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TCL 43-inch 4K Ultra HD Android Smart TV (43S6500) Review (July 2024)

In the realm of budget-friendly 4K TVs, TCL has consistently made a name for itself with its impressive value proposition. The TCL 43-inch 4K Ultra HD Android Smart TV (43S6500) is no exception, offering a compelling blend of features and affordability. This review dives deep into the 43S6500, exploring its picture quality, smart TV capabilities, and overall performance.

We’ll be examining its 4K resolution display, HDR support, and the impact of TCL’s image processing technologies on the viewing experience. We’ll also investigate the user-friendliness of the Android TV operating system, its app selection, and the integration of Google Assistant voice control.

Furthermore, we’ll evaluate the TV’s sound quality, connectivity options, and the overall build quality. This comprehensive review aims to provide you with an in-depth understanding of the TCL 43S6500, helping you determine if it’s the right TV for your needs and budget.

Join us as we dissect the features, performance, and strengths of the TCL 43S6500, uncovering if it truly delivers on its promise of a compelling 4K viewing experience without breaking the bank.

Name: TCL 43-inch 4K Ultra HD Android Smart TV (43S6500)
Image: TCL 43-inch 4K Ultra HD Android Smart TV (43S6500)
Price:
Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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TCL 43S6500: A Budget-Friendly 4K TV?

TCL 43S6500: A Budget-Friendly 4K TV?

The TCL 43S6500 is a 43-inch 4K Ultra HD Android Smart TV that aims to deliver a compelling viewing experience at a budget-friendly price point. It boasts a sleek design, 4K resolution, and a range of smart features. But does it live up to the hype? Let’s delve into the details to see if it’s the right fit for your home entertainment needs.

The TCL 43S6500 features a slim profile with narrow bezels, giving it a modern and minimalist aesthetic. It’s a fairly lightweight TV, making it easy to mount or place on a stand. The build quality feels solid, with a sturdy frame and a robust stand that provides good stability. While it might not have the premium feel of higher-end models, the overall construction feels well-built for its price range.

One of the key selling points of the TCL 43S6500 is its 4K resolution, which delivers four times the pixels of a 1080p TV, resulting in a sharper and more detailed picture. The TV also supports HDR (High Dynamic Range), enhancing contrast and color for a more immersive viewing experience. While the picture quality is decent, especially for the price, it’s not the most impressive in terms of color accuracy, black levels, or motion handling. You’ll notice some limitations when viewing fast-paced action scenes or content with a lot of detail.

Sound quality on the TCL 43S6500 is adequate for casual viewing, but it lacks the depth and clarity you might find in higher-end models. The built-in speakers are capable of producing decent sound for everyday content, but don’t expect a cinematic audio experience. For a more immersive audio experience, you’ll want to invest in an external sound system, such as a soundbar or surround system.

The TCL 43S6500 runs on the Android TV operating system, which is known for its user-friendliness and extensive app selection. You’ll have access to a wide range of streaming services like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, and more, giving you a vast library of entertainment options. The interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, making it simple to find your favorite content.

The TCL 43S6500 offers a good selection of connectivity options, including three HDMI ports, two USB ports, an Ethernet port, and a digital audio output. You can connect a variety of devices, such as gaming consoles, Blu-ray players, and external storage drives. Wireless connectivity is also available via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

The remote control is a standard design with dedicated buttons for common functions. It’s easy to use and navigate the Android TV interface. Setup is straightforward, with clear on-screen instructions guiding you through the process.

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The TCL 43S6500 offers a compelling blend of features and affordability. Its 4K resolution, Android TV platform, and connectivity options make it an appealing choice for budget-conscious viewers. However, its picture quality and sound quality are not as impressive as more premium models, and you may need to invest in external audio for a better listening experience.

Design and Build Quality

The TCL 43S6500 sports a sleek and modern design that complements most home decors. Its thin bezels, which are narrow on three sides, provide a more immersive viewing experience. The TV’s build quality is sturdy and feels well-constructed, even though it’s a budget-friendly model. The back panel is made of high-quality plastic, and the stand is also sturdy and secure. The overall design and build quality, especially for the price, are commendable. The 43-inch screen size is ideal for smaller rooms or for those looking for a compact TV that doesn’t overwhelm their space.

While the design is minimalistic, it still boasts a subtle sophistication. The silver trim around the screen adds a touch of elegance without being overly flashy. The TV is also relatively light, making it easy to mount on the wall or move around if needed. The stand is a simple design with two legs, ensuring stability without taking up too much space. While it lacks the premium feel of high-end TVs, it’s not a dealbreaker given the price.

