If you’ve been shopping the budget TV market for a while, you’ll have seen TCL crop up a lot. The brand is known for making some of the best cheap TVs you can buy.
While many of them offer a 4K resolution, the 32-inch TCL 32S327 is the smallest model in the company’s 3 Series range, and is Full HD. That said, it's also got a sub-$200 price tag.
Overall, it’s a decent little performer, packing in good sound and the excellent Roku smart TV platform. If you need a small TV on a very tight budget, you’ll find a fair bit to like here.
The TCL 32S327 has a pretty compact footprint of 28.8 x 17.1 x 6.8 inches (including stand), making it well-suited for smaller spaces. It’s not the most elegantly designed set – its rear casing protrudes a fair bit and it's overwhelmingly made of black plastic, but the black bezel on the front does have a bit of shine.
As we’ve seen on other budget TVs from TCL, there’s a rather odd triangle pattern on the back panel. It’s not offensive but it’s not exactly stylish either – we prefer Samsung’s approach of a fully textured back panel instead.
Connectivity is decent for the price, with three HDMI ports (one supporting ARC), one each of USB, coaxial and composite video inputs and an optical out. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack as well.
There’s no ethernet cable here to support a wired internet connection, however there is dual-band wi-fi for wireless connectivity, which should actually be more convenient for most people.
Once online, setting up the 32S327’s Roku smarts is straightforward – you just need a computer or phone nearby to verify your Roku login details. Most of the apps you could want are here, with over 4,000 services to choose from including Netflix, HBO Now, Disney+ and Google Play.
Voice assistance is included here too, but requires that you link the TV to a Google- or Alexa-powered speaker. That's a reasonable solution at this price, and it leaves the remote free to handle purely TV-related stuff, with a bold, simple design that’s well made and easy to use. Alongside the usual directional pad and media controls, you’ll find a handful of dedicated app buttons for Netflix, Sling, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
In a time where 4K resolution is king, even at this screen size, it’s hard to know what to expect from a TV such as the 32S327. At its price, though, it performs fairly well and the 1920x1080 resolution works well at the size.
Colors look pretty good as we watch Spider-Man: Homecoming, with reds, blues and greens reproduced accurately and with vibrancy – even a little way off-axis. Move too much past a 45-degree viewing angle and you will start to see some fade, but many LCD sets suffer far more in this regard.
Pictures look sharp and detail levels are pretty good, too, with some level of insight to textures in clothing and landscapes. You will notice some blurring around fast action scenes, though, and we weren’t able to rectify that with the motion processing options.
As for gaming, we measured a lag time of 12.3ms, making the 32S327 a viable gaming TV too. It obviously won’t support 4K or HDR gaming, but at a full HD level we found it to be precise and responsive.
As with its picture performance, we weren’t expecting great things from the 32S327’s built-in dual 5-watt speakers, but actually, they produce a surprising level of punch.
The midrange is full, the treble remains clean at low to medium volume and bass has a reasonable thump considering the lack of subwoofer. Push the volume up past 75 per cent, though, and you will notice some distortion, as well as a ceiling on how loud these speakers can actually go.
Adding a soundbar will make a huge difference here, as always, but it’s not a bad performance at all considering the very low price.
To describe the TCL 32S327 as capable is probably a fair assessment of its abilities. With its super low price and Full HD resolution, it’s never going to be a TV to wow – but it does offer good value for those looking for a small TV on a budget.
The picture does the job for its size, the Roku smart TV system is superb and the ability to link up your Alexa or Google Assistant-capable speakers is a nice touch too.
If you’re looking for a small, cheap streaming TV or gaming monitor, the TCL 3 Series 32S327 is a good place to start.