TCL takes aim at OLED TVs with ultra-affordable Mini-LED and QLED TVs

TCL takes aim at OLED TVs with ultra-affordable Mini-LED and QLED TVs
(Image credit: TCL)

QLED and Mini-LED are two of the panel technologies associated with the premium, pricier TVs on the market (the other two are microLED and, of course, OLED), but TCL is doing its bit to make them more and more accessible.

The Chinese TV brand has just launched its new QLED 5 series and Mini-LED 6 series (pictured top) ranges, with prices from only $400.

That modest figure is for the 50-inch 5 series QLED, with 55-inch and 65-inch sizes also available for $450 and $630 respectively. That just undercuts the cheapest Samsung's 2020 QLED TVs, which have also come down in price compared to last year's models.

In addition to sporting QLED panels, which are quantum dot, LED-backlit screens notable for their high brightness and colour punch, the 5 series models use the established Roku TV platform for access to plenty of streaming apps and voice control.

In order to get the most out of the QLED panels, TCL’s Contrast Control Zone technology works to optimise the picture across the screen's multiple individual for accurate contrast, while its AiPQ Engine promises to enhance colour, contrast and clarity through its machine-learning algorithms.

They put ticks in plenty of other premium TV check boxes, too. They support Dolby Vision as well as HDR10 and HLG. One HDMI of each sets' four is certified by the latest HDMI 2.1 standard, too, notable for its eARC compatibility, which allows the lossless transmission of surround sound formats (like Dolby TrueHD and Atmos) from TV apps using a single HDMI cable.


TCL 5 series QLED TV (Image credit: TCL)

The Mini-LED 6 series, meanwhile, is available in 55-inch ($650), 65-inch ($900) and 75-inch ($1400) sizes. 

Predominantly backed by TCL, Mini-LED panels are similar to traditional LCD-backlit TVs but the LEDs themselves are much, much smaller and therefore greater in number, allowing for the greater control over local dimming. i.e. how bright or dim parts of the screen can go. The technology's promise: more precise shading and, in turn, colour reproduction.

The 6 series sets match the 5 series models for features – eARC, HDMI 2.1, Dolby Vision, Roku TV OS and TCL's picture engines are all present and correct – but they expand upon that specification with two game-enhancing modes.

Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) is onboard, allowing the TVs to dynamically match their refresh rate to the frame rate of the game being played, keeping pace with all of the changes and, as a result, producing smoother, more consistent gameplay.

THX Certified Game Mode, on the other hand, promises a smooth gaming experience that has fast response, low input lag and low dark-to-light rise time transitions.

TCL's 5 and 6 series TVs are available in the US now at Best Buy and Amazon. In the UK, your TCL TV options are the budget C71 and C81 QLED TVs.


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.