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Review: TCL 65C835 (C835-serie) LCD LED TV

Review: Looking for a bright and colorful 65 inch TV with a lot of features? The TCL 65C835 seems to tick all those boxes for us

TCL packs as much quality as possible into an attractive price. Look at this TCL 65C835 and it becomes immediately apparent. The device focuses on image and sound quality and is very richly equipped. This makes it a formidable competitor in the sub-top category.

 

TCL 65C835 – specifications

What Ultra HD LCD TV (MiniLED FALD, 24×12 zones, Quantum Dot)
Format 65 in (165 cm), flat
Connections 4x HDMI (2x V2.0, 2x v2.1, eARC/ARC, ALLM, VRR, 4K120), 1x composite video, 1x stereo cinch, 1x optical digital out, 1x USB, 1x headphones, 2x antenna, Bluetooth (A2DP, HID)
Extras Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10+, HDR10, HLG, WiFi (802.11b/g/n/ac/ax) built-in, Android TV (11 R), USB/DLNA media player, Airplay 2, DVB-T2/C/S2, CI+ -key lock
Dimensions 1,447 x 867 x 320mm (incl. foot)
Weight 26.3 kg (incl. feet)
Consumption SDR 136 (G) / HDR 300 watts (G)
Recommended retail price 1,499 euros

TCL 65C835 – Design

TCL has changed its design of the C835 series on a few striking points compared to last year. In any case, this miniLED TV does not remain the slimmest, but where the screen still seemed quite thick last year, the new model got a finer frame, with a beveled edge. In reality it is still as deep as last year (2.5 cm) but it seems a lot slimmer.

Second noticeable difference: the soundbar at the bottom has disappeared. Onkyo still signed for the audio solution, but that is only visible on the back. Finally, this year’s foot is a fairly large central foot plate. The brushed titanium color gives it a neutral, yet stylish look.

The finish of the device is fine. Only the placement of the power cable could be better, it is a little too close to the edge.

TCL 65C835 – Connections

On the side we find all connections. That’s two HDMI 2.0 connections and two HDMI 2.1 connections . The latter two have 48Gbps bandwidth. They support 4K120, ALLM, VRR and eARC.

The range also includes one USB connection, a composite video and stereo cinch audio input, two antenna connections, optical digital output and a headphone output. Ethernet, WiFi and Bluetooth (for mouse/keyboard or wireless headphones) complete the list.

TCL 65C835 – Ease of use and smart TV

Under the hood, the C835 still uses a quad-core ARM Cortex-A73 with 3GB RAM and Mali-G52 MP GPU that are sufficiently powerful for a smooth user experience. The C835 runs on Android 11 and is now also equipped with the Google TV interface. You can largely perform the installation using the Google Home app, which is more convenient than with the TV remote. However, during the last part of the installation, we notice that TCL asks you to log in with a TCL account. That in itself is not surprising, every manufacturer asks this, but optionally. At TCL this is now mandatory. As a user, you do not get any real benefit from this, the only difference is that you can place your device in the TCL Home app. While you do have to create an account again. So here’s a call to TCL to keep this optional.

Google TV, meanwhile, delivers tons of content recommendations. In the first place, they appear centrally on the screen, and showed us Disney+ content, regardless of whether you use that app. Our most important comment therefore remains that you cannot change the organization of that screen. Furthermore, Google TV naturally offers an extremely wide range of apps.

The menus with settings can be found under the Google TV menus. They are well structured, with logical groupings and they navigate smoothly. They often take up a relatively large part of the screen.

Remote control

TCL supplies two remotes with this device. One is the usual TCL remote. It has remained unchanged for several years, it is long and narrow with pleasant rubber keys.

The Google TV remote is new. It is clearly aimed at the streaming viewer. It works via Bluetooth, so you don’t have to point it. Three shortcuts at the bottom are for the most used streaming services: YouTube, Netflix, and Prime Video. Three others take you to the media player, the TCL channel and TCL Guard. The TCL channel seems to us to be a separate streaming service with trailers and (very) old films. TCL-guard is a kind of cleaning service for your TV. It checks apps, cleans up unused files, and so on. This remote is quite handy, if only because it is a lot simpler than the classic TCL remote, but also because it offers faster access to all kinds of functions thanks to buttons for quick settings, previous app or the game bar.

