Gadget news
TCL 50 SE and 50 5G hands-on review
11:11 am | February 26, 2024

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TCL decided to bring its new entry-level TCL 50 SE and 50 5G to MWC 2024 and offer a bit more detail on the two devices. Both of these phones have an MSRP of € 149, so adjust your expectations accordingly. We spent some time with both models, but since their design and build are so similar, most of our early hands-on impressions will apply to both. You can distinguish between the two devices by color. The TCL 50 SE unit we were allotted is in gray, while its TCL 50 5G sibling is blue. Let's start with the TCL 50 SE. It is technically the "higher-end" of the two phones, depending...

TCL details 50 SE and 50 5G smartphones, announces new TWS earbuds
10:31 am |

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It's a busy one for TCL at this year's MWC 2024, as the company showcased the remainder of its 50 series. The TCL 50 SE and the TCL 50 5G are new entry-level smartphones, aiming to deliver solid experience to those on a budget. The 50 SE is built around a large 6.78-inch IPS LCD panel with FHD+ resolution, ticking at 90 Hz. The MediaTek Helio G88 chip is running the show paired with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage in the base version or with 6GB RAM and 256GB storage. You can add more storage via microSD cards of up to 2TB. There are two cameras on the back - 50MP...

TCL 505 announced with 90Hz NxtVision display and Helio G35 chipset
8:14 pm | February 6, 2024

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TCL tends to announce a plethora of new phones at CES - point in case the 7-member TCL 50 series which debuted back in January. However the company isn't stopping there as it listed the TCL 505 on its website. The phone features a familiar design in line with the rest of the 50-series devices. TCL 505 is built around a 6.75-inch IPS LCD with HD+ resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate. The panel also features TCL’s NxtVision reflection-free coating which filters blue light and maxes out at 400 nits of brightness. The phone is equipped with a Helio G35 chipset paired with 4GB RAM and...

TCL announces NXTPAPER 3.0 display tech
5:04 pm | January 9, 2024

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TCL unveiled its NXTPAPER tech in 2021, and at the ongoing CES 2024 in Las Vegas, the brand announced NXTPAPER 3.0. TCL says it's optimized for humans and has several enhancements and features designed to promote visual health. The brand also said that NXTPAPER filtered harmful blue light by up to 61% while retaining sharp images, deep contrast, vibrant colors, and natural motion. NXTPAPER 3.0 continues offering these benefits and features "optimized for the senses of sight and touch." That's achieved by incorporating the Circularly Polarized Light (CPL) screen, which simulates the...

TCL brings 7-strong 50 series of smartphones, including two with NxtPaper displays
12:53 pm |

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TCL introduced its new 50 series of smartphones today at CES 2024 in Las Vegas. The lineup consists of seven devices, five of them heading to the US market. Two of those will come with Nxtpaper display, which we already saw in the TCL 40 Nxtpaper 5G. The company did not reveal the full specs sheets of the devices, only a limited set of features, but it did confirm they will all have dual speakers. Here's the full list of TCL 50 series phone that will hit the market this year: TCL 50 SE TCL 50 5G TCL 50 XE 5G TCL 50 XE NxtPaper 5G TCL 50 XL 5G TCL 50 XL NxtPaper 5G ...

TCL announces NxtPaper 14 Pro and Tab 10 NxtPaper 5G tablets
12:00 pm |

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TCL likes to unveil at least a few new tablets at CES and this year we got the NxtPaper 14 Pro and Tab 10 NxtPaper 5G. Both tablets feature NxtPaper 3.0 displays, which gain a new polarizing filter and updated DC dimming for a more natural reading experience and less eye strain. NxtPaper 14 Pro NxtPaper 14 Pro features a 14-inch IPS LCD with 2,880 x 1,800px resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. Being a NxtPaper panel, it still features a mate texture but it now gets updated to 700 nits peak brightness. The screen boasts a 16:10 aspect ratio and TCL also added a dedicated NxtPaper button...

