TCL 55P607 55-Inch 4K LED TV (2017 Model) Review
TCL is now a household name like Samsung or LG, that makes strong-performing, reasonably priced 4K televisions, over the years. Take for instance this year’s P-Series, that comprises of 4K TVs that feature high dynamic range (HDR) support, excellent contrast and good color performance. It adds a rich array of connected features of the Roku TV platform, making it a value buy. The 55-inch TCL 55P607, as part of the 2017 entrant into the P-Series, it is a budget 4K TV deal that’s hard to pass by. Its our newest Editors’ Choice for budget TVs.
Not Too Flashy, Decent Looking
If there’s one area TCL doesn’t over-emphasize, it must be the looks. The 55P607 is modestly designed, with a flat glossy black plastic bezel surrounding the screen (0.3 inches-sides; 1-inch at the bottom). The sides are lined with a slim-profile plastic piping (gunmetal color), that adds some flair to an otherwise simple looking TV. It is supported by two U-shaped legs, with the same gunmetal color as the pipes on the sides.
At the back of the TV, you’ll find all ports towards the right side. Here you have three HDMI ports, a single USB port, an Ethernet port, a standard antenna/cable connector, a 3.5mm composite video that can be used with the included adapter and an optical audio output. Others include a 3.5mm headphone jack and a reset button. The location and positioning of the port towards the right facilitates hooking up the set, though the three HDMI ports might limit the number of devices you can connect before you can use a splitter.
A number of sets we’ve reviewed previously come with four HDMI ports as standard, with a few going high as five. Three HDMI ports here is quite lean. It will only take a satellite box and two gaming systems and you’re done, but thanks to Roku TV you might not be using a media streamer that much. Sometimes, the remote can be misplaced and a cluster of buttons on the lower right corner behind the TV come handy for physical control.
Roku TV Features and Remote
Bundled with the 55P607 is a well-designed, short, glossy remote with a prominent directional pad. Just above the pad are Home, Back, and Power buttons, and right below it are playback and app buttons. The remote brings instant access to services like Hulu, Netflix and Sling TV, right to the palm of your hand. For each service, you have a dedicated button. Along the right edge are the volume controls and a mute button.
As always with Roku TV Enhanced Remotes, the remote does include our favorite headphone jack. It is placed on the left side of the remote, opposite the volume controls. It works by automatically muting the TV and instead redirects all audio though it once the headphones are plugged in. If you sometimes find yourself split between watching TV and disturbing your family, then you’ll appreciate the headphones.
Being a Roku TV, the 55P607 opens your world to an array of apps and services, just like you’d get from a typical Roku media streamer. It is a hub for almost all media streaming services including: Amazon, Crunchyroll, Google Play Movies & TV, Hulu, Netflix, Sling TV, and YouTube. Roku is host to most channels (select apps) that you would find in the smart TV ecosystem, so you will be comfortable with the services (except Apple). You can also use the Roku TV app from your smartphone, and Roku TV support media streaming from your smartphone as well.
Today, we’ve all come to appreciate the benefit of good resolutions, and we expect a 4K panel to deliver on that. The Roku 55P607 supports high dynamic range (HDR) video, it this counts for a lot. If you know the numbers, the TV is bright enough (507.85cd/m2) and equally impressive black levels (0.02cd/m2) underlain by a solid 25,393:1 contrast ratio. This is excellent performance, though with a few rough edges. For instance, you may experience some light bloom and distinction between grays and blacks isn’t the most graceful. If you want better contrast performance without spending much on panels such as the LG OLEDC7P the Vizio M-Series with its 40,670:1 contrast is worth a long look. However, the TCL’s color performance is much better than what you get from the Vizio M-Series.
All in all, the 55P607’s bright panel with HDR compatibility has a lot going for it. While watching Planet Earth II, narrated by David Attenborough, I marveled at the clean and balanced colors ON Ultra HD Blu-ray. The sights were appalling, the ocean blues and jungle greens of the island look natural and vivid, with discernible fur and feathers of the ocean creatures. When viewed off-angle, it still looks great, though, not the best, as the greens look slightly washed out.
Input Lag and Power Consumption
Input lag is the amount of time it takes for a display to update after receiving a signal, and this is one of the few areas in which the 55P607 scores well. The HDTV showed an input lag of 31.4ms is almost half of most screens we test. If you watch HD movies and videos, this is about the best 4K performance you can get on a budget TV. Ideally, Game Mode improves input lag but sacrifices picture quality. If you need even less lag, just get a dedicated gaming monitor like the ASUS ROG SWIFT PG279Q. A dedicated gaming monitor can show less than a tenth the input lag of the 55P607, but for big screens you’ll have to realistically settle for a third to half the lag.
Under normal viewing conditions, the Roku 55P607’s consumption is about in line with similarly sized 4K TVs. With the screen in bright mode, it consumes 123 watts, but under Low Power picture mode the consumption is halved to 64 watts, with the screen dimmed but very watchable. You can make the HDTV use less power with higher Energy Saving settings, but this dims the screen further.
TCL 55P607: A Value Buy
The TCL 55P607 is part of the P-Series denoted by class of budget 4K TVs. It is by no means perfect, but it does represent excellent value. Even with a few quirks like off-angle viewing and shadow detail, it does compensate with remarkable contrast that justifies the HDR label. To that, it adds the Roku TV platform that delivers a wide array of connected features, including a remote equipped with a headphone jack, which is one of my favorite feature in the high-end Roku media streamers. For a 55-inch HDR screen, it has a lot going for it, and is arguably the best budget TV deal you can get in the market, so far, this year. For all these reasons, it earns our Editors’ Choice for budget TVs.