TCL 55S425 4K UHD HDR TV review: 4K HDR with Roku built-in for just over $300

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The TCL 55S425 is a 55″ 4K HDR TV with Roku built-in and is priced at US$329. Could this possibly be a great TV at that insanely low price?

9/10 rating

It wasn’t very long ago that we started reviewing TVs, and so far we’ve reviewed some amazing Samsung TVs that are amazing but pricey. We finally have our hands on something a bit more affordable, which many of you may be looking at, the TCL 55S425 4K HDR TV.

The TCL 55S425 is a 55″ 4K HDR TV with Roku built-in and is priced at US$329. Could this possibly be a great TV at that insanely low price? Let’s find out in the full review of the TCL 55S425 4K HDR TV with Roku built-in.

Specifications

The TCL 55S425 has the following features and specifications:

  • Screen size: 54.6″ viewable
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11ac 2×2 Dual Band (support 2.4GHz & 5GHz)
  • Processor Type:
    • CPU: Dual-core
    • GPU: Dual-core
  • Display:
    • Clear Motion Index: 120Hz CMI
    • Panel Resolution: 3840 x 2160
  • Resolution: UHD
  • Display Colors: 1.07 billion
  • High Dynamic Range Format: HDR10
  • Connections I/O:
    • Composite Video = L&R Audio in
    • RF Input (NTSC, ATSC)
    • Ethernet RJ45
    • USB 2.0
    • 3 – HDMI 2.0 w/HDCP 2.2 (1 ARC)
    • SPDIF Digital Audio Optical
    • Audio Output Headphone
  • Product Size (WxHxD) with stand: 49.0″ x 30.6″ x 8.0″
  • Product Size (WxHxD) without stand: 49.0″ x 28.4″ x 3.1″
  • Stand Separation Distance: 42.3″
  • Product Weight with Stand (lbs): 27.1 lbs
  • Product Weight without Stand: 26.7 lbs
  • Package Size (WxHxD) (inches): 55.1″ x 34.0″ x 6.6″
  • Total Package Weight (lbs): 39.2 lbs
  • VESA Hole Pattern: 200mm (V) x 200mm (H) M6 x 12 screws
  • Model SKU#: TCL 55″ Class 4-Series 4K UHD HDR Roku Smart TV – 55S425

What’s In The Box

  • TCL 55S425
  • Power cable
  • Roku remote
  • Stand
  • Manuals and Documentation
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Design

I have to admit that I didn’t have high expectations for the design of the TCL 55S425. I fully expected a TV with massive bezels and a very thick profile, but what I got was completely different.

While the bezels are thicker here than most of the high-end Samsung TVs I’ve reviewed, they’re not that bad. I would say the bezels are acceptable on this TV and not at all bulky or ugly.

The TCL 55S425 isn’t all that heavy, weighing in at just over 27 lbs with the stand. While it isn’t that heavy, I’d still recommend using two people to move and set up so you don’t damage something.

The build quality is okay. The materials used are mostly plastic but they don’t feel ultra-cheap. There is some quality to the materials used, but you can certainly tell these aren’t premium materials. This isn’t a bad thing given the price of this TV. I think the build quality and materials are spot-on.

All of the I/O (input/output) ports are located on the back of the TCL 55S425 in a fairly common configuration. I’m not a huge fan of the ports on the backside of TVs since using other connection methods on high-end TVs. That being said, this configuration is standard even on lower-end Samsung and LG TV’s, so it’s not a ding on the TCL 55S425 at all.

TCL 55S425 TV 4K HDR Roku
The inputs and outputs on the TCL 55S425

Here’s what you’ll get in terms of I/O on the back of the 55S425 all located on the right side of the TV:

  • Composite Video = L&R Audio in
  • RF Input (NTSC, ATSC)
  • Ethernet RJ45
  • USB 2.0
  • 3 – HDMI 2.0 w/HDCP 2.2 (1 ARC)
  • SPDIF Digital Audio Optical
  • Audio Output Headphone
  • Power cable input located on the opposite side (left) of the I/O array

It would have been nice to see one more HDMI port here, but I think most users will be okay with 3. It is nice to see an HDMI ARC for those using ARC on their soundbars, that’s a great feature to have. It would have also been nice to see a USB-C port but again, the price of this TV is so stinking low, we can’t expect all of the things.

