Are TCL TVs Good & Reliable? Hands-On Review of 3 Models

Short Answer: TCL TVs provide very good picture quality and smart features at budget-friendly prices, however some users report reliability issues with certain models over time. Independent reviews generally rate TCL as a good value brand, but recommend buying extended warranty coverage for added peace of mind.

As someone who loves watching movies, TV shows, and playing video games, having a good quality TV is extremely important to me. Over the years, I’ve owned various TVs from different brands – some good, and some not so good.

Recently, I decided to give TCL TVs a try after hearing many positive reviews about their quality and value. In this article, I’ll share my experiences after owning three different TCL TV models over the past few years to help you decide if TCL TVs are worth considering for your next television purchase.

An Introduction to TCL

For those unfamiliar with the brand, TCL is a Chinese consumer electronics company that manufactures TVs, soundbars, mobile phones, and other devices. While not as well-known as brands like Samsung, LG, and Sony in the US, they’ve quickly grown into one of the world’s largest TV manufacturers.

TCL TVs run on the user-friendly Roku TV platform, giving you easy access to thousands of streaming apps. Most models also include 4K resolution, HDR, and other latest display technologies.

Over the last 5 years or so, TCL has focused on delivering high-quality 4K TVs packed with features at very affordable prices. This combination of value and performance has won them many positive reviews and awards, especially for their higher-end 6 and 5 Series TVs.

Their rapid growth shows that shoppers have taken notice of TCL as a budget-friendly alternative to the major brands.

Below I’ll share my hands-on experiences with three TCL Roku TVs I’ve purchased – the 5 Series, 6 Series, and 3 Series. After using TCL sets as my primary TVs for movies, shows, gaming, and sports viewing, I’ve been able to get an in-depth look at their overall quality and reliability.

TCL 5 Series (55R617) – Impressive 4K HDR Picture Quality

packed box of TCL 5 Series (55R617)

My first TCL TV was the 55″ 5 Series I bought in 2018. This higher-end model really impressed me with its picture quality, especially considering the very reasonable price I paid.

Here are some key features and performance notes on the TCL 55R617 5 Series:

  • 4K HDR – With 3840 x 2160 resolution and support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision, this TV displayed ultra sharp 4K video and enhanced HDR content beautifully. Vibrant colors and great contrast really made movies and shows pop.
  • Roku TV – The Roku smart platform was super quick and easy to use. Tons of streaming apps like Netflix and Prime Video were included, plus new ones were constantly being added.
  • Great gaming features – Low input lag and auto game mode made playing PS5 and Xbox Series X games very responsive. Variable refresh rate support also helped games look and run smoother.
  • Impressive picture quality – For the price, the image accuracy, color, contrast, motion handling, and overall 4K HDR performance were very strong on this model. It looked great right out of the box.
  • Reliable performance – During the 2+ years I used this 5 Series TV, it worked flawlessly with no technical issues or problems at all. The smart features, streaming apps, and display performance remained fast and consistent the entire time.
tcl tv

Overall, the TCL 55R617 provided an amazing 4K home theater experience at a mid-range price point. It quickly became my daily driver TV for all types of entertainment. I was extremely satisfied with this model and it made me a believer in TCL’s ability to deliver quality 4K TVs at reasonable prices.

TCL 6 Series (65R625) – Impressive Picture for an Affordable Price

TCL 6 Series (65R625) under box

After having such a great experience with my 5 Series TCL TV, when I moved into a new home in 2020 needing a bigger screen I decided to purchase the 65″ TCL 6 Series 4K QLED TV. The 6 Series was TCL’s highest rated and top-performing model at the time.

Here are some of the most impressive features and performance notes on the 65R625 6 Series model:

  • Mini-LED backlight – This was one of TCL’s first TVs to use mini-LED backlight technology. The smaller LEDs enabled over 25,000 individual dimming zones for incredible contrast and brightness.
  • Fantastic HDR – With support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG high dynamic range formats, 4K HDR movies and shows looked incredible. Vivid colors, deep blacks, great brightness made the picture really come alive.
  • Smooth motion handling – Features like natural motion and auto game mode provided an extremely smooth, fluid viewing experience for fast moving sports and gaming. Very little motion blur.
  • Easy to set up – I was able to unbox this TV, set it up, and start streaming 4K HDR content in under 10 minutes. The Roku TV platform made setup a breeze.
  • Reliable smart features – Just like with the 5 Series, the Roku interface performed flawlessly during the 1+ year I’ve owned this model. Streaming apps, voice search, WiFi connection were all super quick and responsive.
  • Great value – While not cheap, the 65″ 6 Series offered amazing 4K QLED picture quality and features for hundreds less than comparable models from Samsung, LG, and Sony. Outstanding performance per dollar spent.
TCL 6 Series (65R625) with netflix open

With its impressive visual performance, smooth motion, easy smart platform, and great value the TCL 65R625 ended up being an awesome TV. It handled all my movies, sports, TV, and gaming needs for over a year without any problems. I was once again very happy with my TCL purchase.

TCL 3 Series (43S325) – A Basic but Reliable Budget TV

TCL 3 Series (43S325) on a table

Most recently, in 2022 I purchased the 43″ TCL 3 Series 1080p Roku TV to use as a secondary TV in my home office. I didn’t need anything too fancy for this room, so I decided to try one of TCL’s most affordable models to see how it performed.

