A good TV should never disappoint and it doesn’t have to break you bank. Whether you need a TV for online racing, or just streaming your favorite shows, the picture should be clear, and content should be easy to navigate. The TCL Q6 Series (55Q650G model) is the latest mid-tier hero to accomplish this task (a worthwhile replacement for last year’s 5-Series).
TCL’s latest offering is a stellar TV in every way that matters, right from its sleek design to its new Google operating system. Like never before, you can now cast movies, photos, and apps from your phone to your screen effortlessly, and you get nearly the same level of flexibility as you used to on the older Roku models.
Looking at its specs, this is one of the best TVs for most people, especially if you don’t have the money to spend on the top-tier OLEDs or the gaming performance of higher-end models. T even allows you to choose between two positions for the TV’s included legs, which means it can fit on older, more svelte TV stands.
About the TCL Q6 LED TV
The TCL Q6 is in the same ballpark as the Hisense U6K; they are roughly the same price and have almost similar features. On performance, the U6K with its mini-LED display tech has a significant edge, but the Q6 nevertheless makes the most of its hardware and picture processing.
The Hisense Q6 is bright enough for most living spaces, but it struggles to drive enough brightness to smaller highlights, resulting in middling HDR performance. It lacks local dimming which makes the picture look hazy, especially on dark content.
If all you need is a better-than-average TV with accurate color and competent picture processing, however, the Hisense Q6 is a superior choice.
The TCL is available in four sizes ranging from 55 to 85 inches. Our review unit is the 55-inch model:
Here’s how the TCL Q6 Series shakes out from a price standpoint:
- 55-inch (TCL 55Q650G)
- 65-inch (TCL 65Q650G)
- 75-inch (TCL 75Q650G)
- 85-inch (TCL 85Q650G)
Due to the nature of the Q6’s display hardware, we expect performance to be similar across all screen sizes.
Here are the specs on the Hisense Q6:
- Resolution: 4K (3,840 x 2,160)
- Display Type: Direct LED with quantum dots
- HDR support: Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10, HLG
- Dolby Atmos: Yes
- eARC support: Yes
- Native refresh rate: 60Hz
- Smart platform: Google TV
- Color: DCI-P3 color space/10-bit chroma resolution
- Variable Refresh Rate (VRR): Yes
- Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM): Yes
- Other features: Apple AirPlay, Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Google Chromecast
The TCL Q6 comes with only three HMDI inputs, which is something you need to keep in mind if you’re hoping to connect several devices to your next TV. Most TVs in this price range offer up to four HDMI inputs, so this put the TCL 55Q650G at a bit of a disadvantage.
Here are the ports you’ll find in a side-facing cutout on the back of the TV:
- 3x HDMI 2.0 (4K @ 60Hz, 1x HDMI ARC/eARC)
- 1x USB 3.0
- RF connection (cable/antenna)
- Ethernet (LAN) Input
- Digital audio output (optical)
- Composite input (with adapter)
- 3.5mm headphone jack
What we like
Superb color and picture quality
Picture and color quality on the latest budget 4K TVs has dramatically improved over 1080p TVs from, say, 2014. The TCL Q6 is one such great example. If you’ve been watching a decade-old, full HD TV, even a subtle 4K upgrade is likely to blow you away. All it has to do is deliver a good enough and bright picture, and thankfully the, Q6 looks better than just “good enough” – it looks downright fantastic.
While there are a few drawbacks (will cover that soon), the 55Q650Gsets the bar high than most affordable TVs: Nothing looks underwhelming. Picture expression is crisp, colors are accurate, and it maintains high visual fidelity across all content types.
The stellar picture quality is backed by the high HDR contrast of 457 nits and a wide HDR color gamut coverage of 92.96% (DCI-P3), which, while not as voluminous as some of its competitors, remains ideal for most people.
The Q6 also does a fine job upscaling sub-4K content, which is useful if you spend a lot of time watching basic cable, over-the-air broadcasts, or older, full-HD Blu-rays. On the whole, TCL’s picture processing is sneakily the Q6’s best feature yet. Of course, many aspects make the competing Hisense U6K’s picture look better, but the Q6 offers superior upscaling and isn’t muted by motion-related color fringing found on the Hisense.
Feature-packed TV for gaming
When we reviewed the Samsung Q80C, we liked it for its robust gaming features, especially full HDMI 2.1 support across all four HDMI inputs. With the 55Q650G, TCL is offering some decent gaming features, but at a fraction of what you’d spend on a true gaming 4K TV.
