TCL 8K 6-Collection (R648) TV overview: Far more than 8K

MSRP $3,000.00

“A completely gorgeous TV for the worth.”

Professionals

  • Wonderful image high quality
  • Surprisingly good sound
  • Improved Roku TV distant
  • Straightforward setup
  • Wonderful for gaming

Cons

  • Poor off-axis efficiency

Given how widespread TCL’s 6-Collection 4K TVs have grow to be over the previous few years, it may be straightforward to dismiss the corporate’s transfer so as to add an 8K mannequin as a trend-based money seize. Thankfully, that’s in no way the case. The brand new 8K model of TCL’s 6-Collection (sequence mannequin R648) packs vital upgrades in all the proper locations over the 4K-based R635 model, which I reviewed fairly favorably.

That the R648 is the lowest-priced 2021 8K TV you should purchase is simply icing on the cake. Learn on to be taught why this is among the greatest TVs you should purchase this 12 months, 8K or no 8K.

Video overview

Out of the field

Beautiful sky and landscape on the TCL 6-Series model R648 Roku TV.Dan Baker/Digital Developments

The TCL 8K 6-Collection TV obtained properly extra than simply an 8K decision display, and that was obvious upon first look at its field. A colourful graphic exhibits the TV with a centralized, brushed steel stand versus the unbiased pedestal ft we’ve seen put in on the far sides of earlier TCL TV fashions. That is nice information for anybody focused on a big TV display measurement however brief on media stand area.

The 75-inch 75R648 mannequin I obtained for overview was packed extraordinarily properly. Whereas this made unboxing the TV slightly extra concerned than I’m used to, the probability of the TV sustaining any harm in transit is extraordinarily slim.

Within the field with the TV, I discovered the aforementioned TV stand, screws to affix the stand to the TV, some product literature, two AAA batteries for the distant, and a very redesigned Roku TV distant management.

Plastic grill grates lining the underside of the TV.Dan Baker/Digital Developments

Think about the R648’s audio system duly upgraded.

As I eliminated a protecting plastic bag from the TV, I took be aware of one other key design improve: The presence of a subwoofer driver on the again of the TV. The subwoofer is shiny, black, uncovered (not lined by a plastic grill) and has a flat face moderately than a standard conical form.

Seeing the subwoofer up prime, I couldn’t assist however look past the plastic grill grates lining the underside of the TV whereas putting in the stand (which took 4 screws, a screwdriver, and all of about 30 seconds of my time). To my shock, TCL has outfitted the R648 with unbiased tweeters to go together with two oval, down-firing midrange drivers.

All new designed roku remote for the TCL 6-Series model R648 Roku TV.Dan Baker/Digital Developments

It’s uncommon sufficient to see an unbiased subwoofer on a TV, however one which has stereo tweeters and midrange drivers is nearly extraordinary. Think about the R648’s audio system duly upgraded.

With the TV in place and plugged in, I clicked the facility button on the distant and settled in for what I anticipated to be a 20-minute setup routine.

TCL 8K 6-Collection (R648) TV particulars

Whereas we reviewed the 75-inch 75R648 mannequin, our overview additionally applies to the 65-inch mannequin.

Display Dimension Mannequin Quantity  MSRP
65-inch 65R648 $2,200
75-inch 75R648 $3,000

Setup

I’ve complained at size in previous TCL TV critiques about how getting the TVs’ Roku TV OS up and operating was a time suck, and that getting the TV’s image settings optimized and utilized throughout apps and all HDMI inputs was each a big problem and never in step with Roku’s traditionally user-friendly strategy. To my delight, my complaints have been heard and the R648 now helps a remarkably fast Roku TV setup course of together with probably the most intuitive image settings functions I’ve skilled in 10+ years of reviewing TVs.

As soon as the 75R648 was powered up and linked to the web, it set about operating its personal Roku TV software program replace. This took simply a few minutes. From there, I used to be prompted to enter the e-mail deal with hooked up to my Roku account and was despatched an activation hyperlink. As soon as I clicked the hyperlink, the TV did ask if I wished to put in just a few apps (a few of that are already part of my Roku profile) which felt slightly bit like a sponsored promotion, however was over shortly. Then, when it was time for the TV to obtain apps or replace any pre-installed apps, I anticipated to have the ability to stroll away and get lunch. Fortunately, that course of solely took a few minutes as properly.

