Of the 2018 TCL 6-Series (R617) TV I wrote, “If the unbelievably good deal doesn’t convince you, the 6-Series’ display quality will.”
The 2018 TCL 6-Series was all of the confirmation I needed that TCL was on the right track to become the best value TV model you could buy in the U.S. The 2017 P-Series (never to be confused with Vizio’s P-Series) caught me off guard and its own replacement, the 2018 6-Series (or R617), was groundbreaking. Naturally, the 2019 6-Series (R625) reviewed here has been highly anticipated.
To be clear, TCL’s new 6-Series is a fantastic TV, and for the purchase price, it is a lot more remarkable. But … I’m not getting those super-stoked feelings this time around. Am I being unfair?
I’ve been asking myself this question again and again for recent weeks and I’ve decided: Yeah, I’m being truly a little unfair.
As a TV reviewer, I reach see the best of the greatest, price-no-object TVs, therefore i know precisely how good a TV could be when you’re able to afford to throw money at one like breadcrumbs to pigeons in the park. I also review TVs that almost all of us can afford to get, and historically I haven’t expected them to come anywhere near the flagship models. But TCL came around and messed that review paradigm up using its TVs. I’ve had to reconsider might know about expect for our money when investing in a TV as a result of TCL.
So, really, it’s TCL’s fault that I’m much less gobsmacked by the 2019 6-Series as I have already been by preceding models. That may seem to be just like a backhanded compliment, but I don’t mean it as you. TCL just painted itself in a corner regarding how easily it might tug within my heartstrings.
I still throw the entire weight of my recommendation behind this TV.
Underneath line: The TCL 2019 6-Series is just a higher value, high-performance TV as its predecessors. It doesn’t get everything right, and I’ve some news by the end of the review that may surprise you, but I still throw the entire weight of my recommendation behind this TV.
What’s new this season?
In two words: Quantum dots.
If you’re not familiar, quantum dots are being used in televisions to expand their color gamut and color volume. This implies more colors from the colour palette could be displayed looked after means those colors are displayed with an increase of depth and more brightness. Nowadays, quantum dots are what help determine whether an LED TV is premium or not, plus they are an excellent initial indication of whether a TV will be in a position to produce impressive high dynamic range (HDR) images.
Unfortunately, one can not simply throw quantum dots right into a TV and enjoy better performance.
For the 2019 TCL 6-series, we do see significant expansion of the colour gamut plus some meaningful, or even more slight, upsurge in color volume. That is good news for those who enjoy 4K HDR content, be it from Netflix, Amazon, or 4K HDR Blu-ray discs. For folks watching regular old cable or satellite, or still taking out a typical Blu-ray or DVD, this improvement isn’t as meaningful.
Dan Baker/Digital Trends
Unfortunately, one can not merely throw quantum dots right into a TV and enjoy better performance. There’s a skill to the technology and predicated on the out-of-box color performance, TCL hasn’t quite figured it out. The out-of-box settings leave colors just a little wonky. Will most folks notice? I’m uncertain. But I saw it without taking measurements. To be certain, video enthusiasts should hire a calibrator, because once this TV has been professionally adjusted, it’s color performance is exemplary.
Incidentally, if your calibrator appears to be grumbling under their breath while focusing on this TV, it’s because they must feel the Roku TV application to make all of the essential adjustments and the workflow isn’t … well, it’s not what most folks are being used to.
How’s that HDR performance?
Somewhat surprisingly, the brand new 2019 6-Series includes a slightly lower peak brightness than its 2018 predecessor. By slight, After all significantly less than 100 nits lower across various test patterns. Is this enough to produce a real difference for some viewers? I don’t think so. Perhaps with the proper scenes, you could perceive a notable difference between your two TVs if located side-by-side, but if you don’t certainly are a specs geek, I wouldn’t weight this factor too heavily.
