Earlier this year we already saw very good performance on the C835 series. But with the C935 series, TCL aims even higher. This 65-inch mini LED TV with quantum dots definitely wants to compete with the top LCD models. And that for a very interesting price.
TCL 65C935 – specificaties
|What||Ultra HD LCD TV (MiniLED FALD, 36×30 zones, Quantum Dot)|
|Screen format||65 inches (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||1,446 x 905 x 298 mm (incl. base)|
|Weight||27.2 kg (incl. base)|
|Consumption||SDR 130 (W) / HDR 286 watts (W)|
TCL 65C935 – Design
TCL has given the C935 a nice, slim design. The device has a completely flat back and a generous bevel towards the edges, which further emphasizes its slim profile. The brushed titanium rim is barely visible at the front.
At the bottom we find a small soundbar with Onkyo label, a sturdy woofer module and two upfiring speakers are hidden at the back. The device stands on a dark brushed metal base.
TCL 65C935 – Connections
TCL uses the same selection of connectors on the C735, C835 and this C935. You’ll find two HDMI 2.0 connections and two HDMI 2.1 connections . The latter two have 48Gbps bandwidth and support 4K120, ALLM, VRR. The ARC/eARC support is on one of the HDMI 2.0 ports, a smart decision that means you don’t lose an HDMI 2.1 port if you opt for external audio.
There is one USB connection, a composite video and stereo cinch audio input, two antenna connections, an optical digital output and a headphone output. Ethernet, WiFi and Bluetooth (for mouse/keyboard or wireless headphones) complete the list. All connections are directed to the side. The power connection is not as close to the edge as on the C835, but it would be better to be a little further away from the edge to avoid visible cables. Cable management is provided, but it’s pretty rudimentary.
TCL 65C935 – Ease of use and smart TV
Just like with the connections, we see no differences with the lower models when it comes to smart TV functionality. The quad-core ARM Cortex-A73 with 3GB RAM and Mali-G52 MP GPU provides a sufficiently smooth user experience, although we must admit that you might expect a little more for a top model.
The C935 uses Android 11 with the Google TV interface. You install with the remote, or more conveniently via the Google Home app. TCL unfortunately requires you to log in with a TCL account. As a user, you do not really benefit from this, the only difference is that you can place your device in the TCL Home app. Ironically, logging in with a Google account is optional. You can possibly use the ‘basic’ version of Google TV, where you mainly use live TV and external sources.
Those who opt for the full Google TV experience will receive a wide range of content recommendations. In the first place, they appear centrally in the picture, and showed us Disney + content, regardless of whether you use that app. And while you can’t change much about the organization of the screen, the recommendations are nicely organized by genre (based on your viewing patterns).
The menus with settings can be found under the Google TV menus. They are well structured, with logical groupings and easy to navigate. They often take up a relatively large part of the screen.
The new remote aims more specifically at the streaming viewer. If you want a classic remote with a numeric block, you can use the older remote that comes with it. In addition to a simpler layout, the new remote also has the advantage that it works via Bluetooth, so you do not have to aim. TCL opted for six hotkeys, but they were not used optimally. TCL Guard, the media player and TCL Channel, those are keys that we preferred to be able to set ourselves with an app of our choice. YouTube, Netflix and Prime Video for the other three shortcuts are a solid choice. The new remote deviates from traditional conventions, and that can be a bit difficult at first. A good example is the live TV button and input button that are relatively far apart, which is a bit awkward. But once you get used to it, this is a great remote,
The TCL 65C935 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 C935 with Apple Airplay 2. There is also a multiview function that puts TV content and the screen of a smartphone on the screen together, but that only works with TCL smartphones for the time being.
TCL 65C935 – Image Processing
Since the same chipset is used internally as on the C835 , the similar results should not surprise here either. That means very good image processing with AI-based upscaling that restores detail based on what the processor recognizes in each image. However, the upscaling remains very soft, especially if you start from DVD. The “sharpness” setting may go to ‘5’ if you want to counteract that effect. Random noise can be well eliminated by the processor, but block formation always remains visible to a small extent. To some extent, TCL compensates for this with the ‘superior gradation’ setting, which eliminates color banding in soft gradients very well. The lowest setting does an excellent job in both dark and bright scenes. Avoid the highest setting, which also wipes away a lot of detail.
The 120 Hz panel has good motion sharpness, with only a slightly blurred edge around moving objects. It is a pity that “LED Motion Erase” performs a 60 Hz Black Frame insertion, and does not work at 120 Hz. You do win back some detail, but the visible flickering in the screen is disturbing, so we recommend leaving it off. Leave “Reduce Blur” at 10 and find a “Reduce Shake” setting that is acceptable to you. We found the result in the highest setting very good. The processor always intervenes quickly, but can sometimes leave a small stutter in very fast pan images.
|Advanced/Brightness||Advanced Color||Advanced Clarity||Advanced Motion|
Black Level 50
Dynamic Contrast: Off
Black Stretch: High
Dynamic Brightness: Auto
Local Darkening: High
Local Contrast: Off
|Color Saturation: 50
Blue Light Filter: Off
Color Temperature: Warm (-5)
MPEG NR: Low
Superior Gradation: Off/Low
|Motion Clarity: On
Clear LED Motion: Off
Reduce Blur: 10
Reduce Shake: 4-10Screen Settings/Overscan: Off
TCL 65C935 – Image Quality
The 65C935 uses a mini-LED Full Array Local Dimming backlight and a VA panel. The panel of our test sample unfortunately had a visible uniformity problem. This showed up mainly in the even dark gray test pattern, but was occasionally and to a lesser extent also visible on bright images, resembling Dirty Screen Effect. TCL has since informed us that this is a fault in the panel. If you see such an error yourself, please contact the seller for a replacement.