Roku home screen on theTCL 6-Series model R648 Roku TV.Dan Baker/Digital Developments

What actually happy me, nevertheless, was how shortly I used to be capable of get my most well-liked image settings utilized throughout a number of HDR codecs and throughout a number of inputs. After choosing the Film image mode for its extra correct colour temperature and lack of movement smoothing settings, I famous that I may change the backlight depth from regular, to brilliant, to brighter, relying on how a lot ambient gentle was coming into the room, or relying on how brilliant I wished the general image to look.

It is a good begin, however I anticipated to need to repeat this course of once more for prime dynamic vary (HDR) and once more after that for Dolby Imaginative and prescient; and never only for every particular person app that I wished to make use of, however for every particular person HDMI enter that I supposed to make use of. As you may think about, that’s a number of work.

However the R648 sequence found out what I used to be as much as and had already chosen the suitable HDR and Dolby Imaginative and prescient mode based mostly on my choice for the Film preset in SDR for the Netflix app. It additionally made related settings for YouTube and all the opposite apps I like to make use of. It was the same story for HDMI inputs, which globalized the settings for all inputs by default, however let me alter them if I wished to. That is the way it needs to be carried out, of us.

At any charge, it needs to be famous that, for as sophisticated as TV setup could be for these of us who get pleasure from peaking and tweaking our image settings, the R648 made the method a relative breeze.

Specs and measurements

Proper out of the field, I knew this TV was one thing particular. I overview sufficient TVs that I can simply inform earlier than I begin breaking out the measurement gear or making any calibration changes. The HDR imagery simply popped off the display, colour was properly saturated, brilliant highlights have been leaping out at me, and possibly most significantly, the black ranges and shadow element seemed actually good.

Space imagery on the TCL 6-Series model R648 screen.Dan Baker/Digital Developments

Confusingly, although, a look at TCL R648’s spec sheet has the TV trying loads just like the 4K R635 TV, however with an 8K decision improve. The processor seems to be the identical, the mini-LED backlighting seems to be the identical, the Roku OS seems to be the identical. Nevertheless, as soon as I began measuring the TV’s efficiency, it grew to become instantly clear that the R648 is operating on considerably extra horsepower than its 4K cousin.

Utilizing a C6 colorimeter profiled to an xRite I1Pro and Calman software program, I measured the R648’s peak brightness efficiency within the Film image mode with the backlight setting at Regular, Shiny, and Brighter. Right here’s what I obtained.

In Regular, I measured 256 nits in SDR and 910 nits in HDR. That’s nice for a darkish or dim room. In Shiny mode, I obtained 346 nits in SDR and 1,226 in HDR. In Brighter, the TV was pulling off 460 nits for SDR and 1,563 nits for HDR which, imagine me, was greater than sufficient in my testing room with a good quantity of daylight beaming in. These are very respectable numbers throughout the board, and so they point out the TV is flexible sufficient for a large variance in room environments.

For people who care about backlight zone depend: The R648 presents 240 zones within the 75-inch mannequin and 160 zones within the 65-inch mannequin.

Image high quality

Mountain landscape imagery on the TCL 6-Series model R648 screen.Dan Baker/Digital Developments

It’s clear that despite the fact that TCL is utilizing the identical backlighting {hardware}, the R648 has been tuned for greater efficiency. The height brightness measurements I took are considerably higher than these I measured from the R635. Nevertheless, the enhancements aren’t restricted to greater brightness.

I noticed the R648 dealing with darkish areas of the display significantly better than the R635 did as properly, providing deeper blacks, even round brilliant objects on darkish backgrounds — a troublesome trick to tug off with greater brightness readings throughout the board.

The upper distinction efficiency afforded by that combo prolonged into colour efficiency as properly, yielding better-saturated colours at greater brightness ranges than I noticed with the 4K R635. Different efficiency metrics roughly remained the identical, although. Movement decision was stable with no movement smoothing, with little stutter or judder in 30 frames per second and 60 fps content material, and no perceivable judder in 24 fps movie content material. Dealing with of low bit-depth content material, like YouTube movies, was dealt with the identical because the R635, which is to say that it smoothed out colour gradients pretty properly, although not as easily as, say, Sony’s televisions do.

Upscaling appeared to be dealt with with the identical prowess as properly, although the job of upscaling 720p and 1080p content material all the way in which as much as 8K is clearly more difficult than it’s to upscale it to 4K. Total, I’d say the R648 does an admiral job with 8K upscaling, offering as sharp an image as could be anticipated with minimal artifacts. With that mentioned, no TV is a miracle employee, and most cable/satellite tv for pc content material delivered in 720p seemed clearly inferior to greater decision content material from streaming apps like Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, and HBO max.

I completely loved watching this TV each second I sat in entrance of it. 

