TCL 5-Series 65″ 4K UHD TV (2019) Review | Not Quite There

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Wonderful images, the colour and depth of the photos are breath-taking, they attract you in as though you are a component of the composition.

You know I came into this review thinking that a 2019 five series TV would represent a really great value for folks and so we should definitely take a look at it but now it's just not so sure welcome back everyone I'm Caleb Denison and things kind of got complicated as I was evaluating this TV everybody knows that I have a huge amount of respect for TCL I also happen to love Roku but unfortunately there's a pairing going on here that is not working for me we're gonna dig into that but before I do anything else I need to make a clarification and correction from our unboxing video which I'm sure is just

Gonna rack up the comments there is no local dimming in this TV there is a misleading setting that I'll show you in just a minute which would indicate that there are zones in the TV but there is no local dimming it's got a full array of back lights but no local dimming just want to make that really clear right out of the gate now let's dig in so let me be clear Roku the platform is fine it's great for finding apps finding content that you want to watch easy to navigate great stuff however the problem I'm having is with the picture settings so let's delve

Into that a little bit here what I found and we're in Dolby vision right now we have three different options dark Dolby vision normal Dolby vision and bright Dolby vision and the default settings for each of these are very strange dark Dolby vision as expected has a warm color temperature that's what you usually get from a professional mode or a movie mode right and it doesn't have any action smoothing or you know cinema motion control which is great but when you go into natural or I'm sorry yeah normal Dolby vision you get a cool color temperature and you get a little bit of

Motion smoothing furthermore when you go into bright Dolby vision you get excessive motion smoothing and cool color temperature and none of this makes any sense to me because Dolby vision is meant to provide this standard appearance you know it's an end-to-end solution for HDR and it should represent the best that the TV is capable of and you'd think they'd stick to standards and keep the color temperature warm and don't have any motion smoothing in it but that's just not the case it's the same story for HDR 10 I'm in a youtube video 4k HDR you can see we have

Dark HDR normal HDR and bright HDR same story the default settings are all over the map and don't make a whole lot of sense I would expect that if I was selecting something like a moon B mode which is what I always do right we would have warm color temperature at no motion smoothing so not only do I have to go into all three Dolby vision HDR picture presets and adjust them I have to go into all three HDR 10 picture presets and adjust them and here's what's really weird doesn't matter whether you're in bright HDR normal HDR or dark HDR as I change it things like

The backlight and brightness settings don't change so what is changing like it does brighten up the picture but it's not giving you any control over how much it brightens up the picture or how much it darkens up the picture and it's similar with the movie mode except for we're just dealing with SDR content there right so no matter what I do if I'm in dark Dolby vision dark HDR or the movie mode it casts this sort of veil over the picture it robs it of its contrast it doesn't look great so I have to bump it up into a normal or even a bright furthermore this setting that I

Mentioned earlier which is not related to local dimming because again the TV doesn't have local dimming micro contrast it's really hard to figure out what it's doing because low looks more like high than it does medium so it's almost as if medium dips the gamma and then high brings it back up but high is actually very close to low and I mean off is just worthless so not only are there seven different picture presets that you have to go into but there's also this micro contrast that behaves differently for Dolby vision than it does for HDR and for the movie mode and

Nobody is going to go through and deal with all of that mess the person that buys this TV is going to pull it out of the box and go with an out of box experience maybe fiddle around with the picture presets find something that they like and that's what they're gonna sit with they're definitely not going to get the best that this TV is capable of now what is the best that this TV is capable of do I sound frustrated to you well yeah it's because I am here's the thing TCL makes great stuff their six series

Is top notch their 8 Series is flat gasps ting Li good the 5-series shouldn't be that far off and in some ways it's not amazingly enough this TV has solid native contrast so if you measure the blacks and then you measure the brightest brights you're getting a good native contrast which is impressive considering that there's no local dimming and even without that local dimming feature you still get really solid black levels when you're watching the TV one of the things I noticed was when watching Netflix with subtitles it doesn't cast a huge halo around those

Subtitles so no halos around bright objects on black backgrounds is usually a really good thing and it is here the color however is off and there's not a whole lot that you can do about that as a user what's really interesting to me is that the two point white balance adjustments that professional calibrators make in order to get a TVs color more accurate are not available on the TV itself you have to go into a Roku app count that among another set of options that users are not going to access and again I don't think somebody who buys this TV is going to hire a

Calibrator to get it better so the Reds are just way way off the colors in general don't look very natural and it's not the end of the world I don't know how sensitive people are to that however it's not correct and it's not close to correct so the question is is this TV a good value at $600 when there's a TV that cost $700 that is substantially better I am of course referring to the Hisense h8 G which we just reviewed the 65 inch version of that TV goes for $700 just a hundred dollars more than this one and you absolutely get what you pay for if you

Pay a little bit more the TCL v series actually looks really good I can see folks getting this home setting it up and being perfectly happy with the picture quality never knowing any better but if you did see this TV right next to the Hisense hhg you would then see the difference you would know what you were missing and you would never be able to unsee that and you would not want to be cheated for your money you definitely should get what you pay for and I think that you're missing something with the TCL v series it's a solid TV and if somebody is not picky like we are we're

Extremely picky right video enthusiasts who want the very best for our money that's not going to happen with us particular TV so if you're an enthusiast you want the best that your money can get I suggest that you look elsewhere for anybody else who just wants a really solid TV that's a very good value this TCL certainly provides that and if you're not worried about going into picture settings and making adjustments you're gonna be thrilled with how easy the roku platform is for providing access to your content and also there's a bunch of stuff that you can do with

The roku app that adds convenience for one thing voice control voice control is not available with this remote also there's no headphone jack on this remote so you're gonna have to use the app for that are you comfortable with that if so I think that's gonna add a little bit of value and I do recommend using voice control especially when trying to search for content because hunting and pecking and spelling stuff out is an exercise in frustration on this TV definitely don't recommend so that's the breakdown everybody the TCL 5-series perfectly decent TV it's good almost great and

That's what's frustrating is it just doesn't get too great

TCL 5-Series 65″ 4K UHD TV (2019) Review | Not Quite There

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