The TCL 32S3700 is an entry-level television that offers Roku TV features for those on a string budget. It does make a few compromises here-and-there on picture quality, but it does give value for the dollar where it matters.
Roku TV platform offers plenty of apps and servicesA superb, simple user-interfaceLess expensive than the competition
Let’s face it: the TCL 32S3700 is an entry-level TV; and it remains that way. No extraordinary dimming. No high refresh rates. No fancy 3D either. In the FS3800 Series, all the other models use 1080p-resolution LCD except for the 32-inch TCL 32S3800 and TCL 32S3700 (maybe the missing ‘F’ means Full HD), which uses a 720p (1,366×768) panel. All sets in the series use direct/full-array backlighting.
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Also, the 32-inch model is the only one that uses 60Hz refresh rate specifications, while its larger siblings in the same series use 120Hz Clear Motion Index. While they too have 60Hz panels, TCL claims that the higher refresh rate is due to backlight scanning. Ideally, the “120Hz” TCL models fall short of smoothing and they actually deliver the same motion resolution as the standard 60Hz TVs.
The TV behaves like a typical Roku box, and that’s something that will make many of us happy. Although not snappy as the Roku 2 or Roku 3, it is easy to navigate and launch apps. It is sleeker and more intuitive than most smart TV, such as Samsung and Vizio models. Yes, they are more connected and sleeker but, the Roku TV interface allowed me to get what I wanted –like I know it– streaming videos and TV shows; with little effort. And that is a good thing.
If you’ve been awed by the headphone-jack-on-remote and voice search of the Roku 3, you’ll be disappointed here as the TV set drops those features. Instead, you have a headphone output on the TV itself.
On the downside, the TCL 32S3700’s out-of-the box color accuracy is wanting, but for an entry-level TV set it isn’t much of a deal-breaker. Its other sibling, TCL 40FS3800 delivered excellent color accuracy that we’ve not seen before in a budget television. Still, the Vizio E Series remain my pick for stellar picture quality and excellent contrast.
Input lag (time between display receiving signal and updating screen) isn’t bad at 29.3 milliseconds, which is quite good for a television set. Changing the mode, for instance into Game mode, will give you a reduced input lag but it eats on the general picture quality. Not a worthy trade-off.
Connectivity options include: three HDMI ports, antenna/cable connector, headphone jack, and power connector located near the left side of the screen, facing down. On the left are a composite video input, optical audio output, and USB port. An Ethernet port is missing so you’re have to do with the built-in Wi-Fi card. For accessibility, it would been better to swap the positioning of the composite and HDMI ports since most of us find left facing ports more easily accessible.
Viewed under normal conditions, the 32-inch TCL 32S3700 will consume 28 watts of power. Adjusted for viewing in Low Power mode, it shaves the consumption down to a mere 24 watts, but the screen gets slightly dimmed in the process. This is quite good for an HDTV, but factoring its size and low-resolution panel, it isn’t surprising. The 40-inch TCL 40FS3800 with a 1080p panel consumes 63 watts under normal conditions, but in Eco Save mode the consumption is scaled to 51 watts.
For those in the market for a television, but on lean budget, the TCL 32S3700 might look appealing, and it’s indeed a recommendable choice. However, for the affordable price you make few tradeoffs such as a not-so-good picture, since, its slightly bigger sibling – TCL 40FS3800 – offers 1080p resolutions and superior color accuracy affordably. That said, the 32-inch VIZIO E32-C1 remains our best bet for the budget television category. It maintains the same Roku TV features, but gets smarter in way of a 1080p resolution, and offers better contrast and surprisingly good color accuracy.