10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Good quality and great value,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: TCL LE39FHDF3300TA 39-Inch 1080p LED HDTV with 2-Year Limited Warranty (Black) (Electronics)I was a bit skeptical given the price and relatively unknown "TCL" brand, but another user review mentioned TCL uses Samsung displays, so I did some research. I couldn't confirm that, but I did find that Samsung and TCL formed a partnership where each owns a 10%-15% stake in the other's production facilities, and that TCL manufacturers 2.55 million LCD displays for use in Samsung TVs each year. That gave me some comfort in TCL's quality, so I took the chance knowing I had Amazon's return policy as a safety net.
Fairly standard, though the glass stand was not secured properly and came loose during shipping, partially ripping the plastic wrap around the TV. Thankfully, there was no damage.
The glass stand is heavy (perhaps half as heavy as the TV itself) and supportive with rubber feet on the underside. It does not slide, even on inclines, and the TV does not sway or wobble - it would be difficult to accidentally knock it over. The plastic around the TV itself is solid and does not seem likely to break without being hit or dropped. However, while it seems sturdy around the edges, the plastic does bow around the VESA mount in the back when pressed on - though it does not seem to compromise the strength/integrity of the TV.
Out of the box, the picture quality was just 'ok' - colors were too bright/washed out and everything seemed pixelated. After I switched display modes to 'cinematic' and lowered the sharpness, along with some other tweaks, I upgraded my opinion of the picture to be 'very good.' Imagery is natural-looking with great white/black contrast, and fast-motion video (such as action movies and NASCAR) is smooth without pixelation or streaking (despite the 60Hz refresh rate). Plus, I have found no dead pixels, no backlighting leaks, and no significant image distortion when viewing at very wide angles around the room. Nevertheless, strong lighting contrasts within small regions (such as in dimly-lit scenes of horror movies) appear somewhat washed-out. And I would have preferred a matte display as this one is glossy seemingly without an anti-glare coating, so bright lights in the room can cause a distracting glare at certain angles. Still, these caveats are relatively minor and are to be expected in this price range.
I was quite surprised how good and strong the sound was out of the box. I purchased this set fully expecting to pick up a sound system as well based on other reviews, but the downward-facing built-in speakers are loud and rich enough that I'm not going to. Thus far, I haven't had the need to turn it up above 40% in an average-sized living room to get an immersive experience. The only issue I've encountered is with the simulated surround sound feature - there is a very noticeable vibration/reverberation during louder scenes, so I disabled it in the settings and haven't had a problem since.
I'm running everything through a new Google TV box, so its USB audio/image (sorry, no video) playing abilities, channel labeling, sleep timer, etc. are of little concern to me. However, it does have the standard manual picture (brightness/contrast/sharpness/backlight/color/tint/temperature) and sound (equalizer/balance) settings. In addition, it offers auto-volume leveling (based on the content), dynamic backlighting (based on content), and a dynamic light sensor (based on room lighting). I was surprised to find the TV had the latter since the model comparison chart here on Amazon said it didn't have that feature - but it does (sensor is in the lower left corner) and it seems to work well! Volume is steady and backlight transitions are very smooth.
The included remote is light, easy to use, and offers good range, though I use the universal remote from my Google TV instead. I know others have had issues using their cable/satellite remotes to adjust the TV, but the Google TV remote easily controls power on/off, volume, and mute, which are the only native TV controls I need most of the time. For settings and input change, I still revert back to the included remote.
TCL's 2-year warranty is longer than any competitor's, and does offer the possibility of in-home service (at their discretion). Unfortunately, they only pay the cost of shipping back from the repair facility, not to it, if they elect not to do in-home repair, which seems to be the industry standard. Thankfully, a SquareTrade warranty covers all shipping costs in addition to extending the coverage term. ~$10/yr is reasonable to enhance the default warranty and ensure the TV's longevity, though hopefully I never have to use either.
- The ultra-slim bezel looks great, as does the glass stand, both of which are nice selling points. It's hard to tell from the product photos, but the glass stand actually has a black coating on the bottom, so only the outer 1/4" is transparent, which looks quite good.
- This model is more energy-efficient than every other TV I looked at and generates very little heat after extended use, making it even more budget-friendly.
- It takes 10+ seconds for it to turn on, during which it briefly displays an oversized TCL logo, but once powered up it is pretty responsive.
- Unplugging the TV occasionally resets the picture settings while leaving all others intact - a mild inconvenience.
- The power light in the bottom left corner is on when the TV is off and off when the TV is in on - very counter-intuitive.
This TCL has its quirks, but it's quite a good HDTV, especially given the price range, and one I'd definitely buy again. If you're considering paying the premium for a more recognizable brand as I did, give this TCL a try first. If you don't like it, send it back - Amazon will even pay the return shipping! What do you have to lose?
Tracked by 1 customer
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 14, 2012 9:48:41 AM PDT
W. Wilson says:
Thanks for your review. Would I be correct to assume this TV is better quality than a similar TCL LCD TV: TCL L40FHDP60 40-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV with 2 Year Limited Warranty (Black) because it incorporates LED backlight technology? I'm trying to decide between the which one to buy and it is so hard to make a decision without being able to actually see the products. I realize you probably can't compare the two TVs side by side, but from what you've experienced, do you think going with the LED is a safer bet than the non-LED? The LCD screen is one inch larger and it is slightly cheaper. Thanks for your insight. I am new to all this technology.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 15, 2012 12:38:14 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 15, 2012 12:38:48 AM PDT
Prices of both models have changed several times in the weeks since I made my purchase, but the $20 premium I paid is worth it in my opinion. The extra inch is negligible, so the key differences for me were:
1.) LEDs are more energy-efficient - $11/yr vs $16.6/yr per the two Energy Guide labels.
2.) LEDs typically have better brightness and contrast, though I can't compare the two directly.
3.) This model has a much smaller bezel, which I find more aesthetically-pleasing.
4.) This is a 2012 model, while the 40" LCD is from 2011 and likely to be discontinued soon.
So I'll recoup the price difference in electric bills and traded one inch for a newer, more appealing TV - a worthy tradeoff.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›