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...
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...
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’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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
After a week of launches, the MWC 2023 wrapped up and we asked you to pick the best devices in several categories. Here are the winners in last week’s poll.
The Honor Magic5 Pro won the title Best Flagship of the MWC with a wide margin. It managed to edge out the Realme GT3 and Xiaomi 13 Pro, which were nearly tied for second place. The vanilla Magic5 wasn’t nearly as popular, but it was well ahead of the vanilla Xiaomi 13.
The Tecno Phantom V Fold pulled off a surprising victory for the Best Foldable of the MWC. Its opponent, the Honor Magic Vs, held the lead for a few days before...
The TCL 40 X series was introduced at MWC 2023 with an accent on cost-saving while providing important features like a big battery and 5G (limited to some devices). We are in Barcelona and got a hold of three of the new phones - TCL 40 X, TCL 40 XE, and TCL 40 XL, which are all meant for the US market.
The first two have 5G connectivity, but in order to keep the price low, TCL kept the RAM and storage down to 4/64 GB. The third lacks 5G but compensates with a bigger screen and more storage. Here’s what impressed us in each device.
TCL 40 X
This is the most intriguing of the three,...
In addition to the TCL 40 X, XE and XL, the company also unveiled an affordable model, cheaper than the TCL 408 from CES, though above the 403 and 405. The company also showed off noise canceling TWS buds and portable 5G Wi-Fi hotspots.
The TCL 406 costs $120, $10 less than the 408. Where does the saving come from? The camera – the new model has a 13MP sensor, down from 50MP. It still runs full Android and it even comes with the newer 13 version out of the box.
Other than that, the two phones are quite similar. They have 6.6” HD+ displays, stereo speakers and 5,000mAh...
TCL unveiled the second generation of its NXTPAPER display technology at the MWC 2023 and the first tablet to make use of it, plus a more affordable tablet with a standard display.
TCL NXTPAPER 11
The TCL NXTPAPER 11 is smaller than the 12” tablet from CES and cheaper too - it costs less than half the money. The new slate has a 10.95” IPS LCD with 2,000 x 1,200px resolution (15:9), which has a special coating that gives it a paper-like texture. This is matched with an optional stylus supports stylus that can detect 4,096 different levels of pressure.
The NXTPAPER 2.0 tech is much...
TCL unveiled a trio of affordable phones for the European and Asian markets at CES earlier this year, the TCL 40 SE, the 408 and the 403. All three are 4G-only models that focus on keeping costs low. Now at the MWC the company is unveiling more phones in the 40 series, some of which have 5G and all of which are affordable with prices of $200 and below. The new additions include TCL’s cheapest 5G phone to date ($170).
TCL 40 X 5G
This one isn’t it – at $200, the TCL 40 X 5G costs slightly more, but it also delivers better camera hardware. Well, there is the one proper camera on the back...
TCL’s 6-Series TVs are known for their combination of impressive picture quality and high value, and the latest version of the company’s flagship not just continues that tradition, but improves upon it. Available in 55- to 85-inch screen sizes, the new 6-Series arrived in late 2022, and it offers not just movie fans but gamers on a budget a great big-screen option.
Mini-LED backlighting is common in the best 4K TVs now, but TCL was the first to widely introduce it. In the 6-Series, mini-LED tech enables high brightness, while a quantum dot layer enhances color reproduction, and full array local dimming processing creates deep and detailed shadows. The set features Dolby Vision IQ to make high dynamic range images look good in both dim and well-lit environments, and HDR support extends to HDR10+ and HLG.
Gaming features on 6-Series TV are enabled via a pair of HDMI 2.1 inputs, with onboard support for 120Hz, Variable Refresh Rate (up to 144Hz), and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM). FreeSync Premium Pro is also supported, making TCL’s flagship an obvious choice for gaming.
A new design with a sturdy center stand (55-, 65-, and 75-inch models only) improves the look of TCL’s 6-Series, and a vanishingly thin bezel creates an “all-picture” effect. The stand has adjustable height for soundbar placement, and can be elevated to accommodate all but the most chunky of bars.
