The functional equipment of middle-class TVs is improving every year. The latest TCL models offer a nice user interface and good visuals at a very reasonable price. The TCL 65C728 TV very clearly shows what the strengths are, and where the compromises had to be made.
In this review, we will test the affordable TCL 65C728 4K HDR LED LCD TV. It has many of the same features as the TCL C725, but is more geared towards gamers. The TV uses a quantum dot panel and has HDMI 2.1 ports, which is essential for displaying 4K @ 120p content.
TCL C728 Preview
We know that mid-range cars can also look fashionable, and the TCL 65C728 TV illustrates this perfectly. The slim screen has a metal frame that is barely visible from the front, but looks luxurious from the side. The metal panel at the bottom has the TCL logo in the center and the Onkyo logo on the right.
The center stand is fully open and the screen is supported by two sturdy brackets. The design may seem a little lightweight, but the looks are sometimes misleading. Everything is not only stable, but also very strong. The build quality of the TCL 728 is decent too.
The 65C728 uses a quantum dot VA panel and direct LED backlighting. The screen has an excellent contrast ratio of about 4000: 1. Even with full scale local dimming turned off, contrast is still very good. Dimming algorithm provides excellent performance without annoying brightness fluctuations. Subtitles also do not cause side effects.
Unfortunately, the image hides some dark details, although they are. If you sit perfectly centered in front of the TV, you will see pretty good black levels, but you will lose a lot of hues. The uniformity in dark images is good, but in bright images, darkening of the screen is visible at the edges.
The Movie Picture Mode is reasonably well calibrated, although there is still room for improvement. The color rendition is very good. The end result in SDR is appropriate for this price range. Great contrast and beautiful colors make a good combination. The firmware update puts the 65C728 “Calman ready” so it can be calibrated automatically.
The TCL C728 TV can handle HDR10, HLG, HDR10 + and Dolby Vision IQ. Luminance-limited TVs like these benefit greatly from dynamic metadata formats. With a maximum brightness of 350 nits, both in the 10% window and in the full white field, tone mapping work needs to be done.
But I must say, TCL does an excellent job of this. Leave Dynamic Tonemapping active. Then the TV follows the metadata neatly and retains all the light details. Even with HDR10 images at 4000 nits peaks, the results are excellent. The character of the image is preserved almost perfectly. The color range is 71% Rec. 2020 and 92% DCI-P3. With Dolby Vision content, the result is generally excellent.
The C728 TV is similar in almost every respect to its older brother C825 . Superior deinterlacing and smooth, reliable frame rate detection for movies and videos avoids jagged edges as much as possible. Noise canceling is fine even at the lowest setting.
Machine learning and neural networks provide accurate and granular scaling. Set Sharpness to 10 for better detail. Activating the Local Contrast option at its lowest level gives the image extra depth. Stay away from Auto Contrast, however, it is too difficult to work with.
If you are worried about color stripes in soft gradients, turn on “Superior Gradation” at its lowest level. You lose a minimum of detail, especially in dark images, but the result is good. Although the C728 uses a 120Hz panel, it hides some detail in fast-moving scenes. So it’s best to leave Motion Sharp on and set Reduce Blur to 10.
Games, reflections and viewing angles
The VA display, unlike the IPS , has a very poor viewing angle while maintaining contrast. Once you move a little further from the center, all black details will be in focus, and dark scenes will look significantly brighter. The color rendition remains good. Therefore, for viewing by a large team, the C728 may not be the best option.
In game mode, the output latency is about 15ms, which is a very good result. HDMI 2.1 connections support 4K120, ALLM and VRR (48 … 120 Hz). VRR must be enabled in the menu. True, Dolby Vision compatibility is lost if you choose VRR.
In terms of ease of use, the C728 series is in no way inferior to its older brother. It uses the same quad-core ARM Cortex-A73 and Mali-G52 MP, 3GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. This powerful chipset provides an excellent user experience in the Android TV environment. The interface is responsive and easy to navigate through menus or applications. The C728 uses Android 11 , but without the new Google TV for now.
The classic TCL remote is long and narrow. The only difference from the previous version is the additional keyboard shortcut for Amazon Prime Video (besides Netflix). The rubber buttons work nicely and the layout is decent. In general, a good remote that is not distinguished by ease of use, but also does not have annoying errors.
TCL is also supplying a second smaller console. In 2020 it was aluminum, this year plastic, as is the larger version. This remote works via Bluetooth and has a built-in microphone for Google Assistant.
One aspect you clearly have to compromise on: audio quality. The C728 has a power of 2 x 10 W. Not even the Onkyo logo on the front panel rescues the flat sound. The sound is good for general TV viewing. But the bass is lacking if you want to listen to music or a good movie soundtrack.
The Movie sound preset along with Dolby Atmos actually offers more space, but often sounds rather harsh and artificial. This is mainly due to the lack of bass. The Music preset sounds very cramped and loud. So it’s best to turn off Dolby Atmos for music and stick to the Standard setting.
All connections are on the side and are identical to those of the C825. First, there are four HDMI ports, two of which are labeled 4K120. The other two are HDMI 2.0 versions. Secondly, the USB port. Further, there is a composite video and stereo audio input, two antenna connectors, an optical digital output and a headphone output. Ethernet and Wi-Fi are available to connect to your home network. You can connect a mouse / keyboard or wireless headphones via Bluetooth. There is eARC support .
The TCL C728 has many features at a reasonable price. Its weakest point is its narrow viewing angle. If you are not sitting directly in front of the screen, the contrast will be much lower. But, oddly enough, you miss some dark details if you find yourself in the center in front of the TV. The sound quality is also not up to par.
But TCL 65C728 boasts very high image quality. The handling is good, the calibration is good, and the VA panel provides excellent contrast. Thus, you can enjoy very beautiful images in both SDR and HDR. The fact that you can use all HDR formats is the icing on the cake. Gamers will appreciate the low input lag and two HDMI 2.1 ports with all the necessary functions. This is a great TV for universal use at a reasonable price.