TCL 6-Series TV Review (2020): It’s Our Favorite TV, Again


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Someday, there will be a reason to spend more than $1,000 on a TV. For now, save your money and buy the new TCL 6-Series. For the third year in a row, the $650, 55-inch model is our favorite TV—where beautiful picture quality and a usable Roku interface meet a reasonable price.

It has better picture than TVs that cost hundreds of dollars more, Roku OS built in, and even Chromecast for showing slideshows on the big screen. You can spend double the money for a slightly better-looking OLED TV, but this quantum dot, Mini-LED TCL is nearly as good—and comes with a better interface.

You should also save up some extra cash and buy a soundbar already, if you don’t own one.

What’s TCL?

If you’ve been skating by in the blue glow of an old Sony, Vizio, Samsung, or LG model, you might not be familiar with TCL. The Chinese company is a relative newcomer to the TV scene in the United States, but it has quickly made waves for its price-to-performance ratios.

TCL, like Vizio, operates in the sub-premium section of the market (that’s a mouthful), where it aims to offer really high-quality viewing experiences for the lowest prices around. TCL and Vizio were neck-and-neck at the start, but for the past several years we’ve given the edge to TCL, due in large part to its Roku interface.

Photograph: TCL 

Not only is the 6-Series’ onboard Roku OS much easier to navigate than other smart TV interfaces, it also gets some of the best support from developers. I’ve encountered wonky apps on individual TV brands’ operating systems, but the Roku ecosystem has so many users outside of TCL that Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu have clearly given it a high priority. Roku apps work better and break less. Even if you choose another TV, we suggest you buy a Roku stick for it.

The included Roku remote (a cute little wand) also works for voice search, which makes finding your favorite shows easier. I also like how simple it is to plug devices into the 4 HDMI ports (one eARC port for soundbars, three other standard HDMI 2.0b ports) with Roku’s interface. You tell Roku what you’re plugging in through a menu (game system, soundbar, Blu-ray player, etc.) and it will always show up on the home screen correctly labeled.

One thing that’s a bit less intuitive is finding the actual video settings for the TV. To do this, you’ll need to watch a piece of content, and hit the “*” Settings button on the remote to adjust your picture.

I recommend turning off all motion smoothing and turning on game mode if you’re plugging in a video game console. It’s subjective, but I liked the picture best when I switched the TV to Normal mode and then set the color palette to Warm, which made things a lot less blue. Your mileage may vary, but I recommend messing around until you find a look you like.

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