Over the last five years the TCL 6-Series has earned its place as the best TV for the money by combining excellent image quality with a price most TV shoppers can afford. The latest version does pretty much exactly the same thing. Although its competition is even stronger this time around, the TCL 6-Series Roku TV still prevails as my favorite in the midtier price range -- roughly a grand for a 65-inch size.
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- Relatively affordable
- Excellent overall image quality
- Roku smart TV is simple, capable
- Improved design with central stand
- Some competing mini-LED TVs can get brighter
- Sizes 55-, 65-, 75- 85-inch
- TV Technology QLED with Mini-LED
- Smart TV Yes (Roku TV)
- Resolution 4K
- HDMI Ports 4
You can definitely spend more on a TV. If you do that, though, you might as well go all in on an OLED model like the LG C2. And some slightly cheaper models, like the Vizio MQX, are excellent too. But if you prioritize picture quality, I think it's worth paying more for this TCL instead.
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Among 2022 TVs I've tested, the 6-Series' closest competitor is the Hisense U8H, the only other TV in this price range with mini-LED technology. In my side-by-side comparison I found the Hisense brighter and more dynamic, and therefore a better choice for very bright rooms than the TCL 6-Series. On the other hand its home theater image isn't quite as accurate or refined as the TCL, which is still incredibly bright itself. And if you care about built-insmart TV systems, it's worth noting the TCL has Roku, which I prefer to Google TV on the Hisense.
As always there are plenty of other TVs to choose from, but if you want my advice for the best picture quality and features at the best price, it's once again the TCL 6-Series.
Editor's note, Nov. 18, 2022: Added Editors' Choice Award.
TCL 6-Series sizes
I performed a hands-on evaluation of the 65-inch 2022 TCL 6-Series (the R655 series), but this review also applies to the other screen sizes in the series. Aside from different numbers of local dimming zones, detailed below, all sizes have similar specs and should provide similar picture quality.
- TCL 55R655, 55-inch
- TCL 65R655, 65-inch
- TCL 75R655, 75-inch
- TCL 85R655, 85-inch
In addition to the older TCL 6-Series Roku TV (the R635 series), which the R655 replaces, other versions of the 6-Series were released in 2021 and remain on sale. The R646 series uses the Google TV operating system but otherwise has similar specifications to the R655 models reviewed here. The R648 series has 8K resolution and is significantly more expensive. We haven't reviewed either one.
Sleeker look, adjustable center stand
The most conspicuous upgrade for the TCL 6-Series in 2022 is the new stand design. It's a central pedestal, which I think looks nicer than a pair of feet mounted at the edge, and also allows you to use a narrower TV stand if you want. The dark silver metallic base matches the strip running around the edge of the panel, and like most TVs the 6-Series looks like it's nearly all picture, with just a thin frame.
Note that the center stand is available on the 55-, 65- and 75-inch sizes in the series. The 85-inch size has the two traditional legs to either side.
Another welcome addition is the ability to adjust the TV higher or lower relative to the stand. Setting it higher creates a gap that allows you to put a soundbar in front without obscuring the screen.
The 6-Series includes the simple Roku remote with built-in voice control. Roku's voice function isn't nearly as robust as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, for example, but it worked fine for searches, app launching, switching inputs and tuning to an antenna channel. If the TV is off, a voice command such as "Launch Netflix" will turn it on and launch the app.
Smart TV simplified with Roku
Streaming on the TCL 6-Series reminded me why I continue to prefer Roku TV over any of its competitors: simplicity and lack of clutter. Pretty much all of the others, including Amazon Fire TV, Google TV, Vizio, Samsung and LG, pack the screen with lots of shows, movies and promotions I don't want, as well as persistent menus with lots of choices and add-ons. Roku, just like an iPhone, is still basically just a grid of apps I can add, remove and rearrange to my liking. Sure there's a big ad to the side, but I prefer that to a carousel of ads and show promotions in the middle.
Google TV is my second-favorite and has its advantages, including better voice support, a convenient "Continue Watching" section and quick access to shows within apps. But for me, Roku's speed and simplicity win out. Operation wasn't flawless, however. At one point while exploring the LIve TV section I clicked favorite channels and the whole TV froze and wouldn't respond to any commands. The only solution was to pull the plug.
Features: Mini-LED for minimal money
The big difference between the 6-Series and cheaper LCD-based TVs is its mini-LED backlight. Mini-LEDs are, as you might have guessed, smaller than standard LEDs, allowing them to be grouped into more local dimming zones. Full-array local dimming is the best way to improve picture quality on LCD TVs. It allows the screen to dim and brighten different areas simultaneously. Smaller areas, or more dimming zones, mean more precise illumination -- which ultimately increases contrast, the most important ingredient in a good picture -- but they're not the only factor. Here's how the TCL's zone count stacks up with the 2022 Hisense and Vizio TVs I compare below.
