71 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2012
My 6 1/2-year old Toshiba 63" HD DLP which had been sick on and off for the better part of a year and finally "gave up the ghost" this past Tuesday evening so Wednesday morning I began searching for the best value for a new TV.
Since I knew the Toshiba, which was a great TV for the better part of 5 ½ years, was going South, I had been looking for the best value in a new TV for the better part of 7 or 8 months. I was willing to scale down the size of the new TV to as small as a 46" if the price was right and finally make a decision to buy an LCD TV no smaller than 50" and at least 46" LED if the price was right.
About 2 months ago I found the TCL LE46FHDE5300 listed at Best Buy for $549.00 which I thought was a great buy for a 46" LED TV however, there were no customer reviews and, at the time, they showed a six week delivery time. I had never heard of TCL so, after a quick search, I found that Amazon also carried the brand with the same price as Best Buy but Amazon showed that they would ship it in 1 business day. I then did a search on the company and learned TCL was a muli-billion dollar firm that had a large presence in Europe and Asia and made private label TVs for several brand names in the U.S. so I felt comfortable with the company and the product.
I kept track on the 46" TCL product on both Amazon and Best Buy for the last two months as well as several other 50" and 55" LCD TVs on several other sites hoping that my old TV would hold out crashing until Black Friday. About a month ago I noticed that both Best Buy and Amazon had reduced the price of the 46" TCL LED to $499...an even better buy than earlier. Additionally, while the Best Buy site still had no customer reviews for the product, customer reviews on the Amazon website had increased from 4 or 5 to over 20 with an average rating of over 4 out of 5, including 14 five star ratings.
Well my Black Wednesday came 4 days ago so I was forced to make an immediate decision. Best Buy showed a delivery window of 2 to 7 days while Amazon showed same day shipping and 2-day delivery at no charge. The cost for the TV was exactly the same at both locations but I would not have to pay the $35 sales tax if I bought it from Amazon and I would receive it quicker...it did not take a rocket scientist to make the decision to buy it from Amazon.
I ordered the TV at 3:30 on Thursday afternoon and Amazon stated that I would receive it on Saturday however, I was more than surprised and pleased when it showed up Friday afternoon at 1:30pm...fantastic 23hr service for no additional charge!
I did not set the TCL unit up until Saturday morning since I needed a friend to help me move the old 63" (heavy) TV out of the living room. The only problem I encountered during the setup process was a little different cabling between the new TCL TV and my AV receiver but after 45 minutes we were able to figure it out. Lastly, the setup for my Harmony 650 universal remote which I thought may end up being a problem took less than 5 minutes.
When we finally got everything set up correctly I was more than pleased with the picture and must say it is as good a picture as I have seen on other LED TVs at twice the price. The TV is very light and extremely thin and, being an LED TV, it will use at least 75% less power over the annual cost of my old DLP TV. So, so far so good, and, if all goes well the next couple of months, I may even buy another 46" TCL TV to replace my 1-year old 42" Sharp LCD I bought on Black Friday last year.
I have now had this TV for just over a month and now can say it's the best TV I have ever purchased which have been more than just a few including 6 HD TVs. I have now decided to go ahead and buy another TCL within the next couple of months but this time I will spring for the 55" model. The only complaint I have is I wish it had more than 2 HDMI inputs. I needed a 3rd HDMI for my Roku device for streaming Netflix but I just switched the DVD player over to the composite video input and then plugged the Roku device into the 2nd HDMI. The TV's sound is a little weak but I use an AV receiver so that does not affect the my audio quality. Any person looking to purchase or upgrade to a LED TV would be nuts not to seriously consider buying this TV!
In closing I would like to relate another story related to my 46" TCL HD LED TV. As I stated previously, I have decided to buy another 55" TCL TV in the next couple of months and replace a year old 42" Sharp LCD TV in the bedroom with this TV and put the planned 55" TCL in the living room. That will leave me with a spare 42" Sharp LCD TV which I plan to sell at the local flea market. At the time I bought the 42" Sharp I did purchase a 4-year warranty from Best Buy and called their customer service department to see if I could transfer the warranty to the new owner (fyi, the answer was yes). During the conversation she asked me why I was planning to sell the Sharp and if anything was wrong. I told her no and then told her about the 46" TCL TV I had purchased and how happy I was with it. The bottom line is she needed a new TV and actually ended up buying a 46" TCL for herself and called me back yesterday to thank me and let me know how much she is enjoying her new TV.