That last feature is an important one because sound quality on 6-Series TVs is just average. Dialogue is clear, but there’s very little bass, and the thin overall audio balance can create ear fatigue (for me, at least). You’ll want to add one of the best soundbars to this TV, if only a basic two-channel one.
The set I tested uses the Roku smart TV interface (a version with Google TV is also available), which is one of the less cluttered and easy to navigate options on the market. A basic Roku remote provided with the set offers voice commands for searches and basic control, and the TV also works with Siri, Alexa, and Hey Google.
As far as value goes, the new 6-Series is one of the more compelling TV options on the market. This series is packed with great features and the performance is well above-average, especially given the price. TCL has once again made things look easy, rolling out a high-value TV lineup with a surprisingly high level of refinement.
TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022) review: price and release date
Release date: September 1, 2022
From $699 at 55 inches
TCL’s 6-Series is the company’s top TV line, with screen sizes ranging from 55 up to 85 inches. The version I reviewed comes with the Roku smart TV interface, but similar 6-Series models and screen sizes are available with Google TV. TCL’s 6-Series is only available in the US.
Pricing for the 6-Series TVs is comparable to other budget TV offerings in the US such as Hisense and Vizio.
The 55-inch 55R655 costs $699, the 65-inch 65R655 costs $999, the 75-inch 75R655 costs $1,499, and the 85R655 costs $1,999.
TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022) review: Specs
TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022) review: features
Roku smart TV interface
Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and HLG high dynamic range
HDMI 2.1 inputs with 120Hz and VRR
The TCL 6-Series (2022) model we reviewed features the Roku smart TV interface (Google TV is another 6-Series option). Roku’s interface has a clean layout that’s very easy to navigate, and it offers the best streaming services, including Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Apple TV Plus, Hulu, Peacock, and ESPN Plus. The TV Works with Siri, Alexa, and Hey Google and it has AirPlay 2 support for casting from an iOS device or Mac computer.
TCL’s 6-Series sets are QLED models that feature a quantum dot layer for enhanced color and brightness and they use a mini-LED backlight with full array local dimming (288 zones). The company’s AiPQ Engine handles video processing and high dynamic range support extends to Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10+, and HLG.
Two of the set’s four HDMI inputs are version HDMI 2.1 with support for 4K 120Hz input, Variable Refresh Rate (up to 144Hz), and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM). One port supports HDMI eARC for a soundbar connection, and there’s an optical digital audio output and an RF input to connect an indoor TV antenna for use with the set’s ATSC 1.0 broadcast tuner. When viewing TV broadcasts, you can rewind live TV up to 30 minutes when a storage device is plugged into the set’s USB port.
Overall, the feature package is excellent for the price, with the TV’s mini-LED backlight and local dimming features, along with extensive HDR support, making it an excellent choice for movie viewing. And 120Hz, VRR, and ALLM support, along with FreeSync Premium Pro, make it a great option for gaming as well.
Features Score: 4.5/5
TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022) review: picture quality
Rich color reproduction
Deep blacks with detailed shadows
Limited brightness for an OLED TV
The 65-inch 6-Series TV I tested offered up the impressive brightness you’d expect from a mini-LED TV, with standard dynamic range peak light output measured at 1,326 nits and high dynamic range at 1,317 nits. That’s a bit less than the 1,775 nits I measured on the Hisense U8H, another budget mini-LED model, but still well above what you’d get from an average QLED or OLED TV.
With the set’s High Brightness and and High Local Contrast settings selected, it was capable of displaying black at 0 nits to deliver “infinite contrast.” With the Local Contrast setting switched off, the set’s native contrast ratio was 5,965:1 – still a very good result for an LCD-based TV. For most of my testing, I set Local Contrast at High, which delivered the best black depth and black uniformity.
The TCL’s color balance in its default Warm color temperature setting was slightly reddish across the full grayscale, though that could be corrected for using the advanced picture settings in the Roku control app, along with Portrait Displays’ Calman color calibration software. Coverage of DCI-P3 (the color space used for mastering 4K Blu-rays and digital cinema releases) was 96.2%, and BT.2020 was 76.3%. Those results are very good, and basically match what I measured on the Hisense U8H.
