Review: TCL 43″ Class 4-Series 4K UHD HDR ROKU Smart TV – 43S425-CA

If you are Canadian, you likely haven’t heard of TCL. But they’re the fastest growing TV brand in the world. And as of November they’re entering the Canadian market with three ranges of TVs to offer consumers something at every feature point. The entry level is the 3 Series, the mid-range is the 4-Series, and the high end is the 6-Series. I figured that the bulk of TCL’s sales is going to be in the 4-Series range with a maximum size of 65″. Thus I requested and got this:

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Meet the TCL 43″ Class 4-Series 4K UHD HDR ROKU Smart TV. I’m going to go right to the price and say that’s it’s $399 CDN and here’s what you get for your money:

  • 4K Ultra HD Resolution
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) Technology
  • 4K Creative Pro upscaling engine
  • 120Hz CMI effective refresh rate
  • Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi & Ethernet port
  • Built in Roku OS which allows you to stream 150,000 movies & TV episodes across thousands of streaming channels

In terms of ports, here’s what you get:

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From the top you get the following:

  • USB Port
  • Ethernet
  • Three HDMI
  • Cable Input
  • Analog port that requires a special cable
  • Headphone jack
  • Optical Audio

Another HDMI port or two would have been great. But this is a good amount of ports. And the fact that they are recessed means that if you wall mount this TV, you will still have decent access to the ports.

The first thing that you’re going to notice is the user interface. You’ll see items like “Playstation” and “Cable Box” complete with a live preview. That makes it easy for anyone to use the TV because everything is labeled in a clear and easy to understand manner rather than “HDMI 1” and “HDMI 2”. So much so that my wife who has been known to not watch TV if I am not around to turn it on and switch it to the right device, figured out how to turn this TCL TV on and find a movie to stream without me being present. That’s pretty impressive. So is the setup process. It took maybe about 20 minutes to walk through the menu driven setup process which not only helps you to set things up but to download updates to the Roku OS.

Now I am not a fan of smart TVs. But the built in Roku OS makes this TV a winner. I love Roku products and they have integrated their technology extremely well into the OS. Using a single remote you can watch TV as well as watch everything from Google Play to Netflix. Plus you can download the Roku remote app to your Android or iOS phone to not only give you access to the private listening function which will allow you to route the audio via your phone to a pair of headsets, but it gives you access to some advanced functions to tweak the picture quality and to enable the TV’s “Fast TV Start” mode which will allow the TV to fire up immediately and maintain a WiFi connection to enable updates to the Roku OS be downloaded when the TV is idle. You also get the voice search function which is absent from the remote that comes with the TV. If I had one tip for TCL, they should consider including the more advanced remote that allows for voice search and private listening so that the person buying one of their TVs doesn’t need to download the Roku remote app to do all of that.

But the thing that you care about is the picture quality. It’s shockingly good. HD content via my Rogers box is bright, vivid and detailed. Sport broadcasts look amazing with no motion blur whatsoever. But when you throw 4K content at it, this TV really comes into its own. The TV supports HDR10 from devices like the Xbox One X where games like Shadow Of The Tomb Raider look amazing. Plus any content off the Roku 4K channel simply pops to life. One interesting test that I did is to use the Zwift virtual cycling platform via my MacBook Pro connected via HDMI in 4K. I could now see cracks in the pavement while riding as well as individual blades of grass which was not present at 1080P. Plus the motion was very smooth with no motion blur of any sort. The picture at worst is easily competitive with the big name TV makers out there. As for sound quality, it’s actually pretty decent seeing as the sound from most TVs is sub par for the most part. But the catch is that you have to have the right environment because the speakers are rear firing. Thus they need something like a wall in front of them in a smaller room to perform at their best. Having said that, I suspect most of you will still go out to source a sound bar anyway.

Here’s the bottom line. I would highly recommend this TV to anyone who is looking for a high quality 4K TV and doesn’t want spend big name money. It is also great for someone who is not as “tech savvy” as I am as it so easy to use. It impressed my wife and I so much that TCL won’t be getting this TV back as it is that good. At a price of $399 CDN, you really can’t go wrong with the 43″ Class 4-Series 4K UHD HDR ROKU Smart TV from TCL. Just download the Roku remote and you’re good to go.

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