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2012
The razor thin body on this TV seems even thinner in reality than in the photos, it's basically all display with a tiny bezel. The glass base is a nice modern touch, the TV actually improved the design of my bedroom. Picture quality is fantastic even from close distances - got it just in time to watch the NHL Playoffs in 720p and was beyond satisfied (hockey pucks often disappear on lesser TVs). I was hesitant to buy from an unfamiliar brand but this was a great decision, probably one of the best deals out there. This is definitely a 5 star HDTV for a crazy price. Classic hidden gem on Amazon! I'd definitely buy from TCL again, especially at a price like this.
65 of 73 people found the following review helpful
Most of the time, a low budget TV looks just like that - cheap and ugly. This TCL is a very rare exception. It starts with the bezel around the screen - if you have ever invested in a really cheap TV (think RCA, Westinghouse, Coby), you'll know that an inch or two around the panel is normal. Not so in the TCL 32". The bezel is about as slim as the one on my $1000 Samsung.
The panel used in this TV is also top notch, I'm guessing Samsung or LG. Nice and crisp, no defective dots or other nastiness. Plenty of inputs on the back too, but the "smart" features are a bit disappointing. It'll do MP3 or photos, but no video. It wouldn't have cost a lot more to add something a little better.
In fact, the only thing I don't like on this thing is the remote control. You really will want to spend a little more on a good Universal remove, as the included one is pretty lousy. Oh, and whoever comes up with the model names for these at TCL needs to go back to product naming school. TCL LE32HDE5300 is a stupid name :D
Free 2 year warranty
Well designed stand
No "smart TV" features"
Audio is a little weak
Bottom line - if your budget is in the $250 - $350 range, this TCL won't disappoint. Don't let the lack of a brand name fool you either, TCL is the fifth largest TV maker in the world. Remember when nobody had ever heard of Vizio?
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2012
This was an exchange purchase ( returned a LG 27" that broke ) and in the end, to pay less for this set after shipping amazes me.
First off - this is a larger picture over the set we previously had. Since we are limited in the available mounting space I was concerned - but unnecessarily. THE EXTREMELY THIN BORDERS AND EXTREMELY THIN PROFILE HELPS THIS SET FIT INTO AREAS THAT ARE TIGHT.
Second - I was concerned about the brand - but impressed with the wty. No one likes to deal with service and returns, including a manufacturer, so based on reviews and a leap of faith - I purchased this and so far, I'm impressed!
WOW! For a set that costs $100 bucks less than a comparable Panasonic this surpasses my expectation. The ANGLE of view, or your ability to cross from left to right, or up and down in comparison to the screen without DRASTIC color shifts is VERY GOOD. Our viewing area is shallow but wider. This set manages the task of looking good from nearly every sitting space available. The set has easy preset picture modes to select that are easy and good on the eyes. The econo mode leaves the picture a little pasty to me, so I have found that we like the "natural" setting better. What's even better, is that the TV remembers the setting for each channel from what I can tell. Very nice feature.
We use this mostly for OTA ( Over the Air ) and BD ( BlueRay Disk ) viewing. The scan function was very fast compared to other models I have set up. You can easily page through the found channels and select or deselect them from your channel up/down list. VERY EASY.
Like most small sets, or sets that leverage space for picture, the sound is adequate. There are nice adjustments you can set, including preset audio modes that make getting decent sound an easy feat. If you want good to great sound you'll have to add an external system. This set HAS a Digital Audio Component output much like what has become standard on the back of cable boxes. It also has a HEADPHONE jack helping you to successfully hook up to whatever external audio device you'd like. I am extremely satisfied considering the last set from another manufacturer had zero audio outputs.
Sits flat on a table which is nice. Powerful enough that you don't have to aim directly at the set. The only complaint I have is that the remote appears to send "double" actuation easily. Hit the channel up button once and you skip two channels. It appears to happen on each button you may press on the remote. This usually means that there is an over-sensitive electronic input section within the remote. Again not a deal breaker for me. It works, and for the price, I'm NOT complaining.
