TCL 65C825K mini LED TV Review Page 2

The high brightness and Quantum Dot panel results in seriously satisfying colours. Unlike last year's 815K series, the colour richness here doesn't feel excessive or forced during the opening circus scene of The Greatest Showman on 4K Blu-ray, even in the boldest picture presets. There's plenty of finesse and subtlety in colour blends. Most of its picture presets produce enjoyably sharp 4K, doing good justice to the clarity and detail in crisp-looking 4K Blu-ray titles such as Blade Runner 2049. The Movie preset appears softer, but this is typical of a TV set's most 'accurate' setting.

TCL's AI-driven upscaling is not the same spec as that of the European version – a curious difference – but works well with non-4K sources. HD movies feel crisp and denser, and these improvements come without an exaggeration of source noise. Even the option for converting SDR to HDR is solid, greatly increasing brightness and colour without the picture looking too unnatural. The catch is noticeable clipping (loss of detail in bright areas) – something you don't see much of on this set with native HDR playback.

There are other niggles with the 65C825K's pictures. With every image preset bar Movie, dark scenes and areas can suffer with really noticeable black crush. Shadow details are lost in the darkness. In the scene in It (4K BD), where Stanley is scared by the disfigured lady, black crush causes his face to turn into a near silhouette in some shots, to an extent I haven't witnessed with any other screen. The only preset that brings the shadow detail back is Movie. There's a cost for this in black level and colour punch, but the overall balance is much more watchable. It's a pity the dynamic tone mapping feature available elsewhere in Europe is missing (another curious difference), as this might have fixed this black crush issue.

Very dark scenes can trigger a little flickery instability in the image's baseline brightness, and backlight blooming goes from almost non-existent to obvious if you have to watch the 65C825K from an angle. With most picture presets bar, again, the Movie one, there can be significant colour banding in bright HDR image areas, such as the skies above the battlefield in 1917 on 4K Blu-ray.

Our review model also sometimes exhibited a distracting stutter when watching 24p movies. This may well eventually be fixed by TCL in firmware, but we can only report what we see.

Superior Sound
The felt-covered Onkyo soundbar hanging off the trimly framed screen's bottom edge delivers a very enjoyable performance. It projects forward into the room, making the movie-watching experience impactful and immersive, and dialogue delivery is robust. A rear-mounted woofer produces exceptional depths of clean, muffle-free bass, without overwhelming the mid-range.

Occasionally voices sound like they're coming from below the onscreen action, and the soundstage doesn't escalate as potently as it ideally would with big action moments. For the most part, though, the 65C825K's audio fits with its premium TV status.

The lack of cutting-edge gaming support, a few image niggles and the existence across the Channel of a higher-spec model mean I can't give TCL's 65C825K an unqualified recommendation. However, its mini LED implementation and drastically tidier picture performance mean it's easily the best TV the brand has brought to the UK. Other marques should watch out.

HCC Verdict

TCL 65C825K

Price:  £1,500

We say: The 65C825K lacks a few key features supported by its counterpart elsewhere in Europe, but is still TCL’s first genuine statement telly.

Overall: 4/5


4K: Yes. 3,840 x 2,160 HDR: Yes. HDR10; HDR10+; HLG; Dolby Vision TUNER: Yes.Freeview HD CONNECTIONS: 3 x HDMI inputs (one with eARC); 1 x USB; optical digital audio output; headphone port; Ethernet SOUND (CLAIMED): 60W, 2.1-channel BRIGHTNESS (CLAIMED): 1,000 nits peak CONTRAST RATIO (CLAIMED): N/A DIMENSIONS (OFF STAND): 1,446(w) x 883(h) x 76(d)mm WEIGHT (OFF STAND): 29.3kg

FEATURES: Mini LED backlight; Quantum Dot colour system; 160-zone local dimming; AiPQ 2.0 processing engine; 3D LUT; VA panel; Android 9.0 smarts, upgradable to 11.0; USB multimedia playback; Bluetooth; built-in Wi-Fi; Smart HDR; Motion Clarity Supreme; Onkyo soundbar; Freeview Play