TCL P Series 2017 P607 4K HDR TV Review (55P607): One Fantastic TV For Its Price
Note To Readers: Upon releasing the 55 inch P-Series model earlier in the summer, TCL was planning on two further models in the 50 and 65 inch ranges for later in 2017. The company has recently announced that it will not actually release any further sizes of this television. Thus, if you’re happy with settling on a 55 inch TV and that’s what you’re looking for, read on.
- Fantastic HDR delivery
- Excellent contrast ratio
- One heck of a 4K and HD console gaming 4K TV
- Very robust color delivery
- Roku TV smart platform is great for content and usability
- Wonderful price
- No motion interpolation
- Not the best looking design
- Only one size (55 inches) exists
- Crappy speakers
The Bottom Line
For anyone who’s on a slightly tight budget but wants the best possible 4K TV they can get their hands on for less than $800 (or even less than $700), we can’t recommend the TCL P607 enough. This is easily one of the best low-priced 4K HDR TVs we’ve yet reviewed and it gives even Vizio and Samsung’s best mid-range television models a serious run for their money. The P607 isn’t without flaws but it delivers far more good than bad for its price and its premium specs are remarkable indeed.
TCL’s new 2017 P-Series P607 4K HDR TV model is quite frankly an excellent television for its price. It not only delivers a remarkably broad range of premium specs, it also manages to handle the majority of what we consider to be any 4K TV’s core performance specs very well. Most importantly however, the 55 inch model we’re reviewing here also happens to be amazingly affordable when you consider the kind of high quality features it comes packed with.
Specifically, we’re referring to this televisions incredibly high quality local dimming technology, full-array LED backlighting and the use of multiple local dimming zones for some incredibly good contrast levels for a 4K TV at this price. In addition to these, the P607 comes with the full range of high dynamic range standards built into it, including HDR10 and most importantly of all, Dolby Vision, which definitely give a lot of value to this particular model. On the other hand, the P607 isn’t entirely without its flaws due to some issues with motion handling and peak brightness but in the sum of good vs. bad in the TCL P-Series, we really like this model and certainly recommend it highly.
The TCL P-Series HDR TV has more than enough really good characteristics and features to please almost anyone who wants a high performance 4K TV at a good price. This model not only impresses as a budget 4K TV (something it does in spades), it also impresses quite a surprising bit even by the standards of many premium 4K ultra HD television models that cost a lot more than the P-Series. TCL has definitely made sure of this with the inclusion of several notably good premium features that you’ll have a very hard time finding in any other ultra HD television at this model’s low price. Here’s a breakdown of what we liked best about the P-Series 55 inch model.
Overall Picture Quality
The general picture quality of this particular television is its single biggest winner. It’s siply great. There are some fairly minor problems to be found in it but most normal consumers wouldn’t be bothered by them too much or at all. And these minor problems –which we’ll get to shortly in our next section—are far outweighed by just how well the TV delivers content of almost all kinds. The P607 is a full HDR TV and unlike many often more expensive 4K HDR TV models sold today, it comes with both HDR10 high dynamic range support and the much more refined Dolby Vision HDR format and due to the presence of other more general specs, it offers excellent picture performance with fine black uniformity, superb contrast ratios, some truly incredible color delivery and great display brightness that surprised us with its robustness. HDR content watched in the P-Series comes out particularly beautifully and you can definitely notice a difference between HDR and SDR movies in the P607. Many other 4K HDR TVs that cost the same as this model don’t really deliver on this last SDR/HDR difference but the P607 absolutely does.
Excellent High Dynamic Range Capacity
Going into one crucial aspect of picture quality with a bit more detail we absolutely love that the P607 comes with support for the full range of high dynamic range standards and more importantly, this television not only supports playback of these HDR content formats, it also really does render it to a superb degree. Thus, if you watch a typical HDR10-mastered 4K Blu-ray in the P607, you’ll notice the quality of the high dynamic range in the content thanks to the TV display’s ability to render wide color gamut, more refined contrast levels and varying levels of bright highlights. Better still, putting on a Dolby Vision HDR movie will cause the P607 to deliver high dynamic range in that even more refined format and the TV does so quite well, with some excellent refined rendering of color variations, light and shadow effects and both bright highlights and deep dark areas with the help of its fairly precise local dimming technology.
Local Dimming and Full-Array LED Backlighting
Moving further still into another crucial and highly premium feature of the TCL P-Series model’s display capabilities, we come to this TV’s local dimming technology. The P607 comes with a full-array LED backlight panel and offers up multiple precise local dimming zones along its screen because of this. This is a feature that is normally found in only the most expensive flagship 4K HDR TVs from brands like Sony or Samsung and so far only TCL rival Vizio also offers full-array local dimming and backlighting in 4K TVs at similar (but still higher than the P607) prices. That TCL gave this 55 inch 4K HDR TV model this technology while pricing it at less than $700 is definitely impressive. The local dimming of the P607 isn’t the best we’ve ever seen but it performs a lot better than we’ve seen it perform in considerably more expensive Samsung or LG 4K LCD televisions.
