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TCL C655: A feature-rich 4K HDR TV

TCL C655 Review
TCL C655 Review

The TCL C655 is a feature-rich 4K HDR TV that’s a great choice for those who need a big screen on a budget. The C655 is the entry level in TCL’s line of QLED TVs. This smart TV supports all HDR formats and comes in sizes up to 98 inches.

It uses a 60Hz VA panel with direct LED backlighting combined with quantum dot filters. Gaming performance is underwhelming due to panel limitations and HDMI options. But the C655 series TVs (another name for the C61B) have a very competitive price. In our TCL 55C655 4K QLED HDR review, we’ll see if this could be the TV that’s both cheap and fun?

TCL C655 review

Design

TCL C655 review

 

The TCL 55C655 TV features a minimalist design, a frameless screen and a simple black border around the outer edge. The construction is mostly plastic, but seems quite durable. The rocking when pushing is slight. The TCL C65 series for 65″, 75″ and 85″ diagonals is equipped with an adjustable two-position stand. In the 55th diagonal under consideration there is no such possibility.

The TV is just over 7cm thick, making it easy to mount on the wall using the VESA 200 x 300 mount. Of course, this is not the most discreet option on the wall, but it is convenient nonetheless. All connectors, unlike the TCL C645, now face sideways. They are located quite close to the edge of the case, providing easy access to them in the case of a fixed mount.

The ergonomically shaped remote mostly uses icons to identify the various buttons, and they’re all cleverly laid out. The remote control is comfortable to hold and easy to use with one hand. It contains buttons for direct access to Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube.

Image quality

The TCL C655 TV uses a VA LCD matrix, characterized by good black levels and narrow viewing angles. Direct LED backlighting is used. Although there is no local dimming, screen uniformity is generally good. There is only occasional slight clouding in darker scenes. Factory settings produce a very inaccurate image in terms of color.

 

You can see excess blue in grayscale, uneven gamma and oversaturated colors, resulting in an average DeltaE of around 10 for SDR and HDR. Switching to Filmmaker mode improves the situation, reducing the average grayscale error to 3.7 and delivering colors that exactly match the saturation points. Gamma is also improving and getting closer to the target value of 2.4.

The apparent threshold for any ΔE error is 3, so the C655 is certainly entry-level and hardly calibrated at this price point. However, TCL includes a full set of calibration controls, and simply adjusting the gray scale in Filmmaker mode results in an error of just 0.8.

The image is very pleasing to view, with natural colors and good shadow detail. Because the backlight is global, without the use of local dimming zones, TV is best viewed in a room with some ambient lighting. Motion clarity is good given the inherent limitations of the LCD display, including the panel’s 60Hz refresh rate.

Video processing and scaling are impressive. The TCL C655 does a good job of upscaling lower resolution content to 4K. And the processing also helps minimize any nasty compression artifacts found in standard definition broadcasts or low-quality streaming services.

 

TCL C655 – design

HDR

The TCL C655 series supports all versions of HDR – HDR10, HLG, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. As far as limitations go, the biggest is obviously peak brightness, with the C655 achieving just under 460 nits in both the 10% window and full screen mode, no matter which mode you choose. As a result, for HDR content, it’s better to choose dark mode, which provides very accurate grayscale reproduction, impressive color tracking, and excellent tonal mapping.

The use of QLED Pro quantum dot filters means the C655 covers most of the DCI-P3 color gamut, reaching an impressive 95%. In actual footage, the TV continues to impress, reproducing fine detail in native 4K content and accurately displaying tonality at 1,000 nits, although clipping is already noticeable in 4,000- or 10,000-nit videos.

Smart TV

The TCL C655 TV uses the Android TV (12.0) operating system in the Google TV version. The presence of a quad-core processor means that there is enough power for smooth, stable and fast operation of the platform. All major video streaming apps are offered, including Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+, Now, YouTube and Google Play. There’s also support for HDR, as well as Dolby Atmos and DTS audio when available.