TCL 40 NxtPaper 5G unboxing
5:43 am | November 26, 2023

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TCL unveiled its NxtPaper 2.0 technology early in 2023, which is a panel with a special coating that gives the device a paper-like feeling. One of the first phones with it is the TCL 40 NxtPaper 5G, and we finally have a unit with us. The phone is an affordable device with two key features – first is obviously the screen, the other is the next-gen connectivity, achieved with a Dimensity 6020 chipset. The display itself has a 6.6” diagonal and HD+ resolution, but it's the unique properties of the paper-like finish that set it apart. Other specs include a 5,000 mAh battery with 15W...

TCL unveils its first NxtPaper phones with eye-care technology, including 4G and 5G versions
3:47 pm | August 29, 2023

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Worried that the digital displays that we use all day put extra stress on our eyes, TCL unveiled its NxtPaper display technology a couple of years ago. It focuses on eye comfort and reducing glare (as a side bonus it's resistant to fingerprints too), while maintaining vibrant colors. Earlier this year the company launched version 2.0 of the technology, but there are still only a few products with it – three tablets and one convertible laptop. Now the company is ready to bring NxtPaper to the smartphone market. Two phones, in fact. TCL 40 NxtPaper The TCL 40 NxtPaper has a 6.78” LCD...

Samsung QN90C TV review: a bright mini-LED TV that looks good from any angle
6:00 pm | June 24, 2023

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Editor's Note

• Original review date: June 2023
• Samsung S95D due for release spring 2024
• Launch price: From $2,499 / £2,399 / AU$3,999 (55-inch)
• Target price: From $1,699 / £1,499 (55-inch)

Update: February 2024. The Samsung QN90C offers an elite, mini-LED experience that gives stunning brightness without sacrificing contrast. With its anti-reflection coating and excellent motion handling, the QN90C is ideal for daytime sports viewing, which is why it's our best TV for sports. There’s plenty of cheaper mini-LED competition at this point, such as the impressively bright Hisense U8K, but the QN90C has a wider range of sizes, stronger overall picture quality and the flexibility of four HDMI 2.1 ports – and during Black Friday, the 55-inch Samsung QN90C dropped as low as $1,199 / £999, and we expect it will hit close to those kinds of prices again before it goes off sale, making it still a great choice today. Especially because we don’t expect its successor, the Samsung QN90D, to be that much of a drastic upgrade. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Samsung QN90C TV: two-minute review

Samsung’s QN90C series TVs are the step-down offering in the company’s 2023 Neo QLED lineup. Neo QLED TVs feature a mini-LED backlight, which allows the set to deliver high brightness along with generally more refined local dimming than what you’ll get with a standard QLED model that uses a regular LED backlight.

For the QN90C, mini-LED backlighting lets it deliver peak light output approaching what Samsung’s flagship QN95C Neo QLED TVs are capable of, while also delivering the deep blacks that local dimming provides. And while the QN90C doesn’t quite hit the OLED-like heights of the QN95C when it comes to rendering the deepest shadows, its performance on that front is nonetheless impressive. Similar to other Samsung TVs, HDR support here extends to the HDR10+, HDR10, and HLG formats, but not Dolby Vision.

With its slim form factor, thin bezel and sturdy hexagonal plate stand, the QN90C has strong visual appeal and looks great when in Ambient Mode, which is a Samsung feature for displaying artwork and photos in a low-power mode. Its Tizen smart TV interface is somewhat more busy and complicated than what you’ll see on other 4K TVs, but it provides plenty of options to customize and extend its usability, particularly when it comes to smart home tech.

Gaming is a particularly strong point for Samsung Neo QLED TVs, and the QN90C offers up four 4K 120Hz-capable HDMI 2.1 ports for connecting next-gen game consoles. Its Gaming Hub greatly expands the possibilities for gamers with cloud-based services including Xbox, Nvidia GeForce Now, Amazon Luna, Utomik and more.

The QN90C has better than average audio performance for a TV, including an Object Tracking Sound Plus feature to enhance the directionality of effects in movie soundtracks. It also supports the company’s Q-Symphony feature, which lets you pair the TV with select Samsung soundbars for a more spacious and dynamic audio experience.

Samsung Neo QLED TVs tend to be pricey, and the QN90C is no exception. But you’ll be able to score one for a good deal less than the company’s flagship QN95C, and unless you’re an ardent videophile, the differences between the two won’t appear all that dramatic. There are definitely budget mini-LED alternatives from brands like TCL and Hisense that can be had for a lot less, but when it comes to features and design sophistication, they won’t be able to match the QN90C .

