Whenever I search online, “What’s the best budget TV brand?”
Two brands stand out:
Hisense and TCL.
And, looking through their catalogs, I can confidently say they’re both excellent.
But, which one is good enough?
Stay tuned to find out.
Keep reading to discover:
- 7 key differences between Hisense and TCL.
- What separates TCL and Hisense in terms of design and durability.
- Which streaming apps you can get on TCL aren’t available on Hisense.
- A comprehensive discussion between Hisense and TCL’s respective picture qualities.
- And so much more…
Which is better, TCL or Hisense?
TCL is better than Hisense. Not only are they cheaper, but they also have better software, features, and durability. But they’re tied with Hisense when it comes to picture and sound quality. Meanwhile, Hisense is only better when it comes to port availability.
Hisense vs TCL: 7 biggest differences
First, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.
The price tag.
We all want to minimize our expenses, don’t we?
After all, that’s why you’re looking into budget brands instead of established ones like Sony, LG, Vizio, etc…
So, which is cheaper? Hisense or TCL?
To know for sure, let’s examine their cheapest comparable models.
And that’s TCL 55” 4K UHD 55S21 and the Hisense 55” R7G5 UHD.
|TCL 55S21||Hisense R7G5|
|$228 (on TCL website)||$309.99 (on Costco)|
|4K Ultra HD Resolution||4K Ultra HD Resolution|
|With High Dynamic Range (HDR) Technology||With High Dynamic Range (HDR) Technology|
|60 Hz||120 Hz|
|Roku OS||Roku OS|
As you can see, I’ve chosen 2 TVs from their respective line-ups with the most similar specs.
You’ll also see that TCLs are significantly cheaper than a Hisense.
And no, this isn’t an isolated case…
All TCL counterparts of Hisense TVs are cheaper.
To that, as far as price goes, TCL takes the cake.
#2: Picture quality
Now that the price is out of the way…
Let’s tackle which has the better picture quality.
After all, televisions are for watching…
It only makes sense that you want whichever one has the better display.
So, let’s dive in.
UHD and HDR
UHD and HDR mean “Ultra High Definition” and “High Dynamic Range,” respectively.
When you say a TV has a UHD display, it’s 4K-capable.
They have 3840 x 2160 pixels on the screen.
On the other hand, HDR tackles the range of color your TV can produce…
But it’s not the best.
There are also HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, both of which can produce more color than normal HDR.
All lower-end Hisense and TCL TVs all have UHD and HDR. And their high-end TVs also have HDR10+ and Dolby Vision.
So, as far as UHD and HDR?
Both of these are tied.
If HDR is responsible for the color range of a TV…
Local Dimming is then responsible for the contrast.
How does it work exactly?
It’s actually pretty cool…
You see, when you watch a movie, some parts of a scene are dark while others are bright.
What Local Dimming does is, instead of raising the contact of the entire screen…
It only raises the contrast of the dark parts of the current picture.
Now, both Hisense and TCL have Local Dimming.
However, TCL has the best Local Dimming among all budget TV brands.
Moreover, TCL TVs also provide this feature even for their cheapest models.
Televisions are for sharing…
That’s why it’s important that everyone watching has a good viewing angle.
For this, Hisense takes the win. Why?
TCL doesn’t really give out numbers regarding their viewing figures but…
It’s hard to argue when Hisense promises a minimum of 178° viewing angle.
Look, I’ll be the first to say…
Neither of these has the best reputation when it comes to brightness.
Even at maximum levels…
They’re just not it.
But the worse offender between the 2?
In fact, most reviews from Hisense TV users concern its brightness.
So, if your living room has a lot of sunlight coming into it…
Maybe try a different brand.
Picture quality is a tough category to gauge…
I believe that both of these brands are tied for this one.
You may also be interested in: Is Hisense A Good TV Brand?
#3: Sound quality
To ensure a great watching experience, there are 2 things to consider…
The first is the picture quality, which we’ve already talked about.
And the second is sound.
However, temper your expectations.
Neither of these brands produces great sound.
It’s just the reality for budget TVs.
They have to cut corners to justify their price.
But both of them still have audio that’s:
- Crisp and clear.
So, as far audio goes…
Both of these brands are, once again, tied.
Because of their software, smart TVs are a big step up from the previous generation of TVs..
After all, we can now enjoy streaming apps using other devices.
That’s why it’s important to assess which of these 2 brands has the better software.
And TCL runs on either Roku OS or Android OS.
These 2 operating systems are perhaps the most trusted in the entire TV business.
Not only are they reliable, but they’re also:
- Rich in apps.
- Frequently updated.
- Backed by a wide community of users.
Meanwhile, Hisense TVs bought anywhere except in the USA run on VIDAA.
To give credit where credit’s due…
VIDAA’s actually fast and has a lot of features.
But they don’t offer a lot of apps outside of Netflix, YouTube, and Prime Video.
That means you won’t have:
- Apple TV.
- Disney Plus.
And many, many more.
My two cents? TCL wins the software category easily.
Since we’re talking about software…
Let’s also discuss which of these TVs has better features.
This is a tad hard to quantify.
Because there’s no universal smart platform that these TVs run on.
Some of them run Roku. Some run Android. Some run VIDAA…
But I’m inclined to give this to TCL.
It can run Roku OS, which is the best software for features. (In my opinion, of course.)
Not only does Roku have classic features like:
- Sleep timers.
- Voice assistants.
- Advanced motion blurring.
They’re also still innovating to this day.
In fact, last March 22, they just unveiled Roku OS 11.
And, with it comes new features like:
- Photo streams.
- Voice keyboard.
- More sound modes.
- Expanded content discovery.
Don’t believe me?
Here. Watch this video going through the amazing features of Roku OS 11.
#6: Durability and design
The other day, I was looking for a new TV for my bedroom.
So I happened upon the TV aisle…
And do you know what I noticed?
They all look the same.
No matter the price tag, every TV has the same looks nowadays.
Thin bezels, dark sides, metallic alloy body…
In fact, without the brand logo, I wouldn’t have been able to tell each one apart.
This is especially true for budget TV brands, including Hisense and TCL.
TCL has better quality plastics and sturdier stands.
What do you use your TVs for?
Me? Besides watching, I mainly play games with it.
That’s why it’s important to me that I have as many ports available as possible.
And this is also where Hisense triumphs over TCL.
First, because of the abundance of their ports…
And second, because they still have old ports like the Composite In and Out.
I know that it’s not useful nowadays…
But it’s still handy whenever I want to play with my old consoles like the PS2 or GameCube.