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TCL C745: Well-equipped, feature-packed TV at a very attractive price

TCL C745

TCL’s reputation for delivering superior TVs at surprisingly low prices is growing exponentially. TCL C745 – 2023 series. It is positioned as a line of new TCL gaming TVs that combine an unprecedented amount of features for its price with picture quality that surpasses some double-priced TVs.

The C745 series features a bright and crisp 4K QLED panel with 1,000 nits of brightness in certain HDMI modes, and even supports full array backlight local dimming. But this is not enough – the screen is updated at a frequency of 144 Hz, which is rare for TVs in general, not to mention this price. In the review of TCL 55C745 4K HDR as a representative of the series, we will describe the capabilities of the model and its characteristics.

TCL C745 review

Design

The body of the TCL 55C745 TV is lightweight and made of plastic, like the C735 series . The simple base consists of two plastic legs with a larger plastic panel covering them. This results in a central stand that securely holds the panel. The design is described by the manufacturer as bezel-less, but the image shows the technological boundaries of the panel.

The case is not as thin as, for example, its competitor Samsung Q60C , but this is a consequence of the use of a direct backlight, the LEDs of which are located directly behind the screen. In fact, you can’t really see its thickest back unless you’re looking at the screen from a much more extreme angle than usual.

The connectors point sideways, which is good for wall mounting with a VESA compatible bracket. The only thing that can make you tense up when connecting is that they are located far from the edge of the TV. The remote control combines both versions of 2022 – both Bluetooth with a microphone and a conventional push-button with a digital block.

Image quality

The main factor that determines the picture quality of the TCL C745 TV is that it is a 4K HDR TV built on a 10-bit (8-bit+FRC) VA type LCD panel. VA panels typically provide better contrast and deeper blacks, but have narrower viewing angles than competing IPS panel technology .

Beyond these promising fundamentals, however, the 55C745 has much more to offer. First, despite the astoundingly low price, it uses quantum dots to create palette colors. This approach provides a noticeably wider color range than the traditional color filter system.

All four major high dynamic range HDR formats are supported: HLG, RVC 10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. So unlike, say, all LG TVs that don’t support HDR10+ and all Samsung TVs that don’t support Dolby Vision, the TCL C 745 TV will play the best available version of whatever source you feed it.

The C745 has fewer blackout zones than the C845: 120, 160, and 220 in 55, 65, and 75 inches. Peak brightness is increased to 1000 nits compared to 350 nits in the C735. The C745 doesn’t use mini LED backlighting , but it’s still a nice step up from last year’s C735, which didn’t have local dimming (with the exception of the 98-inch C735, which has 192 dimming zones).

The TCL C745 Series supports Dolby Vision IQ, which can automatically adjust Dolby Vision advanced picture settings to compensate for the amount of light in your room. As a result, you still get a distinct level of HDR viewing experience. Note that the low power mode is too dark to make good use of HDR.

The C745 TV provides several preset picture modes. The most correct in terms of maintaining detail in the shadows is the Vivid (Dynamic) mode. Setting the Adaptive Contrast control to “Low” prevents instability in dark scenes because the TV does not actively adjust the backlight level in response to changes in the picture.

All video content is intelligently upscaled to 4K. The TV uses deep learning artificial intelligence (AiPQ Gen 3 processor) that recognizes a range of objects and helps predict what the frame should be. Content at 480 / 720 / 1080p resolution is acceptable, although the edges and midtones are a little washed out.

Games

Even more surprising for the cost of the TCL C745 TV is support for the latest advanced gaming features with 4K@120 content (the screen is actually rated at 144Hz) and VRR on two of its four HDMIs. All this turns the TCL 55 C745 TV screen to the gaming fans. Especially when you consider that it supports switching to pure graphics automatically using ALLM and is compatible with the FreeSync Premium VRR system.

 

With the TCL DLG Game Accelerator feature, the TV can reach a refresh rate of 240Hz. However, it automatically switches to 1080p resolution. Those refresh rates are more than enough for the PS5, which maxes out at 4K/120Hz, but perhaps the C745 is perfect for the rumored upcoming PS5 Pro.

The model has a Game Bar 2.0, which provides quick access to game settings and information about graphics settings. As a final note, game mode output latency (input lag) is 13.4ms with 1080p/60Hz sources (and about double that with 120Hz sources). These are all really great things to find on such an affordable TV.

Smart TV

TCL C74 TV’s intelligent engine is based on the latest Google TV system (based on Android TV 11). It provides a huge amount of streaming content as well as games and apps. The interface is responsive for the price and attractive. Many streaming services like Netflix, YouTube, etc. are preinstalled.

As you’d expect, given the connection to a Google TV account, the TCL C74 series supports voice control via Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa can be used if that’s more familiar to you. The home screen is full of stripes of tiles – featured content, your apps, current browsing.

 

There is a built-in Chromecast player that allows you to output media content from your smartphone to the TCL TV screen, as well as Apple TV, AirPlay 2 and HomeKit functions. For the first time in 2023, the TV is compatible with the Matter standard, which loops smart devices into a single network. This means that the C745 TV can be controlled remotely from the Matter controller.

Sound

The audio system of the TCL C745 is quite good for such an affordable TV. Firstly, it can sound impressively loud (up to 84 dB!), as well as create a wide soundstage. In the common palette of two 15-watt speakers, the mids sound soft, and the highs are moderately piercing. As usual with flat-panel TVs, there is a lack of bass.

There is support for Dolby Atmos and DTS Virtual-X. But you need to understand what two speakers can still do in relation to spatial sound – not much. Dolby AC4 and Dolby TrueHD audio playback is possible. In general, for a clear soundtrack of films, it is better to purchase a separate sound bar.

Connections

For available ports, there are no changes compared to 2022. Unless now all HDMI ports are defined as version 2.1 (one of them with eARC ). As always, there is only one USB 2.0 port (weird restriction). There is a digital optical audio output and two antenna jacks (depending on the region). In addition, there is a CI slot for pay-per-view cards. Complementing the list are minijacks for composite AV input and headphone output, as well as a LAN port. Wireless – traditional WiFi and Bluetooth.

Conclusion

TCL C745 is a well-equipped, feature-packed TV at a very attractive price. This is a good gaming TV. This is a typical direct backlit LCD with a few minor flaws. Finally, it’s a good all-around workhorse designed for use in normal lighting conditions and offers a good range of connectivity options, gaming features, HDR and Smart TV compatibility. When used this way, it will make more established competitors think twice.