Samsung QN90C TV review: price and release date

  • Release date: February 21, 2023
  • QN43QN90: $1,119 / £1,399 / AU$1,999
  • QN50QN90: $1,319 / £1,499 / AU$2,499
  • QN55QN90: $1,519 / £1,899 / AU$2,999
  • QN65QN90: $2,299 / £2,699 / AU$3,999
  • QN75QN90: $2,599 / £3,799 / AU$5,299
  • QN85QN90: $3,999 / £5,199 / AU$6,799

The QN90C series sits between Samsung’s flagship QN95C and QN85C series, both of which are also mini-LED backlit QLED TVs. A main difference between the QN90C and the step-down QN85C appears to be less advanced built-in audio features in the latter, while the QN95C series has an ultra-slim, zero bezel 'Infinity One' design.

Make no mistake – these are all high-end LCD TVs, with elevated pricing to prove it. With screens ranging from 43 inches to 85 inches, there are plenty of QN90C size options to choose from based on space or budget, with the 65-inch model I tested priced just a few hundred below an LG C3 OLED TV in the same screen size.

Samsung QN90C TV review: Specs

Samsung QN90C back panel inputs

Back panel inputs include four side-mounted HDMI 2.1 ports (one with eARC), an optical digital output, and an antenna connection for the QN90C's ATSC 3.0 tuner. (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN90C TV review: features

  • Mini-LED backlight with local dimming
  • Native 4K with HDR10+ dynamic range
  • Gaming Hub for cloud gaming

Samsung’s QN90C series TVs use a QLED display panel and mini-LED backlight with full-array local dimming. A Neural Quantum Processor upscales regular HD images to 4K and a Neo Quantum HDR+ feature dynamically processes high dynamic range content. As with other Samsung TVs, HDR handling is limited to the HDR10+ format, with no Dolby Vision support. The QN90C also features an anti-glare screen coating, along with the company’s Ultra Viewing Angle tech to improve picture quality at far off-center seats.

Samsung’s own Tizen smart TV interface is used for streaming as well as home control via the Samsung SmartThings app. The company’s Bixby tech is also onboard for voice commands, and both Alexa and Google Assistant devices are supported. An ambient mode can be activated that shows a wide range of still and animated images when the TV is not in use, and you can both customize these and upload your own images for display.

The QN90C series sports Samsung’s NeoSlim Design, one that still allows room for a built-in 4.2.2-channel Dolby Atmos speaker system. Samsung’s Object Tracking Sound Plus processing helps to make sounds coming from the screen more natural and believable, and there’s also a Q-Symphony 3.0 feature that combines the TV’s audio output with a Samsung soundbar for an enhanced presentation.

Samsung’s Gaming Hub provides a central destination for gaming apps and settings, with cloud gaming services such as Xbox, Nvidia GeForce Now, Amazon Luna, Utomik, and more supported. You can set up a Bluetooth controller to use for cloud gaming and games with HDR10+ high dynamic range are supported.

All four of the TV’s HDMI 2.1 inputs support 4K 120Hz input from a PS5 or Xbox Series X game console. The set also has an RF antenna input, and when a digital TV antenna is connected, its built-in ATSC 3.0 tuner will tune NextGen digital stations in the US.

  • Features Score: 5/5  

Samsung QN90C showing birch trees in forest

One of the many digital art options available to display in Ambient Mode. (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN90C TV review: picture quality

  • High peak brightness
  • Deep blacks with detailed shadows 
  • Some backlight blooming

The 65-inch Samsung QN90C TV I tested delivered impressive peak HDR brightness, with the set measuring 1,787 nits (measured on a 10% white window test pattern) in its Movie picture mode. There is also a Filmmaker mode option, but that had lower brightness and was generally less accurate than Movie. In the TV’s Standard mode, peak brightness measured 1,219 nits. To give those numbers some context, Samsung’s flagship QN95C 4K mini-LED TV delivered 2,000 nits peak brightness in Movie mode when we tested it, and 2,240 nits in Standard mode.

