TCL 55-Inch 6-Series 4K Google TV 55R646
TCL has consistently impressed us with its 6-Series TVs, which offer strong performance at reasonable prices. These TVs have all exclusively run on the Roku TV platform, which is an accessible and simple interface, but not the most feature-heavy one. Now TCL offers an alternative in the form of its Google TV 4K 6-Series TVs. They’re priced around same as the Roku TV 4K 6-Series models—the 55-inch 55R646 we tested retails for $949.99—and offer strong app and service support, Google Cast screen mirroring, and hands-free Google Assistant (though they give up the Apple AirPlay support included in Roku TV). And they seem to pack a few engineering improvements over the Roku models, with stronger contrast performance and lower input lag. The Hisense U8G series is brighter, but otherwise, TCL’s Google TV 6-Series packs the same excellent features for about the same price, earning our Editors’ Choice award alongside the Hisense model.
TCL 55-Inch 6-Series 4K Google TV 55R646
PROS Excellent contrast and color performance. Google TV with Google Cast and hands-free Google Assistant. Low input lag.
CONS No AMD FreeSync or Nvidia G-Sync. No Apple AirPlay.
BOTTOM LINE The TCL 4K 6-Series with Google TV offers more features and better performance than the Roku-based 6-Series, and all you’re giving up is Apple AirPlay.
STYLISH AND STREAMLINED
Physically, the Google-based 55R646 is nearly identical to the Roku-based55R635. The screen is framed by the same thin band of brushed metal that runs along the sides and top, with the same strip along the bottom edge that holds a chrome TCL logo in the middle. It also sits on very similar V-shaped gunmetal legs, although they’re slightly lower and have prominent rubber feet. The big indication that this is the Google TV model and not the Roku model is the rectangular, dark-gray, fabric-covered protrusion that sits on the underside of the TV. This is the far-field mic array, which provides hands-free access to Google Assistant.
The power cable plugs into the left side of the back of the TV. All other connectors sit on the right side, facing right. They include four HDMI ports (two 4K120, one eARC), two USB ports, a 3.5mm composite video input, a 3.5mm headphone jack, an optical audio output, an Ethernet port, and an antenna/cable connector. Below the ports sits a combination power/input button and a switch to turn off the far-field microphone.
The remote is a long, thin, rectangular black wand with pleasantly rounded edges. A large, circular, gray navigation pad is placed near the top, with power, settings, and Google Assistant buttons above it, along with a pinhole microphone. Menu buttons sit below the pad, with dedicated app buttons for Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, TCL Channel, and YouTube below them. The right edge of the remote holds a volume rocker and mute button.
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