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TCL C81 TV assessment: High quality at a less expensive value than rival units – NEWPAPER24

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TCL C81 TV assessment: High quality at a less expensive value than rival units

2021-01-23 10:29:00

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TCL has packed a 2.1 sound system, QLED panel, and Chromecast performance into its reasonably priced TV (Picture: TCL • EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

How a lot do it’s essential spend to get an ideal TV? It’s a tricky query, however Chinese language model TCL thinks it has the reply. And that reply is: “not as a lot as you’d suppose”.

The telly model has made a reputation for itself within the UK, mainland Europe, and the USA providing aggressively-priced TVs that strike a great steadiness between value and high quality. When TCL introduced plans to convey QLED panels to its most cheap value level but, we needed to examine whether or not the model was nonetheless sustaining that steadiness between price ticket and high quality viewing expertise. Specific.co.uk has been watching motion pictures, bingeing boxsets and streaming sport on the TCL C81 Collection for a number of weeks now. Right here’s what we expect.

TCL C81 QLED TV assessment: Value, Availability

TCL’s C81 Collection is out there in three sizes: 55-inch, 65-inch, and 75-inch. Except for the panel dimension, there aren’t some other notable variations between the units. TCL doesn’t promote its TVs direct from its web site, however does provide hyperlinks to retail companions, together with AO, Amazon, Hughes, and Costco. All three pack the identical expertise, with the one actual distinction being the dimensions of the panel that’ll squeeze into your front room. Costs begin from £670 and max-out at £1,149 for the 75-inch mannequin.

TCL C81 QLED TV assessment: Options

If you happen to’re trying to spend money on a QLED telly with a display dimension of 65-inches, you’d anticipate to pay over £1,000. Certainly, Samsung’s most reasonably priced 65-inch QLED mannequin is available in at a cool £1,399. So, at some £750, the TCL C81 sequence is round half the value.

Fortunately, in our testing, that doesn’t translate right into a telly that’s solely half pretty much as good. A part of that comes from the {hardware}, however the software program performs a big position too. One in every of our largest points with reasonably priced TVs is the clunky working system that powers them — this software program is usually sluggish, struggles to play any media codecs from a USB, doesn’t help half of the streaming apps you wish to set up, and by no means will get up to date.

That’s one thing TCL has obtained very proper. The Huizhou-based agency has turned to Google for the working system on its C81 vary. Android TV is quick and steady. It doesn’t provide the entire bells and whistles we’ve seen with Google TV, which launched final 12 months alongside a brand new Chromecast and provides boxset and movie strategies based mostly in your viewing historical past as effectively a extra fashionable consumer interface design. Nonetheless, Android TV helps many of the streaming providers you’ll wish to watch, together with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and YouTube.

Crucially, these are all able to streaming in 4K HDR, so that you’ll be capable to take full benefit of that shiny new QLED panel. The C815 additionally packs Freeview Play, which provides entry to all the foremost terrestrial channels and their respective catch-up providers.

TCL C81 Television Smart TV Android TV Software Features Price UK Sound System vs Samsung QLED

Whereas it may cost a little lower than rivals, TCL hasn’t reduce corners – it even has a steel construct (Picture: TCL)

Android TV within the TCL C81 additionally helps Solid performance straight out of the field, so there’s no must spend money on a Chromecast to wirelessly beam video, gameplay, or Chrome browser tabs onto the large display. Family and friends in your Wi-Fi community can queue-up songs on a YouTube playlist utilizing the function too.

And at last, there’s help for the Google Assistant baked into the TCL C81. The telly ships with two distant controls — a smaller minimal design, in addition to a extra conventional button-laden mannequin. However fact be advised, you don’t actually must hassle with both.

Due to the hands-free Google Assistant help, the TCL C81 acts like a Google Nest good speaker. So, you need to use the wake phrases “OK, Google” or “Hey Google” to summon the AI assistant to alter your channels, pause the motion on-screen, or seek for a film or actor (helpful if you happen to’re scuffling with the spelling of both!). Not solely that, however Google Assistant can be able to all its standard methods too, so it’ll examine the site visitors in your commute, learn out the newest headlines and climate report, management any good lightbulbs, and extra.

If you happen to’re already closely invested in Amazon Echo good audio system round your own home, you’ll be capable to swap to voice assistant Alexa, which can be included within the TCL C81 too.