Upscaling of high-quality 4K content material was excellent, with no perceivable artifacts launched. Acquainted scenes from 4K Extremely HD Blu-ray discs seemed expertly rendered on the 8K display. Even sitting simply 7 ft away from the 75-inch R648, I wasn’t capable of make out particular person pixels. This made for a extremely immersive expertise.

The R648’s Achilles heel is its off-axis efficiency. Sometimes, TVs that use a VA-type LCD panel wrestle with sustaining distinction and colour saturation as you progress off to the edges or properly above/beneath the TV. Whereas the R648’s vertical axis efficiency is ok, its horizontal axis efficiency is restricted to a really slender window, and its off-axis efficiency is bordering on deplorable. When you have a large viewing space and people continuously sit properly off to the aspect of the TV, they won’t be getting the identical stellar image high quality these sitting instantly in entrance of the display get pleasure from.

Getting away from all of the strict efficiency evaluation, I can say this concerning the TCL R648: I completely loved watching this TV each second I sat in entrance of it. As a giant fan of OLED TVs and their good black ranges and full lack of backlight anomalies, I used to be stunned at how properly the R648 was capable of captivate me with out triggering my over-heightened sense of backlight consciousness and milky black ranges. Is the R648 an alternative to OLED in a setting with managed lighting? No, not by way of distinction and colour. However in a brighter room, it’ll supply considerably higher efficiency than most OLEDs in the marketplace, save maybe the Sony A90J or LG G1 OLED TVs.

Sound high quality

Subwoofer on the back of the TCL 6-Series.Dan Baker/Digital Developments

The R648 has a beefy sound system that solely provides worth to the tv. The included subwoofer presents stable bass and a room-filling presence supplied by few up to date TVs. Dialog intelligibility is great whereas stereo results are current if not solely convincing. My solely criticism is that the tweeters appear to have been pumped up a bit, offering some harshness within the treble that I may do with out. Admittedly, this harshness was extra noticeable when listening to music than it was when watching TV exhibits or films.

Gaming

Car video game being played on a TCL 6-Series tv.Dan Baker/Digital Developments

If it wasn’t clear by now that the R648 presents way over simply an 8K display, let me add this little tidbit on prime: The R648 presents two HDMI 2.1 ports, and as a bonus, they’re unbiased of the TV’s eARC port.

Utilizing an Xbox Collection X dashboard, I used to be capable of affirm that the R648 can ship 4K120/Hz and 8K/60Hz gaming with a variable refresh charge (VRR), auto low latency mode (ALLM), and HDR, all on the identical time. Like most TVs, 4K /20Hz gaming in Dolby Imaginative and prescient will not be out there.

Pair these image efficiency facets with the respectably low enter lag and picture enhancements offered by THX Sport Mode, and you’ve got among the finest gaming TVs you should buy. That the eARC port stays free to serve people who have an elaborate residence theater system with out proscribing a type of HDMI 2.1 ports is an absolute bonus. Solely LG can lay declare to having extra gaming-friendly TVs because of providing 4 HDMI 2.1 ports in choose fashions.

Our take

The TCL R648 is an impressive TV and really deserving of flagship standing amongst TCL’s product lineup. Its excessive brightness, stable black ranges, excellent out-of-box colour efficiency, clean movement, and glorious gaming chops make it among the finest TVs you should purchase this 12 months. The 8K decision? That’s a bonus. Like most TV producers, TCL is reserving its greatest TV efficiency for its 8K TV lineup, making the query of whether or not 8K actually issues, moot.

Is there a greater different?

Not at this value. Samsung’s 8K Neo QLED TVs and LG 8K QNED TVs could supply related efficiency in some facets however at a considerably greater value. With the R648 punching properly above its value level, it makes probably the most sense for anybody seeking to buy a high-end TV, 8K decision, or no.

How lengthy will it final?

With its two HDMI 2.1 ports, mini-LED backlighting, quantum dot colour, and vast assist for various HDR codecs, the R648 ought to final properly into the longer term. Forthcoming upgrades will probably be incremental. As for reliability, TCL’s foothold within the TV area continues to get stronger as TVs from prior years proceed to function properly.

Guarantee

TCL presents a one-year parts and labor guarantee for the R648. You’ll be able to navigate to TCL’s registration and guarantee info right here.

Must you purchase it?

Sure. The TCL R648 presents large worth with glorious efficiency paired with a aggressive value. Whereas the 8K decision isn’t actually what makes this TV stand out, it does supply a sure factor of future-proofing. You’ll pay a premium for this TV however get each cent again in efficiency.

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