In October, I was on the hunt for a 4K TV upgrade. I was looking to see, if I could find a good, smart 4K by Samsung, Sony LG or Vizio. Then, I looked at reviews on various 4K TV’s on Amazon, cnet, and rtings of those common brands I mentioned for mid-range 4K TVs under a grand and was not impressed. Then, I stumbled upon the unfamiliar 55s405 by TCL, which I perceived, as a generic brand. However, I saw a TON of good reviews on the TV. Additionally, I saw many YouTube videos and decided to purchase this 4K TV. Later, I learned about the 55p605 and found it to be more superb and decided to swap. I was impressed hearing about the many features of the p605, such as, Dolby Vision HDR, 72 HDR Contrast Control Zones, Advanced LED Phosphor with Wide Color Gamut and of course, a Roku platform to stream many channels. I also found out, the p605 was a great gaming gaming TV. What was more shocking is the p605 has ALL of these features for only a six-hundred dollar price-tag. With that being said, is this TV a steal or a too-good-to-be-true, dud?
4K RESOLUTION: The resolution of the p605 is surprisingly superb. The default display shows in 4K UHD. The close-ups on objects, humans, etc. on the display is just phenomenal because of the detail and clarity. The display allows images to be seen, very clearly, as if watchers of the TV were there. For example, I was watching a documentary on Netflix. I saw the image of the people, very clearly. On some scenes, I could see the pores on the person’s skin. I could see every spot on the windshield, when they were in the car. It was like I was in the car with that person. Watching sports has the same effect, especially football. Seeing the field, horizontally is one thing. However, seeing the close-ups of the players is a whole different thing. Amazing color and clarity. The p605 has a 120hz refresh rate, but it is not quite the SOE (Soap Opera Effect) that many 120hz TVs have. In addition, users will see 60hz on the display by pressing the OK button on the remote. However, on moving objects, there is little to no judder or blurriness of moving objects. I have seen many footballs thrown, while watching games and saw no outside motion (blurriness, judder) of the ball. That is where the 120hz kicks in.
72 HDR CONTRAST CONTROL ZONES: This is aka full-array local dimming (FALD). This feature allows the TV to automatically brighten or dim the backlight behind those individual zones, providing better contrast and deeper blacks. It balances out, perfectly. No bleeding, grainy, fuzzy blacks or oversaturated white displays. From what I discovered, while watching, that is why the close-ups on the display look, as good, as they do. Users can manually adjust one of the two contrast settings, which is Local and Dynamic. Both cannot be used at the same time. In addition, users can turn them off, completely.
HDR/DOLBY VISION/WIDE COLOR GAMUT: HDR (High Dynamic Range) is the bread and butter of this tv. It is to make for better contrast, increasingly vivid colors and brighter images. In other words, with HDR, those dark images or edges on the display will show, brighter. The p605 has a wide array of colors aka Wide Color Gamut that works with HDR to enhance colors x2. In other words, with HDR, those dark images or edges on the display will show, brighter. Most of the time, Dolby Vision HDR will not be seen, unless I watch Netflix or other streaming sites. Netflix has movies and or shows, presented in Dolby Vision HDR or Ultra HD 4K. Dolby Vision HDR shows crystal-clear and unbelievably sharp. However, the display is kinda dim, depending on what is watched. I found that many 4K TVs, which has HDR modes, actually has that for a cinematic, viewing experience. Anytime a user, first turns on a program that is Dolby Vision or HDR, the corresponding icon will automatically flash, multiple times on the upper right of the display. Generally, HDR resolution will be seen, while playing a 4K video game i.e. PS4 Pro or Xbox One X or watching a movie on a 4K Blu-Ray player. Of course, when first turning on a game, the same HDR icon will flash up on the upper right part of the screen.
GAMING: Like I said, the p605 is one of the best gaming TVs that I have seen. I play with the PS4 Pro, which is a 4K gaming system, as I mentioned. The HDR resolution, while playing, is phenomenal. I have played games with already superb graphics, such as Uncharted 4, Uncharted Lost Legacy and Call Of Duty WWII. HDR, just enhances the beauty. I would compare it to buffing and waxing an already washed car. What separates the p605 from many other 4K TVs is the lack of input lag, while gaming. What is more amazing is the p605 has a Game Mode to reduce input lag, but at this point, lag it not noticeable, whether Game Mode is switched off or on. Overall, playing online will give players smooth, responsive gameplay and a competitive edge over the competition.
CUSTOMIZATION/ROKU INTERFACE: One of the main features I love about the p605 is the customization and ease of use. For example, for each input i.e. TV, Game, 4K, etc., picture settings (brightness, picture mode, size, audio effect, sleep timer and audio effect) can be changed and saved. I have NEVER seen that feature on any other TV I have ever owned. As a plus, Dolby Vision and HDR has their own customizable picture settings, as well. Users can also go to Advance Picture Settings to change the color, tint, brightness, etc. The remote is pretty basic and straightforward, but includes four streaming app buttons to quickly gain access to them. Some models have different ones. Owners of the p607 will have the same remote, except it includes a headphone jack with headphones, included. Btw, the remote is the ONLY difference, between the p605 and p607. Another cool feature of the p605 is the Roku app can be downloaded to a smartphone to, change settings, access a digital remote AND perform additional picture calibrations on the fly and more. Of course, since this is a Roku television, it can do everything a standard Roku device can do. So, a Roku owner already knows the features. The p605 also updates, periodically, throughout the day.
NEGATIVES: I will say the only negatives of the p605, is it only has three HDMI inputs. Sure, it is not a deal-breaker, but it would be nice, if it had four. The other negative is the display does not look very good, when watching at an angle. There have been times, where I got up and was watching, while walking away from the display and the picture looked pale and grainy. Also, the p605 has subpar speakers. Of course, I have a soundbar. Therefore, I would recommend buyers to use theirs, if they own one.
VERDICT: With everything feature that I mentioned, it makes the p605 a must-own, ESPECIALLY for the price. Overall, the p605 beats just about every mid-range 4K TV in its class, according to rtings and cnet. In fact, the only step up from the p605 is the infamous 900e by Sony, which cost a grand. Of course, there is other upper-echelon 4Ks, such as QLEDs and/or OLEDs. However, if you are frugally shopping for a smart 4K TV with HDR and superb gaming, if you play, look no further than the p605 OR p607 for that matter. Also, I would also recommend purchasing an HDMI cord by AudioQuest. I always thought an HDMI cable was an HDMI cable, until I purchased it. The cable actually enhanced the p605’s resolution, even more.