The TCL 43S6500 certainly doesn’t feel like a cheap TV in terms of its construction. The panel feels robust, and the overall design is pleasing. There’s no noticeable flex or wobble, and the stand provides a stable base. The overall design and build quality are not only satisfactory but also exceed expectations for a budget-friendly TV. It’s a testament to TCL’s commitment to offering value-for-money products without compromising on basic construction quality.

Picture Quality and Performance

The TCL 43S6500 delivers a decent picture quality for its price point. It boasts a 4K Ultra HD resolution, which translates to a sharper and more detailed image compared to lower-resolution TVs. However, it doesn’t quite reach the same level of vibrancy and color accuracy as pricier models. The colors can appear slightly muted at times, and the blacks aren’t as deep as they could be.

The TV uses a VA panel, which offers good contrast levels and deep blacks, but can suffer from limited viewing angles. You’ll notice a decrease in color accuracy and contrast when viewing the screen from the side.

While the TCL 43S6500 doesn’t excel in peak brightness, it’s sufficient for most home viewing scenarios, even in well-lit rooms. It’s worth noting that this TV doesn’t offer HDR (High Dynamic Range) support, which would improve the overall image quality, especially in darker scenes.

As for performance, the TCL 43S6500 delivers smooth and responsive picture quality, thanks to its 60Hz refresh rate. While it’s sufficient for everyday TV viewing and basic gaming, it may struggle with fast-paced action sequences. Gamers might want to consider a TV with a higher refresh rate for smoother gameplay.

Overall, the TCL 43S6500 delivers acceptable picture quality for its price point, but it’s not a standout performer. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly 4K TV with decent image quality, the TCL 43S6500 could be a good option. However, if you’re a discerning viewer who values a more vibrant and accurate picture, you might want to consider a more expensive model.

Sound Quality

The TCL 43S6500’s sound quality is a mixed bag. While it offers decent volume levels for a TV of its size, the overall audio experience is a bit lacking. The speakers lack the clarity and depth that you might find in more premium TVs. You’ll definitely notice a lack of bass, which can make action movies and music feel less impactful.

If you’re a serious audiophile or enjoy immersive sound experiences, you’ll likely want to invest in an external soundbar. However, if you’re just looking for a TV with decent sound for casual viewing, the 43S6500 should suffice.

One positive aspect of the sound system is its ability to get relatively loud without distortion. You can comfortably watch TV with the volume at a moderate level without it sounding muddy or unclear. The TV also supports Dolby Digital audio decoding, which can help to improve the sound quality of some content.

Overall, the sound quality of the TCL 43S6500 is acceptable for everyday viewing. However, if you’re looking for a TV with truly impressive audio performance, you’ll likely want to consider a model with a dedicated sound system or invest in an external soundbar.

Smart Features and Interface

The TCL 43S6500 runs on Android TV 11, offering a familiar and user-friendly interface. You’ll find a clean layout with easy navigation, making it simple to browse through apps, streaming services, and content. The TV comes pre-loaded with popular apps like Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, and more. The Google Assistant integration is a highlight, allowing you to control the TV with your voice. You can use voice commands to search for content, launch apps, adjust the volume, and even control smart home devices.

The remote control is equipped with dedicated buttons for Netflix and Google Assistant, making it convenient to access these features quickly. While the remote is functional, it’s a bit plasticky and feels cheap. The TV also supports Chromecast built-in, allowing you to cast content from your smartphone or tablet to the big screen. Overall, the smart features and interface on the TCL 43S6500 provide a smooth and enjoyable experience, especially for Android users. However, the remote control could use some improvement in terms of quality and design.

Connectivity Options

The TCL 43S6500 offers a decent range of connectivity options for a budget-friendly TV. You’ll find three HDMI ports, which are enough for connecting your gaming consoles, streaming devices, or a Blu-ray player. There’s also a single USB port for playing media from external devices like flash drives or external hard drives. For audio output, you have an optical audio output and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

In terms of digital connectivity, the TV features built-in Wi-Fi for wireless internet access, as well as an Ethernet port for a more stable wired connection. You’ll also find a digital TV tuner (ATSC/DT/QAM) so you can enjoy over-the-air broadcast television.

While the number of ports might not be as extensive as on higher-end TVs, they should be sufficient for most everyday use cases. The inclusion of both wired and wireless internet options ensures flexibility for different setups.