The Samsung’s full-array local dimming backlight allows it to display 0 IRE full black, resulting in “infinite” contrast. It also did a very good job fleshing out shadow detail in dark scenes. Backlight “blooming” was evident, though, with light halos appearing around white-on-black movie titles and also pinpoints of light in the Starfield motion patterns from the Spears & Munsil Ultra HD HDR test Blu-ray. But these were minimal for the most part during regular viewing, though I did see some blooming in the transitions between bright sections of images and black letterbox bars on ultra-widescreen movies.

The color balance in the Movie picture mode’s default Warm color temperature setting was slightly blue-ish, with Delta E values at some brightness levels measuring in the 3-4 range (we typically look for these to dip below 3). Measurements made with Portrait’s Calman color calibration software also showed coverage of DCI-P3 (the color space used for mastering 4K Blu-rays and digital cinema releases) to be 93.3%, and BT.2020 to be 73.0%. These are just average results, with sets from budget brands like TCL and Hisense delivering equivalent performance.

Samsung’s anti-glare screen coating for the QN90C series proved effective at keeping screen reflections to a minimum. Between that and the TV’s high brightness, the QN90C will be a great option for daytime sports viewing. The company’s Ultra Viewing Angle tech also helped images retain contrast and color saturation when viewed at off-center seats – a performance aspect that gives the QN90C an advantage over budget LCD TVs, most of which start to look washed out when you move away from a center viewing position.

Starting my viewing tests out with the montage section of the Spears & Munsil Ultra HD Benchmark disc, the TV did a good job handling HDR images graded at a high brightness level. Picture detail was excellent and bright highlights had strong dynamic punch, though the backlight blooming artifacts I had seen earlier showed up on high-contrast images like a nighttime shot of a Ferris wheel.

Viewing a scene from the 2021 James Bond film No Time to Die that I use to test motion handling, a rocky hill Bond traverses as the camera tracks along looked both solid and detailed on the QN90C. Samsung TVs provide Picture Clarity settings with separate motion blur and judder adjustments that are very effective at reducing those picture effects, but in this case I found I didn’t even need to use them.

Viewing another reference scene on 4K Blu-ray, this one from Dune (2021), as Paul and his mother walk through a dark, misty space following an interrogation, the QN90C’s picture looked clean and crisp despite the grainy nature of the images. The set’s performance here was a big improvement over last year’s QN90B, which showed a high level of noise in this same scene when I did a hands-on test of it.

Black Mirror season 6 dropped on Netflix as I was testing the QN90C, and bingeing it gave me a good opportunity to watch shows produced in different styles. The high-tech sets of Joan is Awful and Beyond the Sea had a crisp, punchy look, with very good shadow detail and robust color. And scenes from Loch Henry and Beyond the Sea (again) that take place in rural environments came across with a range of subtle, natural hues. Skin tones looked accurate throughout, and there was a bright, engaging quality to the QN90C’s picture that made it a great delivery vehicle for Netflix’s satirical sci-fi series.

  • Picture quality score: 4.5/5

Samsung QN90C remote control held in hand

Samsung's battery-less remote control is powered by a solar cell located on its back. (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN90C TV review: sound quality

  • 4.2.2-channel Atmos speakers
  • Spacious sound at reasonable levels
  • Q-Symphony feature combines TV’s audio with soundbar

The QN90C has a built-in 4.2.2-channel Dolby Atmos speaker system that creates a believable sense of spaciousness with Atmos soundtracks. This effect is helped by the TV’s Object Tracking Sound Plus feature, which works to make sounds more directional and aligned with the onscreen action.

Of course, with a TV this thin, you’re not going to be hearing much in the way of bass, and movies with bass-heavy soundtracks didn’t sound particularly impressive when watched using the QN90C’s built-in speakers. Pushing the volume to a high level also caused the sound to compress, which resulted in the spacious presentation heard at a lower level to flatten out.

For most viewing using the TV’s speakers, I activated the Amplify audio setting, which made everything sound louder and clearer. QN90C series TVs also provide the company’s Q-Symphony feature, which lets you combine the set’s built-in audio with Samsung’s Q- and S-Series soundbars for an enhanced presentation.

