TCL has a very clear mission, especially in the West: to democratize technology. And it wants to do it by offering not only smartphones with an excellent value for money, but also (and above all) SmartTVs with an economic price, mostly animated by Android TV and with characteristics that can generally be found in much higher market segments.
There is no doubt, however, that with the entry of Xiaomi also in the TV market in Italy, things could have changed a lot for all those brands, such as TCL, which have been offering good quality TVs at affordable prices for some time. Let's take as an example TCL P71, which we are testing in the 55 "version, the cheaper of the two new models presented by the company which, despite being able to guarantee a much higher quality than a Xiaomi Mi TV, goes to position itself in the same market segment as the model produced by the famous Chinese brand, with the same technologies (on paper) and the same user experience.
At the cost of spoiling the conclusions of this review, however, I have to tell you one thing: forget it Xiaomi's Mi TV, especially when the alternative is a model produced by TCL. And do it basically for two reasons: not only is TCL one of the most important companies in the production of TV panels (and yes, many TVs of the most famous brands, use a TCL panel), but it is also one of the brands that updates more consistently its products, and with Android TV it is a vital factor, especially in terms of performance and safety.
TCL P71 review: excellent (and cheap) 55 "Android TV
Design and materials
In a world full of very similar products, TCL has always managed to stand out in terms of design. And it's not a da thing poco, especially considering that the more you go forward in time, the smaller the thickness of the frames becomes, at least uniforming the front appearance of the TVs. In TCL P71 things do not change: three of the four frames are reduced to the bone, while below there is a slightly thicker gray one, containing not only the company logo, but also an additional section in which it has been inserted a kind of Google Home.
Perfectly in the center of the TV, in the lower area, there is a darker colored module in which they have been integrated microphones and LEDs, with which it will be possible to interact with Google Assistant just as if it were a smart speaker. Ok, this is something that can only be done with the TV on, but it is a not indifferent convenience especially for the voice management of the system, which can also take place completely independent of the remote control.
La support base it is quite standard and consists of two brackets at an obtuse angle that inevitably have to be positioned on the outermost edges and fixed with screws that come out of the package. Their assembly is very simple and intuitive, but it will be necessary to carry it out with the panel lying down.
In short, despite its lightness TCL P71 55 ”is quite robust, and the whole structure of the TV is characterized by a considerable solidity, especially considering the very reduced thickness of the panel. The audio sector is also good, even if it certainly does not scream a miracle, consisting of two broadband speakers with downward emission.
Later, then, there is the connection panel under which those of TCL have integrated a manual switch that allows turn off the microphones by Google Assistant. Oddly, all connections have been placed on the right side of the TV and consist of 3 HDMI inputs, 2 SAT and DTT antennas, a CAM module slot, an optical and analog digital output for connecting headphones or sound bars, the input for an Ethernet cable and 2 USB ports.
All HDMI support 4K, HDMI 1 is compatible with the standard ARC but, either to contain prices, or to avoid delays in marketing, those of TCL have decided not to integrate support for no HDMI 2.1 specification, including eARC, which makes connection with Dolby Atmos compatible audio devices quite complex.
Technical features and performance - TCL P71
The panel used in the TCL P71 it is clearly an example produced in house by the company. In the model we received in test the diagonal is 55 ”and the refresh rate is 60 Hz. It is a type LCD panel Matrix ST5461D07 which, all in all, is average for the price range in which the TV is positioned, which guarantees excellent viewing angles but which certainly does not "shine" in terms of peak brightness: despite the support for HDR, the matrix VA used in the TCL P71 is able to guarantee maximum brightness not exceeding 270 nit, with a 10-bit color depth (8 + FRC) and a contrast ratio of approx 4500:1. All in all we are talking about values in the market average, slightly higher to those we find in a Xiaomi Mi TV.
It is clearly a panel with native 4K resolution, which is supported by a proprietary upscaling algorithm with which FullHD and 2K images are resized in order to obtain maximum quality performance. And I must say, but we will talk about quality shortly, that the system designed by TCL works quite well, also thanks to the function Dynamic Color Enhancement with which the color palette is expanded even in less resolute images. The VA panel of the TCL P71finally, it is characterized by 1296 Micro Dimming zones separated, with which the TV will manage the local dimming, with good results.
A processor takes care of the whole system ARM Cortex-A55 quad-core 1.1 Ghz, which is flanked by a Mali GPU 470, 2 GB of RAM memory and 11 GB of internal memory. And it is probably this amount of RAM memory (which, in general, with the vast majority of Android TV exponents is only one gigabyte) that makes the TCL P71 significantly faster than, for example, an Android TV stick: Google's TV OS is a very RAM-hungry operating system, and I must admit that the performance on this TV is very fulfilling and you will rarely find yourself having to endure any slowdowns.
There is no lack of support for the WiFi ac and Bluetooth, with which wireless headphones or gamepads can be associated without any problem, in order to transform the TV into a sort of console, and even something more.
