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TCL C845: Perfectly balanced Mini LED TV

TCL C845

TCL C845 is TCL’s 2023 premium mini LED TV. Available in 55 / 65 / 75 / 85 inches, it offers great colors, performance and sound compared to its QLED and UHD brethren. Mini-LED TVs are brighter and have a denser backlight system behind the LCD panel. Tens of thousands of mini-LEDs illuminate the layer of quantum dots on the LCD panel.

The new TCL C84 is a TV originally equipped with a high native contrast VA panel. And most importantly, it uses Full Array technology with an increased number of zones compared to 2022, which are responsible for completely turning the backlight on and off, simulating the operation of OLED. Let’s start reviewing the TCL 65C845 4K HDR as a member of the series and take a closer look at all the improvements.

TCL C845 Preview

Design

TCL C845 - Overview

 

The design of the TCL 65C845 TV is very versatile, since its support-stand is not too wide. This facilitates its installation on almost any piece of furniture or table, and the gap remains high enough to install a good soundbar. Of course, with the advent of the FALD system in flagship TVs, the panel thickened significantly.

After all, it should house the entire system of LEDs and dimming zone control, the number of which in the C845 has grown to 576 versus 288 in the TCL C835 . All this takes up space. However, the thickness of the 65C845 TV panel itself does not exceed 1.6 cm, and the case at the deepest point is 8 cm. The design of the base is really attractive, and it holds the TV very well.

If you want to install the TV on a wall bracket, this will help the presence of holes for a standard VESA suspension. And besides, the ports will not interfere with such an installation – they are all directed sideways. Therefore, the C845 can be pushed as close to the wall as possible. We also note the frameless design of the model with negligible thin frames and body and small frames on the panel itself.

Image quality

To evaluate the image quality of the TCL C845 TV, we usually ask ourselves questions like: how many nits of brightness does it have? is the image in HDR really that bright? what about color accuracy? And then we get an idea of ​​how the picture looks on the screen. Let’s gradually answer these and other questions.

The TCL C845 QLED TV, like all non-OLED TVs, is equipped with an LCD panel, in this case VA. VA panels are traditionally better in contrast than IPS panels . On top of that, the matrix has FALD (Full Array Local Dimming) – full-matrix zone illumination technology. That is, each set of pixels turns on and off independently depending on the displayed image.

This mimics the operation of OLED technology and achieves near-perfect black levels (and contrast) when the area is turned off. The little problem is that a 4K TV has about 8,300k pixels, while the TCL C845 in its 65-inch version has 576 zones, which gives us a ratio of 1 zone for every 14,400 pixels.

is that enough? The FALD system always requires a balance between black level and shadow detail, since many areas (zones) of the image are not 100% dark, but rather muted. Therefore, the area cannot be completely turned off, and it must be lit – albeit dimly. OLED is different in this: it can turn off each LED individually.

However, thanks to MiniLED, TCL has created an excellent software algorithm implemented in the new AiPQ 3.0 Engine, which is responsible for very good shadow detail while maintaining very deep black levels. So even with such a small number of zones, the C845 is one of the best local dimming systems.

On the other hand, the TCL C84 series does not have an extra layer to improve the poor viewing angles of VA panels. Pixels scatter light, only emitting it forward, so when rotated, we will see how contrast and brightness are lost, which is typical for VA panels. It also lacks the premium anti-glare coating seen on the Samsung QN95C , for example .

Finally, another impressive aspect of the TCL C845 series is its color level. For two reasons: firstly, using quantum dots instead of the usual RGB filter gives pure colors and wide coverage. And secondly, since it has no white subpixels, all HDR light output is displayed in the three primary RGB colors. There are many scenes where you can see this improvement.

TCL C845 - design

HDR

In terms of peak brightness in HDR, our 65″ TCL C845 puts out about 2000 nits in a 10% window and is professionally calibrated with a sensor (D65). This is a very good figure, almost 500 nits higher than what the C835 offers. The contrast is at the level of 6000 : 1, which is also a very high value.

 

I must say that the TCL C 845 TV is traditionally omnivorous in terms of HDR formats. It also supports Dolby Vision and HDR10+. Just keep in mind that it comes from the factory with an ECO brightness setting. And to see the bright HDR highlights in a brightly lit room, you have to go from ECO to the Brightness+ setting.

