TCL has recently entered the New Zealand market and is positioning itself as an option for those who want the latest technology but don’t want to pay high-end prices. Its latest TCL 75″ X915 QLED 2020 television has an impressive feature set but can it compete with the likes of Samsung, Sony and LG?
TCL has opted for a clean, minimalistic look for this TV and there are no distracting curves or textures. It is a little thicker than its competitors’ but this isn’t noticeable when wall-mounted or attached to the stand.
In the box are two remotes – one is full-sized and the other is a smaller remote for basic navigation and voice-control. This TV has three HDMI ports, two USB ports, a pop-up webcam, Wi-Fi and an ethernet port.
I’m a firm believer that a dedicated soundbar or speaker system should be paired with a new television. As screens get thinner, there is less space for high-quality audio so separate speakers are a must. Kudos to TCL for including a soundbar which alleviates these concerns. Like the display, this soundbar is sleek and unassuming.
It’s hard to deny that this TV delivers incredible picture quality that will impress pixel peepers like myself. Viewing 75 inches of 8K video is comparable to looking through a window with this level of fidelity. That said, you shouldn’t buy this TV because of its ability to play 8K video. The highest quality video that’s readily available is 4K HDR (high dynamic range) video on Netflix and I can’t see that changing for years. The transition between HD to 4K is far more significant than the jump to 8K and even the most discerning technophile would struggle to convince me otherwise.
What makes this screen so good is the QLED display, HDR support and local dimming technology. The colours are vibrant and the screen is able to display deep blacks. Hitting play on Netflix’s Our Planet is the closest you’ll get to going on a safari without leaving your couch. The default brightness setting is almost blinding so I turned that down by 50 per cent.
Fortunately this same level of awe can be attained by paying thousands of dollars less … more on that later.
The dedicated Onkyo soundbar provides crisp audio and the Dolby Atmos support is a nice bonus. It’s disappointing that there isn’t a separate subwoofer as this all-in-one speaker can sound muddy during loud scenes. I’d recommend playing around with the settings menu until it sounds right to you.
Similar to Mac and Windows on desktop computers or iOS and Android on smartphones, TVs have their own operating systems. The operating system on a TV is important because an unresponsive, buggy OS can ruin your watching experience. TCL has opted for Google’s Android TV platform which isn’t as refined as LG’s webOS but it is feature-rich and easy to navigate.
It’s a welcome surprise to see Netflix, YouTube, Neon, Disney+, Sky Sport, TVNZ on Demand and ThreeNow pre-installed and ready to go. Being a Google product, Chromecast is built-in so I could easily cast content from my phone onto the 75 inch screen. The TV includes Google Assistant so saying “open Netflix”, “show me some funny TV shows” or “what’s the weather like tomorrow” displays results on screen.
I don’t understand why the TV has a pop-up camera when no video conferencing software is available in the TV’s app store. I tried searching for Skype, Zoom and Google Meet with no success.
TCL is on to a winning formula here with both excellent visuals and a feature-rich operating system. That said, the lack of 8K content and a $9,999 price tag make it very difficult to recommend this TV to anyone. Competing 8K TVs are for sale at significantly higher price-points but 75″ 4K TVs are also available for less than half the price. If you are looking for a 75″ screen with high-end features and stunning visuals, buy a 4K QLED TV instead and spend the leftover change on a home theatre system.