Functions

The TCL is equipped with a TV tuner for digital TV (DVB-T2/C/S2) and a CI+ slot. Recording is not possible, TCL only offers that function if the model has a double tuner. In addition to Chromecast, TCL has also equipped the C835 with Apple Airplay 2. There is also a multiview function that puts TV content and the screen of a smartphone together on the screen, but that only works with TCL smartphones for the time being.

TCL 65C835 – Image Processing

Excellent image processing ensures that every source looks sharp and detailed. Upscaling based on AI machine learning and deep learning restores detail, based on what the processor recognizes in each image. We found the images relatively soft, so the “sharpness” setting can be set to five. Noise suppression does a good job of removing random noise from the image, but compression noise that is visible as blocking remains somewhat behind. In that area, TCL still needs to tighten up the functioning of the processor.

Since last year there is also the “superior gradation” setting that can eliminate color bands in soft color gradients. That setting works great, even in dark scenes like our Game of Thrones test, but it does make the image quite soft. It is therefore best to activate them only if you deem it necessary, and only in the lowest position.

TCL 65C835

The C835 has a 100 Hz panel. However, a slightly blurred border around moving objects prevents the visibility of the finest detail when moving. By activating the “Motion clarity” settings, you do improve the stuttering of film images, but that slightly blurred edge remains. “Clear LED motion” is the usual solution for that, it uses backlight scanning, but operates at 60 Hz and causes some flickering in the image. It is less disturbing than on other devices, but we do not recommend it. The motion interpolation (“reduce shaking”) cannot avoid all stuttering in fast-moving images, so experiment for yourself what you consider acceptable.

Main Settings

 

Advanced/Brightness Advanced Color Advanced Clarity Advanced Movement
Brightness: 45
Contrast: 90
Black Level 50
Dynamic Contrast: Off
Black Stretch: High
Dynamic Brightness: Auto
Local Dimming: High
Local Contrast: Off/Low/High
Gamma: 2
Color Saturation: 50
Hue: 50
Dynamic Color: Off
Blue Light Filter: Off
Color Temperature: Warm
Sharpness: 0-10
MPEG NR: Low
DNR: Low
Superior Gradation: Off/Low
Motion Clarity: On
Clear LED Motion: Off
Reduce Fade: 10
Reduce Shake: 4-10Screen Settings/Overscan: Off

TCL 65C835 – Image Quality

The 65C835 uses a mini LED Full Array Local Dimming backlight and a VA panel. The panel has very good uniformity in both dark and bright images.

But of course what we are most interested in is the contrast. Natively, the C835 achieves an ANSI contrast of 6,020:1. That in itself is an excellent, even quite exceptional result. But TCL didn’t just give the C835 a better panel. The FALD backlight is also divided into more segments, it’s 24×12 (288) this year, and the TV can now control the backlight in 4,096 steps. That is a big upgrade compared to the 160 zones and 256 steps. With local dimming activated, we quickly reach contrast ratios of more than 15,000:1 or even 36,000:1 depending on the test.

But it is especially in our dark test fragments that we see strong improvement. The extra segments and the refined control ensure that segment boundaries are virtually invisible. The difficult scene from Gravity looks very dark, but it does show almost all the stars. The backlight does not bleed through anything. This effect is also visible in HDR images, although we do see a very soft halo in the fireworks. Keep in mind that the photos are overexposed to show the effect properly. It is also absolutely not lacking in black detail. Both in The Revenant and in the Harry Potter scenes we see very well what is happening. In short, the C835 achieves a strong contrast with relatively few drawbacks. Yes, you can still see the difference next to an OLED device, which remains the reference in that area.

The ‘Film’ image mode is also excellently calibrated. The gray scale has a little bit of red in excess, but that is hardly visible in practice. The color rendering is excellent. Considering the improvements in terms of contrast and dimming, these are very strong performances. The 65C835 will be ‘Calman Ready’ later this year so it can be calibrated automatically.

TCL 65C835 – HDR

TVs are getting an increasingly higher brightness and color range to display HDR content as strongly as possible. The C835 improves the performance of the C825 one more step. We see a significant step forward, especially in terms of clarity. On a 10% window it achieves 1,313 nits (against just under 1,000 nits on the C825) and on a completely white screen it achieves 638 nits (540 nits on the C825). It is striking that on a 25% window it even goes up to almost 1,600 nits.

