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 is an impressive TV for mixed use. It can get very bright, so it's suitable for bright rooms where it can fight glare and handle reflections well. You can also place it in a dark room where it will display deep uniform blacks. Thanks to its wide color gamut and high HDR peak brightness, the latest 4k HDR content is displayed with vivid colors and bright highlights. Overall, this TV delivers great performance in most uses.
The TCL 8 Series 2019 is a great TV for watching movies in a dark room. It delivers an impressive picture quality with deep uniform blacks in a dark room and has a decent local dimming feature that can improve performance. It upscales Blu-rays and other lower-resolution content well but unfortunately, the gray uniformity isn't that great especially in dark scenes.
Watching TV shows on the TCL 8 Series 2019 is a great experience. You can place the TV in a bright room as it can handle reflections well and can fight glare with ease. It upscales lower resolution content well, but it's not the best choice if you often move around while watching your favorite TV show. On the upside, the Roku TV smart interface has all the latest apps.
The TCL Q825 is an impressive TV for watching sports. It can get very bright and thanks to its great reflection handling you can place it a room with any lighting conditions. Fast-moving content is crisp thanks to the fast response time, but unfortunately, there's a noticeable dirty screen effect which will disappoint demanding sports fans. Finally, the poor viewing angles do not favor watching the big game with a group of friends.
The TCL 8 Series 2019 is an excellent TV for playing video games. It has a very low input lag which is good for most gamers. The response time is very fast and the TV displays fast-moving content with just minimal blur. Unfortunately, there's no support for advanced gaming features, like FreeSync, and some competitive gamers might find the input lag not low enough for their standards.
The TCL 8 Series 2019 QLED delivers an outstanding HDR Movie watching experience. It has an exceptional contrast ratio that delivers deep uniform blacks in dark room but its local dimming is just decent. It has a wide color gamut and a high HDR peak brightness that delivers the latest 4k HDR content full of vivid colors and bright highlights.
The TCL 8 Series 2019 is great for playing HDR games. It has an excellent low input lag when in HDR and the can deliver deep blacks in a dark room where HDR games are meant to be played. Thanks to the TV's high HDR peak brightness and wide color gamut, HDR Games display full of rich colors and highlights that pop.
The TCL 8 Series 2019 is an impressive TV for use as a PC monitor. It supports the most common resolutions and displays chroma 4:4:4 properly without issue, making text look clear. The response time is very fast and there's only a small blur trail behind a fast-moving mouse. Unfortunately, if you sit up close, the sides won't look very uniform due to the poor viewing angles.
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 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. To achieve this calibration results we calibrated with Gamma set to '2.0', but we continue to recommend setting Gamma to '2.2' as this is the manufacturer's recommendation.
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.
480p content, like DVDs, looks great on the TCL Q825, with no obvious issues.
The Q825 has remarkable upscaling of Blu-rays and other 1080p content.
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.
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 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.