The TCL 6 Series 2019 is a great budget 4k TV with impressive picture quality and low input lag for gaming. It has an excellent contrast ratio, with outstanding black uniformity and a good local dimming feature. It has excellent peak brightness in SDR, and small, bright highlights really pop in HDR. This TV has an excellent color gamut, great for the latest HDR content.
Unfortunately, it has only decent gray uniformity, with noticeable banding and dirty screen effect, and there are some noticeable motion artifacts in some scenes. Like most TVs with VA panels, the image degrades when viewed at an angle.
The TCL 6 Series 2019 replaces the TCL 6 Series/R617 2018. It's one of TCL's most popular models, and its main competitors are the Vizio M Series Quantum 2019, the Hisense H9F, and the Samsung Q70R QLED. Although it was TCL's highest-end model last year, this year they are releasing the TCL Q825, a high-end model designed to compete with premium models from other brands.
The TCL 6 Series 2019 has a great design. TCL has updated the design this year, adding a few nice touches, including a partial chrome finish on the feet and a glossy panel on the back. All of these changes add a premium look to this TV, and it feels solid and well-built. Unfortunately, there's still no cable management.
The feet are attached to the side of the TV, which is unique, but this TV requires a wide table if it isn't wall-mounted. There are covers included in the box to hide the mounting slots for the feet when wall-mounted.
Footprint of the 65" stand: 56.7" x 12.6"
The borders on the TCL 65R625 are thin, and aren't distracting when watching TV.
The TCL 65R625 is thicker than most TVs we've tested, so it sticks out a bit when wall-mounted.
Overall, the TCL 65R625 has good build quality. The stand supports the TV well, with very little wobble. It appears to be well-built, with no obvious issues, but we have received a few reports of damaged screens out of the box.
The TCL 6 Series 2019 delivers great picture quality. It has an excellent contrast ratio and excellent black uniformity, resulting in deep, uniform blacks, and it has a good black uniformity feature. This TV has excellent peak brightness in SDR and decent reflection handling, so glare shouldn't be an issue. In HDR, it gets bright enough for small highlights to stand out the way they should, and it can display a wide color gamut. Unfortunately, like most VA TVs, the image degrades when viewed at an angle, and it has only decent uniformity.
The TCL 6 Series 2019 has outstanding contrast, very similar to the R617. This results in deep blacks and is especially noticeable in a dark room. With local dimming enabled, the contrast ratio is even better and is a noticeable improvement over the R617.
The TCL R625 has a good full-array local dimming system, much better than last year's R617. The dimming algorithms can be a bit too aggressive with some content, though, causing some areas to dim a bit too much, but most regular content looks good. There is some noticeable blooming around subtitles, but it isn't as bad as most Samsung TVs.
The 55" inch model has fewer local dimming zones (100 instead of 120), but we don't expect this to have a significant impact on local dimming performance.
Great peak brightness in SDR, more than bright enough for the most difficult environments. It's not quite as bright as the TCL R617, but this shouldn't be very noticeable with SDR content.
We measured the peak brightness after calibration, with the 'Brighter' setting, with the Backlight set to '100' (max) in the 'Movie' Picture Mode, as these are the most accurate settings. Unlike many TVs, these are also the settings that deliver the highest peak brightness.
We measured the peak brightness in HDR before calibration, with the 'Dark HDR' Picture Mode, which is the most accurate and the brightest setting.
Note 10/17/2019: Gray uniformity varies on a unit-by-unit basis, so if you buy this TV then let us know how your unit compares in the discussions.
Unfortunately, the TCL 6 Series 2019 has only decent gray uniformity. There's significant vertical banding across the entire screen, and the corners are darker than the rest (also known as vignetting). This is especially disappointing for sports fans, but it's noticeable in most content.
The viewing angle on the TCL R625 is a bit better than last year's TCL R617, but like most VA TVs, there is a noticeable degradation in picture quality when viewed at an angle. When sitting directly in front of the TV this isn't an issue, but if you have a wide seating area, or like to move around a bit, a TV with an IPS panel, like the Sony X800G might be a better choice.
The TCL 65R625 has outstanding black uniformity. With local dimming disabled, the image is a bit cloudy, but it isn't very noticeable. With local dimming enabled, there is significantly less clouding, but some more noticeable blooming around the test cross.
Unfortunately, the TCL 65R625 has slightly worse reflection handling than the TCL R617.
Unfortunately, the TCL R625 has disappointing accuracy with our pre-calibration settings. There are errors in colors and shades of gray that even some non-enthusiasts might notice, and the color temperature is very warm. Gamma doesn't follow the target curve, and most scenes are displayed darker than they should be.
After calibration, the TCL R625 has much better accuracy. There are still a few remaining inaccuracies, but most people won't notice anything.
TCL originally announced that the TCL 6 Series 2019 will have an auto-calibration function. Unfortunately, this feature hasn't been released yet, so we haven't been able to try it. Once the app is out we will reset the TV and test the auto-calibration, and post our findings in a discussion post below.