Local dimming zones compared
| ||TCL 6-Series||Hisense U8H||Vizio MQX|
The 6-Series has a true 120Hz refresh rate, which leads to better motion performance. Like most TVs in its class today the 6-Series uses quantum dots that help improve color compared to non-QD-equipped TVs. And of course it supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10 high dynamic range (HDR) formats. These days basically the only manufacturer that doesn't is Samsung. The 6-Series also adds Dolby Vision IQ, which works with an ambient light sensor to automatically adjust the picture.
- Four HDMI inputs (two with 4K/120Hz, one with eARC)
- Analog (composite) video input
- USB port (2.0)
- Ethernet (wired internet)
- Headphone jack
- Optical digital audio output
- RF (antenna) input
The biggest step-up in connections compared to the earlier TCL 6-Series Roku TVs is the ability to accept 4K/120Hz input signals, from an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5, for example. The TV is actually capable of 144Hz input, according to TCL, but that extra bit of refresh isn't a big deal in my book, and is only available on select PC cards. Other gaming extras are par for the midrange TV course, namely VRR, or variable refresh rate, and ALLM (auto game mode). One of the inputs also supports eARC.
Picture quality comparisons
The TCL 6-Series delivered excellent overall image quality. For my side-by-side comparisons I lined up the TCL 6-Series next to the Hisense U8H, another mini-LED-equipped TV in the same price range, and the Vizio MQX, which lacks mini-LED, has fewer dimming zones and costs a bit less.
TV and movies: The TCL and the Hisense each showed their strengths and weaknesses, but overall I give the edge to the TCL in this category for its more theatrical presentation.
The dimly lit interiors of House of the Dragon are a challenge to any TV, and my lineup the TCL handled them best. During a scene from episode 3 inside a hunting pavilion, for example, the face of king Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) appeared more natural and realistic on the TCL than the Hisense, where it appeared a bit darker and reddish In an even darker scene a bit later, with Princess Rhaenyra and her knight at a campfire, the Hisense and TCL were similar, although the TCL revealed a few more details in the shadows. Meanwhile the Vizio lagged them both slightly with a less impactful image.
On the other hand the Hisense was visibly brighter than the TCL with similar black levels, which increased its sense of impact. The fire between the silhouettes of the king and his young queen looked more brilliant on the Hisense, and measured brighter too (806 nits compared to 627 on the TCL). Full-screen daylight, such as the sky behind the white stag, also looked brighter on the Hisense.
With less-theathical content, such as the test montage from the Spears and Munsil 4K Blu-ray, the extra brightness of the Hisense was again evident. The TCL showed just a bit less brilliance and impact, although the two were very close. In the scenes with objects against a black background black levels were basically identical between the two -- inky-dark and a step better than the Vizio -- but the objects themselves, like the honey dripper and peacock feather, looked brighter on the Hisense. Colors on the TCL and Hisense also looked superb, and similarly brilliant.
The Hisense, unfortunately, showed evidence of edge enhancement that I noticed in over-sharp edges of the trees and confirmed with test patterns -- despite the sharpness control set to zero and relevant processing toggled off. The TCL and Vizio, properly, showed no such issues.
Gaming: The TCL's game mode delivered good picture quality, and again shadow detail was a strength. When playing Mass Effect, for example, it revealed more of the dark areas than the Hisense. Overall, however, I preferred the look of the Hisense's game mode with its brighter highlights and generally punchier image (again). Both also looked significantly more color-accurate than the Vizio, which was quite blue.
According to the information screen on my Xbox Series X the TCL supports 4K/120Hz with HDR, including full Dolby Vision gaming. I also appreciated that ALLM appeared to work well; the TV automatically switched to game mode when I connected the console. Input lag was also excellent, around 11ms for both 4K and 1080p sources. It's worth noting that I measured similar lag in the Movie and Dark HDR modes, so if you prefer to use those rather than the game mode, you shouldn't notice any additional lag.
Bright lighting: The TCL R655 has an impressive image under the lights as well. It can get exceedingly bright, although not significantly brighter than its predecessor, and measured dimmer than the Hisense U8H overall. That said it outshined most TVs I've tested however, with the exception of the significantly more-expensive Samsung QN90B.
