The TCL 8 Series 2019 Q825 is a great 4k TV with impressive picture quality. It displays deep uniform blacks in a dark room thanks to its very high native contrast ratio and excellent black uniformity, but its local dimming feature is very aggressive. It can get very bright both in SDR and in HDR and thanks to its wide color gamut it delivers HDR content with saturated colors and bright highlights. Motion handling is great and fast-moving content displays with just minimal blur. Most gamers will appreciate the excellent low input lag, but some competitive gamers might not find it low enough for their purpose. Finally, the TV supports the most common resolutions, and when used as a PC monitor it displays chroma 4:4:4 properly so that the text is clear. Unfortunately, the image degrades at an angle, like most VA panel TVs.
The TCL 8 Series 2019 has an excellent overall design. It has a heavy stand that supports it well and prevents most wobble. The back is rather plain and the entire build quality is great, with no gaps or loose ends.
The TV's stand is made of metal. It's very heavy, feels solid, and supports the TV well, preventing most wobble. It resembles the Samsung NU8000's stand a lot.
Footprint of the 65" model: 33.9"x13.8"
The borders are made of metal and are fairly thin. They feel solid, which adds to the TV's premium look.
This TV is relatively thin overall. The upper half is really thin, while the bottom half is thicker as it houses the electronics. It won't stick out much if you wall-mount it.
The TCL 65Q825's build quality is very good. It's a sturdy and solid construction with no gaps or loose ends. The TV definitely feels premium and is rather heavy.
The TCL 8 Series 2109 has an impressive picture quality. It delivers deep uniform blacks in a dark room thanks to the high native contrast ratio and excellent black uniformity. Unfortunately, some very dark scenes are crushed when local dimming is enabled, which might bother some people. On the upside, the TV can get very bright and can handle reflections well, so it's a great choice for bright environments. When in HDR, the TV displays bright highlights and vivid colors thanks to the excellent HDR peak brightness and its wide color gamut. The 65Q825's overall gray uniformity is decent, but there's noticeable dirty screen effect. Finally, the viewing angles are poor, typical of VA panels.
The TCL 8 Series 2019 has an outstanding contrast ratio, so blacks look deep in a dark room. When local dimming is enabled, this TV delivers the deepest blacks we've measured up until now on an LED TV.
This TV has decent overall local dimming. The backlight consists of a large array of Mini-LEDs that create a large number of local dimming zones. This is good, as it allows the TV to minimize blooming around bright objects. At the same time, due to the large number of zones, it's very noticeable when they turn on and off, and this creates a checkered/golfball effect. To activate local dimming, you must set the Local Contrast setting to 'High' as the 'Medium' or 'Low' settings didn't seem to do much on our unit in real content.
The local dimming works well, and the image looks very good when watching medium-to-high brightness scenes. However, the local dimming algorithm is very aggressive and crushes details in very dark scenes, like the intro scene of Netflix's Our Planet which is displayed with almost no stars. Subtitles don't have much noticeable blooming mainly because they're very bright and your eyes can't distinguish the blooming.
Finally, the zone transitions can be distracting, depending on the scene. At about 1:06 of the above video, the small ball almost disappears as the slow zone transitions can't keep up with the speed of the fast-moving object. Another example where the transitions and the golfball effect is more visible is in this Earth video from space, shown here.
The 8 Series 2019 has excellent SDR peak brightness. The TV is suitable for very bright rooms as it can fight glare with ease.
We measured the peak brightness after calibration, with the 'Brighter' backlight setting, with the Backlight slider set to '100' (max) in the 'Movie' Picture Mode and the 'Warm' Color Temperature, as these are the most accurate settings. These are also the settings that deliver the highest peak brightness.
Excellent peak brightness in HDR for our 65Q825. The TV delivers HDR content with very bright highlights.
We measured the peak brightness in HDR before calibration, with the 'Brighter' backlight setting, with the 'Dark HDR' Picture Mode. These are the most accurate and the brightest settings.
Our TCL 65Q825 has a decent overall gray uniformity. Unfortunately, there's noticeable dirty screen effect both in bright and in dark scenes. Furthermore, the overall uniformity in the darker scenes is one of the worst we've encountered so far. Gray uniformity is unit-specific and the performance of our unit might not be the same as the performance of yours.
Our TCL 8 Series 2019 QLED has excellent black uniformity. Black uniformity, however, is unit-specific, so let us know in the discussions below if your unit has similar performance.
The TCL 8 Series 2019 has impressive reflection handling. The TV has a semi-gloss filter that diminishes reflections and makes them less distracting. If you place this TV in a bright room, you shouldn't have issues, thanks to its excellent peak brightness.
The TCL 8 Series 2019's pre-calibration accuracy is poor. You don't have to be an expert to depict the errors both in the whites and in the colors. The Color Temperature is very warm and the red-yellowish tint is very apparent. The Gamma doesn't follow the curve well. Most scenes are darker than they should be, and very dark scenes are especially crushed. Some very bright scenes, on the other hand, are slightly brighter than they should be.
