Advertisement
Advertisement

TCL 55RP620K review: Big and smart, but not that bright

Sasha Muller
1 Dec 2021
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
450
inc VAT

This big-screen budget TV benefits from Roku’s brilliant user interface and surprisingly good image quality, but HDR misses the mark

Pros 
Slick, easy-to-use interface
All the key streaming services
Good image quality in SDR
Cons 
Narrow viewing angles
Not bright enough for HDR
Advertisement

TCL might not be a name you’re familiar with, but this Chinese brand is one you’re likely to hear more of – it’s making serious in-roads in budget and mid-range TV circles. It’s easy to see why, too.

Focus your attention on the lower end of the range, and you may find yourself irresistibly drawn to the affordable RP620K family: this talented bunch of budget TVs partner Roku’s brilliantly simple interface with 4K HDR panels at a pared-down price.

Buy now from Currys PC World


TCL 55RP620K review: What you need to know

The TCL RP620K is an affordable 4K HDR TV powered by the well-loved Roku interface. You can take your pick from 43in, 50in, 55in and 65in versions and, whichever you choose, the Roku front end is both easy to use and supports every streaming service you can possibly think of.

There’s little in the way of luxury here, as you’d probably expect for a model that starts at a mere £350, but all the key features are present. You get Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support into the bargain, which is good to see at the price, and the VA-type LCD panel and LED edge-lit backlighting is pretty much de rigeur when you’re spending this kind of money.

What’s more, the Roku OS integrates seamlessly with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit and Apple AirPlay for a multitude of voice-activated and smart-connected options.

READ NEXT: The best smart TV platforms

TCL 55RP620K review: Price and competition

The RP620K is a Currys PC World exclusive for the time being, and prices start around £350 for the 43in 43RP620K then rise modestly from there: you’ll need to find an extra £50 for the £400 50RP620K, another £50 for the £450 55RP620K I was sent for this review, then finally add £100 on top of that for the £550 65RP620K. For a budget 4K HDR TV, that’s a competitive range of prices.

Another option at this price is Hisense’s own Roku-powered TV. Prices start at around £299 for the 43in R43A7200GTUK, and recent price drops have seen the 50in and 55in models sink to £379 and £499 respectively. The 65in model retails for around £599. The Hisense is a little cheaper than the TCL but only supports HDR10 and lacks the support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+. It’s a little dimmer than the TCL, too, but it’s still a good option if you like the idea of a budget Roku-powered TV, and it’s available at a good price.

If you’d rather opt for a bigger, better-known brand, then Samsung’s TU7020 family may appeal. Prices are very similar to the TCL and Hisense: you’ll pay around £379 for the 43in UE43TU7020, £479 for the 50in UE50TU7020, £499 for the 55in UE55TU7020 and £629 for the UE65TU7020. The downside is that Samsung TVs don’t support Dolby Vision.

READ NEXT: Boost your TV’s audio with these top soundbars

TCL 55RP620K review: Design, connections and control

Put the TCL and the Hisense Roku TV side by side and, if it wasn’t for the brand logos in the middle of the bezel, you’d have trouble telling them apart. Look a little more closely, though, and the TCL is just a tad frumpier: the bezels are noticeably thicker, which gives it a rather dated look and, while the plastic casing feels pretty solid given the price, I’m not a fan of the edge-mounted, splayed feet – you’ll need a relatively wide TV stand to accommodate them.

Around the back, all the connections face the right-hand side of the set. Thankfully, however, they’re set in far enough to prevent cables sprouting unattractively from the side of the TV. All the essentials are here: you get four HDMI 2.0b inputs, one of which has eARC support, a USB-A port, an optical digital output, composite video input and headphone output. You also get 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2 wireless connectivity alongside a 10/100 Ethernet port.

The TCL’s two downward-firing speakers have a mere 8W of power pulsing through each driver, but they actually sound fine for everyday TV watching. There are several sound presets, and I’d recommend setting it to Theatre mode – the other modes are all muted, muffled or exaggerated in some way. Even so, there’s not much happening below 150Hz, so even a cheap soundbar will be a good upgrade.

The light, plastic remote control isn’t going to win any design awards, but it works well. It’s comfy to hold and the widely spaced buttons are sensibly laid out. Unlike rival remotes, which pack as many buttons in as possible or are small and fiddly, the TCL’s remote puts everything you need comfortably at your fingertips. You get quick launch buttons for Netflix, Spotify, Apple TV+ and Rakuten TV, and the combination of a small directional pad and simple transport controls helps make light work of navigating menus and apps alike.