The Q6 supports 4K gaming at 60Hz, but not 4K gaming at 120Hz like the LG C2 OLED or the Samsung Q80C. There’s a feature in there that allows players to play games at 120fps with VRR enabled, but this will cut the resolution down to 3840 x 1080p. AMD FreeSync support and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) make the experience even better.
If you need a TCL Q Class TV with more emphasis on gaming (a 120Hz native refresh rate, maybe), you’ll have to spend a little more for the Q7 Series, or the flagship QM8 Series.
Google TV smart platform is reliable, though sluggish
The latest iteration of TCL’s smart TVs arrives with Google TV pre-installed. If you’re looking for a TCL TV with a Roku TV built-in, you’ll have to settle with TCL’s lower-end S Class. Google TV is laden with ads and recommended content, but thankfully, it’s pretty easy to navigate around that extra content. Most importantly, Google TV offers an incredibly thorough selection of downloadable, and navigating around menus is easy enough.
On the downside, however, Google TV runs rather sluggishly and isn’t as buttery-smooth as it does on some higher-end TVs I’ve reviewed this year, but overall, its sluggishness doesn’t rise above a minor annoyance.
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What we don’t like
Not bright enough for the best HDR
Well, we didn’t expect a mid-range LED TV to be as bright as a high-end LED TV, but the Q6 nevertheless disappoints in this space, especially when it comes to showcasing HDR content.
However, there’s some good news: The Q6’s average picture brightness is high enough for daytime viewing in most rooms, provided it’s not drenched in sunlight. It looks better in the dark, but if you tend to watch most of your content during the day, the TCL 55Q650G has you covered.
It struggles most with highlights, especially during HDR content, especially high-profile streaming, and most 4K Blu-rays. This format uses the bright, colorful properties of contemporary displays, but since the Q6 isn’t able to drive an appropriate amount of brightness to small, intense highlights, the cinematic quality of HDR takes a hit.
Still, it’s worth reminding you that, for people upgrading to 4K/HDR for the first time, the Q6’s picture is almost guaranteed to satisfy. Anybody upgrading from an older mid-range 4K TV will probably notice a jump in brightness, too.
Lacks local dimming
The TCL 55Q650G’s biggest shortcoming is its relatively basic display. While not uncommon for a budget-friendly TV, the Q6’s reliance on a direct LED backlight with no hardware-based local dimming puts it at a disadvantage with some competitors in this price range. Without even a modest number of separate LED zones to control, the TCL Q6 can’t control its contrast as precisely as a TV with local dimming.
Last year’s TCL 5 Series – released for the same price as the Q6 – is an excellent example of how even a basic implementation of full-array local dimming can elevate a mid-range TV’s picture. The Q6 does an excellent job of producing a relatively high-contrast picture with a pleasant expression, but dark scenes in particular tend to look kind of grayish-blue since most of the display getting fused with light even when there are very few bright objects in the frame.
The aforementioned Hisense U6K (which can often be found on sale for less than the Q6) elevates everything by implementing mini-LEDs, an even better variation of LED-based display hardware than the 5-Series. The Hisense U6K’s local dimming performance isn’t perfect, but its impact on picture quality shouldn’t be underestimated.
Should you buy the TCL Q6 LED TV?
The TCL 55Q650G is a great pick for people who just want a reliably good-looking 4K picture, an easy-to-use smart platform, and maybe some good gaming support. In simple terms, if you’re finally ready to upgrade to the world of 4K television and you’d rather do it without breaking the bank, the TCL Q6 is a safe bet.
However, if you’re wondering what all the fuss is about when it comes to HDR content, or if you’re looking to squeeze as much performance-related upside as possible out of a mid-range TV, I’d recommend considering some other alternatives. Right now, the Hisense U6K is the best alternative at this price. It delivers more impactful HDR, better contrast control, and better implementation of gaming features.
That said, if you’re not picky about picture quality and you don’t do much gaming, the TCL Q6 is just the TV for you. It’s a reliably nice-looking TV across all types of content, affordable, and it’s decidedly easy to use.
The TCL 55Q650G (Q6 Series QLED TV) is a great pick for people who just want a reliably good-looking 4K picture, an easy-to-use smart platform, and maybe some good gaming support.
- Punchy picture and color quality
- Minimal backlight blooming
- Good for casual gamers
- Intuitive Roku interface
- Not very bright
- Lacks local dimming
- Hum-hum design
Last update on 2024-02-28 at 11:58 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API