In addition, TCL has polished the processing pipeline to improve the 2022 model with the new AiPQ Processor 3.0. It promises to improve the C845’s image processing: motion interpolator, more organic and natural scaling, better image color reproduction. There are compression improvements too, perfect for streaming content like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Games

Full HDMI 2.1 ports provide VRR and FreeSync Premium at 4K@120 (or 144Hz) with HDR. A minor issue that can be noticed is that the TV deactivates too many local dimming zones to reduce the output lag by a few milliseconds, so the picture degrades noticeably in game mode.

On the other hand, the input lag is not high in game mode – about 13.2ms (and about 8ms in 4K@120 mode). In addition to this, the “Game bar” is also slightly improved, which constantly informs about the type of VRR that is activated by the player, the frame rate, whether there is HDR or not, the aspect ratio of the screen, etc. The TV matrix has a response time of 6.5ms GtG in the game mode.

 

Smart TV

The user interface of the Google operating system / Android 11 TV is easy to use. You need to login with your account to get additional TCL features. The system is really very fast, without crashes, intrusive ads, etc. Of course, its functionality, unlike pure Android, is completely focused on the consumption of content on demand.

There are many digital free channels and many applications. Google TV also uses Google Assistant to enable Google Home and voice control. A nice feature is Chromecast support. This makes it possible to display media files from a smartphone or tablet on a large TV screen.

Access to file playback via USB or network (NAS / DAS) continues to improve and become more and more stable, although limited to 100 Mbps of the built-in network card. But you can use a USB adapter with gigabit speed. Also be aware that this model does not support DTS.

TCL C845 - switching

Sound

As for the acoustic design of the TCL 65 C845 TV, it contains a 60 W 2.1 system developed by Onkyo. It has two full-range speakers for medium and high frequencies, and another one at the back. This is an Ultra-Bass woofer, thanks to which the sound wins in the effect of immersion and saturation of the sound palette.

The TCL C845 is capable of decoding Dolby Atmos (lossy), which is the DD+ based profile that all on-demand services use. It also decodes Dolby Digital and Dolby TrueHD (but not DTS or DTS HD MA). To do this, you will have to use an external media player. But through internal applications, we will not hear anything if we play files with DTS codecs.

Connections

In 2023, TCL uses four HDMI 2.1 ports. One of them has full eARC support . Next, we list two USB 2.0 ports, a CI slot, AV-in (via adapter), headphone mini-jack, digital optical audio output and a LAN port. To receive a TV signal on board, one or two antenna sockets. There is WIFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.

Conclusion

TCL’s improved mini QLED LCD VA panel is a very pleasant experience, and even more so considering the price. This is a really balanced TV with 576 adjustment zones, very good light control and very good increased brightness. Probably the best MiniLED with QLED technology of 2023 in terms of value for money. This is a great job from a Chinese brand that we hope will continue on this path.

 

TCL C845 Specifications:

Panel
Permission 4K UHD 3840×2160
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Diagonal size 164 cm
Type VA QLED MiniLED
Update frequency 100 Hz
Motion processing 144Hz Motion Clarity Pro
HDR HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10+
Certification 4K HDR Premium 2000
Color depth 10 bit
Contrast 6000:1 (typ.)
Brightness 2000 nits (max)
Backlight Direct FALD
local dimming 576 zones
Audio
System 2.1
general power 60 W
Number of speakers 3
Subwoofer 20 W
Dolby Atmos Yes
Design ONKYO
Smart TV
operating system Android 11 / Google TV
CPU AIPQ 3.0
Operating memory 3 GB
Hands free voice control Yes, depends on the region
Google Assistant Yes
Chromecast Yes
game center Game Master Pro 2.0
Game Options VRR 144Hz, FreeSync Premium Pro, ALLM
Enhance clarity in games Game Accelerator 240Hz (DLG)
Gesture control Yes
Connections
HDMI 4 x 2.1
USB 1×2.0
Audio output digital optical
Analog video input Yes, via adapter
Headphone output Mini jack 3.5 mm
LAN port Yes
WiFi 5 / 2.4 GHz + WiFi6 802.11 ax / ac / b / g / n
Bluetooth v5.2
Dimensions and weight
Dimension with stand (WxHxD) 1446 x 865 x 320 mm
Dimension without stand (WxHxD) 1446 x 836 x 79 mm
Weight with stand 31.8 kg
Vesa mount 400 x 400