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With cutting-edge 4K televisions sets cheaper than they have ever been, it can be challenging figuring out from the sea of options which ones are worth your purchase. Continuing on this never-ending quest of ours, we set our sights on the TCL 55 inch TV in their S525 lineup. This is what people refer to as a “budget 4K” TV set that is designed to offer mind blowing image quality at an affordable price. But, is its bang truly worth your buck?
We, like many other people, worry a little bit about the construction of TV sets when they are priced pretty low. You’re unlikely to find a TV set that is so poorly made that it’s falling apart at the seams, but you do have to be aware that not all TV sets are built equal. The TCL 55S525 is a reminder of that.
The build quality over all is decent at best. For one thing, the stands aren’t the best choice for a TV set of this size. They’re adequate but they also provide a little bit of wobbling which isn’t ideal. The overall style and looks of the TCL 55S525 are also kind of plain looking. It’s not that it looks bad or ugly, but it doesn’t have any remarkable features about it either.
The back of the TV is also fairly basic. There’s no cable management and the bottom of the TV is also a little thicker which means that the TCL 55S525 will be sticking out a little if wall-mounted.
Smart TV Functionality
TCL has been using Roku TV as their Smart OS for quite some time now and it still is serving them and their products pretty well. It may not be the most advanced or smooth UI on the Smart TV market, but all things considered, it is still quite good.
The menus are pretty easy to navigate and apps all show up quite neatly arranged. Roku TV does unfortunately have a good deal of ads all over the main interface but they are easy enough to ignore.
Roku TV is a perfectly great option for anyone who is interested in viewing Netflix, Youtube or any number of other popular apps. Roku TV has a wide selection of apps to download so anyone could exhaust a lot of time customizing their TCL 55S525 with all the apps they could possibly need to create a robust library of software.
Just about every 4K TV in this price range is going to be good at some areas of image quality and lacking in a few others, and the TCL 55S525 is no exception to this. Overall however, we were satisfied with its performance as you always have to keep in mind how much budget 4K TVs are accomplishing relative to their asking price.
The TCL 55S525 is pretty good at contrast, pixel quality at 4K resolution, and color accuracy. This TV looks nice in a variety of lighting conditions and it has pretty good HDR for both movies and gaming. For such a cheap TV it really does a solid job of distinguishing the darker colors from the brighter ones.
Where the 55S525 falls a little flat is in areas like flickering, reflections and viewing angles. For one thing, you pretty much have to be directly facing the TV to get an ideal image. It also produces a little bit too much glare for our liking if light bulbs or sunlight happen to shine directly on the screen, so this TV will look its best in darker environments.
Overall though, the TCL 55S525 produces pretty solid picture quality. It undoubtedly looks its best when using 4K and HDR together, and that’s what really makes this TV worth buying.