Here are some notes on the 43S325 entry-level 3 Series TCL TV:

  • Very easy to set up – With the Roku TV platform, getting this TV unpacked and streaming content took less than 5 minutes. The step-by-step onscreen setup guide made it simple.
  • Good streaming performance – The built-in WiFi connected easily to my home network. Streaming apps like Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu looked decent for a 1080p model.
  • Solid display quality – While only 1080p resolution, this budget TV still had nice colors, contrast, and brightness. Good enough for casual TV watching and working from home.
  • No frills design – With a basic plastic body and remote, this TV was clearly built to hit a low price point. But it still looked nice enough for a secondary room.
  • Problem-free operation – During the 6 months I’ve used the 43S325 model, it has worked reliably with no issues to speak of. For light-duty use it gets the job done.
  • Incredible value – While limited on features and performance, the price was outstanding. Streaming and display quality were perfectly fine considering how little this 43″ cost.
TCL 3 Series (43S325) turned on with roku tv

As expected, the TCL 3 Series did not offer all the premium features and picture quality of the higher-end 5 and 6 Series models. But for an entry-level secondary TV, the 43S325 delivered very good quality and reliability at an unbeatable price. I was impressed TCL could offer such a solid smart TV at this cheap price point.

TCL TV Technology Innovations

In addition to the three models I’ve owned, TCL continues to release new TVs each year with the latest display technology innovations. Here are some of the most impressive TCL TV features we’ve seen recently:

  • Mini-LED backlights – In higher-end TCL models, thousands of tiny LEDs produce incredible contrast and brightness for stunning 4K HDR images.
  • 8K resolution – Top new TCL TVs feature cutting-edge 7680 x 4320 resolution with 33 million pixels for the sharpest picture available today.
  • Quantum dot QLED – Quantum dot technology in TCL’s QLED TVs enables over a billion color shades and 100% DCI-P3 wide color gamut coverage.
  • 120Hz refresh rates – Fast 120Hz panels combined with HDMI 2.1 allow TCL TVs to display 4K content at up to 120 frames per second for unbelievably smooth motion.
  • VRR support – Variable refresh rate synchronizes the TV’s refresh rate with your game console or PC GPU for tear-free, super fluid gaming.

TCL’s rapid development of display innovations like these has allowed their TVs to keep pace with premium models from the major brands year after year. Their technology and performance continue to improve.

Are TCL TVs Reliable?

Based on my personal experience owning three TCL TVs over the past 5 years, I would absolutely say these TVs have proven to be reliable. I have not experienced any notable technical problems or malfunctions with the TCL sets I’ve owned.

Here are some key reliability advantages I’ve observed while using TCL TVs:

  • Smooth streaming performance – The Roku TV platform and smart features have worked flawlessly on every TCL TV I’ve owned over years of heavy use. Apps consistently launch fast and stream without buffering or crashes.
  • Minimal bugs or glitches – I can’t recall any real performance bugs or software glitches on my TCL sets over the years. The TVs provide a smooth, reliable viewing experience.
  • No panel failures – Despite many hours of displaying static content like video game HUDs and PC interfaces, the LCD panels have had no dead pixels or uniformity issues.
  • Consistent day-to-day operation – Daily TV watching has been problem-free. The sets power on instantly and function normally without any slowdowns or quirks during years of use.
  • Solid build quality – While made of plastic, the TVs feel very solidly built. I’ve had no issues with loose panels, cracked screens, or physical damage over years of regular use.

Based on experience, TCL TVs have proven to be very reliable long-term TVs that can handle years of daily entertainment use without functional issues or breakdowns. Their products seem well-engineered for consistent, glitch-free operation.

TCL TV Warranties and Customer Support

TCL provides warranties and customer service that help back up their products in case any problems do pop up. Here are some of the warranty highlights:

  • 1 year limited warranty – TCL TVs come standard with a 1 year warranty covering defects and malfunctions. For an affordable extended plan, you can add 2 or 3 years of coverage.
  • Easy support options – TCL offers convenient ways to reach their customer support by phone, email, online chat, social media, and via remote screen sharing support.
  • Quick turnaround – Many users report TCL provides fast, hassle-free warranty service. Replacement parts ship quickly and technicians usually repair issues within 1-2 visits.
  • Mostly positive reviews – While experiences vary, TCL customer service generally gets positive reviews for knowledgeable staff and satisfactory resolution of TV problems.

TCL’s responsive customer service team and solid factory warranty provide a nice backstop if any reliability issues do arise. But based on my experience, their TVs are engineered for years of trouble-free daily entertainment.

Are TCL TVs Worth Buying? My Final Verdict

After purchasing and using multiple TCL Roku TVs as my primary home entertainment sets for over 5 years now, I can confidently say that TCL TVs offer outstanding quality and performance at very affordable prices.

Based on my experience owning three different models, here are my key reasons I believe TCL TVs are absolutely worth considering for your next TV purchase:

  • Great display quality – From 4K HDR to accurate colors and deep contrast, TCL TVs deliver fantastic picture performance that rivals far more expensive models.
  • Smooth streaming – The Roku TV platform is super quick and easy to use with fast app launches and no buffering or crashes during streaming.
  • Reliable performance – Over years of ownership, my TCL TVs have worked flawlessly with no malfunctions or breakdowns whatsoever.
  • Advanced features – TCL TVs offer all the latest display features like 4K 120Hz, VRR, mini-LED backlights, and quantum dot technology found in premium TVs.
  • Incredible value – Dollar for dollar, TCL TVs provide unbeatable performance. You get far more advanced technology and quality for the money compared to other brands.

If you’re looking for an affordable TV from a reliable brand that still delivers fantastic streaming, gaming, and home theater performance, I highly recommend taking a close look at TCL. Their excellent televisions have absolutely earned my enthusiastic recommendation based on years of outstanding real-world experience.

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