READ NEXT: Our favourite TVs for gaming

TCL 55RP620K review: Roku OS

If you’re familiar with Roku’s range of devices, then you’ll be right at home here. There is something rather dated about the look of the Roku interface, but it works – and works well. Clear, simple icons meld with intelligible menus and settings options to make for a TV that’s refreshingly easy to get to grips with.

The range of streaming services is second to none. Every major service you can think of is available – Disney+, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Now, Apple TV+, BT Sport, Freeview Play and YouTube are all present – and the apps load quickly and work smoothly. Combine that with support for Google and Amazon’s voice assistants, as well as Apple’s AirPlay, HomeKit and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi streaming, and there’s really very little missing here. And yes, you also get an integrated DVB-T2 tuner for terrestrial Freeview broadcasts.

The TCL’s processor kept things feeling pretty snappy and responsive in my time with the TV, too, which is more than can be said of some budget TVs I’ve tested.

And that’s not forgetting one of my favourite features: you can turn a nearby phone or tablet into a remote control by installing the Roku app. If you’re always losing the remote down the back of the sofa, the usefulness of that one feature cannot be overstated.

Buy now from Currys PC World


TCL 55RP620K review: Image quality

There’s always a hint of trepidation when turning on a budget-priced TV for the first time, but the TCL 55RP620K makes a very good first impression. Firing up Netflix to watch a barrage of kid-friendly SDR animation rewarded with a vibrant, punchy image simply oozing with rich, vibrant colours. The upscaling from 1080p looked pretty clean while streaming Howl’s Moving Castle, too.

Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy in Dolby Vision HDR was a different story entirely, and swiftly revealed the TCL’s limitations. This is, it must be said, not a bright TV, and it certainly isn’t bright enough to do HDR justice. The HDR image quality is respectable for a budget TV, with largely natural-looking colours and good contrast, but there simply isn’t enough brightness on tap to actually show all the gleaming, shimmering benefits of HDR.

Despite the TCL’s limited brightness, the choice of Dark, Normal and Bright modes for Dolby Vision and HDR10+ content does help to make content more watchable in different lighting conditions. If you need to use the Bright Room mode, however, I recommend changing the colour temperature to the warm setting; at its default cool setting, the heavy blue tinge makes colours look unnatural and crushes highlight detail.

Armed with a copy of Calman Ultimate and an X-Rite i1Display Pro Plus colorimeter, I put the TCL through our usual suite of tests. In SDR, I had to enable the Movie mode to get the best image quality; with this engaged, the TCL covered a respectable 96.7% of the Rec.709/sRGB gamut with an average Delta E of 2.8. Brightness tops out at a modest 238cd/m² even with the menu brightness setting cranked to its Brighter mode, and contrast is respectable at around 4,220:1.

Move to HDR, and the TCL begins to struggle. Even the most accurate HDR mode sees the colour accuracy dip to an average Delta E of 6.69, and brightness still tops out at 238cd/m², even with Brighter mode engaged. The mediocre colour accuracy in HDR is largely due to the TCL panel’s inability to reproduce the wider range of colours required for HDR – in our tests, it covered only 65% of the DCI-P3 colour range, compared to mid-range and high-end sets which routinely cover 90% or more.

A final annoyance is that the TCL’s viewing angles are narrow – a familiar bugbear when it comes to cheaper TVs that use VA panel technology. You can shuffle a little left or right of head-on without losing too much contrast, but move too far and colours and contrast suffer badly. The reflective screen doesn’t help here, either, and in brighter rooms the combination of narrow viewing angles and a reflective screen mean images can look very washed out.

Buy now from Currys PC World


TCL 55RP620K review: Verdict

It isn’t a surprise to find that a £349 TV has limitations, however. What is a surprise is how competent the TCL is at everything else and, in all honesty, it’s still very watchable in HDR as long as you dim the lights and manage your expectations.

If you’re looking for a cheap TV that serves up good image quality with a wonderfully simple, slick interface, then this is a good buy. The TCL RP620K may not work miracles, but it’s a great package for the cash and at this price that’s about all you can ask for.

Read more

Reviews