When TCL contacted us to check out their new UHDTV, we were surprised that they already had a 4K TV in the Philippines. And to think we only saw their UHD TV line-up in CES Las Vegas last month.
My very first TV that I bought back in 2004 was a 29-inch TCL, a CRT model which was the standard back then.
Fast forward to 10 years today, TCL is already slugging it out with big name TV brands like Samsung, Sony and LG with their own OLED, 4K and Curve TVs like what we saw in CES 2014 back in January.
The one we used for this review is their first 4K TV to be released in the Philippines. And while most other global brands would put a premium on the price tag (somewhere between Php300k to Php500k a pop), we were surprised to hear that this particular 4K TV retails for only Php69,995 (no, that’s not a typo).
The TCL E5690 comes with a full 50-inch panel with matte finish, has very thin bezel and a solid, silver metallic frame.
The base of the stand is sturdy and balances at the center with a hexagonal base frame, giving it an almost wobble-free upright position.
For connectivity, the E5690 comes with 2 HDMI ports (one supporting MHL), 2 USB 2.0 ports, another USB 3.0 port, an SD card slot, an AV port, VGA port, RF, SPDIF and a LAN port.
With a 4K resolution, this brings the 50-inch TV to a pixel density of about 89ppi (compared to a 44ppi on a typical full HD TV of the same size). That’s a difference of 8 million pixels on the 4K TV versus the 2 million pixels on a 1080p TV.
The display looks pretty stunning, has a very wide viewing angle and the colors pop out.
TCL has its own 2k-4k Conversion and Compensation Technology which, by real-time analysis, divides the video signal into 2 million two-dimension sections and calculates the colors of contiguous sections in four dimensions.
This gives the TV better output of any 1080p videos on the 4K display compared to a regular 1080p TV showing the same media.
We also have tons of 4K videos taken from our GoPro Hero3+. The USB ports on the TV can read and play both 1080p and 4K videos so you don’t need any 3rd-party 4K video player.
What’s actually surprising is that the the TV is also powered by Android 4.2 Jellybean running on an unknown quad-core processor. This allows the TV to run pre-installed apps like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube. Additional apps may also be installed via the App Store.
The TV also came with a lot of accessories for gaming and multimedia. There were wireless keyboard, wireless mouse, Smart Pen Kit, sound bar and camera.
If you fancy 3D movies, there’s also a couple of passive 3D glasses to use when you need them.
The TV has a maximum power consumption of up to 180 watts but goes down to less than 1 watt when on idle. It’s got two 8-watt speakers built into the panel.
Earlier this year, we did a segment for ANC Future Perfect asking us about predictions for the top 7 tech trends we will see in 2014 and one of them was having 4K TVs going mainstream. With the introduction of a lot of flagship smartphones capable of recording 4K videos and a matching affordable 4K TVs like this one from TCL, it looks like we’re going to see more people getting into it sooner than later.
At the end of the day, we always want better resolution — may it be on our smartphone, tablet, laptop or TV — more pixels is always a welcome development.
The 50″ E5690 4K2K TV has a suggested retail price of Php69,995 (available in SM Appliance Stores nationwide). That is perhaps the most affordable 4K TV we’ve ever seen anywhere and you can’t get any better deal than that.