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Remote Control and Setup

The TCL 43S6500 comes with a standard, albeit somewhat basic, remote control. It features dedicated buttons for power, volume, channel navigation, and a few streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube. However, it lacks dedicated buttons for other streaming services or smart home functions. The remote is lightweight and comfortable to hold, but it’s primarily made of plastic, giving it a slightly cheap feel.

Setting up the TCL 43S6500 is a straightforward process. It’s powered by Android TV, which is generally known for its user-friendly interface and ease of navigation. The initial setup involves connecting the TV to Wi-Fi, choosing your language, and signing in to your Google account. The TV will automatically search for available channels and, depending on your location, may even suggest installing some popular streaming apps.

While the TV’s interface is intuitive, the remote could benefit from some additional features, like a voice assistant button or more dedicated buttons for specific streaming services. Overall, the remote control and setup process are simple and uncluttered, but a more feature-rich remote would elevate the overall user experience.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The TCL 43S6500 offers a compelling combination of features for its price point. Its strengths lie in its vibrant 4K display, smooth performance, and user-friendly interface. However, it also has some drawbacks, particularly in sound quality and its lack of HDR support.

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Here’s a breakdown of the TV’s key strengths and weaknesses:

Strengths:

  • Affordable 4K Display: The TCL 43S6500 delivers excellent picture quality for its price. The 4K resolution ensures sharp details and vibrant colors, making it a great choice for movies and TV shows.
  • Smooth Performance: The TV’s processor handles 4K content with ease, resulting in smooth motion and minimal lag. This is especially beneficial for fast-paced action scenes and gaming.
  • User-Friendly Interface: The Android TV platform is intuitive and easy to navigate. It offers a wide range of apps and streaming services, allowing you to access your favorite content with ease.
  • Plenty of Connectivity Options: The TV boasts numerous ports, including HDMI, USB, and Ethernet, allowing for versatile connection options. This ensures you can connect your gaming consoles, streaming devices, and other peripherals without any hassle.

Weaknesses:

  • Average Sound Quality: While the TCL 43S6500 has built-in speakers, they are not particularly impressive. You may need to invest in external speakers for a truly immersive audio experience.
  • No HDR Support: The lack of HDR support means you won’t be able to fully enjoy the dynamic range and enhanced detail offered by HDR-enabled content.
  • Basic Design: The TV’s design is quite simple, with minimal aesthetic appeal. While it won’t detract from your viewing experience, it might not be a standout piece of furniture.

Overall, the TCL 43S6500 is a solid entry-level 4K TV that offers good value for money. However, its lack of HDR and its average sound quality might be dealbreakers for some.

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Conclusion: Should You Buy the TCL 43S6500?

The TCL 43S6500 is a solid budget-friendly 4K TV that offers a lot for its price. It excels in picture quality, particularly for its vibrant colors and impressive HDR performance, despite not being a high-end model. Its smart features are intuitive and responsive, thanks to the Google TV interface, and the inclusion of Google Assistant makes it convenient to control your entertainment. The sound quality is adequate but not exceptional, and the design is pretty basic.

Ultimately, the TCL 43S6500 is an excellent option if you’re looking for a budget-friendly 4K TV with solid picture quality and smart features. It’s perfect for those who prioritize visuals and smart functionality over a premium design or exceptional sound. However, if you are a serious movie buff or audiophile, you might want to consider a more expensive option. If you’re looking for a great value TV for everyday use, the TCL 43S6500 is definitely worth considering.

In conclusion, the TCL 43-inch 4K Ultra HD Android Smart TV (43S6500) is a solid choice for budget-conscious consumers looking for a decent viewing experience. It boasts impressive picture quality with vibrant colors and sharp details, making it suitable for streaming movies and TV shows. The Android TV operating system provides a wide selection of streaming apps, ensuring access to a vast library of entertainment options. However, the sound quality could be improved, and the TV might not be ideal for serious gamers due to its limited refresh rate.

Overall, the TCL 43S6500 offers a good balance of features and performance for its price point. While it might not be the most feature-rich or high-end TV, it delivers a satisfying viewing experience for everyday use. If you’re on a tight budget and prioritize picture quality and streaming capabilities, the TCL 43S6500 is a worthy contender.

For those seeking a more immersive audio experience or a TV with advanced gaming features, there are other options available in the market. However, for a 43-inch 4K TV at this price point, the TCL 43S6500 delivers an impressive value proposition. It’s a great choice for casual viewers who want a reliable TV for streaming content and enjoying their favorite shows.

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Remember to consider your specific needs and budget when making your final decision. If the TCL 43S6500 ticks all the right boxes for you, then it’s certainly a TV worth considering.

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