Screen reflections from overhead lights were minimal on the 6-Series TV I tested. This, combined with the set’s prodigious light output, makes it a great option for viewing in a well-illuminated space. Picture contrast and color saturation faded when viewing from off-center seats, but that’s a common effect with LCD-based TVs.
Moving on to how the TCL looked with movies and TV, I started my viewing by watching some high-definition documentaries broadcast on a local PBS channel, and the set’s 4K upconversion was impressively clean and crisp. Soccer games streamed via ESPN Plus looked somewhat softer, but overall the picture quality was very good for sports streamed in HD resolution. The Bond film No Time to Die has a scene where the camera does a long slow pan across a craggy hillside, and this appeared mostly smooth on TCL’s 6-Series TV. (I’ve seen that scene literally vibrate with judder on some other sets.)
Streaming the The Last of Us on HBO Max in Dolby Vision, the set’s Dolby Vision IQ processing presented a well balanced picture packed with subtle yet powerful highlights. In a scene where Joel, Tess, and Ellie wander outside an abandoned museum, for example, the golden sunlight hitting them and their surroundings made the ravaged landscape look almost beautiful. Detail in this scene was also rich, with the CGI-created textures of the fungi crisply rendered.
All Quiet on the Western Front, a 2022 Oscar Best Picture nominee,also looked fantastic on the TCL when streamed in Dolby Vision from Netflix. Shadows in the film’s many dark scenes came across as a deep, inky black, and there was a good amount of detail in the dark trenches where the French and German soldiers do battle. I did see a small degree of backlight blooming, mostly on the black letterbox bars at the top and bottom of the picture when flares or some other very bright object appeared. But instances of this were minimal and I only noted it when specifically looking for it.
Overall, I was very impressed with the TCL 6-Series TV’s picture quality. Its light output proved to be more than enough for my regular dark room viewing habits, and I ended up scaling it back considerably for most shows I watched.
Picture quality score: 4.5/5
TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022) review: sound quality
2 x 10 watt speakers
Dolby Atmos support
Thin sound quality with most modes
The 6-Series’ audio features are very basic, with a pair of downfiring speakers each powered by 10 watts, handling sound chores. TCL’s specs state Dolby Atmos support, but that’s limited to virtual Atmos from the set’s speaker pair.
I cycled through the TV’s multiple sound processing modes, including Theater and Bass Boost, but couldn’t find one that didn’t have thin audio quality. You do get the option to turn on virtual surround sound for all programs or just for ones with Dolby Atmos, and when used with Atmos soundtracks there is a notable sense of spaciousness to the sound.
Dialogue was very clear with all programs I watched, even ones with medium-loud soundtracks. Even so, this was a case where I felt almost desperate to add a Dolby Atmos soundbar to the TV, and when I did, the sound filled out and made dialogue more balanced with other elements like music and effects.
Sound quality score: 3.5/5
TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022) review: design
FullView edge-to-edge glass design
Aluminum base with center placement
Roku remote control with built-in mic
The 6-Series has a great look for a budget TV line. TCL’s FullView edge-to-edge glass design, along with an extremely thin bezel, means there’s an “all picture” appearance, and the aluminum base at center screen provides a sturdy foundation for it to rest upon.
The base has adjustable height, and after setup there was plenty of space between the screen’s lower edge and my TV stand's surface to accommodate a rather sizeable soundbar – always a plus with a TV. Around back, the set has a cable management system, and you can use this to route wires from connected components located on shelves beneath to the inputs section on the TV’s side.
The Roku remote used to control the set will be familiar to anyone who has used that company’s streamers. It has a simple button layout, including quick keys to easily access apps like Netflix, and a button to activate the built-in mic for voice searches. It’s basic enough to use in a dark room and provides all the controls needed for accessing inputs and picture and sound adjustments via the onscreen menu.