The VA panel delivers an excellent ANSI contrast of 4,851:1, but the real icing on the cake is the FALD backlight, which is divided into 36×30 (1,080) zones. And with so many zones, and a 12-bit control, this TCL has very fine-grained control over the light. And we notice that immediately in the contrast. That jumps to 50,000:1 on the ANSI test board and goes well over 100,000:1 on more relaxed test patterns.
In the dark Gravity scene, Sandra Bullock floats against a deep black background dotted with shining stars. The zone boundaries are virtually invisible so that the image can almost rival an OLED screen. In the Harry Potter scene or in The Revenant test there is a lot of shadow nuance, but no zone boundaries here either. Even in HDR images, such as with this fireworks, the zones are almost invisible, only subtitles can still provide some visible halos. The dimming only showed a minus. In very high contrast images, where a very small bright object is against a very dark background, the dimming sometimes causes a little loss of bright detail.
TCL always delivers a well-calibrated ‘Film’ picture mode. The gray scale is a bit too cool, but that’s not a problem. The very darkest shadow detail may be missing. The color reproduction is excellent. The 65C935 will eventually be ‘Calman Ready’, so that it can be calibrated automatically.
TCL 65C935 – HDR
In addition to HDR10 and HLG, the TCL also supports HDR10+ and Dolby Vision IQ . So you don’t have to worry about the HDR format. How much light can you produce with a state-of-the-art backlight? Quite a lot, it turns out. The C935 has a maximum peak brightness of just over 2,500 nits, although it can only deliver that for a few seconds. Over longer periods, we still measure an impressive 1,311 nits on the 10% window. The completely white screen still has 711 nits left.
The quantum dots deliver 97% P3 and 72% Rec.2020 color gamut, which are also figures that leave a big impression. Because with so much light and color, HDR images really come out very well. You immediately notice the difference compared to an OLED TV.
The calibration of the Film image mode in HDR is excellent, with excellent color reproduction. But TCL’s dynamic tone mapping, which delivers good results in other models, turned out to be wrong on the C935. The processor does look at the metadata and makes extra white detail visible, but it also makes the image too bright. As a result, the image loses color intensity and contrast. In some cases, it also masks bright details. Depending on the footage, the effect can be very obvious. TCL is aware of this issue and is working on a fix (expected in Q1 2023). Until then, we absolutely recommend turning off dynamic tone mapping. The TV then actually delivers very good results, which are very close to the reference. Lots of shadow detail is visible,
Gaming, Reflections and viewing angles
The VA screen has a slightly improved viewing angle. So you still lose some brightness and contrast, but colors are well preserved. Thanks to the large number of zones, you won’t be bothered too much by visible zone boundaries, even in a sharp corner. The screen also has excellent anti-glare properties.
Gamers get two HDMI 2.1 connections with 48 Gbps bandwidth, ALLM and VRR (HDMI VRR and AMD Freesync). The input lag of 15.5 ms (4K60) and 7.1 ms (2K120) are excellent. We are less satisfied with the Game Bar and Game Master function, which currently give a somewhat confused impression of the user interface. Moreover, the HGIG mode is not correct, and it provides a much too bright image. It’s better to leave it deactivated, somewhat counterintuitively. TCL meanwhile informed us that the gaming mode (including HGIG and Dynamic Tone Mapping) is undergoing major revisions, the new software is expected in Q1 2023.
TCL 65C935 – Sound Quality
For its audio solution, TCL relies on Onkyo’s expertise. The 4×10 +20 Watt solution consists of a forward-facing soundbar below the screen and two upward-facing speakers at the top at the back. A powerful woofer module in the back should provide bass support.
It has a lot of bass and the TV creates a good surround effect, although we were a bit disappointed with the real Dolby Atmos height effect. In any case, the configuration delivers a lot of volume, with the volume at less than half it was already almost uncomfortably loud. But the sound clearly suffers when you turn the volume up too far. You can hear that the speakers are really at their limit, and the processor intervenes to prevent worse. For a lot of use you will not be bothered by that limitation, but if you want real cinema sound, you have to temper expectations a bit. Finally, here too we encountered a software problem. You can exceptionally hear crackling in the audio reproduction, which we noticed especially with some Dolby Atmos tracks. According to TCL, this issue will also be resolved via firmware upgrade in the spring.
TCL 65C935 – Conclusion
TCL’s ambition is big, and the 65C935 shows that the manufacturer has a lot of potential. But we deliberately use the word potential here, because a number of software issues currently prevent the device from achieving the best possible result. Although TCL promised a fix for all these things, a top model should of course appear on the market without these kinds of issues. The audio solution is good, but falls just a bit short to provide real cinema sound.
With that out of the way, the 65C935 is an impressive device. The 1,080 dimming zones, excellent VA panel and very accurate control of the LEDs make it possible to show deep black, better than the competition (except for OLED, of course). Halo formation is kept to an absolute minimum, and there’s plenty of shadow detail. A wide color range, very high peak brightness and good calibration form a wonderful basis for eye-catching images, both in SDR and HDR. A film in the dark or sports on a sunny afternoon? This TCL can do both, without any problems. And then there is the price, which is remarkably favorable. For the time being, we are deducting one point from the device because of the software issues, but as soon as they are resolved, it is a solid recommendation.
- Excellent contrast and black detail
- Top local dimming with many segments
- Very high brightness and color gamut
- Good image processing
- Dolby Vision and HDR10+
- HDMI 2.1 with full gamer features
- Mandatory login with TCL account
- Dynamic tone mapping / HGIG makes image too bright (software fix on the way)
- Audio playback crackles exceptionally (software fix on the way)