I’ve been living with the $US650 TCL P607 for over a month, and it’s a fantastic TV.
It’s a 55-inch TV with ultra-sharp 4K resolution, HDR10 for great picture colour, and it even has Dolby Vision for content that supports it, which is an even better version of HDR10.
It also has Roku built in, which handily outclasses the built-in software that most smart TVs come with.
The TCL P607 isn’t the cheapest 55-inch 4K TV with HDR, but it’s close. And most TVs with this kind of extended feature set, including Dolby Vision, can easily cost north of $US1,000.
Check out what I thought of the TCL P607 TV after using it for a month:
The TCL TV makes 4K and HDR video look just as good as more expensive TVs.
4K TV shows, movies, and games look stunning on the TCL.
The TCL has 72 local dimming zones, which means it can dim or turn off certain zones of the screen that show a dark scene. As a result, the colour black is surprisingly deep for a regular LCD TV. It’s not an OLED display where every pixel acts as a local dimming zone, so it doesn’t get that perfect black colour in darker scenes, but the TCL is remarkably close. Having such deep black levels makes for a richer picture, and brighter parts of a scene can truly pop, too.
With that said, the dimming zones can lag when scenes suddlenly switch from dark to bright. Parts of the screen can stay dim for a split second before switching back to bright. It’s noticeable, but not really distracting.
It supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision, which you usually find on more expensive TVs.
The TCL also supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision, which make for more natural colours on content that supports HDR. It also helps reveal detail in darker parts of a scene that you normally wouldn’t see on a TV without HDR.
I should note that most HDR TVs only support the regular HDR10 standard while relatively few TVs support Dolby Vision, which is a kind of “premium” version of the standard HDR10 that’s usually found on higher-end TV models. The Dolby Vision badge can ramp up the price of a TV, but it hasn’t done so with the TCL.
I was surprised to find that Dolby Vision does actually look better than regular HDR10. The enhancements to colour and detail are more noticeable than they are with regular HDR10, and it’s always a treat when I find a show or movie that supports Dolby Vision on Netflix.
I should also note that most streaming devices only support HDR10, not Dolby Vision. So the TCL, as a streaming device, is better than most streaming devices if you value Dolby Vision. So far, only the Apple TV 4K supports Dolby Vision.
If you want better TV quality, the next best thing are OLED TVs, which usually come with a huge price tag.
I found that I enjoyed content with the $US650 TCL just as much as I did with the $US5,500 LG OLED TV I tried out a few months ago.
TCL may not be a household name like LG or Sony, but don’t let that scare you. The Chinese brand has existed for decades. It recently made a splash in the US TV market with its Roku-powered smart TVs, and it’s made a name for itself as a great budget-friendly brand for TVs.
Cable TV doesn’t make use of 4K or HDR on TCL, but it still looks good.
The TCL’s 4K display doesn’t necessarily sharpen cable TV video, as cable is usually delivered in 1080″i” resolution. And it doesn’t make use of the TCL’s HDR, either. It looks as good as it does on any decent TV.
For that reason, people who exclusively watch cable TV don’t really need to upgrade to a 4K TV with HDR.
But if you occasionally use streaming services that offer 4K and HDR content, and you want to get the best out of that content, the TCL’s low price tag gives you access to 4K and HDR without breaking the bank.
The same goes for games consoles that support 4K resolution and HDR, like the PlayStation4 Pro and Xbox One X.
The sound quality is fine, but you may want to invest in a good sound system or soundbar.
The speakers sound like regular TV speakers, and like most TV speakers, they don’t really impress. They’re fine, but if you value sound quality, you’d do well to invest in a soundbar or sound system for the TV.
The same goes for pretty much any TV, save for ultra high-end models like the LG OLED TV, which has incredible built-in speakers.
The remote is incredibly simple.
The remote’s plastic build is a little cheap to the touch, but it does the job. It does away with most of the buttons you never normally press on a conventional remote and keeps things ultra simple. Navigating around the TCL’s menus and home screen is a breeze.
The remote also has a headphone port, which I’ve found more useful than I ever thought I would.
My wife sometimes asks me to wear headphones when she’s working in the office next to the living room where the TCL TV is currently sitting, and I can easily oblige with the TCL’s remote.
