The TCL 6 Series 2019 55R625 / 65R625 is an impressive budget 4k TV with great picture quality. It has a low input lag that's great for gaming and delivers deep blacks in a dark room thanks to its outstanding contrast ratio, excellent blacks, and good local dimming support. It can get very bright in SDR and displays vivid color with bright highlights when in HDR. It has a fast overall response time and motion looks crisp, but some scenes have some noticeable motion artifacts. Unfortunately, the gray uniformity is just decent and most people will notice some dirty screen effect. Finally, the image degrades when viewed from the side just like with most VA panel TVs.
Update 11/20/2019: The TCL 6 Series R625 2019 was originally reviewed on October 16 2019. The text has been updated, but our overall findings haven't changed.
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 Q70/Q70R QLED. Although it was TCL's highest-end model last year, this year they're 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 TCL 65R625's borders are thin and aren't distracting when watching TV.
The TCL 65R625 is thicker than most TVs we've tested, so it might stick 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's contrast ratio is excellent. It delivers deep blacks in a dark room and when local dimming is enabled the result is even better. This is an improvement over last year's TCL 6 Series 2018.
The TCL R625 has a good full-array local dimming system, much better than last year's TCL 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's 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 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's 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.
The TCL R625's pre-calibration color accuracy is sub-par. You don't have to be an enthusiast to depict most of the errors in the gray shades and some colors. The color temperature is warm and you'll notice some red and yellowish tint. Gamma doesn't follow the target curve, so 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 TCL R617, there's no sub-pixel dithering, but we noticed some minor cross-hatching in some content. It isn't very noticeable, though, and you have to be close to notice it. From a comfortable viewing distance, it shouldn't be 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 OLED, 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's a noticeable improvement over the TCL 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, check out our settings page to see how to make it brighter.
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's 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.
The TCL 6 Series R625 2019 has a good overall response time. However, some dark scene transitions are slow and this displays as ghosting which is noticeable and will distract some people. Also, the TV's backlight flicker, which can't be disabled, causes some duplications and some motion artifacts that can be annoying. This behavior is depicted in the above response time photo.
Unfortunately, the backlight uses PWM to dim, and there's 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. To control this feature you must use the LED Motion Clarity setting.
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 setting that controls motion interpolation is the Action Smoothing.
Although the TCL's response time is fast, it's not as fast as to cause too much noticeable stutter when watching 24p movies. Stutter, however, can still be seen in some slow, panning shots of movies.
Like most TCL TVs, the TCL 6 Series 2019 can remove judder from all sources, which is unusual for a 60Hz TV. The setting that must be enabled for this feature to work is the Natural Cinema. Note that if you enable this setting you won't add any motion interpolation to your content.
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.
The TCL R 25 has a remarkably low input lag provided that 'Game Mode' is enabled. It also has an auto low latency mode that detects when you're playing a game on a compatible console or PC and automatically enables 'Game Mode' so you can enjoy the lowest possible input lag.
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's 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 dialogue, 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's 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 TCL 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 TCL 6 Series R625 has the same Roku TV interface that runs on other Roku TVs or streaming sticks. It's very smooth, easy to use, and offers many options to deal with your TV.