Reviewed on Nov 28, 2019

TCL 8 Series 2019/Q825 QLED TV REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
8.3
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: no price info
8.5
Movies
8.1
TV Shows
8.1
Sports
8.6
Video Games
8.6
HDR Movies
8.5
HDR Gaming
8.3
PC Monitor
Type : LED
Sub-Type
:
VA
Resolution : 4k

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.

Pros
  • Excellent SDR and HDR peak brightness.
  • Excellent contrast ratio and black uniformity.
Cons
  • Local dimming crushes highlights in dark scenes.
  • Poor gray uniformity on dark scenes.

Test Results
Design 8.5
Picture Quality 8.2
Motion 8.4
Inputs 8.6
Sound Quality 7.5
Smart Features 7.7
  1. Update 11/29/2019: We retested the Q825 on the latest firmware version (9.1.2 build 6471-88), and found that it does have a 120Hz panel, and can interpolate motion up to 120Hz.

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Market Context

The TCL 8 Series 2019 QLED is the flagship of this year's TCL's lineup, right above the TCL 6 Series 2019/R625. Its main competitors are the more premium models of other brands, like the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2019, the LG SM9500, and the Samsung Q80/Q80R QLED.

8.5

Design

Curved : No

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.

Stand

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"

Back
Wall Mount : VESA 300x300

The back of the TV is plastic. It resembles the R625's back, thanks to the glossy upper half, which gives the TV a more premium look. Similar to the other TCL TVs we've tested, the 8 Series 2019 has no cable management.

Borders
Borders : 0.35" (0.9 cm)

The borders are made of metal and are fairly thin. They feel solid, which adds to the TV's premium look.

Thickness
Max Thickness : 3.19" (8.1 cm)

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.

Temperature
Maximum Temperature
:
93 °F (34 °C)
Average Temperature
:
90 °F (32 °C)
8.0 Build Quality

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.

8.2

Picture Quality

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.

9.4 Contrast
Native Contrast
:
6649 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
:
39812 : 1

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.

6.5 Local Dimming
Local Dimming
:
Yes
Backlight
:
Full-Array

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.

9.2 SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
:
907 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
:
1419 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
:
1800 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
:
1861 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
:
1199 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
:
656 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
:
1322 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
:
1760 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
:
1818 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
:
1185 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
:
654 cd/m²
SDR ABL
:
0.052

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.

9.2 HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
:
1379 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
:
1414 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
:
1822 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
:
1884 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
:
1215 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
:
664 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
:
1311 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
:
1775 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
:
1836 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
:
1199 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
:
661 cd/m²
HDR ABL
:
0.052

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.

6.9 Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
:
2.125 %
50% DSE
:
0.207 %
5% Std. Dev.
:
2.381 %
5% DSE
:
0.131 %

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.

5.5 Viewing Angle
Color Washout
:
25 °
Color Shift
:
25 °
Brightness Loss
:
35 °
Black Level Raise
:
18 °
Gamma Shift
:
19 °

The Q825 has disappointing viewing angles. The image loses accuracy as you move off-center. If you want a TV with wide viewing angles, then check out an IPS TV like the LG SM9500 or an OLED TV like the LG B9 OLED.

9.3 Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
:
0.618 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
:
0.301 %

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.

8.1 Reflections
Screen Finish
:
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
:
4.9 %
Indirect Reflections
:
0.4 %

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.

4.8 Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
:
6.02
Color dE
:
4.25
Gamma
:
2.45
Color Temperature
:
5526 K
Picture Mode
:
Movie
Color Temp Setting
:
Warm
Gamma Setting
:
2.2

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.

9.7 Post Calibration
White Balance dE
:
0.19
Color dE
:
0.81
Gamma
:
2.20
Color Temperature
:
6501 K
White Balance Calibration
:
11 point
Color Calibration
:
Yes
Auto-Calibration Function
:
Yes

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.

8.0 480p Input

480p content, like DVDs, looks great on the TCL Q825, with no obvious issues.

8.0 720p Input

The TV delivers great upscaling of 720p content, like from cable.

9.0 1080p Input

The Q825 has remarkable upscaling of Blu-rays and other 1080p content.

10 4k Input

4k is displayed perfectly with no issues.

8.4 Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
:
Yes
DCI P3 xy
:
90.40 %
DCI P3 uv
:
93.82 %
Rec 2020 xy
:
70.05 %
Rec 2020 uv
:
80.47 %

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.

8.1 Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
:
88.0 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
:
56.3 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
:
73.4 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
:
46.5 %

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.

7.0 Gradient
Color Depth
:
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
:
0.139 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
:
0.156 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
:
0.105 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
:
0.172 dE

The 65Q825 has decent gradient handling. Some banding is visible in most colors and unfortunately, the TV doesn't offer any gradient smoothing option.