Overall this would earn a 4.5 but since we can't do 1/2 stars I'll give it the coveted full 5 star rating because of it's value for the price!
118 of 145 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2012
I was very excited to get this TV. I did my research on the TV itself as well as the brand, and felt comfortable with both. UPS showed up today with a clean, unopened, undamaged box. I took down my old (Olevia 32") TV, routed the cables, put on the plate for the wall mount, and connected the power. It's a beautiful TV. Very thin bezel, small logo, simple red LED around the on switch indicating power is connected.
Until I turned it on. There is a crack on the -inside- of the LCD screen, from top right to bottom left. Since the packaging was intact and there was no visible damage to the -exterior- of the TV, I can only assume the damage occurred during manufacturing. Obviously, TCL does not check their products for quality or this would have stood out like Red Riding Hood at a Metallica concert. I'll upload a picture to show you.
Like a fool I just ordered a replacement, so now I have to wait yet another two days for my TV to get here (even though this one just left the warehouse late yesterday). I'll post an update when I get it and hook it up, and if that one is okay, I'll update my rating. But until then, I'm afraid I can't rate it higher than 1 star.
So, this TV might be great, but I won't know until Amazon gets its butt in gear and gets me my replacement. However, it is obvious TCL's quality control leaves a lot to be desired. As always: buyer beware!
Received the replacement today. Lesson learned, I plugged it in before mounting it on the wall. Seemed okay. Again, there was no damage to the packaging and no damage visible on the TV (make sure you understand this before you post a comment to my review). I proceeded to take down my existing TV, place the wall bracket on the TCL, and finished the installation (takes about 30 minutes).
I turned it on, and as tested, it worked fine. Resolution of the menu was very poor, but I can understand that. The menu background was faded from blue to almost black, but that might just be how they do it. Once the channel scan was completed and I turned to the first HD channel that came up, I immediately noticed the right side of the screen was bad. Not sure how to describe it, so I uploaded a picture as well. There is barely any backlight in the center, and on the right the display can't keep up with the input signal, with bright green pixels streaking with the action on the screen. I went through the menu to see if there was a reset. I tried a BD via HDMI. I even unplugged and plugged back in. Same issue every time.
If this had happened once, I can understand. Even at .01% failure there's a chance there's a bad product when you build thousands every month. But now I got a second one that was also bad. I'm not going to try "third time's the charm". Unfortunately, I'll have to spend a lot more, but I'm going with a different brand (of course that TV is not in stock - sigh).
You may have better luck with your TV. The price is good enough to try it twice if need be, and who knows, you might get a good one the first time. But I will not buy another product from the company. I really wanted to like this TV because the price was right and it's actually a very nice looking TV with the thin bezel.
NOTE: This was not Amazon's failure, nor UPS. Amazon shipped me a replacement the very next day (KUDOS!) and UPS hand delivered the clean, undamaged box to my front door. THIS IS A MANUFACTURING PROBLEM!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2012
Great Buy, Great TV - My old 32" CRT was going belly-up on me so I started shopping for a replacement. When I saw the TCL HDTVs I got interested. From a price standpoint they were great. But my concern was that they might be cheap, compared to the high end units, but that they might also be cheaply made. Finally, after much deliberation, I placed my order with Amazon for the TCL LE46FHDE5300 46-Inch 1080p Slim LED HDTV.
It Arrived today and I couldn't wait to get the box open. After getting everything out of the box and checking it out I was delighted to see that it wasn't cheaply made. It looks really good.
Then I started setting it up. I installed the stand and stood it up. The glass stand looks good and seems to be very stable. Then I plugged in the power cord, put batteries in the remote and fired it up.
The setup menu was easy to follow except that the remote is really sensitive and pressing the up or down arrow sometimes jumped two or three steps. Other than that it went well. The channel scan took a long time but it found a bunch of digital channels I didn't know I had access to. That was a bonus.
The rest of the setup went smoothly and I was soon enjoying a perfect picture and descent sound. I like the ability to switch picture modes and zoom without going through the menus. I got the sound setup the way I like it, got the equalizer adjusted to suit my ears and sat back to enjoy my first ever flat screen TV.
I think that the picture quality is great. If I'm not mistaken I believe the panel is actually made by Samsung. But whoever makes it, it's great. Sharp and clear and no lag in fast action shots.
