TCL Unveils Full European TV Range for 2021
While we're accustomed now to TCL unleashing cutting edge and highly acclaimed TVs in the US, its European models have, to date, tended to feel like relatively poor relations.
That seems set to change, though, as TCL has just unveiled an impressively varied European range for 2021, including support for Mini LED technology and the latest cutting edge gaming features.
At the top of the new TCL TV tree is the C82 series. Available in 55 and 65-inch sizes, the thing that most sets these models apart from their cheaper siblings is Mini LED backlighting. This illuminates the TV's pictures with much smaller, much more numerous (in the thousands) LED lights than you get with regular LED TVs, resulting when combined with local dimming in much better contrast and local light control.
You might wonder from this description of the C82 series' Mini LED technology why TCL doesn't just use OLED instead. TCL, though, was adamant during the presentation of its new models that in its opinion, only Mini LED can deliver the 20 stops of dynamic range that TCL believes you need for a full high dynamic range (HDR) experience.
The C82 models also carry full HDMI 2.1 support. This is great news for serious gamers, as it means the sets can handle the latest cutting-edge gaming features of 4K resolution playback at 120Hz refresh rates; variable refresh rates; and automatic low latency mode support, where the TVs can automatically switch in and out of their fast response Game mode depending on whether a compatible console is playing a video or game source.
While we're on the subject of gaming, TCL claims that all of its C Series TVs for 2021 will take less than 15ms to render game graphics when running in their Game modes.
The C82s also use QLED (Quantum Dot) technology to ensure that they have enough colour range to retain full saturations at the sort of high brightness made possible by the Mini LED lighting system. Picture processing comes courtesy of TCL's AI-driven AiPQ system, and the C82 series support both of the premium quality HDR10+ and Dolby Vision' active' HDR systems, as well as the more basic HDR10 and HLG formats.
In fact, the C82 even supports the Dolby Vision IQ system, which can automatically adjust Dolby Vision pictures to compensate for ambient light levels.
This wide-ranging HDR support means that the C82s can give you the optimal picture performance possible from any 4K Blu-ray disc or streaming service you play on them.
These streaming services come courtesy of built-in Android TV version 11 support, while the Mini LED pictures are supported by a 2.1 audio system (complete with front-firing speakers and Dolby Atmos support) that's been designed in conjunction with hi-fi brand Onkyo.
One step down TCL's 2021 TV range for Europe is the C72+ range. Available in 55, 65 and 75-inch screen sizes, the C72+s continue to offer the full 48Gbps HDMI gaming support, QLED colour system, AiPQ processing, Dolby Vision/HDR10+ support, Android TV support and 100Hz motion reproduction of the C82s.
However, the C82s' mini LED lighting is replaced by a more standard backlight system, and the audio system is less high end, with no large forward-firing drivers. The audio is still designed by Onkyo, though, and still supports Dolby Atmos playback.
The C72 series, meanwhile, will be available in 43, 50, 55, 65 and 75-inch sizes, and will again keep QLED colour support, AiPQ processing, Android TV and an Onkyo/Dolby Atmos sound system. They lose, though, native 100Hz support, and the 4K/120Hz and variable refresh rate next-gen gaming features.
Rounding out TCL's 2021 TV range for Europe will be a new P72 series. Set to appear in 43, 50, 55 and 65-inch sizes, these are very much designed to hit an aggressive price point and not feature QLED technology or any advanced gaming features. However, the Android TV smarts will still be present and correct.
TCL hasn't revealed pricing yet, but it did say that its new models should arrive in Europe by the end of the second quarter. Stay tuned for an update on the models expected in Australia and local pricing.
I’ve spent the past 25 years writing about the world of home entertainment technology. In that time I’m fairly confident that I’ve reviewed more TVs and projectors than any other individual on the planet, as well as experiencing first-hand the rise and fall of all manner of great and not so great home entertainment technologies.
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