The built in headphone port lets me use any pair of wired headphones I want, and the TV even comes with a pair of earphones. The sound you get through the remote’s headphone port isn’t stellar, even when I was using a good pair of headphones. Still, it gets the job done, and I can watch TV in silence without disturbing my wife in the office. It’s become an incredibly useful feature that will be a must in any future TV I buy.
And it has a built-in microphone you can use to search for content.
You can press the magnifying button on the Roku remote to search for content, like action movies, or even specific movies and TV shows. But it’s best used if you have a specific movie, TV show, or even actor in mind you want to watch.
When I search for “action movies,” it gives me a long list of movies that isn’t sorted in any specific order. Older movies were being mixed in with newer movies, for example.
When you search with your voice, the TV’s built-in Roku service delivers the results: whether it’s a video on the Roku Channel or if it’s available to stream or rent from another app like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Vudu, among others.
It works surprisingly well, and it made my search for the movie “Moonlight” incredibly easy. I was about to rent the movie from one of the apps that had it available to rent. But after using the voice search feature on the Roku, I found that it was available to stream from Amazon Prime Video, which is handy as I’m an Amazon Prime customer.
Roku’s voice feature worked perfectly, and it avoided me having to search through Amazon Prime Video on a computer or mobile device to check if the movie was available to stream. It also saved me from paying for renting the movie!
I could also use the Roku voice feature to switch inputs to my Xbox, which is neat, but it’s just as easy to use the buttons on the remote.
You have the best media streamer built right in: Roku.
Roku streaming devices are some of the best you can buy. They support a ton of streaming apps, including the most popular ones like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Now, and Hulu, as well as live TV streaming services like Sling TV, Hulu TV, DirecTV Now, and YouTube TV. There are also several network apps, like ABC, CBS, and NBC among many others.
Roku also isn’t affected by spats between companies that offer streaming services. The Google and Amazon dispute, for example, led Google to remove the popular YouTube apps from Amazon’s streaming devices, which is a bad deal for those who use Amazon’s streaming devices.
Plus, as I mentioned earlier, the TCL TV supports Dolby Vision, making the TCL TV the only streaming device you can buy that supports Dolby Vision apart from the Apple TV 4K.
I’m not a fan of having app-specific buttons on the remote.
While Roku did remove most of the unused buttons from a conventional TV remote, it added four buttons that take you directly to the Netflix, Sling TV, Hulu, and Starz apps. While I actually use the Netflix button fairly often, I wouldn’t mind the ability to customise the buttons to apps I actually use, like YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, and NBC Sports.
And it’s irksome to have ads on the home screen, but I eventually learned to ignore them.
The ads never contain video or audio, so they’re not obtrusive, and they’re usually about shows on the streaming channels you can find on the Roku.
Apart from the app buttons on the remote and the ads, almost everything about this TV is pretty much perfect.
The price is right. The picture quality is great. And it’s 4K. These three things are the basic necessities if you’re going to buy a TV these days, and the TCL P607 excels at all of these aspects.
Having HDR and Dolby Vision built into the TCL sweetens an already great deal.
The built-in Roku might not be a necessity for everyone, especially if you already have some kind of streaming device that can play 4K HDR content, like an Xbox One S or Xbox One X, PlayStation 4 Pro, Apple TV 4K, Google Chromecast, or even another Roku device. But at $US650, you’re not exactly paying much extra to have Roku built into the TV. Plus, you get Dolby Vision, too.
The TCL is hands-down at the top of my list of recommendations for anyone looking to buy a new TV. If you’re looking for fancier designs and sleeker remotes, you could pay more. But better aesthetics is all you’d be paying for. Otherwise, the next step up after the TCL are OLED TVs, which normally cost above $US1,500 for a similarly sized model.
The only unfortunate thing is that TCL doesn’t offer the P607 in any other size. It’s 55-inch or nothing. If that’s not large enough, you can check out TCL’s C-series TVs that go up to 75 inches. The C-series TVs also come with HDR and Dolby vision, but they don’t have the 72 local dimming zones that the P-series have, which means it might not produce the colour black quite as well as the P-series. I haven’t tried the C-series, but the picture quality is likely comparable to the P-series.