TCL Google TVs target gamers with smoother, brighter images
My favorite TV for the money right now is the TCL 6 Series Roku TV, but the China-based TV giant’s latest lineup of TVs might give it a hard time. The new models, announced at CES 2023, feature faster refresh rates for smoother gaming, brighter LEDs, and mini LED backlight for more powerful images and the Google TV smart system.
Most of the details TCL gave were about its new QLED TVs but the company also teased an upcoming Samsung Display-based TV QD-OLED technology. TCL will sell a QD-OLED TV at some point this year, but that’s about all it’s revealed – no details on price, size or features yet.
Samsung and Sony already have QD-OLED TVs, so TCL will be the third manufacturer to adopt the technology, which competes with LG OLED panels. In our tests OLED TVs have better picture quality than QLED, and they are also more expensive, but I’m really curious how TCL rates theirs compared to Samsung. We’ll see.
Meanwhile, the most intriguing feature is TCL’s new game accelerator. It is designed to provide players with better efficiency frame rates, which might make the action smoother. It doubles the panel refresh rate by halving the vertical resolution. Translation? TCL’s two best new series, the QM8 and Q7, have a 120Hz refresh ratebut with the function activated, it is effectively 240 Hz with VRR, according to TCL. The step-down Q6, which is native at 60Hz, can display games at 120Hz.
I haven’t seen the feature in action yet, but if it works as advertised, it could be a cool way to get smoother games, especially if cheaper models work as well as native 120Hz TVs for games. I also know how noticeable the reduced vertical resolution will be.
The top-of-the-line QM8 is available in sizes ranging from 65 to 98 (!) inches. TCL says it’s twice as bright as the current Series 6 at 2,800 slow, which, if true, would make it one of the brightest TVs available. Equipped with a Mini-LED backlight, the TV has up to 2,800 dimming zones in the larger model. When I visited their suite at CES, TCL reps told me that number would be a bit smaller on other sizes, but they couldn’t provide specifics yet.
The Q7 will be the cheapest new model with full local dimming, my favorite extra for improving the picture on non-OLED TVs. It lacks mini-LEDs though, so it will likely be slimmer than the QM8 and the current 6-series. The cheapest model with QLED color and Game Accelerator is the Q6.
None of the new Q-series TVs offer Roku’s smart TV system, my favorite. Instead, they use Google TV, which is solid on its own, but more complex and slower in my experience. Of course, a buyer who wants Roku on a Q can always hook up a Roku streaming device and ditch the built-in system.
TCL also announced new versions of its cheaper non-QLED TVs, called the S4, S3, and S2 models.
I look forward to seeing the new TCL TVs in person at CES soon. TCL says most new QLED models will ship this spring, pricing to be announced later.
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