When TCL announced their 4K UHD TCL Roku TV series at CES, we were super psyched. An affordable 4K TV that comes running arguably the best video streaming platform out of the box? How could we not be excited! I own the 55″ TCL Roku TV model that came out in 2014, and while it does have some quirks like not having the best contrast and viewing angles and a sluggish UI that occasionally freezes, I still have really enjoyed using that TV. Fortunately, the TCL Roku 50UP130 rectifies all of the issues the older model had, and also throws in an incredible 4K display.
Picture quality on the 50UP130 is excellent — 4K content looks sharp and brilliant, and the TV does a great job of upscaling 1080p content. In general, colors are accurate, and both contrast and viewing angles are superb. Picture quality is not quite as stunning as the likes of Samsung’s new 4K SUHD TVs, but it’s still immensely impressive for its price tag and comparable to much more expensive 4K tellies.
Beyond its picture quality, even the audio on the 50UP130 is a significant upgrade over the older generation Roku I have been using at home. Inside the TV is a 2-channel, 8-watt speaker system powered by Dolby Digital Plus. Granted, the TV’s built-in speakers are no replacement for a serious surround sound system, but they are quite good. Audio sounds crisp and balanced, and perhaps most importantly – vocals are clear and defined.
We can’t begin to emphasize how great Roku works as a smart TV system and interface for your TV. The Roku platform is super simple to use, with a vast library of apps. And of course, having Roku built in, you’ll have one fewer set of cables to hook up to your TV. We love cord cutting! Also, as opposed to just plugging in an external Roku player, you get the benefit of being able to use Roku to navigate live TV and easily switch between your video game console, live TV, and Roku. Overall, it’s a seamless experience.
The included enhanced remote comes with a dedicated button for voice search, as well as a standard 3.5 mm headphone port. The TV even comes with a pair of comfortable earbuds, as well as a battery for the remote — you’ll be ready to start watching TV right out of the box. The included headphones are pretty good, too!
Voice search is brought up quickly on the enhanced remote using the dedicated voice search button. This function works as a great alternative to mucking around with your remote when you want to search for content by actor, title, or director. That said, it’s not quite as advanced as what you’ll find on the likes of Amazon Fire TV voice search or Apple TV’s Siri. In addition to the dedicated voice search button that is found on the remote, there is a dedicated button for Netflix, Sling TV, HBO Now, and Amazon. Roku also offers a free smartphone app that can transform your phone into a TV remote.
As for the design of the TV — with its slim bezel and two legs, the design of the TV is very sleek and attractive, but not quite super high end looking. That said, we don’t think that most people will care.