4K TV under 1000

The Ultimate review of TCL R617 (55R617, 65R617) | Detailed Review & Specs

It’s finally here, and we were caught napping – but we’ve got the exclusive now ! 😉

Yes, the much awaited TCL R617 has just been launched and is flying off the shelves as we go into the summer of 2018. The TCL R617 is regarded as an upgrade to the very popular TCL P607 whose review we recently covered. This TCL R617 forms a part of the TCL 6 Series for 2018 which was awaited by everyone and is being reviewed here.

TCL is a personal favourite brand for me because I feel it delivers great value in pricing whilst covering almost every important aspect of picture quality and convenience. Let’s therefore do a complete or ‘ultimate’ review of TCL R617.

This will be a review of reviews as well, so we will also cover what the bigger and more established industry experts such as Tom’s Guide, Rtings.com , AVS forum are saying about this TV.

The TCL R617 in your living room

Note: This TCL R617 review applies to all the sizes available for this TCL model. TCL R617 is available in sizes such as 55″ TCL R617, 65″ TCL R617.

Check Price of the TCL R617 4k TV and TCL P607 4K TV on Amazon

Updated Specifications of the TCL R617 as per TCL’s website

Features of TCL 6 SeriesSpecification / Size
Screen Size55", 65"
SmartYes
Wi-Fi ConnectivityWireless and Ethernet
Backlight TechnologyLED
Resolution4K Ultra High Definition
HDRHDR10 and Dolby Vision
HDR Dynamic ContrastYes
Contrast Control Zones96 Zones (55") / 120 Zones (65")
Wide Color GamutYes
Clear Motion Index120Hz CMI
HDMI, USB Ports3 HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2, one with HDMI ARC, 1 USB 2.0
Audio OutputHeadphone Jack + Digital Optical
Free Mobile/Tablet AppYes
RemoteR617; Enhanced Remote with Voice Control / R615; Easy-to-use Remote
Digital TV TunerYes

Detailed Review of TCL R617 on various features

Let’s have a look at the detailed review on TCL R617 on various aspects and features which are important for any television, especially 4K TV’s such as: Brightness, Contrast, Colour Gamut, Wide Angle Viewing, Input Lag, Motion Blur, Smart Features, Sound Quality etc.

TCL R617 in action 55" and 65"
TCL R617 in action Roku TV

1. Brightness in TCL R617

TCL R617 improves greatly in brightness as compared to earlier TCL models, and even the much appreciated TCL P607. Brightness is measured by checking the HDR Peak Brightness and SDR Peak Brightness. There are many no.s but for comparison lets see:
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness of TCL R617 : 840 nits (vs. 490 nits for TCL P607)
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness of TCL R617 : 713 nits (vs. 505 nits for TCL P607)

What this means: It has overcome one of the minor shortcomings in the earlier model and is reasonably bright and OK even for bright rooms and better than many models of Vizio, Samsung.

Rating: We’d go with a 8.1 here considering the substantial improvement in brightness.

2. Contrast in TCL R617

Contrast is an important factor , maybe one of the top 2-3 factors when it comes to overall picture quality of any 4K TV and TCL R617 performs well on this aspect. Whereas the contrast of TCL R617 is not as high as TCL P607 it is in the range of many good Samsung and LG Models (excluding OLED’s whose contrast is way above any other model).

Native Contrast Achieved: 5180:1 vs. 6437:1 in TCL P607. This TV also has local dimming which increases the contrast, as was in TCL P607 as well.

Rating: We’d go with a 8.0 for the contrast here considering everything.

3. Colour Gamut, Colour Volume & Colour Accuracy in TCL R617

Color Gamut, Color Volume & Color Accuracy are important features to consider in the 4K range when deciding how real and vivid the picture quality is likely to be. TCL R617 provides WCG or Wide Color Gamut feature and the measurements are as follows:

Color Gamut
DCI P3 xy : 88.57%
DCI P3 uv: 90.93%
Rec 2020 xy: 64.25
Rec 2020 uv: 67.39
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 : 83.9%
Normalised Rec2020: 63.2%

In colour accuracy too TCL R617 compares favourably with the mid-range and even some of the high range 4K HD LEDs.
It’s Gamma is around 2.21 and pretty low and similarly the white balance too is pretty low. This means the colours are quite accurate.

What does this mean ?: Well, firstly the Color Gamut is slightly worse than the P607 of last year, but only slightly. The P3 colour volume is better than the P607 whereas the rest is similar. This means better display but somewhat lacking in range towards extremes . Examples in very bright outdoor scenes , some lack in colour detail in HDR.

