When flat screens first arrived on the market, consumers marvelled at their clarity and dimensions compared to their cathode ray tube (CRT) counterparts. Manufacturers such as Samsung, LG and Sony started adding features like hard drives, essentially turning TVs into personal video recorders. This allowed users to record movies and shows, making the devices even more attractive.
But there were two underlying drawbacks to these liquid crystal displays (LCDs). Firstly, they were very expensive and, despite the fact that they are not as deep as CRTs, they were awkward and heavy – a typical 43-inch LCD could weigh anything between 15 and 20 kgs.
A decade on, a lot has changed. Older screen technologies like LCD have been updated with new displays offering brighter and more vibrant colours. Refresh rates have been improved, offering a more fluid watching experience, which can be noticed in high speed car chases, action sequences, live sports games and PlayStation or Xbox games.
Multiple USB and HDMI inputs were also included and the ability to connect to a Wi-Fi network changed the ordinary TV into a smart TV. Today’s TVs are able to connect to the Internet, and one can download additional apps and games. Other additions, like Chromecast, allow smartphones to connect to the TVs.
All these features can be found in the recently introduced TCL 43” P635. What it lacks in size it makes up technologically.
Firstly, it offers a borderless design with a width of 95,8cm, a depth of 25,1cm with the stand and 5cm without, and a height of 61 cm. It weighs a mere 6,5kg, meaning that one person can easily take it out of the box, screw on the legs and perch it on almost any trestle or tabletop without worrying about it crashing to the floor.
The TV is fully Google-integrated, which means one can search YouTube and download additional applications. It also supports OK Google for voice control and is compatible with Amazon’s Alexa.
It is not shy on the hardware side of things either. It offers a LED 4K display with a resolution at 3840 x 2160 pixels, Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity, and 2 smart TV speakers each pushing out 24-watts.
The display doesn’t disappoint, thanks to the TCL second generation AiPQ processor, which allows for realtime audio visual optimisation with a 178 -degree viewing angle. The TCL’s display is powered by a G31 MP GPU running at 800MHz along with a quad-core 32-bit A55 CPU running at 1.3GHz.
Built into the TV is 2GB of Ram, 16GB of storage space for additional application downloads. This space is also used for the TV’s time shift feature and for recording TV shows and sports games.
- 1 USB port
- 2 HDMI port
- 1 RF port
- Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity
While I had the TCL 43” P635 on loan I was completing a project that required me to fill in hundreds of cells on an Excel spreadsheet. I started off using my 15” notebook display, which not only strained my eyes but forced me to continuously scroll between rows and columns.
TCL came to my rescue when I connected the P635 via HDMI, and what a difference it made. I no longer had to hide rows or columns as I went along and didn’t have to squint my eyes to make sure everything was correctly spelt and formatted.
I also loved the Google integration. When I needed a break, I could switch inputs and watch a few YouTube videos or stream some music.
The TCL 43” P635 retails for around R5,000, which is competitively priced, considering that this is about R1,000 less than better -known TVs which offer similar functionality.