The color range of the quantum dots is equally impressive. The C835 achieves 93% P3 and 70% REc.2020. This equals the performance of an OLED, but combines it with a lot more brightness. Colors and light are therefore the strong side of this device, the images have an enormous intensity.

Tone mapping of HDR10 content is very important to get the best out of every image. The TCL respects metadata and shows white detail up to 4,000 nits. For that you have to leave ‘Dynamic Tonemapping’ activated. With this, the TV neatly brings out all the white detail, so that every clear nuance remains visible. However, the image loses a little contrast, it seems to us that the tone mapping unnecessarily lifts the dark tones. TCL is aware of this issue and a software fix is ​​in the works. You can also mitigate the problem a bit by activating “local contrast”.

The HDR Film mode provides a decent calibration. The color temperature is somewhat cool, and it is a bit too bright, but otherwise scores excellent. A lot of black detail is visible, and the dimming also proves in HDR content that it provides a nice improvement over its predecessor. In addition to HLG and HDR10, TCL also supports HDR10 + and Dolby Vision IQ. Whatever HDR content you watch, you’re set.

TCL-65C835-kijkhoek

Gaming, Reflections and Viewing Angles

Despite improvements, VA displays remain sensitive to changes in brightness at wide viewing angles. In concrete terms, you lose contrast and brightness when you are not sitting directly in front of the TV. Colors are well preserved. This screen handles reflections well.

Gamers are well served, the two HDMI 2.1 connections provide ALLM and VRR (HDMI VRR and AMD Freesync) in addition to 48 Gbps bandwidth. It has nothing to be ashamed of with its input lag of 17.2 ms (4K60) and 7.6 ms (2K120), those are excellent figures. The panel can support up to 144 Hz refresh, but that is only possible if you connect a PC, because game consoles deliver a maximum of 120 fps. TCL has also provided a Game Bar where you can quickly see information about the frame rate and adjust certain settings.

TCL 65C835 – Sound Quality

The audio solution is very similar to last year’s, even though there is no longer a soundbar visible under the TV. Onkyo supplied a 2x 15W down-firing system with an additional 30W woofer in the back. That is certainly generous in terms of power and you can hear it.

With the volume knob halfway up, the laser beams from Tie-Fighters and X-Wings blast around us. The sound has a very good surround effect, especially if you choose Dolby Atmos tracks. Do not forget to check Dolby Atmos in the sound settings. For music, we would recommend to leave it switched off, so that you avoid the music getting a bit too shrill. The C835 delivers solid audio performance, with plenty of bass (perhaps slightly less than we’d hoped, though). For a sub-topper we think the result is excellent.

TCL 65C835 – Conclusion

Looking for a bright and colorful 65 inch TV with a lot of features? The TCL 65C835 seems to tick all those boxes for us. We found it difficult to point out negatives, especially in terms of image and sound, this set delivers more than sufficient quality for its price. We think it’s a shame that TCL requires you to log in with an extra TCL account, which does not yield any benefits. And we are satisfied with Google TV, with one exception. You can hardly personalize it.

But 288 segments? Yes that is more than last year, but is it enough? Well, it surprised us too, but yeah, that’s enough. Together with the precise LED control, the excellent VA panel, and the excellent algorithm, the TCL delivers excellent blacks, with a lot of shadow nuance and virtually no visible borders. It’s not perfect, that’s almost impossible with an LCD TV, but this is really close. Then add an impressive 1,500 nits of brightness, a very wide color range and excellent calibration, and the images are a pleasure to the eye. The Onkyo audio solution provides good musical support, and the HDMI 2.1 connections are equipped with all gamer features. Google TV takes care of all possible streaming options. The 65C835 is a real all-rounder, good for film, sports and games.

Pros

  • Excellent contrast and black detail
  • Top local dimming, despite limited number of segments
  • Very high brightness and color gamut
  • Good image processing
  • Dolby Vision and HDR10+
  • HDMI 2.1 with full gamer features
  • Solid audio with Dolby Atmos
Negatives

  • Mandatory login with TCL account
  • Little personalization possible in Google TV

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