Light output in nits
|TV||Brightest mode (SDR)||Accurate mode (SDR)||Brightest mode (HDR)||Accurate mode (HDR)|
|TCL 65R635 (2020)||1,114||792||1,292||1,102|
The TCL's brightest settings, "TV Brightness: Brighter" and "Picture mode: Vivid," (or "Bright HDR" for HDR content) are terribly inaccurate. An accurate bright-room picture is easy to achieve, however. Just switch the mode to "Movie" or "Dark HDR" mode, which reduces light output but delivers a much better image.
Under bright lighting the TCL's screen was better than the Vizio at reducing reflections and preserving black levels. IT was about the same as the Hisense.
Uniformity and viewing angle: The TCL's screen showed no major uniformity issues. It preserved off-angle color fidelity about as well as the Hisense U8H, and slightly better than the Vizio.
Picture settings and measurement notes
TCL's picture settings have separate TV Brightness and Picture Mode, and both have a significant effect on image quality. For standard dynamic range sources, the TV Brightness = Darker, Picture mode = Movie setting measured the most-accurate for a dim room. For brighter rooms I'd recommend just upping the TV Brightness setting; it offers five modes from Darker to Brighter as well as a setting that adjusts brightness automatically.
For high dynamic range sources I'd stick with the TV Brightness = Brighter, Picture Mode = Dark HDR for pretty much everything. It delivers the best EOTF of any setting, better than any of the other TV Brightness settings, and also takes full advantage of the TV's light output without sacrificing accuracy. You can get slightly brighter by choosing the Bright HDR picture mode but it's much less accurate.
The TCL has a smoothing option that engages theSoap Opera Effect(Picture settings>Action smoothing)and happily it's "off" in Movie and Dark HDR modes. You can also turn on LED Motion Clarity to improve motion resolution, but doing so dims the image so I left it turned-off.
|Black luminance (0%)||0.011||Good|
|Peak white luminance (SDR)||1292||Good|
|Avg. gamma (10-100%)||2.20||Good|
|Avg. grayscale error (10-100%)||3.88||Average|
|Dark gray error (30%)||1.73||Good|
|Bright gray error (80%)||5.60||Poor|
|Avg. color checker error||3.23||Average|
|Avg. saturation sweeps error||2.76||Good|
|Avg. color error||1.89||Good|
|1080p/24 Cadence (IAL)||Pass||Good|
|Input lag (Game mode)||11.27||Good|
| || || |
|HDR10|| || |
|Black luminance (0%)||0.009||Good|
|Peak white luminance (10% win)||1387||Good|
|Gamut % UHDA/P3 (CIE 1976)||96.17||Good|
|ColorMatch HDR error||2.38||Good|
|Avg. color checker error||1.59||Good|
|Input lag (Game mode, 4K HDR)||10.90||Good|
See How We Test TVs for more details and explanations of the Geek Box results.
Portrait Displays Calmancalibration software was used in this review.
What is the best picture setting on TCL 6 Series? ›
The 'Movie' picture mode is the most accurate one out of the box and allows for the most customization. For our calibration, from the Fine Tune Picture menu in the Advanced Picture Settings page, we set Contrast to '100', Brightness to '50', and Sharpness to '0'. We also set Color to '45' and Tint to '0'.Does TCL have good picture quality? ›
Overall, TCL TVs offer good picture quality and great features at a low price. Although some models aren't as feature-packed or as well-built as more expensive options, their TVs typically offer great value compared to similarly-priced options.What are the pros and cons of a TCL TV? ›
|Prices start at $150 4K HDR, Dolby Vision available Roku is built right in||Models without backlight technology have a marked difference in picture quality Not all models have voice control|
Verdict: Hisense wins by a hair, with superior sound technology and its own Quantum ULED technology. That said, the display tech and image quality for TCL is also good, and you won't go far wrong with either so long as you do your research.Which picture mode is best? ›
Also stay away from the “vivid” and “dynamic” modes, which tend to overemphasize contrast and sharpness and lower brightness too much. Instead, we've found that modes with names such as “cinema,” “movie,” and “expert” generally provide the best results.Which company gives the best picture quality in TV? ›
- Best TV. Samsung S95B OLED. SEE PRICE. ...
- Best Home Theater TV. Sony A95K OLED. SEE PRICE. ...
- Best Upper Mid-Range TV. Samsung QN90B QLED. SEE PRICE. ...
- Best Mid-Range TV. LG C2 OLED. SEE PRICE. ...
- Best Lower Mid-Range TV. Hisense U8H. ...
- Best Budget TV. TCL 5 Series/S555 2022 QLED. ...
- Best Cheap TV. Hisense A6H.
