TVs are still big business. Sure, you can watch on your phone, computer, or tablet, but now that it’s just as easy to fire your streaming service of your choosing up on your TV, the big display in the living room is getting popular again. Today, we take a look at the TCL X3, an Android TV that runs Android, for a complete viewing experience. Here’s what we think
The curved display dominates the front of the TV. With a massive 65 inches of real-estate, all eyes are going to be on the screen. Apart from the bottom brushed metal edge, which is home to two sets of three speaker grilles, and the stand, you have virtually no bezels to contend with, giving you a display that doesn’t feel boxed in. The back of the device is impossibly thin, save for the bottom, which contains the hardware necessary to make the display tick, and ports for USB, HDMI, and coax inputs.
The stock remote control is simple and intuitive, and about what one would expect from a modern smart TV. The presence of a dedicated Netflix button though, lets you know exactly what it can do.
Clearly, the star of the spec sheet is the massive quantum dot panel. This renders bright, vivid color, and rich, deep blacks for the best possible viewing experience. The panel also supports HDR which, when paired with HDR content manages color and contrast levels, giving you a precise image regardless of what’s on the screen. Sound is delivered via Harman Kardon-developed speakers for both power and clarity fitting for a display this size. It actually caught us off-guard, giving way more volume than anticipated, and leaving us scrambling for the remote in order to drop the volume to a manageable level.
User Experience 4.5/5.0
I have to admit, I was impressed at the sight of the X3. It’s an imposing curved display that dwarfed the table it was resting on. Thin and bezel-less, it’s quite an eye-catching device. The brushed metal bottom is tastefully done, and the speaker grilles offer a nice contrast to the rest of the facade.
The technicians had taken the liberty of connecting the TV to the network, though setting it up for wireless connectivity is about as easy as any Android phone. Hit the apps button, find the settings, scan, and connect. Wired LAN is even simpler. Plug the device into the router via a LAN cable, and you’re set. Once it had booted, we could test the display’s abilities. 4K resolution videos are absolutely gorgeous. The contrast isn’t thrown off by bright spots in the image, and colors are rich, and very vibrant, without bleeding over to neighboring areas. We loaded up a 4K car chase, and despite all the fast action, we didn’t experience any blurring or ghosting—a testament to the speed of the screen. The animated series we put on was likewise a pleasure to watch, and even with exaggerated colors of the source, was still easy on the eyes.
Sound was loud. Really loud. Just past a quarter of full volume was too much for the large conference room set up for our viewing that day. Dropped to a reasonable level, everything came out wonderfully, even the bass tones, which I expected to suffer, because of how thin the whole deal is.
The smart functions are implemented well. Being Android at its core, navigation is more or less like a smartphone, but without the touch screen. Purchasing an optional after-market remote, however, grants you what is basically a mouse pointer you can use for on-screen navigation, making the experience even more intuitive. Also, thanks to its Android heart, you can log into the Google Play Store, and download games, which play just as smoothly on the TV as they would on a capable mobile device. Another optional accessory is a Bluetooth controller, which makes games, particularly racing and platform ones, that much easier to enjoy.
Built-in Netflix compatibility puts tons of movies at the tap of a finger. There’s no need for a Chromecast, as the functionality is built in, and supports everything the Chromecast would, even screen mirroring, as long as the host device and local network support it as well.
The X3 offers great value for money. A curved screen, Harman speakers, and smart features all point to a television that seems like it’s supposed to be significantly more than the PHP 149,995 TCL is asking for. Add to this, the device’s sleek design and image quality, and you have an extremely cost-effective piece of hardware.
This is a TV you’re going to want in your living room.
Also published in Gadgets Magazine September 2017 issue
Wors by Ren Alcantara