New year, new
you TV? If, perhaps while watching the Queen's Christmas Day speech, you decided it was about time to get a new set (because that gold piano didn't quite look resplendent enough...), then you may've started browsing the Boxing Day sales. And if that's the case and your budget is modest, you may well have come across a TCL TV.
Over the years, Chinese TV brand TCL has built a reputation for making an abundance of affordable TVs. In 2017 it became the third-biggest brand in North America and, according to the company, its LCD TV sales are growing rapidly year-on-year.
Almost ten years after TCL-branded products first became available in several European countries, TCL now has a presence in the UK. It's come armed with a double-figure number of budget 4K TVs across a handful of ranges, including the DP608 (43in and 55in models), DP628 (43in, 50in, 55in) and DP648 (43in, 50in, 55in and 65in) series.
When they launched in the summer, the most affordable was just shy of £400. That recently dipped to as low as £288 thanks to, you guessed it, Black Friday - and those prices haven't strayed far since.
There’s up to £150 off TCL TVs - that may not seem a massive amount considering we’ve seen some TVs with massive £1000+ slashes, but then they were cheap in the first place so the discounts are pretty significant.
We’re talking £150 off an £899 65in TCL 65DP648 TV. There are decent savings in smaller sizes, including the 43in 43DP608 for £288, the 50in TCL 50DP628 for £349, and 55in 55DP608 for £379.
The cheapest TCL 4K TV gives you a 43in screen with a 4K resolution, HDR10 and HLG HDR format support, Netflix, and Freeview Play for the full suite of UK catch-up TV apps.View Deal
A larger version of the TV above, this 55in TCL telly matches its smaller siblings for support and features. View Deal
Short answer: If your priority is screen size and pixels-per-pound, these TCL TVs are certainly worth considering - especially if you don't own a video streamer and want a TV with a fair share of smart apps built into it. For daytime TV and HD/SD streams, these will likely be fine, however those after the true splendour of 4K HDR playback may want to consider a more premium offering.
TCL DP608, DP628 and DP648: everything you need to know
With 4K resolution, HDR10 and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) support, as well as Freeview Play offering catch-up, on-demand services and live TV together in one place with no monthly costs, these TCL TVs are as feature-packed as you could hope for at this end of the market.
There are Netflix and YouTube apps for 4K content and various apps that can be installed for SD and HD content. It's not clear whether Amazon Prime Video is available on TCL's TV offering - if it isn't, users of that video streaming service would have to get it through a budget video streamer, such as a Google Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV 4K Stick.
Features: tick. But what about picture? As these TCL TVs are so new to the UK market, we haven't gone twelve rounds with any. However, if their specs, and our experience of cheap 4K TVs, are anything to go by, we'd temper expectations when it comes to 4K HDR performance.
The DP648 models gets you TCL's Wide Colour Gamut and Brightness+ processing over the DP608 range, but brightness levels still max out at 320 nits, so these TVs won't truly make the most of HDR content. Again, at this price you perhaps shouldn't expect them to, but it does mean we wouldn't rush to pair them with a 4K Blu-ray player - advice we also gave regarding the similarly-priced Hisense 4K TVs we recently reviewed. If you did want to take the risk, all the sets' two or three HDMI inputs are compatible with 4K passthrough from connected 4K sources.
For non-HDR content, however, they should perform just fine where brightness is concerned. And we could only hope – especially considering the brand's popularity abroad – that their colour, detail and sharpness levels are up to scratch, too.
Then again, for proven quality at a bargain price we'd point you to the best-value TV of the year: the five-star Philips 50PUS6703, a 50in 4K HDR TV that is currently only £429 (down from £600). The four-star 43in Hisense H43AE6100UK deal is an attractive £279, too.
If you want to go bigger on screen size, these ultra-budget TCL 4K TVs may do just the trick. Want to explore other options as well (and we'd urge you to)? There are plenty of 4K TV Boxing Day deals to be had now and over the weekend.
Verdict: If smart apps and the most screen for the least money are your priorities, and you aren't hellbent on making the absolute most of what 4K and HDR has to offer, these TCL TVs should deliver. Looking to invest in a 4K Blu-ray player and discs now or in the near-future? Pricier sets will no doubt better justify that.