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TCL LE48FHDF3310TA LED TV Review

48 in.

No crowning jewel for your at-home theater

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Behind the Screens

We can't transport you into the lab in body, but we can share our findings—which is why we have the Science Page. The LE48FHDF3310TA got off to the right start: Its contrast is healthy as a lark and it produces accurate colors. But after that, the wheels fall off.

From viewing angle, to shaky motion, to color processing errors, this TCL just can't keep its head above water.

Contrast

This TCL turns to the dark side—and that's a good thing.

When we discuss contrast ratio, we're talking about a TV's dynamic range—how dark and how bright it gets. By dividing a panel's peak brightness by its minimum luminance, we determine this ratio. The LE48FHDF3310TA didn't choke here: We measured a total contrast ratio of 4279:1.

TCL_LE48FHDF3310TA_contrast.jpg
In terms of contrast ratio, the LE48FHDF3310TA keeps up with the competition.

Its important to look further, though. Many budget TVs skimp on the most important end of the scale—the dark side—but not this TCL. We gathered readings of 286.70 cd/m2 (peak bright) and 0.067 cd/m2 (minimum luminance). With readings like these, not only is this TV now equipped to deliver areas of highlight and shadow with lifelike detail, but it can also perform well in both dark and sunny settings.

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Color

Here comes (color) trouble.

When it comes to color performance, we break it down into three aspects. I'll start with gamut, which is a visual representation of how closely a television adheres to the Rec. 709 international HD color standard. Are the TV's reds too red? Are greens faded? In this case, reds and greens are a bit undersaturated, blues are overemphasized, and the white point is off target. In other words, red and green are the wrong hue (they should be a bit more intense); blue looks unnaturally vibrant; areas of white have an unpleasant blue tinge. Yet at the end of the day, this color gamut is fairly satisfactory. We've seen far worse in this price range.

TCL_LE48FHDF3310TA_gamut.jpg
White red, blue, and green aren't perfect, colors are still somewhat accurate on the whole. White point is decidedly off the mark.

The next aspect of performance is that of color temperature, which is an assessment of a TV's light source. In a perfect world, a TV would have the same temperature in Kelvins throughout its entire greyscale, from dark to light. This TCL does nothing of the sort, producing temperature errors that pollute its entire grayscale with a blue tint.

TCL_LE48FHDF3310_temp.jpg
Temperature errors produce an unwanted blue tinge across the LEFHDF3310TA's entire spectrum.

The final area of color performance is one that the LE48FHDF3310TA really struggled with: color curves. These curves describe how skillfully a TV segues from one hue to the next. Time in the lab produced unhappy findings: This panel's curves are jumpy and incongruous. To give a practical example of how these troubles manifest on screen, transitions from dark blue to light blue lack detail, producing blocky, ugly textures instead of polished pictures.

TCL_LE48FHDF3310TA_curves.jpg
The LE48FHDF3310TA's curves betray rough transitions from hue-to-hue.

Viewing Angle

View from the middle

Testing moved further downhill with the viewing angle test. As with most LCD televisions, this TCL doesn't look so hot from the side.

TCL_LE48FHDF3310TA_viewing.jpg
As with many LCD televisions, the LE48FHDF3310TA has a very poor viewing angle.

We measured a total viewing angle of 25°—or ±13° from either side. That armrest is comfortable, sure, but it also decreases this TV's contrast by upwards of 50%. I'd sit front and center, for this one.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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