TCL 8 Series 2019/Q825 QLED TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Nov 28, 2019 at 08:59 am
TCL 8 Series 2019/Q825 QLED Picture
8.0
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: no price info
8.4
Movies
7.9
TV Shows
7.8
Sports
7.7
Video Games
8.4
HDR Movies
7.6
HDR Gaming
7.4
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.

Our Verdict

8.0 Mixed Usage

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.

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.
8.4 Movies

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.

7.9 TV Shows

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.

7.8 Sports

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.

7.7 Video Games

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.

8.4 HDR Movies

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.

7.6 HDR Gaming

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.

7.4 PC Monitor

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.

  • 8.0 Mixed Usage
  • 8.4 Movies
  • 7.9 TV Shows
  • 7.8 Sports
  • 7.7 Video Games
  • 8.4 HDR Movies
  • 7.6 HDR Gaming
  • 7.4 PC Monitor
  1. Update 5/21/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.5.
  2. Update 2/21/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  3. 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.

Video

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
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.

Design
8.5
Design
Style
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.

Design
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"

Design
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.

Design
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.

Design
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.

8.0
Design
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.

Picture Quality
9.4
Picture Quality
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
Picture Quality
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
Picture Quality
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
Picture Quality
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
Picture Quality
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
Picture Quality
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
Picture Quality
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.

7.6
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
4.9 %
Indirect Reflections
0.4 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
4.5 %

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
Picture Quality
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.

9.6
Picture Quality
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. 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.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

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

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

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

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

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

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

4k is displayed perfectly with no issues.

0
Picture Quality
8k Input
Picture Quality
Pixels
8.4
Picture Quality
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
Picture Quality
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
Picture Quality
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
Picture Quality
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
Picture Quality
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.

Motion
7.9
Motion
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
Motion
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
Motion
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'.

Motion
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
Motion
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
Motion
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
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
120 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
No
HDMI Forum VRR
No
FreeSync
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.

Inputs
7.3
Inputs
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
Inputs
Supported Resolutions