Superb Color Performance
As a 4K HDR TV with the ability to effectively render both HDR10 and Dolby Vision content, the TCL P607 obviously needs to support excellent color delivery, and in this quality it does indeed deliver. 10-bit color support in this model is superb with extremely smooth gradients between RGB and black and white value, with virtually no visible banding. Furthermore, when it comes to wide color gamut support in the form of DCI-P3 color space coverage, the P607 takes things to a very high level of color vibrancy that matches what we’ve seen in many other HDR TVs (though the top HDR TV models from the major brands in 2017 deliver even better WCG rendering. Also in more general terms, the SDR and HDR content you play back on this TV will show some excellent vibrancy and color accuracy pretty much across the board for any well mastered piece of TV, external media or streaming video content. In basic terms, you’re not likely to be disappointed at all by how well this 4K TV model handles color on any of the Netflix, Blu-ray, TV and especially HDR movies and shows you watch on it.
Roku TV smart platform
The Roku TV smart platform in the TCL P-Series models is essentially the same as that found in Roku’s also excellent streaming 4K HDR set-top boxes such as the Roku Ultra and its cheaper cousins. Since we’ve always liked how Roku TV works in these set-top devices, we obviously enough also love it in the P607. The platform on this TV is simple, very easy to use and offer some great fluidity with hardly any lag or freeze-ups that we could notice.
Furthermore, Roku TV gives its user access to a huge assortment of smart TV apps and streaming media options, including all the most popular applications such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Vudu, YouTube and HBO as well as literally hundreds of other more exotic content and media app options. Roku TV is also designed so that a quick access menu lets you access basic settings even while you’re watching content without having to leave a particular app’s interface or content playback. The physical remote for the Roku TV platform is however pretty simple though it does come with a headphone jack for listening to content without bothering others late at night.
Excellent Gaming Connectivity
We definitely need to mention how much we like the P607’s connectivity specs for console gaming and use as a PC monitor. We’ll cover these in a bit more detail further down in our connectivity section but as far as basic FYI goes, the P607 handles the whole range of resolutions, color sampling formats, frame rates and combinations of them fantastically, with consistently and extremely low input lags of well below 15ms almost across the board. Even outside the TV’s Game Mode, input lag during 4K gaming at 60Hz is remarkably good by the standards of what we’ve seen in the vast majority of other name brand 4K TVs outside their own game and PC modes. The P607 also supports 4K and 1080p resolutions at both 30Hz and 60Hz (fps) when hooked up as a PC monitor, which is great.
Very Good motion handling
Finally, the motion handling of the P607 deserves a bit of mention here. In this 4K TV model its generally very good in certain key areas. Namely, the TV delivers excellent blur reduction with its motion blur handling and it also offers some very solid 24p content playback without the presentation of judder. On the other hand, there is a bit of a major problem with one part of this models motion handling specs that we’ll explain below under “Bad”.
4.7 – 4 Reviews
Considering its extremely good price and rich plethora of premium or at least high-performance specs, the TCL P-Series 4K HDR TV is a superb 4K TV performer and competes extremely well against virtually any 4K HDR TV you could buy not just for this price but also for a much higher cost. However, as a budget 4K HDR TV, it does come with its share of less than stellar aspects, though we consider none of them to be deal-breakers in any real way. Here’s a brief rundown.
We’ve got no serious issues with the design of TCL’s P607, we just think it’s on the ugly side. This TV is stable, sturdy enough and the base of the P-Series keeps it firmly in place without wobble even though it’s definitely a bit wide for some types of surfaces. However, we mention the design element here because the TV simply isn’t very pretty to look at. Of course this is secondary to functionality and display performance most of all but a good looking 4K TV is a definite bonus in any living room. Instead of the graceful almost artful curves of many Samsung and LG TVs or even the more utilitarian but still stylish characteristics of Sony’s 2016 and 2017 mid-range 4K HDR TV models, the TCL P-Series looks like a much cheaper, low quality piece of technology than it actually is. If anything, its look of a slightly outdated HDTV completely belies just how wonderfully this model actually performs. It’s almost amusing.
Motion Interpolation Problems
As we mentioned above, the motion handling of the P607 is actually pretty decent but itdoes come with one gaping weakness that we definitely didn’t like. The television has no motion interpolation to speak of so if a particular piece of content is looking a little blurry during movement and fast action scenes, you can’t activate anything to counteract the effect. On the other hand, no soap opera effect guaranteed, so that is a slight bonus here.