The sound is fine, for me. But I'm hearing impaired and a true audiophile might want to add a sound bar. It's good for me, though. And I like the Stable Sound feature.
Compared to other 46" TVs I think the TCL is a great bargain and wouldn't hesitate to order another when the time comes.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2012
This set was an upgrade for a smaller flatscreen TV in our vacation cabin's bedroom, and paramount in its selection was its ability to use the same 100mm x 100mm VESA mounting bracket we employed with the older set. We had it mounted to the wall ten minutes after its arrival - and we've been thrilled ever since! Although I guess I'm no videophile, I think the picture is perfect: colors are rendered accurately, and the picture is sharp. The TV's speakers are a bit weak, but that's to be expected... we have it connected via the provided headphone jack to a set of amplified PC speakers (with a subwoofer), and consider that shortcoming resolved.
The set is connected to a netbook-style PC via a typical D-Sub video cable (with an accompanying audio cable), through which we channel Amazon Prime video, Netflix, and televison from home via a Slingbox, and I was surprised, a little, to find the TV accepting of the netbook's available 1360x768 video output. This resoltion fills the screen top to bottom and side-to-side with a clear picture. The TV's manual suggests only its willingness to accept a maximum of 1024x768 - but it can do better! We also have the set connected to an upconverting-style DVD player via an HDMI cable, and the set advertises its resolution through this connection as 1080P. From the set's specs, I didn't expect to find this. We do not have the set connected to an antenna, nor to our satellite box.
Given the set's excellent picture, price, specifications, two-year warranty, and Amazon's top-notch service - I see no reason to look any further!
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2012
I have owned this TV for approximately 3 days, and I am nothing but thoroughly impressed with it. This is the first flat panel TV that we have owned, and so I did some extensive research. Three things stuck out to me that makes this TV an excellent deal, and frankly would be a purchase I would make again even if I had unlimited funds to purchase a more expensive brand.
First, the visual quality of the screen is superb, with very even crisp lighting, deep blacks, and very rich colors. Some may scoff at the 60 Hz refresh rate vs 120 or even 240, but I have not noticed any significant drawback to this, and have enjoyed sports and action movies with quick movement without any significant deterioration in picture quality. Unlike some other reviewers, I noticed absolutely no defect in the screen, and have tested it on solid color screen images (black, white, and blue) and have found no defects.
Second, the TV is very, very aesthetically pleasing, and is very thin, with a very thin bezel. I think that this is one of the major selling points for this TV at this price point. Certainly, one can find TVs from other, more "reputable" manufacturers, but you'll simply be purchasing older, clunkier technology with thicker panels, thicker bezels, and lighting that is not as crisp as LEDs. When I was shopping for TVs, I was actively comparing this TV to an LG plasma and Vizio LCD, both at a similar price point, but both had poorer aesthetics.
Third, the user interface is simple and very intuitive without additional, redundant features. I appreciate the fact that I don't have to deal with/pay for features that are replicated in other devices that I own, unlike other TV manufacturers. TCL provides a product that does an excellent job of displaying images and doesn't attempt to include an email feature, a facebook feature, a link to my twitter account, or access to online video resources, because frankly, they would probably do a pretty poor job at that. If you want access to online content, get a Roku or a Blu-ray player with integrated WiFi.
Lastly, the only cons that I can see so far is the small number/lack of some ports. This TV only has 2 HDMI ports, one RCA, one coax, one component, 3.5 mm headphone jack, and an audio coax port. These are more than enough for my needs, but some other manufacturers provide 3 HDMI ports, and many a digital audio TOSLINK port. 2 HDMI should be enough and most audio systems support digital coax. As for which TCL to choose, I was comparing this model to the TCL LE43FHDF3300TA, and the only difference I could see was that this model clearly shows mounting holes on the back of the TV, whereas the TCL LE43FHDF3300TA did not. I am basing this only from the pictures provided by Amazon, so I could be wrong.
In summary, this is a great TV at a great price that has excellent screen quality, great aesthetics, and a simple, intuitive user interface without unnecessary bells and whistles.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2012
I bought this 42" TV last week and am VERY pleased with it.
