Well, maybe not for the small money after all. But really good value. Here’s the thing, our homes are getting smarter and more connected, just like many other areas of our lives. See, home internet is more available now than ever. Home delivery of fiber optics is a booming business in many suburbs, hence the drive to take advantage of it.
Smart bulbs, smart appliances, etc. are great, but perhaps the most noticeable smart “thing” in the home is the TV, which is the home’s entertainment hub.
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The TCL P725 is a very durable smart TV that punches well above its weight, and in this post, I’m going to take you through reviewing this product after using it for the better part of the past two weeks.
The P725 comes in two variants, a 55-inch model and a 43-inch model with 4K resolution although there is a cheaper 43-inch model with 1080p resolution in different markets. (Note: Get the 4K model, thank me later).
look and feel
The P725 is a fairly good looking TV. It comes with slim bezels throughout with a small, fabric-lined chin that houses LED indicators along with the remote receiver.
There is no doubt that the spacious 43-inch panel with 4K resolution commands attention, no matter how busy your home setup is. The TV stands on two V-shaped holders that are screwed from the bottom using the provided fasteners, providing a fairly stable placement.
The panel is thin enough for any modern TV, but this shouldn’t be a problem as these devices tend to stay fixed to walls for most of their lives.
I / O
This TV is fairly modern and, as such, comes with enough ports for almost all of your connectivity needs. Perhaps the one that kicked me out was the lack of old school RCA cables to connect set-top boxes to TV. They’re still there, just squeezed into the 3.5mm jack and there’s an adapter in the box.
Other I/O is fairly standard and includes:
- 2 USB Type B
- 1 Ethernet port for your wired internet connections
- 2 HDMI ports, one of which supports ARC
- digital tv antenna port
- optical sound
- Condenser AV port in 3.5mm port
- 3.5 mm audio jack
There is also a microphone switch next to the power button. This physical switch ensures that the TV is not actively listening to you or listening for the phrase “Turn on Google Assistant.” This is a neat little addition for the privacy-conscious user in the age of monitoring and data collection.
In terms of connectivity, the TCL P725 supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi. Since the TV and router were in the same room, I found it easier to connect it to the 5GHz band and let all the other devices compete on the 2.4GHz band. The connection was strong and rarely dropped unless I was experiencing an internet outage at the ISP level.
The TV also supports Bluetooth 5.0 and this allows one to connect peripherals such as supported home theaters, Bluetooth speakers or even earphones for those quiet nights so as not to disturb others in the house.
4K in all its glory
Now I have to admit, other than online stores and company demo events, I didn’t have a 4K screen in my space and this was a great experience. A 43-inch 4K TV with HDR and Dolby Vision means you get crisp images on supported platforms and content.
Watching HDR10 content on Netflix in a dimly lit room at full resolution was fun with crisp, unblinding detail. Of course, if you’re on pixels, you can still create individual pixels but at normal viewing distances, this screen is pretty flattering.
My colleagues tell me that LG and Samsung quantum dot displays offer a richer experience, but these TVs cost twice as much as this unit, so I have absolutely no complaints.
I really wasn’t expecting amazing bass from this TV especially when I see the thickness of the thin product. Of course, you shouldn’t expect earth-shaking sound for your TV speakers, which is why Soundbars are such a hot product category today.
The P725 comes with 24W 2-unit channels. It also supports Dolby Atmos, Dolby Audio, and DTS HD. This is all good but what does it actually look like? Well, frustrating to be honest. For the occasional Spotify session and watching TV, it does the job and does it well.
If you are expecting an immersive experience while watching a movie, it will not live up to your expectations. At lower volumes, the speakers are not very audible. Medium sizes are OK but this falls apart quickly at large with a lot of distortion.
Android TV 11
Android TV is arguably the best smart TV experience available here today. This unit comes with the latest version, Android TV 11. The main screen is very similar to other Android TV products from Xiaomi such as Mi Box S. This means that it is easy to use and the learning curve is very smooth.
It comes with some TCL apps pre-installed but these can be uninstalled from the settings or hidden from the launcher. Speaking of players, I enjoyed using the Google TV player on this TV although it lags from time to time while I had a bunch of apps running in the background.
Google Assistant learns new tricks every day and is very useful today. TCL P725 supports Google Assistant’ hot wordsok google!‘ And ‘Hello google!And the truck is insanely good. Even from across the room and with the audio turned on at a relatively high volume, the P725 was able to pick up my voice and stop whatever was playing to listen for my commands.
Of course, the assistant might miss your commands once or twice, but in my experience, it wasn’t too far off from a missed command when using the assistant on my phone or earbuds.
I’m not sure why you would want to use Google Duo on TV but I can think of some cases where this might be useful. Connect an external webcam via any of the available USB ports and your TV will be able to make video calls with ease.
Google Duo is Google’s version of Skype and comes pre-installed on many modern Android phones while also available on the Play Store and Apple App Store. Install this app on TCL P725 from Play Store and it is linked to the linked Google account.
I was able to make calls with ease and the audio reception on the other end of the call was surprisingly good. It’s clear that TCL has done some good work with these TV microphones.
Pricing and availability
The TCL P725 is available in Kenya via various online and offline stores starting at Ksh 37,500 ($323.83) for the 43-inch 1080p variant. The 4K version of 43″ will run you around 43,000 Kenyan shillings ($371.33) while 50 will get you involved with about 58,000 Kenyan shillings. ($500.86 USD)
If that’s not available in your area, TCL has a range of TVs with similar specs in roughly the same price range and we’ve looked at some of those offerings.
These are very fair prices when looking at the specs you get for your money compared to other offerings from brands like Samsung, Sony and LG. You might also want to check out the TCL C8 we reviewed not too long ago.