  • Sound quality score: 4/5

Samsung QN90C stand close-up

The QN90C's sturdy stand provides firm support. (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN90C TV review: design

  • NeoSlim design
  • Center-mounted hexagonal plate stand
  • Solar-powered remote with built-in mic

The QN90C features Samsung’s NeoSlim design with an aluminum, center-mounted "hexagonal" plate stand. It’s a good look: the TV has a slender profile when viewed from the side, and the stand gives it a somewhat aerodynamic form while lending firm support.

Samsung’s slim design necessitates an equally slim side-mounted panel for the TV’s input section, which offers up 4 HDMI 2.1 ports, along with USB, optical digital audio, and RF antenna connections. I found it a bit difficult to plug in  some of my HDMI cables with thicker cables and connectors, but all hook-ups were ultimately made. 

The included remote control is a compact affair with small, non-backlit buttons that can be difficult to use in a dark room. Most navigation moves are carried out using a central trackpad and there’s a button up top to activate voice commands via its built-in mic. Unlike most other remote controls, Samsung’s doesn’t require a battery. Instead, it harvests power from a solar cell located on its backside, and can also draw power from your home’s broadband network if the solar cell is blocked.

  • Design score: 4.5/5

Samsung QN90C Smart TV interface

Streaming apps in the TV's smart interface occupy a horizontal row that can be fully customized. (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN90C TV review: smart TV & menus

  • Samsung Tizen interface
  • Bixby voice command, but works with Alexa and Google
  • Comprehensive, easy to navigate menus

Samsung’s Tizen smart TV interface is mostly easy to deal with, which is something I can’t say about all smart TV interfaces. A horizontal row of apps spans nearly the full screen width and you can add and remove apps, as well as edit the order they appear in (based on frequency of use, for example). Content recommendations and other windows are stashed below the central app row, where they can be browsed by scrolling down using the remote control or Samung’s Bixby voice assistant (Alexa and Google Assistant are also supported).

There are plenty of features to explore here, including the Samsung TV Plus free streaming TV portal, Ambient Mode settings and Samsung Gaming Hub for cloud-based gaming. Samsung’s Ambient Mode is particularly distinguished, with a wide array of tasteful designs available to display on the TV when it’s not in use. You can edit these to modify settings such as brightness and color balance, and you can also upload your own photos to display in Ambient Mode.

Switching input sources and picture settings is fairly easy. Selecting specific icons on the left side of the smart screen triggers a transparent row of input options and picture and sound settings. You can also select an “All Settings” option that will show a more traditional onscreen settings menu. Samsung doesn’t skimp on picture settings – you’ll find everything you need here to painstakingly tweak the TV’s picture, including separate adjustments for motion judder and blur.

  • Smart TV & menus score: 4.5/5

Samsung QN90C Gaming Hub interface

Samsung's Gaming Hub provides a central portal for cloud-based gaming and game settings.  (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN90C TV review: gaming

  • 4K 120Hz with VRR and FreeSync Premium
  • Low 9.8 ms input lag
  • Samsung Gaming Hub for cloud-based gaming

With a native 120Hz refresh rate and support for 4K 120Hz signal input on all four HDMI 2.1 ports along with VRR and FreeSync Premium, the QN90C series is well-suited for gaming with next-gen consoles. With Game mode active, I measured an impressively low 9.8ms input lag using a 4K meter, which is a better result than most TVs are capable of delivering.

Samsung’s Gaming Hub is the most comprehensive cloud gaming portal you’ll find on any TV, with apps including Xbox, Nvidia GeForce Now, Amazon Luna, Utomik, Anstream Arcade, and Blacknut. You can easily connect Bluetooth game controllers to the TV from within Gaming Hub, and the main screen displays your recently played games and game suggestions based on your history.

Pressing the Play/Pause remote button with the TV’s Game mode selected calls up a transparent game menu at the screen’s lower half. From here, you can make additional Game mode settings, as well as monitor things like resolution and frames per second.

  • Gaming score: 5/5

Samsung QN90C onscreen game menu overlay

Samsung's pop-up onscreen game menu. (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN90C TV review: value

  • Significantly cheaper than Samsung’s mini-LED flagship
  • Can buy budget mini-LED models for less
  • Good, not great value

At $2,299 / £2,699 / AU$3,999, the 65-inch QN90C represents a very good value when compared to Samsung’s step-up QN95C, which is priced $1,000 higher in the US. That model provides a more advanced mini-LED backlight and local dimming processing, however, which we found to effectively eliminate backlight blooming when we tested it – something that, along with even higher peak brightness, could make the QN95C worth the extra money for some viewers.

