Our TCL TV review will help dispel the myth that cheap equals lower quality. This television costs less than $500, yet it offers excellent features that rival those of other more expensive brands.
The TCL 55S405 is a great television that is extremely affordable and is packed with useful features, ensuring you get excellent value for your money.
Since the TCL 55S405 is a budget television, it does not have some of the fancy features and specifications found in other premium HD TVs like as multi-zone local dimming. However, if you are looking for a basic 4K television with ultra-HD resolution, the TCL 55S405 is a worthwhile purchase. Let’s jump right into this TCL TV review.
Who is the TCL 55-inch S405 television designed for?
This product is designed for newcomers to the world of 4K television. The entry-level price makes it very affordable, and the features are basic but acceptable. It is also ideal for people who watch news shows, comedies or local dramas. The lack of local dimming and noticeable backlight shadows make it a bad choice for people who like watching horror movies or shows that have a lot of dark scenes.
TCL TV Review
The television’s design is quite simple and unassuming, which is to be expected for a budget TV. The screen is very slightly curved, and the bezel is black and glossy. It measures 0.6 inches on the top and both sides, and 0.8 inches on the bottom. The television edges don’t have any decoration, and the silver-colored logo sits on the middle of the bottom bezel. There is also a small Roku TV logo in the lower right corner of the television. The television screen sits atop two triangular feet that are silver in color. This television weighs about 29.5 pounds and can be easily wall-mounted using a 200 mm. VESA mount.
This television measures about 49.1 inches wide x 28.5 inches wide x 3 inches deep without a stand, and 49.1 inches wide x 30.8 inches high x 8.7 inches deep with a stand. On the right side of the back of the television and close to the edge, there is a power connector. All the other connections are closer to the left side on the back. All the HDMI and USB ports, the audio output, headphone jack, reset button and cable connector face left from the back of the television. The Ethernet port and composite video output face directly back.
My experience using the product has been very positive, especially since my children love cartoons and I like local comedies. My partner, who loves NASCAR and Formula 1, thinks this television is decent, though he also says has had a better experience watching fast cars on other television sets.
Now, let’s go over a few features that stood out during our TCL TV review.
This television combines 4K, backlit-LED and HDR for excellent picture clarity, depth and shade. The 4K features ensure your TV investment is future-proof, as more and more content providers offer ultra HD images and videos. Even streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video and YouTube have started offering 4K content, and it is a lot easier to get ultra-HD Blu-Ray discs. This means that 4K resolution is clearly the screen resolution of the future.
The main advantage of 4K or Ultra-HD is that the televisions have four times the number of pixels compared to full HD televisions. This means that the images on 4K televisions are richer, sharper and offer more realism.
The direct-lit backlit LED feature involves LEDs spread across the entire back panel of the television. While the picture quality is still very high, this television has fewer LEDs and lacks local dimming features. Because it lacks local dimming, it does not perform very well in a dark home theater environment. Some TCL 55-inch S405 television reviews stated that it robbed attack scenes in the movie ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2’ of their impact because all the shadows and black areas looked washed out.
The TCL 55-inch S405 television has a matte screen, which is very good at reducing glare and reflections. This makes it fare better than other televisions in bright rooms.
Let’s continue with our TCL TV review.
The ports in this television are located on the left side. They include one USB 2.0 port and three HDMI ports, including one with ARC. Other ports include a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, an optical port for digital surround sound and a coaxial connection for cable or an antenna. The back of the television has composite video output an Ethernet port for wired network connection. This television also features a dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
The low number of HDMI ports is a bit of a bummer, though it is ideal for people who do not have a lot of devices to connect. The single USB port may also be problematic if you often use power-streaming sticks. Time for the performance section of this TCL TV review.
In terms of performance, this television checks all the regular boxes for 4K budget television. Users can expect Ultra HD resolution, a native refresh rate of 60Hz and basic HDR10 support. However, though this television accepts HDR content, the picture quality is not as good as that of other budget televisions. Also, this television does not support other HDR formats, such as Dolby Vision.
The color accuracy is also adequate, especially when compared to other televisions in the same pricing tier. However, most TCL 55S405 reviews reveal that colors are a bit skewed during viewing. Sometimes, blue images appear a bit purple, and a blue beach may have a slight green tint. The television also shows oversaturated reds and yellows.
Reviewers also complained that the contrast ratio was very low and that whites were cool and blacks appeared dark grey. As a result, night-time scenes often lost a lot of detail in between the dark blacks and bright highs.
When compared to TCL’s P-series, this television has half the peak brightness and a less impressive black level. The contrast ratio is also unimpressive but fairly standard for a television in its price range.
This TCL television has a two-channel sound system and a set of 8-watt in-built speakers. The audio is quite impressive and there is no noticeable distortion. However, the dynamic range is limited, leaving some songs and sounds falling flat. Also, the bass levels sound a bit muffled. As with most flat-screen televisions, it is better to invest in a good soundbar.
Smart TV features
This is one of the areas where the TCL 55S405 television excels. To avoid the growing pains associated with smart television interfaces, TCL decided to simply use Roku’s operating system. This was a very good decision, as Roku is very easy to use and has a large app ecosystem. Furthermore, the menu is very easy to navigate, and the icons are large and readable.