This is a very common but minor problem for most 4K TVs since anyone who’s buying one will probably and could very affordably buy themselves a very decent set of external speakers or soundbar for well below $200. However, like almost all 4K TV models we’ve reviewed recently the P607 definitely doesn’t deliver an audio performance that’s worth bragging about. In the case of this model the native sound quality is particularly weak.
HDR Peak Brightness Issues
We’ll go a bit more into the technical details of this characteristic of the P607 a bit further down in our visual specs section but essentially, this 4K HDR TV model strangely enough delivers weaker HDR brightness performance than it does when being used to view SDR content. This isn’t to ay that the P607 is a dim 4K TV, because it definitely isn’t but the peak and sustained brightness metrics of this model under HDR viewing conditions could definitely ue a bit of an upward tick, especially when you consider that this is in fact a full-array LED backlit television. However, the local dimming of the P607 does a lot to enhance what HDR brightness is produced by creating exceptionally rich, deep black levels and it should be stressed again that the HDR brightness levels of this model are in fact quite good, just not as good as we think they should be given the TV’s high brightness measurements for normal movie content. That said, the TCL P-Series delivers brightness that’s comparable to what you’d get in competitor models like Vizio’s P-Series, Sony’s X850E and X800E or Samsung’s lower-priced MU-Series models like the MU7000 and MU6300 (all of which we actually consider to be inferior to the P607 in certain crucial ways).
HDR brightness aside, the P607 also has a couple of other display performance quirks that some consumers might not like. One issue is the mediocre quality of its grey uniformity, with quite a few little uneven, darker zones along the TV’s edges. This won’t be a problem for most uses though. In addition to this, the P607 also delivers a bit of clouding when large areas of the screen are set to black. Again though, the clouding is minor and not that noticeable when contrasting bright content is being shown as well around the black areas. On a final note, and this is an issue of all VA panel 4K HDR TVs, the TCL P-Series delivers some pretty bad viewing angles, but in exchange you get to enjoy it wickedly high contrast ratio.
A few minor quirks aside, we love the overall quality of the TCL P-Series P607 4K LCD HDR TV. We consider this model to perhaps be one of the best we’ve come across so far at this price out of all the 4K TVs we’ve reviewed to-date for 2017.
Overall TV Specs
- Screen sizes: 55 inch
- Smart TV: Roku TV Smart platform
- HEVC (H.265) Included: Yes
- VP9 Included. Yes
- HD to UHD upscaling: Yes
- HDCP 2.2 Compliance: Yes
- HDR Support: Yes, HDR10, Dolby Vision
- Refresh Rate: 60Hz native refresh rate
- Screen Lighting: full-array LED backlighting with local dimming
- Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels UHD
- Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes both built-in WiFi and Ethernet port
- Remotes: Roku TV Remote
- Connectivity: 3 HDMI (all of them 2.0a and HDCP 2.2) ports, 1 USB ports, 1 Ethernet port, 1 Digital Audio Out, Analog Audio out x 2, Tuner
- Sound: 2 Channel x 8W
- Contrast Ratio: 6,455 : 1 (native, real contrast), 7,235:1 with local dimming
- Black Level maximum: 0.018 cd/m2 and 0.0021 with local dimming activated
- 3D Technology: N/A
- TV dimensions (55 inch model): 49.0″ x 28.3″ x 3.0″ inches w/o stand, 49.0″ x 30.1″ x 8.3″ w stand
- TV weight: 33.1 lbs with stand and 32.6 lbs without stand
- Processor: CPU: Dual-core / GPU: Dual-core
Key Display Specs
4.7 – 4 Reviews
To briefly give a rundown of how well the P607 performs, this is an excellent overall 4K HDR TV with very good color performance, excellent contrast ratios that get tremendously good with local dimming activated, very good motion handling for most ordinary streaming and Blu-ray or TV content and some very good display brightness.
Black Level, Local Dimming and Contrast:
As we’d explained above, the P607 offers up some truly superb contrast ratios and a very good overall black level and uniformity. It also delivers fairly high quality local dimming thanks to its full-array LED backlighting technology and a total of 72 local dimming zones, which is quite impressive for a 55 inch 4K HDR TV model. The native contrast on this 4K TV sits at 6,455 : 1, which is by itself downright excellent by LCD 4K TV standards. However, when local dimming is activated, the contrast really expands to a very impressive 7,235:1, which is one of the best contrast ratios we’ve ever seen in any LCD 4K HDR TV, and that’ including some of the far, far more expensive premium 4K TVs such as Samsung’s Q9F and Sony’s Z9D that we’ve reviewed to-date. In fact, just about the only LCD 4K HDR television we know of that beats the P607 on contrast is Sony’s X940E with its ratio of over 11,000:1. The TVs’ exceptionally low black level of less than 0.018 nits is the case without local dimming.
