Top models are fun to watch, but a 65 inch TV for a reasonable price tag, that certainly interests us. The TCL 65C815 also boasts a beautiful design and a great list of features.
TCL 65C815 – specifications
- What: Ultra HD LCD TV (Edge LED, Quantum Dot)
- Screen size: 65 inch (165 cm), flat
- Connections: 3x HDMI (v2.0b, ARC), 1x composite video, 1x stereo cinch, 1x optical digital out, 2x USB, 1x headphones, 2x antenna, Bluetooth (A2DP, HID)
- Extras: Dolby Vision, HDR10 +, HDR10, HLG, WiFi (802.11b / g / n / ac) built-in, Android TV (9 Pie), USB / DLNA media player, DVB-T2 / C / S2, CI + slot  Dimensions: 1,446 x 932 x 366 mm (incl. Foot)
- Weight: 26.1 kg (incl. Foot)
- Consumption: 153 / 0.3 watt (Energy label B)
- List price: 1,199 euros
TCL 65C815 – Design
The TCL fits perfectly in a contemporary interior. The slim screen hardly has a visible frame. On the side you will find a brushed metal strip. Sharp angles and clean lines dominate the design.
At the bottom is a speaker bar, finished with dark gray speaker fabric and an Onkyo logo. The back is finished in dark plastic with a light texture.
A striking foot, that is, this is the first tripod we see. The base requires a width of 91 cm, wider than most other central feet, but less wide than the usual feet on the end of a device. The construction is very stable.
TCL 65C815 – Connections
All connections are on the side. The device has three HDMI connections, all suitable for Ultra HD HDR in the best quality, one of which is equipped with ARC. TCL chose not to offer HDMI 2.1 connections or functions yet. In addition, there are two USB connections, a composite video and stereo cinch audio input, two antenna connections and a headphone output.
The TV is also equipped with wired and wireless network, and Bluetooth (mouse / keyboard, or wireless headphones)
TCL 65C815 – Ease of Use and Smart TV
The C815 series uses a quad-core ARM Cortex-A55 and Mali-470 MP GPU, 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage. That combination provides a solid, but not a super smooth Android experience. The device uses Android 9 (Pie). For an overview of the possibilities you can visit our Android TV overview article (note, this article is based on a Philips so some menus for settings are different).
Previous years used TCL for all settings another own menu, which often seemed very confusing. All those options are now integrated into the Android menus, neatly organized by category. That's a nice improvement.
The only remnant of the old menus is an options menu that allows you to easily change the picture or sound mode, or click through to the full settings.
TCL gives you two remotes. The classic remote is a long, narrow version with pleasant rubber keys, and a solid layout. It is identical to last year's remote. Although it does not excel in ease of use, it also has no glaring errors.
The second remote is smaller, more compact and works via Bluetooth so you don't have to aim. It looks a bit more luxurious, it is made of light metal. The number of keys is more limited, which can be inconvenient if you use the internal TV tuners a lot. But those who mainly use streaming services and watch their live TV via an external set-top box can probably leave the larger remote in the drawer and use this more compact version. The remote has a microphone for voice commands and a button for Google Assistant.
The TCL is equipped with a TV tuner for digital TV (DVB-T2 / C / S2) and a CI + lock. Recording is not possible, TCL only offers this function if the model has a double tuner. Of course it has Chromecast, but no Airplay (although you can partially imitate that functionality with certain apps). You can stream YouTube HDR content (HDR10 and HLG) and Netflix (HDR10 and Dolby Vision). If you want to use your smartphone as a remote, or simply want to send media from your smartphone to the TV, use TCL's T-cast app.
TCL 65C815 – Image processing
Good image processing is important now that we have more and more different content sources with different use quality. The TCL delivers excellent upscaling and decent noise reduction for random noise. You can increase the sharpness to 10 or 20 to slightly accentuate the image. Compression noise (block formation) always remains slightly visible. The device also offers “superior gradation”, a setting to prevent color bands. Unfortunately, it gave very poor results. The boundaries of color bands become slightly blurred, but only if the color bands are very subtle is it enough to get rid of them. In many cases, this approach is too limited. In addition, you invariably lose some detail, so definitely avoid the highest setting. The processor easily recognizes most movie and video frame rates, but you still choose to avoid 1080i input and set your source to 1080p or 720p.
The panel shows great detail in fast moving images, only the finest detail fades. The motion interpolation algorithm detects motion smoothly and accurately in the image, but sometimes leaves some shocks in the image or causes some image artifacts in the highest position. Leave “Reduce Fade” at 10, and set “Reduce Flicker” between 4 and 10 according to your preference. As always, avoid 'LED movement erase' which causes setting to flicker in the picture.