10 Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 2 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 4 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 6 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 8 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 10 min recovery
:
0.00 %

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.

10 Permanent Burn-In Risk
Permanent Burn-In Risk
:
No

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.

Pixels
8.4

Motion

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.

8.7 Response Time
80% Response Time
:
5.5 ms
100% Response Time
:
11.9 ms

The TCL Q825 has an excellent response time. Fast-moving content is displayed with only minimal blur.

9.9 Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
:
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
:
960 Hz

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.

10 Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
:
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps
:
60 Hz
60 Hz for 60 fps
:
Yes
120 Hz for 120 fps
:
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
:
60 Hz

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'.

10 Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
:
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
:
Yes

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'.

7.1 Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
:
29.8 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
:
4.8 ms

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.

10 24p Judder
Judder-Free 24p
:
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60p
:
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60i
:
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via Native Apps
:
Yes

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.

0 Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
:
120 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
:
No
G-SYNC Compatible
:
No
4k VRR Maximum
:
N/A
4k VRR Minimum
:
No VRR support
1080p VRR Maximum
:
N/A
1080p VRR Minimum
:
No VRR support
1440p VRR Maximum
:
N/A
1440p VRR Minimum
:
No VRR support
VRR Supported Connectors
:
No VRR support

The Q825 has a native refresh rate of 120Hz and doesn't support any advanced gaming features like FreeSync.

8.6

Inputs

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.

8.7 Input Lag
1080p @ 60 Hz
:
26.8 ms
1080p @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
:
135.1 ms
1440p @ 60 Hz
:
27.0 ms
4k @ 60 Hz
:
26.2 ms
4k @ 60 Hz + 10 bit HDR
:
28.8 ms
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
:
26.4 ms
4k @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
:
118.1 ms
4k @ 60 Hz With Interpolation
:
127.2 ms
8k @ 60 Hz
:
N/A
1080p @ 120 Hz
:
N/A
1440p @ 120 Hz
:
N/A
4k @ 120 Hz
:
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
:
N/A
1440p with VRR
:
N/A
4k with VRR
:
N/A
8k with VRR
:
N/A
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
:
Yes

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.

8.3 Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
:
Yes
1080p @ 120 Hz
:
No
1440p @ 60 Hz
:
Yes (forced resolution required)
1440p @ 120 Hz
:
No
4k @ 60 Hz
:
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
:
Yes
4k @ 120 Hz
:
No
8k @ 30 Hz or 24 Hz
:
No
8k @ 60 Hz
:
No

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.

Input Photos
Total Inputs
HDMI : 4
USB : 1
Digital Optical Audio Out : 1
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm : 1
Analog Audio Out RCA : 0
Component In : 0
Composite In : 1 (incl. adapter)
Tuner (Cable/Ant) : 1
Ethernet : 1
DisplayPort : 0
IR In : 0
SD/SDHC : 0
Inputs Specifications
HDR10
:
Yes
HDR10+
:
No
Dolby Vision
:
Yes
HLG
:
Yes
3D
:
No
HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth
:
Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
HDMI 2.1
:
No
CEC : Yes
HDCP 2.2 : Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
USB 3.0
:
No
Variable Analog Audio Out : Yes
Wi-Fi Support : Yes (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)
Audio Passthrough
ARC
:
Yes (HDMI 4)
eARC support
:
No
Dolby Atmos via TrueHD via eARC
:
No
DTS:X via DTS-HD MA via eARC
:
No
5.1 Dolby Digital via ARC
:
Yes
5.1 DTS via ARC
:
Yes
5.1 Dolby Digital via Optical
:
Yes
5.1 DTS via Optical
:
Yes
7.5

Sound Quality

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).

7.4 Frequency Response
Low-Frequency Extension
:
71.27 Hz
Std. Dev. @ 70
:
4.30 dB
Std. Dev. @ 80
:
4.02 dB
Std. Dev. @ Max
:
4.85 dB
Max
:
89.3 dB SPL
Dynamic Range Compression
:
2.14 dB

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.

7.9 Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80
:
0.061
Weighted THD @ Max
:
0.326
IMD @ 80
:
1.10 %
IMD @ Max
:
1.57 %

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.

7.7

Smart Features

Smart OS : Roku TV
Version : 9.1.2

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.

8.0 Interface
Ease of Use
:
Easy
Smoothness
:
Very Smooth
Time Taken to Select YouTube
:
4 s
Time Taken to Change Backlight
:
2 s
Advanced Options
:
Many

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.

0 Ad-Free
Ads
:
Yes
Opt-out
:
No
Suggested Content in Home
:
Yes
Opt-out of Suggested Content
:
No

Unfortunately, like all Roku TVs we've tested so far, there are ads and suggested content in the main interface, and you don't have the option of disabling them.