Rating: We’d go with with a 7.8 here considering it has performed reasonably well.

4. Design and Frame of TCL R617

The Design and frame of the TCL R617 is not very stylish but functional and sturdy. It is similar to the earlier TCL frames.The Stand is having a footprint of: 47.8″ x 10.6″ (55″) . It’s a metal stand unlike the earlier plastic ones. Cons: No particular cable hiding or management system at the back. A Wall mount has obviously been provided. Feels a bit bulky on the walls.

Rating: TCL R617 gets a 7.4 on design, due to some improvement and use of metallic structure.

5. Input Lag in TCL R617

Input lag handling of the TCL R617 is an important factor. The TCL R617 has a very low input lag of around 17.5 ms in 1080p @ 60 Hz input which is pretty good. It has a refresh rate of 60Hz and motion blur is pretty low too so it can make a decent PC monitor too. Decent for watching sports without any trails in the picture. It also has full 4:4:4 colour support. It can normally auto-detect it’s being used as a monitor when plugged into a PC. Reviews state that it works well with an X-Box.

Rating: We’d go with a 8.1 here considering the price and the really great performance it provides in input lag and gaming support.

6. Motion blur, Judder handling in TCL R617

Movies look fine and judder free in the TCL R617. Response time is decent and very similar to TCL P607. It’s very low on flicker and noticeably better than P607. Motion interpolation has been added this year in the TCL R617 – which wasn’t earlier there on the P607. It can be enabled by going to the Advanced picture settings menu and setting Action smoothing. Stutter handling is at par with P607 . While the TCL R617 is 24p, 60p, 60pi judder free, TCL P607 didn’t have this feature fully. What this means is there is no judder when watching Blue Ray movies, Cable, Satellite Boxes.

Rating: All in all Motion blur, Judder etc. handling has improved greatly and so we’d give this a 8.1.

7. Viewing Angle for TCL R617

In the TCL R617, the picture quality does deteriorate when viewing from just ≥20° away from the screen’s centre. This is expected in a VA panel 4K TV. This is maybe one of the weaker points of this TV but considering the various positives, this can be tolerated. The tests show that Color Shift happens at around 17 degree, Brightness at around 29 degree and Black Levels at only around 11 degree off centre.

Rating: It doesn’t perform very well in this aspect, so we’ll give this a 6.9 .

8. Review of Smart Features in TCL R617

TCL R617 is a Roku Smart TV. What this means is that streaming prime candidates like Netflix, Amazon Video and Sling TV are front-and-center and just a remote shortcut button away: no need to switch inputs to another device. And the R617 can stream more stuff in the highest quality – 4K and HDR – than non-Roku smart TVs. The main Roku interface does not appear to have any ads. We thus found the Roku Smart features to be reliable, quick and without lag. Remote is basic and without headphone jack unlike in the P607. But the remote does have voice control in R617 (not in R615). It also has a Roku companion app which allows casting.

Rating: Pretty good features overall and I personally like that it’s still ad-free so a 8.6 from our side.

9. Review of Content Upscaling in TCL R617

When looking at upscaling we considered the upscaling of content from:
a) 480p input such as older DVD’ – Image looks fine, and in line with its quality.
b) 720p input such as Cable – Upscales well, details clear.
c) 1080p input such as Blue Ray – Comes sharp and detailed, no blowing and almost as good as Native 4K
d Native 4k Content – No issues -except some dithering with green / purple shadow.

Rating: The content up-scaling is pretty decent and similar to P607. We’ll go with 7.9

10. Review of Sound Quality of TCL R617

TCL models are not known for very high sound quality and the TCL P607 was somewhat lacking in this department. You’ll be happy to know that the TCL R617 has improved on this aspect and sound is average, with some clarity retained at very high volumes. It gives definitely better performance than the TCL P607.

Rating: As the sound is somewhat below average, it gets a 7.2 on sound quality.

11. Ports, Inputs & Connectivity available in TCL R617

HDMI : 3
USB : 1
Digital Optical Audio Out : 1
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm : 1
Analog Audio Out RCA : 0
Component In : 0, Composite In : 1
Tuner (Cable/Ant) : 1
Ethernet : 1
HDR10, Dolby Vision Support: Yes

What this means ?: With 3 HDMI port , ethernet , TV Tuner, Wi-fi and HDR 10 support, 5.1 Passthrough ARC Dolby Digital support, its got a very good range of input support for its price category. However unlike the TCL P607, it does not have a headphone jack in it’s remote for private easy listening, nor DTS Optical passthrough support.

Rating: We give it a 7.8 on Inputs as slight lacking as compared to P607.