With Android TV, for example, you can install many of the most popular cloud-gaming platforms, or the support apps for next-generation consoles: in a nutshell, with the right applications, the TCL P71 it can be transformed into a full-fledged console, with graphics and performances very different from the simplest and most elementary titles that can be downloaded in the Android TV Play Store.
We all know Android TV by now. Google's operating system has now become decidedly more mature than in its early years, and on 71 "TCL P55 it works that is a marvel.
There are no bugs whatsoever, jamming, slowdowns or micro-lag, which is a factor not to be underestimated given the "heaviness" of the operating system: for example, I was very amazed by the speed with which Netflix is started, by the fluidity of the Play Store but also by the precision of the voice commands. In short, from this point of view, the 71 "TCL P55 is one of the best Android TV experiences on the market.
As for streaming, with TCL's TV there is a quick access to all major services, and also the digital terrestrial management part is very well done, with different customization options and the possibility to choose favorite channels. And then there is the Play Store, from which you can download many applications, such as Kodi (and its infinite plugins), Disney +, but also apps for controlling Nest cameras, or real File Managers and much more. Apple TV + is missing, and at a playful level the Google TV store is still a little behind but it is definitely much more dynamic than the various Tizen, WebOS etc.
Android TV 9.0 it is immediate, fast and simple to use, and integrates everything you need to fully manage the functions of a smart TV: and the presence of the integrated Chromecast should not be underestimated, which will allow you to transmit any content from your smartphone to the TV.
Video Audio Quality - TCL P71
The panel used in the TCL P71 it is one of those models that certainly do not stand out in terms of particular characteristics, but which at the same time can be defined as an "evergreen". Yes, ok, it is probably a comparison that is difficult to interpret, but the gist is that it is one of those panels that they do great what they have to do. Sure, it is a VA LED, and as such tends to suffer in terms of depth of blacks and uniformity of the backlight, but for the price at which the TCL P71 I would say that the general image quality is also above the market average.
And it is especially so for TCL's excellent propensity for factory calibrations to work of art. You will hardly find a TV produced by the brand that, out of the box, may require user calibration. In this particular, which in my opinion is among the most important, TLC has always guaranteed excellent calibration and exceptional naturalness of images, and in the TCL P71 things don't change.
Especially considering the price range, the calibration of the TCL P71 it is very good, especially as regards the white balance and the color rendering. In our tests we found a very low average error value, which is mainly present below the visibility threshold already with the default settings, with a good balance of all primary colors even in the Cinema mode, which is the one that comes closest to the style of film productions.
If you want to change something, you could use the image management menu which is fully integrated into the Android TV interface and allows a further improvement on white rendering, saturation, color balance and backlight management. The reality of the facts, however, is that I personally believe more than solid the settings that TCL has given to their TV, and it is unlikely that a user who will buy this particular TV will have to "waste time" in calibrating the panel.
Given the nature of the panel used, small ones may occur ghosting phenomena with very light images on very dark backgrounds, but I must admit that in the sample I tested I have not encountered any clouding problems, not even along the edges: which is a point in favor of TCL P71, because clouding is a rather frequent phenomenon in panels of this type.
The two 10w speakers are excessively flat on the medium frequencies, even if both the highs and the lows are present on average. In short, even if the listening volume is very high, it might be logical to combine it with a good soundbar: of course, maybe connect it to a Sonos arc maybe it is too much, but there are many excellent cheap soundbars on the market like the excellent one Redmi tv soundbar which, for less than 50 euros, guarantees good audio quality.
The remote control of the TCL P71 it is typical of the brand's TVs. It is a controller capable of functioning both via infrared and via Bluetooth, which however does not integrate any microphone or dedicated keys to the Google Assistant. And it doesn't because, let's remember, all the management of Google Assistant is entrusted to the module integrated into the panel itself, which makes the user experience much simpler and more natural.
The button dedicated to Netflix, although I would have also liked to see other keys to quickly launch platforms such as Amazon Prime Video or Disney +, and also integrates a very large numeric keypad, as well as all the keys necessary for controlling the TV.
Selling price and conclusions - TCL P71
new TCL P71 are available in large distribution and online stores in five different variants (43, 50, 55, 65 and 75 inches) with prices starting from 369 Euros. The model we are testing, the 55 ", has an official price of 699 euros, but its streetprice is stabilizing considerably at even lower figures: at Unieuro it is on sale with the 18% discount at € 573,64 (find the link below). And it is useless to go around it: even considering the launch price, the figure at which the TCL P71 55 ”is decidedly aggressive, especially when assessed on the basis of the general quality of the product.
La TCL P71 it is a TV with few frills, which is not sold praising sophisticated upscaling or image interpolation algorithms, but which is able to guarantee a more than decent image quality and definitely above the average of its competitors in the same price range . Offers a very accurate out of the box calibration, balanced images and a pleasant and natural color rendering.
Of course, we are always talking about an LCD model, and this is especially noticeable in terms of depth of blacks and contrast ratio. But if you need a 55 "TV sold at the right price and animated by the best operating system for televisions, the TCL P71 it should definitely be included in the list of possible alternatives.
NB If you do not see the box with code or the link to the purchase, we advise you to disable the AdBlock.