Overall, this is a very nicely designed TV that doesn’t have horribly large bezels, has a good build quality with decent materials, and has most of the I/O you will need to get a decent home theater going.

Display

The TCL 55S425 has a 4K UHD HDR display which, I admit, is an impressive feat for the insanely low price. Of course, this panel has an LCD/LED backlighting, not OLED or QLED technology as some of the other high-end TVs have.

I have to admit that it took a lot of effort to not compare this display to the displays I’ve been using for the past few years. I had to remind myself that the TCL 55S425 is less than US$400 and with that, there would be some differences.

First, I will say that the display could stand to get a bit brighter than it does, more nits would be a plus. Second, off-axis viewing angles aren’t the best. They’re not super-awful but not great either. Third, the panel does suffer from glare issues when bright lighting is introduced, say an open door or a window with sunlight shining through.

In the grand scheme of things, these gripes are fairly minor and expected given what you’re spending on this TV.

TCL 55S425 TV 4K HDR Roku
The contrast on the TCL 55S425 is also fairly decent, most of the time it presented blacks really well.

The good things certainly outweigh the bad here. For one, the colors on this TV are actually really nice. They’re not oversaturated and not nearly as punchy as a Samsung or LG, but they’re more natural and subtly vibrant and that’s not a bad thing.

The contrast on the TCL 55S425 is also fairly decent, and most of the time presented blacks really well. There were a few times I noticed some greying and noise in the blacks but that may have been the content more than the TV. Whites are clean and crisp on this display and using the presets seem to work just fine.

Watching 1080p content is perfect, everything looked good, sharp and crisp. 4K content was also decent, although not having the punchy saturation and deeper blacks sort of hurts the TCL 55S425 here. But seriously, I don’t think most people will notice if they haven’t used higher-end TVs.

One final gripe on design has nothing to do with the TV but with the remote. It’s small, too small, and the volume and mute buttons on the side are not very easy to use. Also, since this is an IR remote, you have to point straight at the TV to register your input. I didn’t like the shape of the remote, I felt it was squirrelly and not easy to hold. I felt like half the time my hand would obscure the IR sensor as I would fumble for the volume buttons. It’s a minor gripe, and probably more a personal preference complaint. I think most people will be satisfied with the remote, it does have dedicated Netflix and Hulu buttons.

Overall, the display is really great for less than US$400. I know I ragged on the display a lot, but I would say if you’ve never experienced high-end 4K HDR TVs before the TCL 55S425, then you won’t even notice any of what I’m gripping about. For the average user, this TV is a serious upgrade from their 1080p panels.

TCL 55S425 TV 4K HDR Roku
Overall, the display is really great for less than US$400.

Setup

Setting up the TCL 55S425 isn’t hard in the least. The included stand, two legs, just screw right into the bottom of the TV. Once you have those in place, just set it where you want it and you’re done. Alternatively, the 55S425 also has a VESA mount if you want to wall-mount the TV. We’ll go over software set up in the next section.

Overall, getting the TCL 55S425 set up is a breeze, nothing more than 6 screws and then plugging in any of your peripherals.

Software

The TCL 55S425 comes with Roku out of the box, which is great because that saves you from having to buy a separate Roku box or dongle. Roku may not be everyone’s cup of tea, so you can still use an Apple TV, Xbox, or another device for your streaming features and bypass the Roku altogether.

We decided to go ahead and set up the Roku smart TV portion of this TV to test the Roku experience.

Set up is fairly straight forward, you’ll have to set up the TV on your Wi-Fi network, or use the ethernet port. Once you have connectivity, you will be taken through the Roku setup where you can set up your account. All of this is easy and super simple to navigate. It’s basically a step-by-step walkthrough.

TCL 55S425 TV 4K HDR Roku
Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and more is available through Roku.
hobby lobby

Once you have the network and your Roku account setup, you can add or remove streaming services. All the big ones are here, Netflix, Hulu, Tubi, and more.

The interface is not unlike Apple TV or Samsung’s interface. Basically a bunch of tiles with your services which you can move around to suit your needs. There are also themes and wallpapers you can browse through and use.