Design score: 4.5/5
TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022) review: smart TV & menus
Roku TV interface
Works with Siri, Alexa, and Hey Google
Picture adjustments require lots of scrolling
A Roku product was my very first streamer, and I had used several of them over the years before making a switch to the Apple TV 4K. It’s a great interface – easy to navigate, and with extensive app support. One of the issues I have with smart TV interfaces is that they’ll often be missing several key apps that I use on a regular basis (Criterion Channel and ESPN Plus among others), but Roku always seems to have it all and more. Unlike other smart TV platforms like Google TV and Amazon, the Roku interface also isn’t overloaded with ads and program options being “pushed” at you.
Voice searches can be easily carried out by pressing the mic button on the remote control, and the TV also “Works with” Siri, Alexa, and Hey Google when you add your own device for those platforms. AirPlay 2 is supported for streaming, letting you cast video and music to the TV from your iOS device or Mac computer.
Having never tested a set with Roku baked in before, it took some time to get used to the TV functions being embedded in the long-familiar streaming interface. You navigate and select inputs the same as you do with streaming apps, and a press of the remote’s star button calls up the picture settings menu. TCL makes it easy to get up and running, with basic and very general categories like TV Brightness, Local Contrast, and HDR Picture modes (with Dark and Bright settings). But you’ll need to keep scrolling, a bit annoyingly, to the Picture Fine Tune menu to access other adjustments like Brightness, Contrast, and Color. There’s also a more advanced picture menu with 11-point color temperature adjustments located in the Roku control app (iOS and Android).
When using the set’s built in ATSC 1.0 broadcast TV tuner, you’ll get program guide-like on-screen overlays with details about the show you’ve selected, and you can edit the channel list to limit it to just the ones you regularly watch. A neat feature is Live TV Rewind, which lets you scroll back up to 30 minutes when a storage device is plugged into the set’s USB port.
Smart TV & menus score: 4.5/5
TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022) review: gaming
VRR up to 144Hz, ALLM, FreeSync Premium Pro support
Low 10.1ms input lag
Auto Game Mode
TCL says its 6-Series TVs have Game Studio Pro. And while what that exactly means is unclear, it appears to be an umbrella term for the set’s many gaming-related features. Of these, the most notable is VRR with up to 144Hz support. Another is ALLM, along with FreeSync Premium Pro. These are all great gaming extras to find in an affordable TV.
The 6-Series sets also have Auto Game Mode, which basically means that the TV automatically switches over to settings optimized for gaming when it detects an input from a compatible console. Otherwise, there’s no “Gaming Dashboard” similar to the ones on LG’s TVs, or the Gaming Hub interface found on Samsung’s sets.
I measured input lag in the set’s Gaming picture mode at 10.1ms using a 4K test meter. That’s a great result, and one that ranks the 6-Series among the the best gaming TVs when combined with its impressive feature-set.
Gaming score: 4.5/5
TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022) review: value
Affordable for a mini-LED TV
Great picture quality for the price
Gaming features rival those found on expensive TVs
This is the second budget TV I’ve tested with a mini-LED backlight (the first was the Hisense U8H), and I’m astonished at the difference that feature makes, and that it can be incorporated into such an affordable set.
The 6-Series TV I tested delivered the kind of deep, rich blacks I’m used to seeing on much more expensive models, and its impressive local dimming ensured that visible artifacts like backlight blooming were kept to a minimum. Overall, this TV delivers a very clean and punchy looking picture for the price.
If you’re a gamer, the value of the 6-Series goes up even further. (Unfortunately, our value scale only extends to 5, so I can’t give it higher points.) It offers the kind of gamer-oriented features normally found in pricier TVs, and in key ways appears specifically designed to cater to the gaming crowd.
Value score: 5/5
Should I buy the TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022)?
Buy it if...
Don't buy it if…
Hisense U8H mini-LED Hisense’s U8H series sets are another example of a budget TV lineup with mini-LED backlighting and high brightness. The U8H series also has gaming oriented features like 4K 120Hz and VRR, though its local dimming isn’t as effective as the 6-Series.
How I tested the TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022)
I spent about 15 hours measuring and evaluating the TCL 6-Series Roku TV
Measurements were made using Calman color calibration software
A full calibration 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 a 10% white window pattern. 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 TCL 6-Series Roku TV, I used the CalMan ISF workflow, along with the advanced picture menu settings in the Roku control app, 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.