During our actual viewing, this $700 TV absolutely blew us away. Contrast and brightness are well above average for this price range, while color is true and rich.
Characteristics and design
The 4K UHD (3840 x 2160), 10-bit, 120Hz (4K gaming is 60Hz) panel used quantum dots for color and mini-LEDs for backlighting on the 55-inch class (54.6-inch diagonally) 6-series we tested.
The panels do offer local dimming, although it’s not as precise as you might imagine considering the “thousands of lights” (TCL didn’t provide further details). This 55-inch model comes with 128 zones, while the 65-inch and 75-inch models have 160 and 240 respectively. The 8-series, in contrast, contains over a thousand zones and 25,000 lights. This made a difference in stress testing, but not by much in real life.
It appears that mini-LED has a weight penalty as well. The 6-series, which weighs over 45 pounds, is one of the heaviest 55-inch TVs I’ve ever had to move. If you plan to use the 300mm x 300mm VESA mount point, keep that in mind. Speaking of mounting, the 6-series is also rather thick across the hips, measuring close to 3 inches. The hips are the thicker bottom portion where the ports and circuitry are located.
There are four incomplete HDMI 2.1 ports (i.e., an implementation of HDMI 2.1 that doesn’t offer bandwidth of 48Gbps), one USB 2.0 connector, ethernet, coax (antenna/cable), and a 3.5mm adaptor for legacy AV (composite/analog audio) input. One HDMI output that supports ARC, as well as digital (Toslink optical) and 3.5mm analog audio outputs, are all available for audio output. The Wi-Fi is 802.11ac, however Bluetooth is a another matter. Look below.
HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG are all supported by the TV, but HDR10+ is not. Through passthrough, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital Plus are supported. The 6-series supports different refresh rates and offers a gaming mode, as you could have surmised from the refresh rate mentioned above.
Interface for a smart TV and remote
The Roku interface is quite user-friendly and effective. I could suggest some improvements, but that would be nitpicking. It provides a gateway to an enormous universe of both free and paid streamed entertainment and instantly enumerates attached devices.
Although the homepage always seems to be trying to sell you something, my major complaint is that Roku won’t support Bluetooth audio, and thus, Bluetooth headphones. With its Roku TV Ready platform, which enables speaker makers to create soundbars that wirelessly link to TVs running the Roku TV OS, the firm appears to be attempting to leverage its way into the audio business.
Use the Roku app on your phone or an external Bluetooth transmitter, as I use, as a workaround. It’s not the best option, but there are several excellent ones that start at about $30. Or, to put it another way, I adore the Roku user interface but detest the sales tactics.
Unlike the comparably understated Samsung One Remote, the Roku RC580 remote is a lesson in efficiency as well as simplicity. Roku’s few buttons and seamless interface integration nonetheless put you just a click or two away from every operation, but Samsung’s remote requires you to click repeatedly.
When the TCL logo appeared in the 6-series image’s pop-up, I was hooked. Not nearly as much blooming or other visual artifacts as I had anticipated, but bright with decent contrast. as I arrived at the more colorful material. Wow. In fact, I verified the cost twice. In fact, when I first saw the 6-series, I felt it looked better than the 8-series from the previous year. Perhaps less is more (less money, fewer lights and dimming zones). Most likely not.
Having said that, it didn’t pass every test I gave it. When I let a zone counter wild on the screen, there was some weirdness and some junk in the narrow lines in several tests. There was the evident blooming that I didn’t see with real-world material, and the white block traveling over the edges of the display would occasionally fade (a first in my experience).
In fact, there wasn’t much blooming at all when I played the Sony contrast demo video (which was shot at night in Las Vegas). Only the best TVs can compete with that video, and the 6-series excelled at it. I have no idea how TCL does it, but kudos to them.
In some complex images during slow pans, there was a very slight amount of moiré and shimmer, although it was less than on any TV in its price range sporting a similar brightness. Only the most expensive 8K UHD TVs I’ve seen have been able to almost totally eliminate these kinds of artifacts throughout the upscaling process.
Additionally, motion correction and screen uniformity were both great. At this pricing point, the HDR effect is vibrant and doesn’t smother fine detail, which is extremely uncommon.
For a $700 TV, the 6-series gives an astonishingly fantastic picture. With the exception of the pickiest viewers, its flaws are probably irrelevant. Not to mention, the sound is actually passably good. In other words, much better than the majority of TVs at this price; I wouldn’t rush out and get a soundbar.
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