TCL C81 Television Smart TV Android TV Software Features Price UK Sound System vs Samsung QLED

The C81 Collection might be paired with any close by Amazon Echo good audio system, or has handsfree Google Assistant built-in (Picture: TCL)

TCL has additionally seen off one other pitfall that extra reasonably priced TVs typically fall into – sound high quality. Constructed-in audio system on flatscreen panels are by no means going to rival your native multiplex, however producers don’t typically prioritise this facet, presumably as a result of they determine most film followers will spend money on a soundbar for his or her set-up. Fortunately, TCL has teamed-up with ONKYO to construct a 2.1 sound system into the again of the set.

Admittedly, this does make the C81 fairly cumbersome, which isn’t supreme if you happen to’re trying to wall-mount your telly, nevertheless it means you’ll take pleasure in some fairly immersive sound straight out of the field… and crucially, while not having to spend any extra cash in your set-up. The devoted down-firing bass speaker in the back of the set is especially spectacular.

Even if you happen to’re not a film buff, this addition will make music streamed to your telly significantly better.

After all, if you wish to add a soundbar to the combo down the road, Android TV allows you to disable the built-in system and revert to HDMI Arc, in order that’s not a problem. However even at £750, it’s nice to see TCL desirous about an all-in-one resolution for viewers.

TCL C81 Television Smart TV Android TV Software Features Price UK Sound System vs Samsung QLED

The ONKYO-branded 2.1 sound system makes this telly somewhat cumbersome, however sounds nice in comparison with thinner rivals (Picture: TCL • GETTY)

TCL has additionally seen off one other pitfall that extra reasonably priced TVs typically fall into – sound high quality

All of this may be meaningless if the image high quality wasn’t excellent.

And fortunately, that’s one other facet the place the TCL C81 lands on its ft. For many who do not know, QLED stands for Quantum Mild-Emitting Diode. In a nutshell, QLED panels work in the identical approach as commonplace LED TVs – which means there’s a backlight constructed from a whole bunch or hundreds of LEDs that mild the person pixels. QLED improves on commonplace LED by using nanoparticles – often called quantum dots – to super-charge the brightness and color of those particular person pixels. The result’s extra vibrant colors.

With all of those barely related initialisms, it may possibly get somewhat complicated, nevertheless it’s essential to know that QLED panels aren’t the identical as OLED. The latter are usually a lot pricier and able to producing cavernous blacks. That is as a result of OLED – or Natural Mild-Emitting Diode – panels don’t depend on a uniform backlight. As an alternative, every particular person pixel is an LED which might be switched on and off to create color or complete darkness.

The distinction between QLED and LED actually reveals when watching shiny, vibrant footage, like the newest nature documentary from David Attenborough. Colors are extremely vibrant — with out wanting synthetic. Assist for HDR additionally means the panel is ready to deal with extremes of sunshine, like gloomy scenes lit by daylight from a single window. With out HDR, Excessive Dynamic Vary, the areas with of highest distinction can shortly lose element and grow to be blown-out (if issues are shiny) or somewhat muddy (within the gloomier elements of the display).

It’s value noting that TCL helps 100Hz refresh fee, which ought to make fast-paced motion, like a tennis or soccer match, somewhat clearer on-screen. Nonetheless, it’s not sufficient to take full benefit of the newest era of consoles, Sony PS5 and Xbox Collection X, which help gaming at 120Hz. To actually see what your new console is able to, you’ll must shell out somewhat extra on a high-refresh fee set.

TCL C81 Television Smart TV Android TV Software Features Price UK Sound System vs Samsung QLED

Android TV is not as a lot of a looker because the recently-launched Google TV, however works effectively (Picture: TCL)

TCL C81 QLED TV assessment: Closing Verdict

With the C81 Collection, TCL provides an reasonably priced QLED panel with a dependable working system, help for each main good dwelling assistants out-of-the-box, and a few strong sound. After all, there are some minor quibbles — you’ll must spend a while tinkering within the settings menu to get probably the most out of the QLED display because the presets aren’t one of the best instance of what this display is actually able to — however these are the form of nitpicks you’d anticipate at this value level. And what you get for the value is actually astonishing.

If you happen to’re trying to improve your film nights-in, haven’t already invested in a sound system, and don’t wish to shell-out a four-figure sum, you’ll battle to discover a higher choice that the TCL C81 Collection.



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