Any consideration of the QN90C’s value also needs to take into account less pricey mini-LED TV options such as the TCL 6-Series (2022) and Hisense U8H, both of which can hit similarly high brightness peaks and have good local dimming performance. I think that most viewers would be happy with either of those TVs, though they lack many of the advanced features found on Samsung’s Neo QLED models such as Ultra Viewing Angle and Gaming Hub.

To sum up, the QN90C is a good overall value, but not a great one. 

  • Value score: 4/5 

Samsung QN90C showing abstract  orange and red image

(Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the Samsung QN90C TV?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if…

Also consider...

TCL 6-Series mini-LED
TCL’s 6-Series TVs are a great budget alternative to Samsung’s Neo QLED models since they also feature a mini-LED backlight for high brightness. The 6-Series is also a very good option for gaming with next-gen gaming features like 4K 120Hz input support and VRR. Read our TCL 6-Series TV review.

How I tested the Samsung QN90C TV

Samsung QN90C TV shown from angle

(Image credit: Future)
  • I spent about 15 hours in total measuring and evaluating
  • Measurements were made using Calman color calibration software
  • A full calibration of the TV was made before proceeding with subjective tests

When I test TVs, my first step is to spend a few days using it for casual viewing for break-in and to assess the out-of-box picture presets. The next step is to select the most accurate-looking preset (typically labeled Movie or Cinema) and measure the white balance (grayscale), gamma, and color point accuracy using Portrait Displays’ Calman color calibration software. The resulting measurements provide Delta-E values (the margin of error between the test pattern source and what’s shown on-screen) for each category, and they allow for an assessment of the TV’s overall accuracy.

Along with those tests, I make measurements of peak light output (recorded in nits) for both standard high-definition and 4K high dynamic range using 10% and 100% white window patterns. Coverage of DCI-P3 and BT.2020 color space is also measured, with the results providing a sense of how faithfully the TV can render the extended color range in ultra high-definition sources.

For the Samsung QN90C, I used the Calman ISF workflow, along with the TV’s advanced picture menu settings, to calibrate the image for best accuracy with SDR and HDR sources. Once done, I watched a range of reference scenes on 4K Blu-ray discs that I’ve gathered after years of TV and projector testing to assess the TV’s performance, as well as new Dolby Vision-encoded material streamed from sources like Netflix and HBO Max.

  • First reviewed: June 24, 2023
I tested TCL’s QM8 4K TV, and it’s the brightest TCL mini-LED set yet
9:00 pm | May 16, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

TCL has been a longtime advocate for mini-LED and quantum dot tech in TVs, and the company has managed to bring both features to models that are attractively priced. The QM8 class is TCL’s flagship model for 2023, and it’s the only one to follow the previous template of combining a mini-LED backlight with an LCD panel featuring a quantum dot layer – this time in TVs with a screen size as large as 98 inches.

I recently had an opportunity to view the new TCL TVs in person, and was also provided with time to do hands-on testing of both an 85-inch QM8 series model and a step-down Q7 series TV. While the testing situation was more rushed than I would have liked, I did get a chance to make key picture quality assessments, as well as play around with some features on the new sets.

While the company’s previous flagship mini-LED TVs, the TCL 6-Series, was produced in 55-, 65-, 75-, and 85-inch screen sizes, the new QM8 series starts at 65 inches and ranges up to 98 inches. (TCL’s current XL series offers TVs with a 98-inch screen, but those models lack mini-LED backlighting.) The 85-inch model I went hands-on with is priced at $2,799.99, while the 65-inch version is $1,699. All QM8 series TVs are available now with the exception of the 98-inch model ($9,999.99), which will arrive later this year.

TCL QM8 TV back panel inputs

The TCL QM8 has two HDMI 2.1 ports with support for 4K 120Hz input signals (Image credit: Future)

TCL’s QM8 series TVs use the Google TV smart platform for streaming and voice control. They also have the company’s latest Gen 3 AIPQ processor and support Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ high dynamic range. TCL’s QM8 series specs list peak brightness at 2,000 nits and the number of local dimming zones used for the Mini-LED backlight at over 2,300. They also are the only 2023 TCL TVs to feature an anti-glare screen coating.