Roku is an excellent one-size-fits-all solution because it’s compatible with a lot of other services, including Sling TV and Plex. Whether you use an HDTV antenna or satellite, Roku television is very easy to set up, ensuring you get to enjoy your favorite programs in no time. The user interface is also very simple and intuitive, which means that even novice users can access their favorite channels and stream their favorite television shows easily. Roku TV also has custom labels that make it a lot easier for users to find what they need.
Roku TV has a very fast and easy search feature. Consumers can search for shows by actor, title or director. They can also customize their search so that they can look for shows that are free or inexpensive. Individuals using antennas can easily also see where to watch their favorite program for free on local broadcast channels. Roku also has picture settings that allow you to customize the brightness, color and contrast. There are also pre-set picture settings to help you get the best picture for sports and movies.
Roku TV smart features go a step further and give you updates on your favorite shows and movies. You can simply add the show or movie to your feeds, and you will receive automatic updates on when a movie in the theatre will become available to stream or when your favorite series will be back on television. The ‘My feed’ features also tells you about price drops or where a particular show is available for free.
Another advantage of Roku television is the automatic software updates. These updates ensure users get the very latest software features automatically so that they can have a better viewing experience. This TCL TV review is just getting started.
The TCL 55S405 comes with a very basic Roku remote with a straightforward pad and simple action and navigation buttons. The remote has about 20 buttons, which is half the number of buttons found in traditional TV remotes. This means you do not have to struggle to find the button you need. Since the TCL 55S405 is a Roku TV, the remote makes it easy to search the thousands of services and apps available on Roku channels and streamers. This remote also has standard media playback buttons and dedicated app buttons for Amazon video, Netflix, HBO Now, Sling and Hulu.
However, one of the major complaints is that the remote is too basic and lacks advanced features that improve usability and functionality. Unlike other higher-end TCL models, this remote does not have a pinhole microphone or headphone jack, which can be very useful if you want to watch television at night without waking up a baby or spouse. This IR-only remote control requires line of site with the television set and it does not stream audio wirelessly or support voice search.
Fortunately, this television is compatible with the Roku mobile app, which turns your tablet or smartphone into a streaming companion. The mobile app has the streaming audio and voice search features missing from the basic app. Therefore, you can listen to whatever’s on TV by plugging headphones into your tablet or smartphone. Furthermore, up to three people can join in on their phones too. You can also use the mobile app to search for content by actor, director or title using your voice. Finally, you can use the mobile app to share your photos, music and videos to your television, or cast web videos from the YouTube and Netflix apps to your television.
Power consumption and input lag
Because this television uses direct-lit LEDs, it consumes very little energy. Under normal viewing conditions, this television consumes about 99W of power, which is very reasonable, though not surprising for most budget 55-inch LED-backlit televisions. If you adjust the brightness of the television so that the backlight is darker, you can reduce power consumption to about 60W while still keeping it very watchable.
Input lag is a description of how much time it takes between the television receiving a signal and displaying it. The TCL 55S405 performs very well here, with a lag of about 31.5 milliseconds in movie mode and a mere 15 milliseconds in color-compromising gaming mode. This television has a refresh rate of 60Hz, which is enough for general television viewing but might not be ideal for action-packed movies. The next section of our TCL TV review will cover the cost of owning the S405.
One of the main advantages of the TCL 55S405 is its affordable price. In fact, you can get it for less than $500 at most online stores. This television delivers a lot of features that are present in high-end brands at a price that does not hurt the wallet. It is ideal for anyone who would like to enjoy 4K viewing and smart television features without spending too much. To sum up this TCL TV review:
- Excellent Roku smart television feature
- The user interface is very simple and intuitive and features thousands of apps for excellent functionality
- Access to more than 4,000 streaming channels
- Antenna, cable, satellite and streaming-compatible
- There are noticeable backlight shadows
- Colors are a bit skewed
- The remote does not have enhanced features
- Lacks local dimming
- Does not handle Dolby Vision
Frequently asked questions
1. Does this television have Bluetooth support?
No. Unfortunately, this television does not have Bluetooth.
2. Can I mount this television on my walls?
Yes, you can easily mount this television using a 200 mm. VESA mount.
3. Can this television work with the Amazon Fire TV stick?
Yes. The TCL 55S405 has three HDMI ports and you can connect external sources such as Firestick to any of them.
4. Can I use a universal remote with this television?
This television comes with a simple but fully functional remote. You can also use the Roku mobile app to change channels or control the TV using your voice. Unfortunately, a universal remote cannot give you random access.
5. Does the TCL 55S405 have split screen or picture in picture features?
No, it does not.
6. Can I make the television go straight to TV mode when I turn it on, instead of going to the Roku menu?
Yes. Using the home button on your remote control, click ‘settings’ then go to ‘systems. Click on ‘power’ then ‘power on’. Go to the input your television is using and press ‘OK’ on your remote. Ensure the check mark is next to TV input before powering off your TV. Now anyone who powers on your television goes straight to live TV mode instead of the Roku menu.
Final verdict of TCL TV review
Taken on its own, this television is very good. The picture quality is acceptable, and the HDR feature is decent. Furthermore, this television has a Roku smart television interface with streaming apps, making it easier to access thousands of channels and shows.
However, you may have to give up some of the more advanced features found in expensive brands. This television lacks local dimming, which may affect your viewing experience. It does not handle Dolby vision and does not have voice search, though these features are rarely ever deal breakers for most television buyers. If you want to enter the world of 4K TV without denting your wallet, then the TCL 55-inch S405 is the television for you. Hope you found this TCL TV review helpful.