 

The built-in Google Assistant turns the TCL 55C655 TV into a full-featured intelligent assistant with voice control, and also supports Chromecast and Google Home. In addition, TCL works with Amazon Alexa and offers extensive file support for the built-in media player. The TV tuner includes access to the EPG (Electronic Program Guide).

Games

The 55C655 has several strong points that make it a solid TV for gaming. Game mode output latency is extremely low at just 10ms, which is comparable to the best gaming TVs. Secondly, when using an LCD panel there is no danger of image retention or screen burn-in.

However, the lack of full HDMI 2.1 functionality means the C65 can’t support some of the latest gaming features like 4K/120p HFR (high frame rate) and VRR (variable refresh rate). But at least it has ALLM (automatic low latency mode). TCL’s Game Master also adds a number of gaming features. Only the TCL 98C655 TV supports 144Hz refresh rate and VRR.

TCL C655 – switching

 

Sound

The TCL C655 is equipped with an Onkyo sound system based on a pair of down-firing full-range speakers with a power of 10 W each. Sound quality is surprisingly good, with clear sound and well-defined mids. Dialogue is clear, and the built-in 15W subwoofer provides plenty of bass. The larger screen size adds superior stereo separation of music.

The C655 also supports Dolby Atmos and DTS Virtual:X, with the latter being a rarity on TVs these days. True, they can’t work miracles using just two down-firing speakers, but at least these options give the sound a greater sense of spaciousness. Note that the 43″ and 50″ diagonals have a regular two-channel audio system.

Connections

All ports face sideways. They are on the right side when looking at the screen. There are three HDMI 2.1 ports (one with eARC ), USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports (for 75, 85 and 98 inches), terrestrial and satellite antenna jacks, a common interface slot (also for large diagonals), an Ethernet port, an optical digital output , AV adapter and headphone jack. Wireless connectivity is provided by Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Chromecast. The configuration and number of ports depends on the localization of the TV.

Conclusion

The C655 QLED TV is a strong entry-level representative of the LCD TV line. Picture quality is impressive, and there are plenty of features and a wide range of panel sizes to choose from, all of which are very aggressively priced. If you need a really big screen for watching movies, the C655 is a great choice thanks to its detailed 4K images and full HDR support. However, serious gamers are better off spending a little more on the excellent TCL C755 with its amazing next-gen capabilities.

TCL C655 specifications:

Panel
Permission 4K UHD 3840×2160
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Diagonal size 55″ (139 cm)
Type VA QLED
Response time 14 ms
Backlight Direct LED
Update frequency 60Hz 4K, 120Hz 1440p
HDR HDR10, HLG, HDR10+, Dolby Vision
Color depth 10 bits (8 bits + FRC)
Contrast 6000:1 (typ.)
Brightness 450 nits (typ.)
Quality index 3200
Local dimming No
Audio
System 2.1
general power 2 x 10 W + 15 W
Dolby Atmos Yes
DTS HD Yes
Smart TV
operating system Android 12/Google TV
CPU ARM Cortex-A55 4 x 1300 Hz
Memory 2 GB RAM, 8 GB ROM
GPU Mali-G31
Hands-free voice control Yes
Google Assistant Yes
Miracast Yes
Game bar Yes + Game Master 3.0 menu
Connections
HDMI 3 x 2.1
USB 1 x 3.0
Video input Mini RCA
Audio output Digital optical
Headphone output Minijack 3.5 mm
LAN port Yes
WiFi 5 GHz + 2.4 GHz
Bluetooth v5.0
Dimensions and weight
Size with stand (WxHxD) 1224 x 770 x 292 mm
Size without stand (WxHxD) 1224 x 708 x 72 mm
Distance between legs 932 mm
Weight without stand 9.8 kg
Weight with stand 11.3 kg
Vesa mount 300 x 300