With a native 120Hz panel, the QM8 is well-equipped for gaming, though, unlike the other picture presets, the set’s Game mode wasn’t yet finalized when I did my hands-on test. Other gaming features include ALLM, FreeSync Premium Pro, and Game Accelerator 240 for up to 240Hz VRR gaming (at 1440p).

TCL QM8 remote control held in hand

TCL's remote control features a backlit keypad (Image credit: Future)

The 85-inch model I evaluated has a bezel-free design and uses a center-mounted pedestal stand that’s height adjustable. There are four HDMI inputs (including one with 4K 120Hz support and a second with 4K 144Hz support) and an antenna input for the set’s ATSC 1.0 digital TV tuner. Dolby Atmos and DTS Virtual:X audio formats are supported, and the TV has a built-in 2 x 10-watt speaker system with an additional 20 watts for a subwoofer. 

QM8 class TVs also come with a backlit remote control – a rare amenity in the TV world, even for the priciest sets.

TCL QM8 TV showing color test patterns onscreen

TV test patterns used to test off-axis color uniformity (Image credit: Future)

Brighter than before

As I usually do when evaluating a TV under time constraints, I went straight to the Spears & Munsil Ultra HD HDR 4K Blu-ray test disc and checked out test patterns and the visual montage section. I also used a light meter to make peak brightness measurements.

Viewed straight on, white full-screen test patterns revealed excellent brightness uniformity, but when I checked out patterns used to evaluate off-axis uniformity, contrast faded and colors looked less vivid – a typical result with many LCD-based TVs like the QM8 series. The visual montage section showed the QM8 to have only minimal backlight blooming on tough sequences like the Ferris wheel against a night sky. When I watched the disc’s starfield test sequence, I noticed a higher degree of blooming, though it wasn’t consistent at all brightness levels. It’s possible some combination of the TV’s local dimming settings would have mitigated this, but given the time limitation, I was unable to make a complete determination.

Measured on a white window pattern covering 10 percent of the screen in default Movie mode, the 85-inch UM8 hit a maximum peak brightness of 1,805 nits. While that’s less than some other top 4K TVs with a mini-LED-backlight we’ve tested such as the Samsung QN95C, it’s still an impressive result, and one that comes close to TCL’s specifications for the UM8 series. Watching other montage sequences from the Spears & Munsil disc, the TV’s high peak brightness made image highlights pop in a truly impressive manner. Combined with the deep and detailed blacks the set delivered, there was a strong sense of depth in many clips I watched.

TCL QM8 TV showing Ferris wheel at night onscreen

The QM8 only showed a slight amount of backlight blooming on tough test sequences (Image credit: Future)

The UM8 provides separate blur and judder adjustments to minimize motion artifacts in movies, and using these I was able to create a custom setting that did so without adding a “soap opera effect” to images. Watching a scene from James Bond thriller No Time to Die where Bond (Daniel Craig) walks across a rugged landscape in the Italian mountains as the camera pans along, the image quality noticeably improved when I applied my adjustments, going from blurry to completely solid.

To test the performance of the QM8’s Gen 3 AIPQ processor, I watched a scene from Dune where Paul walks with Lady Jessica following an interrogation by the Reverend Mother. The misty environment in this sequence was rendered with minimal noise; even on an 85-inch screen, I saw no evidence of banding or over-enhancement. The processor also delivered HDR highlights in a detailed manner, the colors looked rich yet clean, and deep shadows came across as a solid black.

TCL QM8 showing landscape onscreen

(Image credit: Future)

At $2,799.99, the TCL QM8 is an impressive deal for a big-screen TV capable of delivering a high level of HDR brightness. Its local dimming processing is also effective, though I’ll need to give both that feature and others a more thorough workout in a future full review. But I walked away from my hands-on test of TCL’s feature-packed mini-LED flagship with a positive overall impression. 

Considering how much more you’ll have to pay for a similarly featured set from a competing TV brand with the same screen size – Samsung's $4,499 85-inch QN90C, for instance – TCL appears to have something quite special on its hands with the QM8.

Shopping for a new big-screen TV? Check out our guide to the best 85-inch TVs to find other options.

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