TCL 55" R617 4K TV
TCL R617 2018 with Roku shows

Want to buy the TCL R617 at Amazon.com ?

Buy or check specifications and reviews of the TCL R617 directly at Amazon.com. Opens in new window.

What are all the other sites and industry experts like Rtings.com , Techradar, Tom’s Guide ?

What the leading Industry Experts say about the TCL R617 4K TV ?

TechRadar: Has reviewed it very favourably and has called it ‘An exceptional 4K HDR TV for the budget-minded buyer’. The major pros it has highlighted is the amazing bargain you are getting, brighter, overall technologically better than the already exceptional P607, great for gaming, and great Roku Smart interface. On the con side, some loss of darker details and limited motion settings according to them (although we think they are enough).

Rtings.com: has also reviewed it quite favourably and given it 7.9 in mixed usage (as checked on 03 June 18). It scores 8.0 or above on movies, gaming, HDR gaming, PC Monitor and only a little low for TV shows in bright room. The viewing angle degradation is the only major con.

Tom Guide: Appears it is yet to do a proper review (As on 03 June 2018) and mainly an information about it’s launch.

What we Say: We kind of echo Techradar’s view that considering the price range this is the best 4K HD TV you can probably buy in the under $1000 range, with the caveat that it’s newly launched we’ll have to monitor for any quality or software issues reported by actual customers.

Amazon.com Reviews: These keep varying so should just be taken as an indication . Some reported issues of banding, greying but these are very panel specific and random and replacable obviously. Overall folks seems satisfied and pretty happy.

Disclaimer: We are No way associated with these sites. Merely collating views and all opinions expressed withing this section are our understanding of their views.

Frequently asked Questions by Customer’s regarding the recently launched TCL R617

What new technologies are in use in the TCL R617 which make it better?

TCL has added a lot of innovating in this new 4K TV model i.e the RCL R617. Some of the exciting features and tech innovations are (some of them have been upgraded while some were already there in the P607):

  • iPQ Engine: The 6-Series models’ iPQ Engine™ provides precise colour replication while HDR Pro Gamma significantly improves HDR performance in any setting.
  • Voice Control:Find movie titles. Launch or change channels. Even switch inputs. All with your voice
  • Wide Colour Performance: Find movie titles. Launch or change channels. Even switch inputs. All with your voice
  • Contrast Control Zones: Contrast is individually optimised across up to 120 zones to achieve highly localised areas of striking contrast between bright and dark areas of the image.
  • Dolby HDR: Dolby Vision, the premium HDR experience, offers superior contrast and brighter, more accurate colors.
  • HDR PRO GAMMA: Details remain visible in any environment – from the darkest home theatre to the brightest sun-lit living rooms.

TCL R617 are pretty new, launched in May 2018. Should I wait for a while or buy this now?

TCL TV’s in my opinion have been generally reliable for the price and value they offer. Nobody is claiming they are at par with an LG OLED or Samsung high end TV but generally more reliable in the lower end ones like Vizio. Plus, the technological specs of the R617 are pretty great and better than it’s earlier cousin, the TCL P607. Finally the reviews for the R617 have generally been positive on sites like Amazon.com and others. Considering all of this, i would advise going for it, if a 4K TV purchase is on the cards for you, and R617 a possible candidate.

The TCL R617 is basically a newer version of the TCL P607. How has the TCL R617 improved on the TCL P607 ?

We have compared the TCL P607 vs. the TCL R617 / R615 already above on various parameters. But here is concise summary:

TCL R617 vs. TCL P607 - Improvements and changes
– TCL R617 is available in 2 sizes 55″ and 65″ instead of just the 55″ that the TCL P607 is available in.
– R617 boasts better handling of motion , judder and playing of 60p and 60pi inputs resulting in no judder and Motion Interpolation when playing Satellite and Cable inputs vs. TCL P607
– Brightness has increased in TCL R617 vs. TCL P607 considerably as the no. of dimming zones in TCL P607 is 72 vs. 96 in TCL R617 55″ and 120 in TCL R617 65″
– The TCL R617 appears to have a better, more metallic finish than the TCL P607
– The TCL R617 is better in motion blur, judder handling, sound quality slightly better on colour volume whereas P607 is better on Color Gamut, Contrast ratio.

Final Rating and Review of the TCL R617 considering all factors

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
TCL 6 Series R617 4K TV
Author Rating
41star1star1star1stargray

4 Comments

  1. Tom June 6, 2018
  2. Sam Sethi June 11, 2018
  3. Rick June 21, 2018
  4. Andrey GolubGaws June 24, 2018

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