If you are reading this TCL 32ES568 review, it’s more than likely you are on the hunt for a small, cheap TV. Best used in a bedroom or kitchen, this modestly priced 32-inch set certainly ticks those boxes, so is it worth adding to your shortlist?
TCL is a well-known TV brand globally, even if it's relatively new to the European markets. Providing a whole range of sizes and resolutions at affordable prices, you may be better off considering one of their sets over pricier, better-known manufacturers like Samsung or Philips.
But at less than £200, will you be making big compromises on quality? Find out in this TCL 32ES568 review.
TCL 32ES568 review: price and features
Available to buy now from UK retailers like Amazon, Box and AO, the TCL 32ES568 starts at £182, be sure to check the widgets for more up-to-date pricing. I got my hands on the 32-inch model, there’s also a 40-inch version.
A lightweight, slim 720p TV with HDR10 support, this option from TCL won’t wow you with specs yet does promise a bright, vibrant TV at an affordable price. It also has Micro-Dimming which analyses the on-screen content in hundreds of separate zones to automatically adjust the contrast.
There’s no HDR10+ support or Dolby Vision and the audio is limited to Dolby Digital Plus but it does offer a whole host of smart features using Android TV, including Chromecast and the Google Assistant.
To hook up your speakers or streaming and gaming devices to it, there are two HDMIs, it's worth knowing that neither is ARC-enabled so you won't be able to connect an HDMI soundbar to this TV. Other connectivity includes a terrestrial RF input, a Scart socket, ethernet port, USB input, digital optical and 3.5mm analogue outputs. There’s Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity too.
TCL 32ES568 review: picture quality
The TCL 32ES568 gives you a few different ways to customise the picture quality. Firstly, there are a number of picture presets, like Standard, Movie, Smart HDR (to improve contrast and details), Sport, Game and PC as well as Dynamic (to enhance the colour and contrast). I found myself sticking to the Standard or Dynamic modes, as they seemed to give the most consistent image quality across different types of content. On the same settings page, there are also options to adjust the brightness, saturation, clarity and motion. I had the brightness dialled up all the way when I was using it as it didn’t reach particularly high levels.
The panel itself had its upsides and it had its downsides. Blacks look deep and dark - the bars across the top and bottom of films weren’t greyed out, even in a dark room. It also handled contrast between light and dark areas well, perhaps because of the Micro-Dimming screen tech. Watching HDR content from YouTube and Netflix, the TV’s ability to enhance the blacks and whites was particularly evident, I wasn’t missing out on any detail because of poor contrast. You also get a very consistent view no matter where you stand in the room.
On the flip side, sometimes the picture quality wasn’t as smooth or sharp as on more expensive sets. This LED TV also didn’t quite have the striking colours you’d find on a QLED TV, for example. What are meant to be bright colours, like the red of the Netflix logo, came across dull and faded. In terms of overall image quality, the TCL 32ES568 is very much in line with its price tag.
TCL 32ES568 review: sound quality
While the TCL 32ES568 does have a decent volume range, one area that this TV set does fall down in is sound quality. The two 5W down-firing speakers are a far cry from the impressive soundbar-quality audio of the most expensive sets you can buy. Most noticeable in music and film, the audio often comes out sounding a little tinny and distorted. You don’t get rich, booming sound here. If you were to go for this TV, I would recommend connecting it to your own audio system or speaker. Unless you plan to use it as a casual bedroom TV, then you may not feel the need.
Several different sound modes are located on the main menu, there’s a mode for everything - including Standard, Movie, Music, Voice, Game, Dynamic and Sport. You can definitely tell the difference as you switch between them. For instance, the movie mode increases the bass giving you more power in those dramatic moments, while the Voice mode focuses the audio onto speech making it sound much clearer. Even after choosing the most appropriate sound mode, there wasn’t much improvement in the actual quality of the sound though.
TCL 32ES568 review: design and usability
Easy to set up after taking it out of the box, you just need to secure the stands with four screws. Or, it’s wall-mountable. The TCL 32ES568 weighs just 4kg with the stand attached, so I was easily able to lift it out of the box and change its position accordingly. Measuring 73.2 x 48 x 17.5cm, it’s compact and will be perfect for a small living room or bedroom. Naturally, with this price tag, it doesn’t feel as solid as a more premium TV set, the stands especially feel a little on the flimsy side.
Design-wise, the bezels are slim and the TV has a smart black plastic casing. On the bottom of the frame is the TCL logo in a silver rectangular box, and an LED light below that to let you know when the TV is on. It comes with an easy-to-use long black remote with quick access to Netflix. I found the remote was always responsive and intuitive, even if I didn’t understand why it needed to be so long. To switch between sound and picture modes, you needed to be on the TV source option, slightly annoying if you spend most of your time using the smart features or use your own HDMI streaming device. By default, it will only change the picture mode on the TV input, so you’ll have to be sure to change that setting allowing it on all sources.
To make the most of all the TCL 32ES568 has to offer you’ll need to hook it up to Google’s ecosystem. Connecting to the internet and logging into your accounts is a breeze, it can all be done through the Google Home app on your smartphone. Android TV has the Google Assistant built-in and it’s voice search ready, but given that neither the TV nor the remote has a microphone built-in, you won’t be able to make use of those features without a separate smart speaker or the Google Assistant on your phone.
When you come to use Android TV, like any Android device, the layout is very self-explanatory and I was quickly able to find my way around it. Some apps come pre-installed like YouTube, Disney+ and Netflix, while the Google Play store offers tons of other apps and games to choose from as well. Some streaming apps aren’t available on Android TV like Britbox, All 4 and BBC iPlayer. But despite not having a dedicated app, you’ll still be able to watch shows and movies from those services because the TCL 32ES568 has Chromecast built-in, allowing you to wirelessly project content from your phone onto the TV.
TCL 32ES568 review: verdict
To summarise this TCL 32ES568 review: if you are on the hunt for a small TV that won’t break the bank, and you are willing to compromise slightly on both image and sound quality, this could be a great choice for you.
You’ll get all the benefits of Android TV, Chromecast and the Google Assistant without needing to hook up a separate streaming device. Simple and slim, it won’t take over the room and should be able to fit just about anywhere.
TCL 32ES568 review: also consider
For another budget smart TV, take a look at the Hisense 32A5600FTUK. Slightly more expensive, you'll get a much more well-rounded set when it comes to quality. Or, if you're after something slightly bigger without spending much more, the TCL EP658 (43EP658) featured in T3's guide to the best 43-inch TVs.
Looking for other cheap TVs to add to your shortlist? These are the best 4K TVs under £500.
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