HDR performance isn’t purely a matter of peak brightness capabilities, though. I believe there’s a tendency to hone in on brightness talents because it’s much much easier to detect less-than-sparkling performance than this is a insufficient shadow detail/fine grey gradients, but if you’ve ever watched a TV where you understand there must be something to see apart from a huge pool of black, you then really know what I’m discussing here. Unfortunately, Personally i think just like the latest 6-Series suffers in this regard where its predecessor didn’t, and it’s this task backward that provides me some pause.
Overall this is an extremely enjoyable TV to view, but I noticed while you’re watching dark shows in Dolby Vision – Netflix’s Ozark or Mindhunter, for instance – that some scenes were very challenging to view. In the video review above, I really do my better to show this effect, but between limitations in cameras or the display you watch it on, it’ll be tough to see. To be fair, I came across the Vizio M-Series Quantum didn’t do far better, so it can be done that the Dolby Vision mastering for these titles is merely not friendly to not the most capable displays, but I’ve watched these shows on a great many other TVs rather than found myself struggling to create out essential details.
May be the screen clean?
Those who are into TV reviews and general TV tech are well familiar with the word “dirty screen effect.” The problem originates from a sub-optimal LCD panel that doesn’t display greyscale with uniformity over the screen. This may manifest in a number of ways: Darker corners, vertical banding, or general blotchiness. The latter of these three appears less common today, but we’ve seen a good amount of vertical banding and vignetting in the corners in the last couple of years, including with the 65-inch TCL 6-Series we reviewed this past year. Compounding the problem of dirty screen effect is that it’s inconsistent from unit to unit. For instance, the 75-inch 6-Series we reviewed this past year was pretty clean.
Fortunately, we got an extremely clean R625 to examine from TCL, but that was no accident. Manufacturers typically evaluate review samples before they are delivered, and considering that the first sample I received was apparently damaged in shipping, I am a lot more convinced the review unit I acquired had been reviewed with a fine-toothed comb.
Dan Baker/Digital Trends
I am much less convinced that this could be the case for consumers. The so-called “panel lottery” continues to be something in this present day of quality control, in order much as I hate to say this, I do think this is a good notion to get ready yourself for the opportunity of having to switch a TV in the event that you happen to get mostly of the which has this “dirty screen.”
How do you want to know? Well, if you don’t notice anything you then should be correctly fine, but if you wish to check to be certain, pull up sports with a whole lot of uniform color. I love using hockey, golf, tennis, or football (U.S. or European!) because they all have wide swathes of green, brown, or white that will expose any hazy spots.
How’s it sound
You don’t buy a TV for how it sounds nowadays – almost all of them are pretty unimpressive – but when you have no interest in investing in a soundbar or connecting a full-on home entertainment speakers, you will count on the TV’s onboard sound and I believe you have to know how it ranks.
Fortunately, the 2019 TCL 6-Series doesn’t sound terrible, and that’s praise enough. The dialogue is clear, and sound files don’t block the way or distort. The Vizio M-Series Quantum however? Yuck. You may be needing to factor the price tag on a soundbar in with it because it’s not worth hearing alone. Fortunately, Vizio makes some terrific low-cost soundbars.
Anyway, back again to the TCL: Its sound is properly serviceable, so don’t feel just like a soundbar is a required accessory.
I can’t recommend this TV as a superb gaming display for a couple reasons: Crushed blacks, no auto low latency mode, no variable refresh rate. If you prefer a world-class gaming display look at an LG OLED or Samsung QLED TV. Still, if you’re a far more everyday gamer, this TV must do just fine because of impressively low input lag.
Good ‘ole Roku
Those who regularly read my TV reviews (thanks, folks!) know I am an unapologetic fan of Roku. For individuals who aren’t aware, I believe Roku TVs are among easy and simple to use given that almost every TV today is a good TV. For people who have to get accustomed to a new method of doing things, Roku supplies the path of least resistance.
Dan Baker/Digital Trends
And lest you imagine I’m just playing to the most frequent denominator, i want to clarify that I believe Roku supplies the best overall streaming TV experience you can aquire, whether it’s baked in to the TV as it is here now, or comes through among Roku’s streaming sticks or boxes. Two enthusiastic thumbs up!