The TCL 5-Collection (S535) is a superb instance of high-end expertise trickling down from costlier fashions to finances units. On this case, that expertise is QLED – quantum dots – borrowed from final 12 months’s wonderful TCL 6-Collection (R625) for the brand new 5-Collection.
Quantum dots, if that is your first time listening to about them, act like a filter between the LEDs and the display screen to amplify colour saturation. It makes colours look extra vibrant and improves the distinction of the display screen, particularly when mixed with a full array native dimming system.
To that finish, the brand new TCL 5-Collection is the most affordable QLED TV in the marketplace – it prices considerably lower than what Samsung’s entry-level QLED prices, whereas retaining the expanded colour gamut and premium look. With full array native dimming for higher black ranges and Roku TV built-in, the 5-Collection has a number of benefits over non-smart LED-LCD TVs, making it a fantastic possibility for the value.
That stated, the brand new 5-Collection isn’t excellent. It might have the advantages of quantum dots, however except you wish to hold it in its default Vivid image mode that oversaturates the picture, you’ll need to determine between colour accuracy and better peak brightness. In the event you don’t select the latter, the 5-Collection doesn’t have the brightness obligatory to actually make HDR content material shine which makes reveals and flicks look a bit boring in comparison with different TVs.
Add to that poor upscaling and a few shoddy movement processing, and it appears like an actual step down from the spectacular new TCL 6-Collection (R635) that prices just some hundred extra.
Worth and launch date
Whereas now we have some gripes with its image efficiency, it’s exhausting to be mad concerning the TCL 5-Collection’ worth – it begins at simply over $400 for the 50-inch model (TCL 50S535) whereas the most important measurement, the 75-inch (TCL 75S535), is available in at just below $1,000.
Whereas now we have no points with the value of the TV, the TCL 5-Collection does sit fairly precariously within the 2020 TCL TV lineup. Arguably, you might make the case to plunk down $250 extra to get the considerably higher TCL 6-Collection R635 that ups the brightness of the display screen, or save $100 by switching to the non-Dolby Imaginative and prescient-compatible TCL 4-Collection.
Your different possibility, in case you’re connected to this worth level, is the spectacular Hisense H8G Quantum. Hisense doesn’t have the identical clout or title recognition that TCL has, however the H8G brings most of the identical options – minus the built-in Roku TV – and better brightness of round 600 nits in HDR for across the identical worth.
The TCL 5-Collection (S535) is priced on the decrease finish of mid-range, however it definitely doesn’t appear like it. With a minimal bezel and metallic body, the 5-Collection ought to look fashionable and smooth in any front room.
To suit various leisure facilities, the 5-Collection is on the market in 4 sizes: 50 inches, 55 inches, 65 inches and 75 inches. We had been despatched the 50-inch mannequin for evaluation, however exterior of the variety of dimming zones, the specs and options stay the identical.
This 12 months, TCL has added a minimalist cable administration system behind the 2 legs which have been hollowed out that can be utilized to run HDMI and energy cables. Sadly, we discovered that the legs weren’t capable of maintain all 4 HDMI cables we had operating to the TV, however of us with fewer connections ought to be capable to disguise cables with out a lot of a problem.
Talking of cables, the 5-Collection gives one set of legacy RCA inputs and 4 HDMI ports, all of that are HDMI 2.0b compliant and one being eARC-enabled. That final port means that you can join an AV receiver or soundbar system and use one distant to manage the amount and inputs – a really useful characteristic if your own home leisure system has a number of parts.
In all probability the largest flaw of the design, nonetheless, is the IR distant that ships with the TV. With out built-in Bluetooth connectivity, there’s no approach to make use of it for voice searches and it at all times requires line of sight to the IR receiver situated on the underside fringe of the TV.
That final bit isn’t a deal-breaker by any means, and you may nonetheless use the Roku app if you wish to use voice search on the TV, however the less-premium plastic IR distant is simply one other minor drawback in comparison with the marginally costlier TCL 6-Collection.
Sensible TV (Roku TV)
The TCL 5-Collection S535 makes use of Roku TV, an egalitarian sensible TV platform that has a good and sturdy search characteristic and a lot of the main streaming apps.
To wit, you’ll discover all the pieces from Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV and Amazon, to lesser-known channels like Pluto.television, tubi, Crackle and others, plus new streaming providers like Peacock, HBO Max, Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus, too.
With so many choices that complete search is useful. In distinction to the Apple TV or Amazon Fireplace TV, each of which might a lot fairly have you ever stream from their ancillary streaming providers over any of the third-party ones, Roku doesn’t have ties to a serious streaming service which suggests it doesn’t push you in any course you don’t wish to go.
In the event you’re a twine cutter, you’ll love the Featured Free part of the homepage that reveals you what is obtainable totally free on the completely different providers and Roku’s personal streaming service, The Roku Channel, which supplies its personal assortment of solely free films that change out and in each few months. These are invaluable sources for cord-cutters who need stay cable-free, and a fantastic various to channel browsing for folk who nonetheless have a field.
