • philc
    I had a similar issue with one of my TCL unit, after much gnashing of teeth and some mild profanity I discovered the audio reset located at the back if the TV (requires such as a ball point pen) . I left the TV plugged in, used a ball point pen, pushed the reset in...sound reverted back to normal. I do not have cable hooked to the TV and am streaming from my wireless network. I also determined later that the issue may well have been created by my service provider which unbeknownst to me was, at the time, doing a firmware update..This may not have been the case in your situation but I am reasonably certain this was the issue with the audio problem that I had. Aside from that kerfuffle I have had no physical issues with this TV since I've had it, which is going on 2 years.
    Reply
  • rhdmsw
    Bought a 75 inch in 2000, the TV didn't last 2 years without problems. TV Video wouldn't work. Called TCL support and they ran me through diagnostics and troubleshooting. Still couldn't get the picture to come on. End answer was "sorry, your out of warranty".
    Everyone needs to know what garbage TCL is putting out on the market. Stay away and buy something else.
    Reply
  • SMTIPS
    philc said:
    I had a similar issue with one of my TCL unit, after much gnashing of teeth and some mild profanity I discovered the audio reset located at the back if the TV (requires such as a ball point pen) . I left the TV plugged in, used a ball point pen, pushed the reset in...sound reverted back to normal. I do not have cable hooked to the TV and am streaming from my wireless network. I also determined later that the issue may well have been created by my service provider which unbeknownst to me was, at the time, doing a firmware update..This may not have been the case in your situation but I am reasonably certain this was the issue with the audio problem that I had. Aside from that kerfuffle I have had no physical issues with this TV since I've had it, which is going on 2 years.

    This was not the issue. I had no TV provider, period. This was happening directly with a Gigabit wireless connection, I don't pay any provider. It happened on all channels on the Roku, and on the Fire Stick. This is a flat out blatant issue with Audio on TCL TV's, from my research anything Series 5 and above (does not happen at all on TCL 4 series, I've tested 3 of them I and my friends own).

    The problem was never solved. My only solution was to stop using channels through the TV, plug my fire stick directly into my Denon receiver, and use any channels I want through it. This solution completely bypasses the audio processing on the TV and puts it directly through the receiver. I feel bad for people with a sound bar or some small speakers they can't plug devices directly to.

    I will re-iterate, do NOT buy a TCL TV if you want a trouble free experience. These guys have done nothing to improve this, for your entertainment just do a search for "Audio Sync issue TCL" and you will find many many people with exactly the same issues. It can't be blamed on a service provider.
    Reply
  • Mjj
    This TV suddenly blacked out. I can hear it but no screen whatsoever. TCL has this issue with their tv’s right around the 2 year mark. Don’t bother calling them because they refuse to fix it, or acknowledge this is a tv defect and then they resort to the robot mode where they just repeat the same thing over and over again that the warranty is over until you hang up. This company sucks, their tv’s suck and if you don’t believe me do a quick google search thousands of people have the same issue. Will never buy TCL again.
    Reply
  • Looks like these TVs are crap then, probably why they gave 1 and 2 year warranties in the first place.
    Reply