TCL 5 Series S517 4K HDR TV Review

TCL S517

65S517 60Hz Roku Smart LED TV

Review Summary

Product Name: S517

Product Description: 4K HDR TV | Roku smart TV platform | Dolby Vision HDR support

Brand: TCL

  • TCL 65S517
3.5

See full review below

Model year: 2018

Screen size reviewed: 65”

Bottom Line: The TCL 5 series is a good choice for anyone looking to purchase a budget-friendly 4K TV with decent picture quality and the essential basic features such as smart TV functionality, which is where TCL TV’s shine, having the Roku TV OS built-in and is the No. 1 streaming TV platform.

Dimensions:

  • With stand: (W x H x D) 57.2″ x 35″ x 11.6″
  • Without stand: (W x H x D) 57.2″ x 32.8″ 2.8″

Weight:

  • With stand: 49.2 lbs.
  • Without stand: 48.3 lbs.

Warranty: 1-year limited warranty

Pros

  • Good picture quality for a mid-priced 4K TV
  • Excellent Roku smart TV platform
  • Very good contrast and black levels
  • Low input lag – great for video gaming
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant

Cons

  • Picture images lose typical amounts of contrast and color saturation at wide viewing angles
  • TV can’t produce bright HDR images

Intro

TCL’s 5 series is one of six different series’ in their current lineup and is a mid-tier model that offers midrange features and performance. It’s available in 43” 49”, 55” and 65” screen sizes.

If you want “higher-end” performance at a mid-level price point, then I suggest you check out TCL’s 6 series. It will give you better overall picture quality than the 5 series for a modest price increase. The 6 series is a performance class leader in its price category.

Design/Features

TCL S517 side view

Side View

The S517 has decent build quality and is a well-designed TV with a nice aesthetic appeal. The bezel is made of metal and follows the trendy look of a thin bezel design that measures approximately 3/8” at its thinnest points (top and sides), and is a bit thicker along the bottom of the screen.

The screen’s surface contains a semi-gloss finish and uses edge-lit LED backlighting for illumination. The rear panel is very thin at the top and made of metal, whereas the bottom portion is made of plastic and is much thicker due to the electronic components being placed there, and has a maximum thickness of nearly 3-inches.

The stand (feet) are well made and provide good support for the TV, which assures TV tip-overs will not be an issue with this panel.

Remote Control

The supplied remote is a standard Roku model for control of TV functions and the built-in Roku smart TV OS. The Roku platform is one of my favorites and is very intuitive and easy to use, and is considered by many industry enthusiasts and consumers alike as the best smart TV interface available. The button layout on the remote is minimal and contains four quick-access buttons for popular streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, ESPN+ and Roku Channel. The remote does not have voice control. However, voice control is available through the Roku app which can be loaded on your smartphone and used as a remote to control all functions of the TV.

Note: The “quick access” streaming service button options may vary by region.TCL standard Roku remote

Roku Smart TV

The award-winning Roku TV smart platform providing seamless access to over 500,000 movies and TV shows through a simple, intuitive interface. No more flipping through inputs or wading through complicated menus. All your favorites are at your fingertips from the instant you turn it on. Choose from thousands of streaming channels plus live sports, news, music, kids and family, food, science and tech, fitness, foreign language, and so much more.

Key Features:

  • Dolby Vision and HDR10 HDR formats supported for increased contrast, picture brightness, and more accurate and vivid colors
  • HDR Dynamic Contrast – Advanced technology offers better contrast for brighter whites and darker blacks
  • HDR Pro Gamma – Details remain visible in any environment – from the darkest home theater to the brightest sun-lit living rooms
  • Wide Color Gamut with TCL’s NBP Photon Technology – for a wider color spectrum when viewing HDR content
  • Roku TV smart platform with thousands of streaming channels
  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
TCL 5 Series rear panel

Rear Panel

Connectivity

  • 3 HDMI 2.0a ports with HDCP 2.2
  • 1 USB (2.0)
  • 1 Composite input
  • 1 Digital optical output
  • 1 analog audio output 3.5mm
  • 1 RF input (cable/antenna)
  • 1 Ethernet input
  • 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi
  • ARC on HDMI port 3

Rear Ports

Performance

The TCL S517 is a decent performing 4K TV. Overall, the picture was sharp and detailed with very good image depth and clarity. Color reproduction was strong, producing a rich and vibrant color presentation without being oversaturated. Colors also appeared accurate and well balanced, with no particular color shade revealing any color push.

The S517 has a great contrast ratio (the ratio of the luminance of the brightest color to that of the darkest color that the TV is capable of producing). This contrast range allows the S517 to produce very good black levels which pays-off when watching dark scenes in a dark room environment.

HDR (High Dynamic Range) performance isn’t the greatest on this display because of its insufficient brightness. The TV’s peak brightness output will not allow for impressive HDR performance and is only marginally better than non-HDR content, yet you can still see the difference between the two, depending on the HDR content being viewed.

And speaking of brightness, the S517 has sufficient peak brightness with standard dynamic range (SDR) content and will perform well in a room filled with daytime natural lighting. Just be sure to keep the TV away from any close or direct sunlight to prevent glare.

Other performance metrics:

Black screen uniformity: good – the screen was an even shade of black, no light bleed or flashlighting detected.

Side angle viewing– typical LED contrast and color saturation loss beginning at around 25-degrees off-axis.

Motion handling: good – with regular fast-action content, there were no notable motion artifacts with the demo content I viewed, and fast-paced sporting events appeared smooth and blur-free. Nevertheless, other users may experience motion artifacts since this TV uses a 60Hz panel instead of a 120Hz panel which is less susceptible to motion issues.

Input lag: very good – 1080p input signal @60Hz 18.0 ms. 4K input signal @ 60Hz 20.0 ms.

Sound quality: mediocre – as with many flat panel designs, the sound output was lean and thin having virtually no bass punch. However, dialogue was clear and intelligible.

Conclusion

I’ve been a fan of TCL TVs for several years, one reason being is their overall good picture quality (which varies by series), and the S517 is no exception. I’m also a fan of its Roku based smart TV platform with its huge variety and endless amount of entertainment options.

Furthermore, this budget-priced display offers respectable midrange performance that competes well with other TVs in its price class and should be a good fit for most consumers in search of a TV that covers the basics of good picture quality and features and aren’t concerned about having all the latest bells and whistles.

TCL Roku TV

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