According to St. Leger, LG makes the best quality screens for movies. “Its OLED panels pack a punch — with excellent processing, deep blacks and vivid colors across the board — while the webOS smart platform is possibly the best in the business,” he explained.How do I get the best picture on my TCL TV? ›
The 'Movie' picture mode is the most accurate one out of the box and allows for the most customization. For our calibration, from the Advanced Picture Settings menu, we set Contrast to '100', Brightness to '50', and Sharpness to '0'. We also set Color to '45' and Tint to '0'.
The Samsung gets brighter, has a quicker response time, and much lower input lag, so it's a better choice for gaming. However, the TCL removes judder from native 24p sources, has significantly better out-of-the-box color accuracy, and has better reflection handling.Which series is best in TCL? ›
The TCL 6-Series is the best of the bunch, with the combination of QLED and mini-LED. The 4K display has a refresh rate of 120 hz, and rich support for features like THX Game Mode, Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos sound.
What is the common problem of TCL TV? ›
As our technical team mentioned, your TV's inability to connect to the internet is one common issue users face. It's not just peculiar to TCL but other brands as well. Should you experience this, check if the cause is the router or the TV itself. These two things can cause the WiFi to have an unstable connection.Is TCL or Vizio a better TV? ›
The Vizio has better reflection handling, a slightly quicker response time, and lower input lag. However, the TCL upscales 480p and 720p content better, and the built-in Roku TV is less laggy and has an app store compared to Vizio's SmartCast system.Is Sony TV better than TCL? ›
The Sony has much more accurate colors, handles gradients a lot better, and has a lower input lag. However, the TCL displays deeper blacks, gets brighter, and displays a wider color gamut.Which TV is best Toshiba or TCL? ›
The Toshiba is a 4k TV, it has better uniformity, a quicker response time, lower input lag, and it supports HDR. However, the TCL has wider viewing angles.Which TV picture mode is best for eyes? ›
To sum it up, OLED displays are better for your eyesight. They have more natural lighting, better color contrast, and a wider color range. However, no matter what type of display you have, you will hurt your eyesight if you don't practice safe TV viewing.What are the best picture settings for a 4k TV? ›
|Setting (Mode)||Natural Light (Vivid)||Artificial Light (Standard)|
Accurate colors on a flat panel TV equals a color temperature of 6500 Kelvin. Therefore it is recommended that you change color temperature in the picture settings menu to"warm".How can I increase my picture quality? ›
The best way to get high-resolution images is by using the right camera for the job. But when that's not an option — or you're looking to improve older digital photos — Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom can help. Experiment with Super Resolution and resampling to see how far you can push your image quality.Should I turn sharpness all the way up? ›
That means when your sharpness is set too high, you could lose some of the crisp detail of that fancy 4K TV. In some cases, the best setting is actually zero, while on most TVs the setting is best in the bottom 20% or so.Which TV has sharpest picture? ›
LG OLED C2
The C2 represents the pinnacle of picture quality at a price that's admittedly high, but not too crazy. It beats any non-OLED TV on this list, including the Samsung QN90B below, with its perfect black levels, unbeatable contrast and superb off-angle viewing.
Which is the No 1 TV in the world? ›
South Korea's Samsung is the de facto market leader in the world television space, leading competitors like LG and Sony by a wide margin in terms of overall sales.What is the best size TV for picture quality? ›
For a UHD TV that is 40 inches or smaller, a 720p resolution is usually good. However, if you have a 50-inch screen or larger, you will probably need a higher resolution, like 1080p. 1080p resolution (Full HD) has 1920 by 1080 pixels, which offers great picture quality.Do more expensive TVS have better picture quality? ›
Typically, a good 4K TV will have around four times as many pixels as an older “HD TV.” This translates to a viewing experience that offers much more clarity in everything you watch.Why is my TCL picture blurry? ›
If the volume matches, then do a channel search. If the picture and sound quality is poor on a specific channel only, there is a possibility that the signal strength of the network is poor. If the TV is connected to an indoor antenna, try to adjust or re-position the antenna until you get stronger signal strength.How do I activate 4K on my TCL TV? ›
Press the Home button on their TCL Roku TV Remote. Scroll down and select Streaming Channels. Press the button. Scroll down and select 4K UHD Content Available.Why is my TCL 4K TV not showing 4K? ›
If your 4K TV doesn't show 4K content, you're likely plugging into the wrong port. Check your TV's handbook to find out which HDMI ports you need for UHD content.Is TCL 6 series better than Samsung? ›
It also has wider viewing angles thanks to Samsung's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology, but that means the TCL has a better native contrast ratio. The Samsung gets much brighter, especially in HDR, so it makes highlights pop more.What is better Samsung or TCL? ›
The TCL is a bit more versatile, as it has more HDMI inputs than the Samsung, meaning you can connect more devices. Both TVs deliver similar picture quality and motion handling, but the TCL can remove judder from 24p sources, like a Blu-ray player, so it's a bit better for movie lovers.Is LG better than TCL? ›
The TCL delivers significantly better picture quality thanks to its higher contrast, better local dimming, and improved black uniformity. It also gets brighter than the LG, meaning it's the better choice for watching content in well-lit rooms and makes highlights pop more in HDR.Will Costco sell TCL 6 Series? ›
TCL 65" Class - 6 Series - 4K Ultra HD Roku LED LCD TV | Costco.