I found the Roku interface to be a bit simple and not as polished as some of the other options out there. That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s fairly good and everything is laid out where it’s easy to get to. The design itself feels a bit outdated, but that’s nothing a software update can’t fix. I’m sure Roku continually makes improvements in the user experience.

For all of my dislike of the look of the interface, it wasn’t hard to use at all and I think most of my dislike comes from my enjoying more polished interfaces on other platforms.

TCL also includes an app for iOS and Android that you can use to control the TCL 55S425. It’s basically a mirror of what you see on the TV and can be used as the remote. Samsung has something similar but I never found the apps useful enough to deal with. Using the physical remote is just faster and easier.

Overall, the software works good, I think it could use some improvements in the user experience and the design. For most users, I don’t believe they will notice most of my complaints and should actually be fairly pleased with the Roku experience.

TCL 55S425 TV 4K HDR Roku
The included stand works nicely and is easy to set up.

Sound Quality

Speakers on TVs have never been all that good, that is until lately. I was actually shocked at the speaker performance on some of the Samsung units I’ve reviewed. Those units being well over US$1,500, I didn’t expect much from the TCL 55S425 in terms of sound quality.

So once I turned it on and started using the built-in speakers, I was actually pleasantly surprised. Now, these aren’t going to deliver theater-quality sound, but I found they will deliver a pleasing soundstage at moderate volumes.

I think the TCL 55S425 speakers work well for everyday use where you’re listening to content at normal volumes. If you’re looking for more punch and drive and need to hear every nuance of the sound, then a good soundbar or theater speakers is what you’ll need.

Overall, these speakers work fairly well, and I think most users will be happy with them until they upgrade to a better soundbar or surround sound system.

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Performance

The TCL 55S425 is sporting a dual-core CPU and GPU, although it’s not clear what brand or clock speeds they run at. Still, I found the interface to be snappy and responsive. Everything performed as it should and I never felt any lag in navigation nor did I feel lag in video playback.

I didn’t do any gaming on the TCL 55S425 as this purchase was intended solely for TV and movie consumption, and I didn’t have either of my Xbox systems with me where this TV was set up. TCL does say you can do 4K gaming on this TV so if you own one already and game on it, please do drop us some feedback in the comments below.

Overall, the performance is good here, and I was pleased with how the TV handled everything.

Roku TV is actually not bad at all.

Price/Value

The MSRP on the TCL 55S425 is US$379.99 but you can find it on Amazon for an astonishing US$329.99 right now. That’s just insane. The TCL 55S425 isn’t perfect by any means but, in my opinion, its price to value ratio is high.

Given that you’re getting a 4K HDR display here and Roku built-in, this is pretty much an impulse buy at its insanely cheap price. The TCL 55S425 offers you every bit of your US$329.99 back in value and maybe even more.

Wrap Up

There are a ton of budget TV brands on the market and many of them are simply just junk. I’ve spent some time talking with friends who also review TVs and the consensus has been that TCL is a brand that makes cheap TVs and makes them really well.

Now, having used and reviewed the TCL 55S425 4K HDR TV myself, I can agree with that assessment. Don’t just pass off TCL as another cheap brand like Sceptre or Emerson. TCL may be selling their TVs at an affordable price, but the quality exceeds the cost of the TCL 55S425.

This is coming from someone who has been spoiled for the past few years using higher-end TVs that most average people aren’t going to buy. The TCL 55S425 4K HDR TV is a winner.

*We purchased the TCL 55S425 4K HDR TV from Amazon for the purposes of this review.

TCL 55S425

US$379.99
9

Design

9.0/10

Display

9.0/10

Setup

9.0/10

Software

8.5/10

Sound Quality

9.0/10

Performance

9.0/10

Price/Value

9.5/10

Nailed it

  • Decent design, bezels aren't super slim but not bad
  • The display is very acceptable at this price point
  • Easy to setup and use
  • The sound quality is better than I expected
  • The TV seems snappy and responsive
  • The price is amazing for what you're getting here, plenty of value for the price
  • Viewing angles aren't bad

Needs work

  • Display's color isn't very punchy, it is very neutral
  • Blacks could be better
  • Glare can become an issue at some angles with the right light
  • The Roku interface isn't as polished as others
  • The Roku remote is too small and the volume buttons are hard to get to

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