The TCL P605/607 is the best TV for most gamers — even if you’re on PC. It has a sharp 4K display with Dolby Vision HDR, and a best-in-class response time. Most importantly, though, it is only $600. But on Saturday, May 12, Best Buy is cutting the price of the 2017 model to $500, and I wanted to explain why this is the right TV set for you to upgrade to if you’re still rocking that 1080p set you picked up seven years ago.
I wouldn’t normally write about a product going on sale. TCL’s marketing department can buy ads if it wants people to know about this deal. But I’m making an exception here because this is a good excuse to finally write about the P605, which is a technological marvel. I spent an extended period of time late last year and earlier this year with the Samsung Q7F 55-inch TV, which was fine. But the $2,800 Q7F’s picture quality didn’t blow me away, and now that I’ve sent it back to the manufacturer and have started shopping around for a permanent 4K upgrade, I keep coming back to the TCL.
It’s tough to buy a TV because we ask them to do so much. Displaying a video signal and playing some audio seems like a straightforward task, but you’ll want different things for 1080p standard-dynamic range, 4K high-dynamic range film, and video gaming content. You can make the decision easier for yourself by spending more than $1,500 for a set that is packed with technology, but if you want to stay below $750, you may have to make some sacrifices. But the thing about the TCL P-series is that it comes with the versatility that you would expect from a much more expensive device.
If you do have the money, an OLED is still going to give you a better image. The P605 is not an OLED. For $1,600 you can get the LG B7, and its next-gen display is gorgeous. You should consider that if you’re looking for the best possible TV. But the price-to-performance ratio of the P605 is still one of the best deals in all of consumer electronics.
The TCL P605 supports both the HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR standards, and this enables it to display deep contrasts between bright and dark content thanks to the panel’s local dimming. The panel can independently brighten or dim the screen in 78 different zones, and this is one of the major areas where the TCL outperforms something like the much more expensive Samsung Q7F.
That high-contrast HDR performance will benefit gamers, but it’s the input lag that makes the P605 viable even for the twitchiest PC games. Response time for a lot of LCD panels in the $500-to-$1,000 range can get north of 60ms even in “gaming mode.” That can introduce a noticeable and distracting delay in a single-player narrative experience, and it could ruin the experience of an online multiplayer shooter.
The LG B7 has an average input lag of 21ms, which is excellent. The Samsung Q7F also has a low response time of 24ms on average. The TCL P605’s input lag is an average of 15ms. These times are all in “gaming mode.”
On top of its image and gaming performance, the TCL uses the snappy Roku interface. This is a frustration-free TV control system that supports almost any streaming service you would ever want without forcing you to wait through annoying load times and input lag.
TCL does have new 2018 P-Series sets hitting the market. The 55-inch R617 is $650 and the 65-inch model is $1,000. These use the same display as the P605, but the TV has some improvements internally that you may want to investigate.
For me, however, I’m planning to pick up a P605 tomorrow. I’m satisfied with my testing after spending more than a few hours in TV showrooms at several retailers, and I think the price is better than right. For those of you planning to upgrade, I would recommend doing the same.