What is the price of TCL 6 Series TV? ›
TCL CF6 Series 55 inch Ultra HD 4K Smart QLED TV expected price in India is ₹36,990.How long will a TCL TV last? ›
as for TCL who knows. YMMV. Most television type products last between 10 -15 years before they become obsolete due to changes in sending systems. Lets hope we can withstand 20 years before a change is needed.Is TCL a reliable brand? ›
TCL is one of the largest brands in the TV world, so it's a safe brand to purchase. You know what you're getting with TCL: good quality at a reasonable price. It's pretty much an established fact that its TVs are top-notch, and customers have always been satisfied with their purchases for years.Does TCL have good customer service? ›
Supporting those users plays a significant role in our success story,” said Chris Larson, Senior Vice President, TCL. “From our award-winning TCL Roku TV to our award-winning customer advocacy team, TCL has been consistently recognized as one of the best brands in the market.Is TCL a cheap brand? ›
While TCL US is a budget brand, first and foremost, the company does offer quite a range of sets – from tiny, cheap 720p TVs with barebones features to big-screen Mini-LED sets that can cost thousands of dollars. Whether you want a Google TV over a Roku TV or you want 8K over 4K, TCL has you covered.What are the best picture settings for TCL r646? ›
In the Brightness Settings page, we recommend leaving the Contrast to '100', Black Level to '50', Gamma to '2.2', and we disabled Dynamic Contrast, Black Stretch, and Micro Contrast, but you can adjust these to your preference. The Local Contrast setting adjusts the local dimming feature, and we recommend 'Low'.How can I make my TCL TV better quality? ›
- Brightness settings: Adjust the brightness settings such as Contrast and Black level.
- Color: Adjust the color such as Color saturation and Tint.
- Clarity: Adjust the clarity such as Sharpness and Digital noise reduction.
From the Picture Settings menu, we recommend setting Contrast to '100', Brightness to '50', and Sharpness to '0'. We also set Color to '45', and Tint (G/R) to '0'.What is the best picture setting for TCL Android TV? ›
We recommend choosing the Movie picture mode, as it's the most accurate one out of the box, and allows for the most customization. From the Brightness Settings in the 'Advanced Settings' menu, we recommend setting Contrast to '90' and Black Level to '50'.What are the best picture settings for 4K TV? ›
|Setting (Mode)||Natural Light (Vivid)||Dark Room (Cinema)|
|Backlight / OLED LIGHT||100||80|
Is the TCL R646 a good TV? ›
I understand that the R646 was released in 2021 with a ton of significant glitches, but TCL has cured all the issues with the several firmware updates it has made throughout 2022. Therefore, though a 2021 model technically, it is perfectly on par with the 2022 model in terms of picture quality and features.What is the best picture mode on TCL? ›
The 'Movie' picture mode is the most accurate one out of the box and allows for the most customization. For our calibration, from the Advanced Picture Settings menu, we set Contrast to '100', Brightness to '50', and Sharpness to '0'.Why is my TCL TV picture blurry? ›
If the picture and sound quality is poor on a specific channel only, there is a possibility that the signal strength of the network is poor. If the TV is connected to an indoor antenna, try to adjust or re-position the antenna until you get stronger signal strength.How do I know if my HDR is correct? ›
- Press the Home button.
- Select Settings.
- Select Preferences.
- Select Picture.
- Select Picture Mode. If your TV detects an HDR format, it will display “HDR-Vivid” or “HDR-Video.”
HDR brightness settings
HDR TVs have picture settings that control maximum HDR brightness. These settings are often called backlight, OLED light, peak luminance etc. To utilise the full potential of your HDR TV, we recommend that you set the HDR brightness to the maximum in picture settings.
Press the Home button on their TCL Roku TV Remote. Scroll down and select Streaming Channels. Press the button. Scroll down and select 4K UHD Content Available.