The TCL 8 Series 2019 has outstanding accuracy after calibration. Any remaining inaccuracies require the use of a colorimeter to spot, and the gamma follows the target flawlessly.
There's an auto-calibration function that requires the use of an app. Although the app helps improve image accuracy significantly, it's less accurate than a colorimeter.
See our recommended settings here.
The TCL 8 Series 2019 has a great wide color gamut, as expected from a Quantum Dot (also known as QLED) TV. The TV can deliver the saturated colors of the latest 4k HDR movies.
Unfortunately, the EOTF (electro-optical transfer function) doesn't track the target PQ curve closely, and most scenes are displayed darker than they should be. 'Game' mode is nearly identical, as shown here.
Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do to make HDR brighter without messing with picture quality. Changing the Brightness setting from its default value will brighten HDR but also ruin the picture quality, so it isn't recommended.
This TV has an impressive color volume. It's capable of displaying its color gamut at various luminosities, delivering saturated colors thanks to its high contrast ratio.
The 65Q825 has decent gradient handling. Some banding is visible in most colors and unfortunately, the TV doesn't offer any gradient smoothing option.
The TCL 65Q825 doesn't show any 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 65Q825 to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.
Motion handling on the TCL 8 Series 2019 is great. It has a fast response time that only leaves a small blur trail behind fast-moving content, but at the same time, it causes stutter in movies or other 24p content, especially in slow panning shots. The Q825 uses PWM to dim the backlight. For the most part, it flickers at a very high frequency and this shouldn't be an issue for most people. The TV has an optional black frame insertion feature that helps the appearance of motion and can interpolate content up to 120 frames per second to please the soap opera effect fans. Unfortunately, it lacks any advanced gaming features like FreeSync.
The TCL Q825 has an excellent response time. Fast-moving content is displayed with only minimal blur.
The TV uses PWM to dim its backlight. For the most part, the flicker frequency is very high and very hard to notice. However, in certain bright modes, and when the backlight is above 81/100, the flicker frequency drops to 120Hz. Because this is a very bright TV, we expect most people not to use it at such high brightness levels so flicker shouldn't be an issue for most.
This TV has an optional black frame insertion feature to make motion look crisper. However, this creates duplications that can be annoying to some people. To enable BFI, just set the LED Motion Clarity to 'On'.
Update 11/29/2019: The firmware we initially tested only supported motion interpolation up to 60 fps. We've retested the Q825 and updated the review.
The TCL Q825 can interpolate low fps content up to 120 fps.
To enable motion interpolation, set the Action Smoothing to 'On'.
The TV's fast response time results in displaying each frame on the screen for a longer time. This causes motion to appear to stutter in slow fps content like movies. You're more likely to notice this in slow panning shots.
The 8 Series 2019 can remove 24p judder from any source. This is done automatically and there's no special setting that you must enable.
The Q825 has a native refresh rate of 120Hz and doesn't support any advanced gaming features like FreeSync.
The TCL 8 Series 2019 has an excellent low input lag which is great for casual gaming but probably not low enough for competitive gaming. It can display the most common resolutions and when connected to a PC it will display chroma 4:4:4 properly, so the text on the screen looks clear.
The TCL Q825 has an excellent low input lag, as long as you're in 'Game Mode'. However, it's not as low as the input lag found on other TCL models and might not be suitable for competitive gaming. On the upside, the TV has an Auto Low Latency Mode which allows it to detect when you're gaming on a compatible device and automatically switches to 'Game Mode'. There are no special settings to do this. You must, however, enable Auto Low Latency Mode on the connected device.
The TCL 8 Series 2019 supports the most common resolutions. The TV detects automatically when it's connected to a PC and displays chroma 4:4:4 properly so text looks clear. You must, however, enable 'HDMI 2.0' in the HDMI Mode menu for this to work.
Although the panel has a native refresh rate of 120Hz, when sent a 120Hz signal, it drops every other frame.
The TCL 8 Series 2019 has a good overall sound quality. It gets quite loud, good enough for most environments, and delivers clear and understandable dialogue. It has decent punch and body to its bass but can't deliver any thump or rumble. For a better sound, a dedicated sound system is recommended (see our recommendations for the best soundbars).
This Q825 has a decent frequency response. The low-frequency extension (LFE) is decent, resulting in a bass that isn't able to produce much thump or rumble but has a decent amount of punch and body. Above the LFE, the response is well balanced, resulting in clear dialogue. The TV can also get pretty loud, without much pumping and compression artifacts under maximum load.
The Q825 has very good distortion performance. The overall amount of harmonic distortion produced is within good limits, and there's only a small increase in THD under heavier loads.
The TCL 8 Series 2019's smart features are very good. It runs the Roku TV smart platform which is very smooth and easy to navigate. It gives you access to a very large number of apps called streaming channels. The TV comes along with the typical decent TCL remote, also found on this year's 6 Series model, and the accompanying app is also the same.
The Roku TV smart interface is very smooth and easy to use.
We encountered a strange "bug" while testing the TV. When our Android box was connected to the TV and we played Our Planet in Dolby Vision using the internal Netflix app, the picture displayed some weird artifacts. This seemed to be caused by the Android box, but we can't be sure.