One good shock TCL and Roku tucked into the TV is that it’s Screencast-ready – a useful characteristic that means that you can solid content material out of your cell gadget to your TV. That is good if in case you have a bunch of associates over and so they all need a flip exhibiting their favourite YouTube clip, or if you wish to use your TV as a digital image body when household comes to go to.
The general efficiency of the platform leaves one thing to be desired – as reveals on Netflix did take a second or two to load – however total velocity isn’t a serious subject.
When it comes to sensible assistants, Roku TV makes use of the Roku Assistant, which is actually solely good for locating reveals and flicks, however it does hyperlink as much as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant if you wish to management the TV utilizing both a type of sensible residence platforms.
That assistant isn’t practically as useful as having Alexa or Google Assistant constructed straight into the TV, however that’s a comparatively minor criticism all issues thought of.
The efficiency of the TCL 5-Collection is a little bit of a combined bag. Components of the efficiency, like the best way the total array native dimming system retains black ranges low, is unbelievable and but the TV has an actual drawback with brightness that holds it again from being a really nice expertise.
Probably the most detrimental facet of the TV’s efficiency is its lack of brightness, particularly when watching HDR content material. Brightness ranges max out round 450 nits of peak brightness, which is round half of what different mid-range 4K HDR TVs put out.
As a result of brightness is a noticeable delicate spot for the TCL 5-Collection, colour saturation takes successful, too. Whereas the quantum dots do present a wider colour gamut, with no brighter backlight you’re not getting the most effective colour saturation and also you’re shedding out on lots of vibrancy.
Equally, upscaling isn’t fantastic, which isn’t shocking contemplating that the 5-Collection makes use of TCL’s AIPQ processor that we largely discovered unsuccessful at upconversion on the TCL 6-Collection. Making issues worse, its decrease native refresh price of 60Hz means movement processing isn’t practically nearly as good because the TCL 6-Collection that’s only one step above it.
What are you able to do about it? Properly, we discovered some success by tweaking the settings (we set Motion Smoothing to Excessive and LED Movement Readability to On) however we nonetheless discovered movement artifacting in fast-paced digital camera pans. It’s simply one thing you’ll need to stay with.
When it comes to off-axis viewing angles, you just about solely wish to watch this TV head-on. The 5-Collection does a barely higher job retaining colour saturation off-axis than a few of its rivals like final 12 months’s Vizio V-Collection, however something various levels severely degrades the constancy of the picture.
Sound, equally, is nothing to write down residence about. It’s serviceable with a concentrate on the mid-range for clear dialogue, however lacks any type of sparkle within the highs or any actual rumble within the bass. It’s effective, however a soundbar is certainly really useful.
If there’s a silver lining to the 5-Collection’ efficiency, it’s that it solely has 11ms of lag and has a recreation mode that may activate mechanically if you activate a online game. Mixed, these two options definitely assist video games really feel extra responsive – one thing we will attest to after taking part in a number of hours of intense UFC 3 matches on the 5-Collection – however with out HDMI 2.1 and/or 120Hz help, it’s actually not a fantastic match for the Xbox Collection X or PS5.
Lastly, the 5-Collection does have Dolby Imaginative and prescient help and Dolby Atmos passthrough. The previous permits the TV to entry the best high quality content material over streaming providers, whereas the latter can pipe spatial audio to your soundbar with no devoted streaming participant.
Each can routinely be discovered on costlier TV units, however to search out them right here at this worth appears like an actual hidden treasure.
Must you purchase the TCL 5-Collection (S535)?
Purchase it if…
You need an inexpensive and easy-to-use sensible TV
Roku TV is likely one of the massive highlights of the TCL 5-Collection. It’s extremely simple to make use of, fairly complete when it comes to the apps obtainable on it, and has a free streaming service baked proper in in case you’re seeking to minimize the twine.
You’re interested in Dolby Imaginative and prescient and Dolby Atmos
The TCL 5-Collection S535 is likely one of the most cost-effective Dolby Imaginative and prescient TVs on the market proper now, and it could possibly even cross Dolby Atmos audio by its eARC HDMI port. In the event you’ve been interested in these applied sciences and don’t need to spend so much to examine them out, the 5-Collection is the most affordable ticket on the town.
Don’t purchase it if…
You’re a stickler for excellent colours and excessive brightness
The 5-Collection isn’t boring by any means, however with round solely 450 nits of peak brightness, it doesn’t contact the 1,000 nits of peak brightness wanted for the most effective HDR efficiency.
You’re shopping for a brand new TV for the Xbox Collection X or PS5
As a result of it has solely a local refresh price of 60Hz and makes use of HDMI 2.0 ports, you positively shouldn’t purchase this TV if you need the utmost efficiency of the PS5 and Xbox Collection X. As an alternative, look out for a TV with 120Hz and HDMI 2.1 – just like the LG CX OLED, Vizio OLED or Sony X900H – as an alternative.