See our recommended settings here
4k content is displayed nearly perfectly on the TCL R625. Unlike the R617, there is no sub-pixel dithering, but we noticed some minor cross-hatching in some content. It isn't very noticeable though, and from a comfortable viewing distance, it isn't an issue.
Update 10/17/2019: Added clarifications to text.
This TV has an outstanding color gamut, similar to most OLED TVs we've tested, like the LG C9, and very close to the Samsung Q9FN. This is expected, as the quantum dot color used to produce a wide color gamut was one of the main advertised features of this TV. It is a noticeable improvement over the R617, and is important for more saturated colors with the latest 4k HDR movies.
Unfortunately, the EOTF (electro-optical transfer function) doesn't follow the target PQ curve, and most scenes are displayed brighter than they should be. 'Game' mode is a bit more accurate, as shown here. If you find HDR too dark, changing local dimming to 'Medium' results in an overall brighter picture, but the peak brightness is a bit lower, as shown here.
The TCL 6 Series 2019 has great color volume. It's mainly limited by the incomplete color gamut, as it can display dark saturated colors well, and most colors are as bright as pure white.
The TCL R625 has good gradient handling, but there is some severe banding, especially in green and shades of gray.
The TCL 65R625 shows no signs of temporary image retention, even immediately after displaying our high-contrast static test image for ten minutes.
We don't expect VA panels like the TCL R625 to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.
The TCL 65R625 has good overall motion handling. It has a fast response time, but the backlight always flickers, causing some noticeable motion artifacts and duplications. It has an optional black frame insertion feature, and it can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 60 frames per second. Unfortunately, it doesn't support any advanced motion handling features, like FreeSync.
Overall, the TCL 6 Series 2019 has a good response time, but some transitions, especially in dark scenes, are extremely slow, which results in more noticeable ghosting. Unfortunately, the backlight flicker of the TV results in noticeable duplications and other motion artifacts in some content, and this can't be disabled. This can be seen in the above response time photo.
Unfortunately, the backlight uses PWM to dim, and there is always flicker, even at max backlight. The relatively high flicker frequency shouldn't bother most people, but it causes some noticeable motion artifacts.
The TCL 6 Series 2019 has an optional black frame insertion feature, which reduces the backlight flicker to 60Hz when enabled. This improves the appearance of motion, but causes duplications. The LED Motion Clarity setting controls this feature.
The TCL 6 Series 2019 has an optional motion interpolation feature, but it can only increase the frame rate up to 60 frames per second.
The Action Smoothing setting controls the motion interpolation feature on this TV.
The relatively slow response time of the TCL 6 Series 2019 results in less noticeable stutter when watching 24p movies. Stutter can still be seen in some movies, though, especially in slow, panning shots.
Like most TCL TVs, the TCL 6 Series 2019 can remove judder from all sources, which is unusual for a 60Hz TV. The Natural Cinema setting must be enabled for this to work. Note that enabling this setting doesn't add any soap opera effect.
The TCL 6 Series 2019 has a 60Hz refresh rate and doesn't support any of the variable refresh rate technologies, like AMD's FreeSync.
The TCL R625 has outstanding low input lag, resulting in an extremely responsive gaming experience. It accepts 1080p, 1440p, and 4k inputs, but can only display chroma 4:4:4 properly with 4k content, which might be an issue when using it as a PC monitor.
This TV has outstanding low input lag in any supported mode, as long as 'Game mode' is enabled. Like most recent TCL TVs we've tested, it also has an automatic low latency mode, which automatically enables 'Game Mode' when it detects a game is being played from a supported console or PC.
The TCL 6 Series 2019 can display chroma 4:4:4 properly, but only in 4k. When sending a 1080p or 1440p signal from a PC, it can't display chroma 4:4:4 properly, so text doesn't look clear. This is very surprising, as almost all 4k TVs can do this, so we expect it's a bug with the current firmware. We'll retest this with future firmware updates.
Like most TVs, the TCL 6 Series 2019 delivers only mediocre sound. It has a mediocre frequency response, and the bass lacks thump or rumble, but has a bit of punch. It can get loud enough for most environments, and there is very little compression. For better sound, a dedicated speaker system or soundbar is recommended. See also our recommendations for the best soundbars.
This TV has a mediocre frequency response. The low-frequency extension (LFE) is high, resulting in a bass that lacks thump or rumble, but has a bit of punch. Above the LFE, the response is flat, resulting in clear, even dialog, but it lacks airiness due to the drop in the mid-treble. This TV has good max volume and should be loud enough for most rooms, and there is very little compression or pumping artifacts.
Decent distortion performance, about average. The total amount of harmonic distortion at 80dB SPL is good, but it increases a bit at max volume. Like the R617, this TV produces high amounts of inter-modulation distortion, but most people won't notice this.
The TCL 6 Series 2019 has good smart features. It runs the same Roku TV interface as most other Roku devices, from TVs to streaming sticks, and it has a huge selection of streaming apps. Unfortunately, there are large ads on the main home page, and they can't be disabled.
The interface is identical to the Roku interface found on other Roku devices, from TVs to streaming sticks. It's easy-to-use and fast, but not the fanciest.