TCL 55C807 and 65C807 4K HDR TV Review
4K UHD, HDR, ROKU SMART TV
by Robert Wiley, Senior Editor
First a note about TCL, a manufacturer that few are familiar with in North America. This is a huge company with a $4B panel manufacturing facility in China. They also have a research facility in Silicon Valley and claim to be the third largest manufacturer of TVs in the world. They are also one of the fastest growing TVs companies in North America. The C807 has some very nice specs including 4K resolution, HDR compatible with a wide color gamut, good contrast, and the excellent Roku OS. Oh, let's not forget TCL's signature trait – a great price.
- Roku Smart TV options
- Roku Smart TV Interface operation
- 4K gets you future proofed for 4K content
- HDR compatible Color range enhancement
- Good looks – build quality
- Glare/Reflection from the TV screen
- Remote is limited with no numbers for DirecTV or Cable
- Lack of Depth from Picture
- Not as bright as most HDR TVs
- Limited preset picture setting adjustments
- Black levels not the deepest. Contrast not great.
- Side angle viewing quality
- Only 3 HDMI inputs
This shot from The BluRay of The Fifth Element shows just a bit of screen reflection
Picture Quality Rating: 85/100
Although the C807 from TCL is not the highest end picture you can find (there are plenty that beat it), TCL has improved the picture quality enough with the NBP Photon technology that it can serve as your primary TV in the household. This is a big improvement over past models which we could only really recommend for secondary viewing rooms or second homes.
With good 1080p and 4K sources there is more clarity and cleaner images edges. Picture quality including black uniformity, contrast, and color is not the standout feature of typical TCL TVs, however with the C807 TCL has made great strides towards the 1st tier manufacturers. Black levels are much improved.
From side angles contrast and color saturation degrade worse than some of the better LED edge backlit TVs in the market, and around average overall. This begins at around 15 degrees off-center. Motion blur is rarely visible, though judder (side to side jerky motion especially present when a camera pans slowly) is present due to the fact that there is no refresh rate smoothing features present in the TV.
The C807 uses edge lit backlighting, and has poor side angle viewing quality. There is some clouding along the edges or corners when displaying a black or very dark screen. From our experience with LCD TVs, it may become more pronounced over time. With a gray or medium color screen you may see some darker shadows in various areas of the screen. When viewing our stock Fifth Element BluRay we noted some inaccuracy in colors with a red push causing flesh tones to look flushed. On the positive side, I was impressed with the brightness produced. All of that said, the picture is much better than last year and pretty darn good unless compared to a top OLED or LED/LCD TV. For the price, it's hard to beat the combination of features including the picture quality upgrades.
A nice shot from Sports Illustrated BluRay on Roku TCL
The picture settings menu is very simple and easy to use. There are 5 preset picture modes. Preset Picture Mode Options include Sports, Normal, Vivid, Low Power, and Movie. The Movie mode is the most natural and accurate with color temp set to Warm.
You will want to immediately change the TV Brightness setting to Normal to Dark depending on the room light conditions.
It's also important to note that the Picture Size settings for Aspect Ratio are located in the Advanced Picture Settings Menu. Options are Normal, Auto, Direct, Stretch and Zoom. We found ourselves using the Zoom option several times to fill the screen. Lastly, adjust the Backlight control depending on room light conditions as well.
Our Preferred Picture Settings (TV)
Features Rating: 90/100
Gaming Picture Note: For Gaming set TV Brightness to Brighter, set to Game Mode On, and dial back the backlight, brightness and contrast and set color temp to Normal or Cool. The C807 has little input lag in game mode logging in at less than 20ms, which makes it a very good gaming TV.
Smart TV Features
Roku is an excellent Smart TV platform, by most accounts the best in the market. I've used them for years and am on my second Roku (3) box, so their platform contained in a TV is always welcome. When you stop to think about it a second, the Roku 3 Box would cost you $105, and you get the same performance with this TV, so it's a great savings to have such a usable streaming system – a great option for cord cutters. Especially with the Sling TV option added.
After initial setup, the home screen appears with the big App boxes, with the easy and spectacular search function, the Channel store and the Settings.
The selection of Roku Apps is the best in the market with around 2000. Many are useless, but all the best Apps are included like: Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant, HBO Go, Vudu, Crackle, M-Go, Redbox Instant, TWC. Notably, HBO Go, Showtime Anytime, Rdio, and NFL Now are absent from most other TV manufacturers Smart TV suites.
Roku's search function is also the best of any Smart TV. One advantage here is that you can compare prices of movies and shows before deciding which to purchase from. At times, a show or movie may be free by one provider such as Amazon Instant with a Prime membership, and costly on another such as Hulu.
The TCL Roku Remote is really a Roku manufactured remote. Roku is good at operation, and I like the speed with which the small simple remote controls everything. The audio/volume buttons are located on the right side of the remote. It's easy to accidentally press the mute button. And it's easy to accidentally press the picture caption button. However, the remote with the C807 is the Premium version that comes with a head phone jack on the side of the remote. This is a great feature when the wife wants the TV turned down! The picture and other menu settings are accessed from the asterisk wheel button. Conveniently, there are buttons for Netflix, Amazon instant, Mgo, and rdio on the remote face. There are free Apps for iOS and Android smart phones that even contain a voice controlled search. I did not try the voice search nor the smart phone App. But just know that it's an option. I like the simple Roku remote.
WiFi Built In
The dual band wifi did a very nice job receiving the signal even from 40 feet.
Audio quality is generally average with thin and tinny being two unwelcome traits, while there is little bass - even with the soundbar addition.
The major upgrade in the C807 over the P607 is better looks and build quality. The addition of the soundbar on the bottom of the TV looks great. The depth is sleeker at only 3” in depth and it's really not a bad looking TV. The new black frame is only .75 inches in width. The accompanying stand doesn’t detract from the appearance like the feet from last year.
Value Rating: 93/100
The upgrade features in the C807 like HDR, 4K and excellent input lag do not do reflect in the price of TV. The Roku OS system is always a highlight and the headphone jack on the remote is an unusual and necessary inclusion. For $699 this TV is a great deal, you pay about the same price as last year but with all these added picture quality features for free.
Overall Rating 87/100
- Resolution – 4K
- Native Refresh Rate: 60Hz, enhanced 120
- Not 3D Compatible
- HDR Playback
- Wifi Built In
- Game Mode: Yes
- Inputs: 3 HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 (three with HDMI ARC)
- 1 USB
- Dimensions 55C807:
- 48.5" x 31.2" x 9.6" with stand
- 48.5" x 29.6" x 2.3" without stand
- Dimensions 65C807:
- 57.2" x 35.7" x 12.7" with stand
- 57.2" x 34.5" x 2.4" without stand
|Having reviewed and written about Television Technology for over 10 years, Wiley never tires of researching the newest qualitative trends related to the technology. Most people do not get excited about possibilities behind the latest video engine...Wiley does. Read more about Robert|