I wall-mounted it, so I didn't run into any of the stand screw issues, and the universal mount fit without any problems. The power cord is a bit short, but since its plug doesn't have a third prong, any extension cord will do.
Yeah it would be nice to have more HDMI ports, but two should be fine, especially since this TV should really be used with a surround sound amplifier for the best experience anyway. This being my first time wall-mounting a TV, I waited to plug in the cords until after I had put it on the wall, which is a bit silly, but I didn't have any problems getting the cords plugged in. One thing I really liked about the HDMI ports is that they are aligned vertically instead of horizontally. I have recently had the HDMI ports on two televisions develop loose connections from normal use, and this setup seems likely to be more resilient by design. Time will tell, I suppose.
I can't say too much about the sound since I've got the TV plugged into an amplifier and haven't really tested it, but I can say that I am VERY happy that the TV supports a digital connection using the old Philips/RCA jack and Dolby Surround sound, which I have plugged into my OLD Cambridge Soundworks DTT2500; not even my fancy Samsung model TV from two years ago has one of those. Also, for the hearing impaired, it has a standard headphone out jack that can be used with any number of wireless headphones.
When the TV has an image that fills the whole screen it looks quite nice. But I do notice the uneven back-light some others have posted about, when the screen is completely black. At first I was upset (not enough to return the TV by far) but I have gotten used to it. Something else is that when I have played old, standard aspect ratio Playstation One games, the black borders don't seem to have that effect, or at least it is not very noticeable.
The menus are very simple, but are also very responsive, unlike my Samsung TV, which are complex and SLOW to navigate.
I was able to pick up several stations over the air using just some rabbit ears. A real antenna would probably do much better.
I don't hate it at all. It's bare-bones and functional for controlling the TV. If you try to use a universal remote control and can't get the codes to work right, try a Logitech Harmony remote. I own two and they are very nice, especially when you have many components that you need to turn on.
This is also the thinnest TV I have owned. When I was mounting it, I got the feeling like I had to be especially careful with it; my other TV is flat-screen but several inches thick, so I don't get the same sense.
I noticed today that after being away from the TV for a while, I came back to find it had turned itself off. I have my computer hooked up to it and the computer goes into power-save mode after so long. I can only guess that the TV won't stay on if it isn't receiving a signal for any length of time. Pretty cool feature, especially since I tend to get called out of the room pretty frequently. I haven't hooked the TV up to my Kill-a-watt yet, but this feature, together with the non-existent heat output (I have the TV really tucked into a small space) bode well for my utility bill.
I also noticed that my computer's graphics card (Nvidia Geforce 9800gt) seems to think the "native resolution" for this TV is 1280x720. It does support resolutions up to 1080p and after resizing the desktop to eliminate over-scan, it looks great, but I thought that worth mentioning.
With regard to the turn-on time, yes it takes a few seconds, but no more than my amplifier takes to turn on with my other TV. I could do without the big red TCL logo splash screen, but I've seen worse.
24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2012
First, I think the TV is probably a good deal for the price - but be forewarned that you get what you pay for! My TV arrived without mounting screws for the base of the TV. I think the TV is new and not previously used, but the packaging had definitely been opened and taped up again. Amazon support was great and they would have taken the TV back, but was it worth the hassle of repackaging the set and scheduling a pickup? Besides, I wanted to see the All Star game on my new big screen! So, as Amazon advised, I called TCL support. This was a journey into 3rd-world call center culture - POOR QUALITY. I had to bear with hold time,first level support scripts, and then second level support. The most important issue to technical support was that I provide proof of purchase. They will get back to me in 3-4 days on their decision and, if approved, the screws will take another 2 weeks - I can't make this stuff up. Is this company that paranoid to suspect someone scamming them for 8 lousy screws? And where do the screws come from and what slow boat are they shipped on? So I went to the hardware store and fixed the thing myself. I am sure I voided the warranty by using non-TCL approved screws.
UPDATE - TCL did get back to me and said that they don't stock the screws (go figure).
My advice is to buy this TV with your eyes wide open. It has a great picture, has good features, and seems to work fine - plus it uses hardly any power. Where can you score a 46 inch LED TV for this price? However, I am treating the set as a pure commodity with no expectations of service. If it craps out, I will throw it away. With this in mind, I think the price is right if it lasts at least 2 years.