In our article about professional calibration of a TV you can read all about the possibilities with a professional to achieve the best picture settings. If you want to get started yourself, please read our home cinema information guide . Here's an explanation of the main picture settings and tips for setting up your TV.
|Advanced / Brightness||Advanced Color||Advanced Brightness||Advanced Motion|
| Brightness: 80
Black Level 50
Dynamic Contrast: Off
Black Stretch: High
Dynamic Backlight: Auto
Micro Dimming: Off
| Color Saturation: 50
Color Temperature: Warm
| Sharpness: 10
MPEG NR: Low
Superior Gradation: Off
| Clear LED Motion: Off
Reduce Blur: 10
Reduce Vibration: 4-10 Screen Settings / Overscan: Off
TCL 65C815 – Image Quality
The 65C815 uses a edge LED backlight with quantum dots and a VA- panel. The uniformity was good, only a few centimeters of blue shimmer was visible at the bottom, and in the top right quadrant we had very little “dirty screen effect”. This was exceptionally visible on pan-shots with large open air or uniform color areas.
The VA panel provides a fine ANSI contrast of approximately 4,200: 1. The screen does not use local dimming techniques. The “dynamic backlight” setting controls the entire screen, best leave it in “auto”.
In the “Movie image mode, the calibration was fine, even exemplary. The gray scale is neutral and the color reproduction is excellent. The image hides a minimum of black detail, but we don't want to tinker with the black level setting so as not to reduce the contrast.
If you want a little extra contrast, you can set Dynamic contrast to low, but you risk lose even more black detail in some dark scenes. If you look at a lot of ambient light, you can pull 'Brightness' to 100 and 'Dynamic backlight' to 'Brightness +' to create a brighter image.
TCL 65C815 – HDR
With support for Dolby Vision and HDR10 + ( in addition to HDR10 and HLG), the TCL already has a great asset for HDR fun. The quantum dot film is also different from that of Samsung, so the screen presents a slightly wider color range than Samsung models: 96% DCI-P3 and 73% Rec.2020.
Unfortunately, the screen do not unpack with a solid maximum brightness. It stuck at just under 400 nits, both on a 10% window and on a completely white screen. For a true HDR experience, we aim for at least 500 nits. Small sparkles or white accents therefore lose their impact. The maximum brightness is also lower on smaller windows, because the device then prefers to dim the backlight in order to preserve the black level. TCL's tone mapping did give excellent results, and the image keeps a good impression with almost all white detail. The tone mapping also respects the metadata up to 10,000 nits.
Dolby Vision and HDR10 + are a very strong asset on this screen, because the maximum brightness is limited, and the use of a format with dynamic metadata invariably guarantees a better picture. The “film HDR” image mode is also well calibrated here.
TCL 65C815 – Gaming, Reflections and Viewing Angles
The VA screen has a weak viewing angle for contrast, which drops down very quickly. The color reproduction remains better at an angle. In the normal image modes we measure a lag of 65.9 ms, which is workable but still too much for serious gamers. In game mode, the lag drops to 19.7 ms. An excellent result.
TCL 65C815 – Sound quality
For a mid-range television, the sound quality is excellent. The spacious woofer in the back and the speaker bar at the bottom provide very good sounding sound. There is a lot of bass in the music, and voices are crystal clear. We only hear distortion when the volume is already very high. You can count on great results for both film and music. The C815 also supports Dolby Atmos, and gives your soundtracks a light spaciousness.
For the lag measurement we use a Leo Bodnar Display lag meter. For all other measurements, we rely on a Spectracal C6 HDR2000 Colorimeter, Xrite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, a VideoForge Pro pattern generator, and the Spectracal Calman for Business software. To analyze any HDR problems, we use an HDFury Vertex. More information about our measuring equipment can be found here .
TCL 65C815 – Conclusion
TCL has a nice top model with a model like the X10 but the manufacturer still aims especially in the wider middle segment. A model such as the C815 with very solid performance for a competitive price fits in perfectly. The main limitation of this device is its maximum brightness, which is just a bit too low to splash HDR images. HDMI 2.1 features are completely missing, and the VA panel has a limited viewing angle.
The TCL 65C815 does offer excellent SDR performance, excellent contrast, and solid image processing. A lot of work has been done on the performance of the software platform compared to last year. The device uses quantum dot technology for a particularly wide color range, and with beautiful tone mapping still puts fine HDR images on the screen, despite its limited maximum brightness. With HDR10 + and Dolby Vision material, the result is even better. The punchy sound is a perfect addition to the image. Android TV 9 offers you a lot of functionality, and here too the performance and ease of use have improved significantly compared to last year. The TCL 65C815 is also competitively priced for a 65-inch TV with strong equipment.