TCL 55P607 4K HDR TV Review

65P607, 50P607

4K UHD, HDR, ROKU TV, SMART TV, 120HZ

by , 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 P607 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.

Strengths

  • Roku Smart TV options
  • Roku Smart TV Interface operation
  • Price/Value
  • Bright Colorful Picture/Peak Whites
  • 4K gets you future proofed for 4K content
  • HDR compatible Color range enhancement
  • 72 Zones active backlighting

Weaknesses

  • Glare/Reflection from the TV screen
  • Remote is limited with no numbers for DirecTV or Cable
  • Lack of Depth from Matte-type milky screen finish/Flat Picture
  • Limited picture setting adjustments
  • Black levels not the deepest. Contrast not great.
  • Side Angle Viewing
  • Only 3 HDMI inputs

Neutral

  • Appearance/Design (side frame color choice)
Picture Quality on TCL P607
This shot from The BluRay of The Fifth Element shows just a bit of screen reflection

Picture Quality Rating: 83/100


Although the P607 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 a bit more clarity and cleaner images edges. Picture quality including blacks, contrast, and color is not the standout feature of these TCLs. Black levels suffer turning more bluish black at times, even though contrast and black levels are both much improved from last years models. From side angles contrast and color saturation degrade worse than the average LED backlit LCD TV, but less than expected. 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. Another exception to the specifications is that this is not the full array direct lit backlighting you should compare with top tier brands. In this case, full array direct lit LED to LCD is just an economical way to produce the TV much like some of the very small inexpensive 32” models we've seen from other manufactures. This is evinced by screen uniformity that is weak both on black and solid medium grays. This means that you may see 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.



Picture Quality on TCL 55US5800
This shot from The BluRay of The Fifth Element shows just a bit of screen reflection
Technologically, the 4K resolution screen is backlit with direct full array backlighting, though not with local dimming zones as seen on high end LED TVs.
"The contrast ratio and black levels surprised to the upside"

Picture Settings

The picture settings menu is very simple with not many options for fine tuning color. 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.

Our Preferred Picture Settings (TV)

TV Brightness: Darker
Picture Mode: Movie
Backlight: 85
Brightness: 54
Contrast: 90
Sharpness: 5
Color: 50
Tint: 0
Color Temp: Warm
Picture Size: Auto

Features Rating: 90/100


Gaming

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 P607 has little input lag in game mode logging in at less than 20ms.

TCL P607

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 included Roku remote contains a headphone input jack"

Remote Control

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 P607 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.

TCL P607 Roku Remote

WiFi Built In

Lastly, the dual band wifi did a very nice job receiving the signal even from 40 feet.

Sound Quality

Audio quality is generally poor with thin and tinny being two unwelcome traits, while there is little bass.

Appearance/Design

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: 95/100


The upgrade features in the P607 like HDR, 4K and 72 local dimming zones 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 $599 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 84/100

Quick Specs

  • Resolution – 4K
  • Native Refresh Rate: 120Hz
  • Not 3D Compatible
  • HDR Playback
  • 72 Zones for Local Dimming
  • No Web Browser
  • Wifi Built In
  • Game Mode: Yes
  • Inputs: 3 HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 (one with HDMI ARC)
  • 1 USB
  • Speakers: 8W X 2
  • Dimensions:
    • 49" x 30.1" x 8.3" with stand
    • 49" x 28.3" x 3" without stand




Robert Wiley 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

 



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