With local dimming activated this television can create much darker blacks on parts of its screen and we should note that it HDR support for Dolby Vision and HDR10 allows the P607 to modulate light and shadow with some truly excellent precision during playback of high dynamic range content.
The following are the brightness specs for the P607 measured at different percentages of the display illuminated to full power briefly or for a sustained period. There’s also a measurement for overall average brightness for ordinary viewing of both SDR and HDR content. Interestingly, this 4K TV delivers higher peak SDR brightness than HDR peak and sustained brightness. Furthermore, the P607 grows brighter the more of the display is being set to illuminate at a maximum level, as you can see with the numbers below.
Also, to clarify, peak brightness is the maximum possible spot HDR or SDR luminosity of the display or a section of it measured in nits (or cd/m2, which is the same thing) under different conditions. Sustained brightness is the highest possible sustained HDR or SDR brightness that the TV screen can manage over different conditions or areas of illuminated display.
- Overall SDR peak brightness for normal content: 510 nits
- Peak 2% display area display SDR brightness: 345 nits
- Peak 10% display area SDR brightness: 531 nits
- Peak 100% display area SDR brightness: 598 nits
- Sustained 10% SDR Brightness: 519 nits
- Sustained 100% SDR brightness: 571 nits
- Overall HDR peak brightness for normal content: 478 nits
- Peak 2% display area display HDR brightness: 321 nits
- Peak 10% display area HDR brightness: 520 nits
- Peak 100% display area HDR brightness: 571 nits
- Sustained 10% HDR Brightness: 510 nits
- Sustained 100% HDR brightness: 555 nits
The color delivery of TCL’s P-Series television is superb by all normal meaurements. This 4K TV delivers full 10-bit color support with virtually no banding between gradations of 1.07 billion RGB values and it manages a delivery of 93.7% of the DCI-P3 wide color gamut spectrum, which is excellent. On the other hand, overall color volume is good but not fantastic as darker colors tend to dim excessively during darker scenes. The TV doesn’t get bright enough for colors to wash out due to high luminosity in the display, so this won’t be a problem. We should also mention that the overall SDR and HDR color accuracy of the P607 is very good, with a post-calibration wide balance delta E (inaccuracy of grey tones) of just 0.17, a color delta E of only 0.62 and a gamma rating of 2.08. These are all very good figures and the color delta E(inaccuracy of rendered colors) in particular is excellent in this model
Motion Handling & Upscaling:
Finally, for motion handling, the P607 delivers good results. Its response time sits at and amazingly low 6.2 milliseconds and means some very low blur during fast action content. This model also supports 24p content sources with judder-free playback from streaming media devices, Blu-rays and set-top boxes. It does not however offer motion interpolation of any kind for its native 60Hz panel.
The connectivity specs of the P607 TCL model are fairly standard, with full [email protected] pass-through with HDCP 2.2, VP9, HDR10, Dolby Vision and HEVC supported. One unusual thing that we don’t like about the connectivity specs of the TCL P-Series is that it offers only 3 HDMI ports and just 1 USB 3.0 port. Most 4K TVs offer 4 of the former and at least 2 USB ports.
In terms of gaming connectivity, the TCL P607 is one of the best 4K LCD HDR TVs we’ve yet reviewed at handling multiple color, resolution and HDR formats for console gaming with low input lag. Here are some of its core specs for this, followed by a rundown of its connectivity ports:
- 4k @ 60Hz: 14 ms
- 1080p @ 60Hz: 5 ms
- 4k @ 60Hz + HDR: 7 ms
- 1080p @ 60Hz + HDR: 8 ms
- 4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode : 31.9 ms
- 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4: 1 ms
- 1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4: 15 ms
- HDMI : 3 (All come with HDCP 2.2 and full HDMI 2.0a capacity)
- USB : 1 (USB 3.0)
- Digital Optical Audio Out : 1
- Analog Audio Out 3.5mm : 2
- Tuner (Cable/Ant) : 1
- Ethernet : 1
The P607 TV models also offer audio connectivity in the following audio types
- 1 Passthrough ARC Dolby Digital
- 1 Passthrough ARC DTS
- 1 Passthrough Optical Dolby Digital
- 1 Passthrough Optical DTS
TCL is selling the P607 for the following price at the time of this writing. Bear in mind that these are subject to sometimes frequent downward change and it’s a good idea to click the following Amazon link(s) for real-time pricing and all available discounts on this excellent 4K HDR television model.
4.7 – 4 Reviews