TVs & Audio | December 17, 2023
TCL has launched a new television in the second half of the year to cover a portion of the market between its top TV of 2023, the TCL C845, and its mid-range, the TCL C745. This is how they have introduced the new TCL C805, drawing directly from the advantages of the higher-end range but offering it for just over 1,000 euros in this 65-inch model that I have had the opportunity to test. A great way to make MiniLED technology and other features, such as the 144Hz native refresh rate or TCL’s advanced gaming options, more accessible. I’ve had the chance to use this TV for a month as my primary TV for watching series, movies, and playing some games. Here, I’ll share my thoughts and experiences.
|98 inches (also available in 50, 55, 65, 75 and 85 inches)
|Resolution and technology
|4K 3840 x 2160 pixels
Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10+, HDR10, HLG
1,000 nits maximum brightness
Native panel at 144Hz
|MiniLED with Quantum Dot
AiPQ 3.0 Engine Processor
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
|4 x HDMI 2.1
1 x USB 3.0
1 x Ethernet
|WiFi ac/n/g 2.4/5Ghz MIMO
|1444 / 898 / 320 mm
|FreeSync Premium Pro
240Hz Game Accelerator
As I’ve mentioned in other TCL TV reviews this year, they are the most convenient and straightforward TVs to assemble on the market. Following the aesthetics and trends of recent years, the TCL 65C805 comes with the classic stand system (changing to legs for sizes 75 inches and above) to support the TV. Ideal for any modern living room furniture unless it’s the classic shelf with little surface for the base of this stand. The good thing is that it consists of two pieces, and you only need to fit one into the other and screw them together, and then onto the TV. Eight screws to secure a 65-inch TV in place without complications. No complicated fittings, pieces, or systems.
As I mentioned, the finishes are brushed aluminum, another modern classic. The result is silver frames that go well with any type of decoration and environment. It’s easy to integrate this TV with wood or metal. The finish is so neutral that it looks attractive but not overpowering. A smart move that emphasizes thin bezels, although not the thinnest on the market, and helps add a certain style to the TV without distracting from the most important thing: the content on the screen.
However, the design of the remote control detracts a bit from the overall look. TCL sticks to its style and includes a black remote with a complete numeric keypad so that no one gets lost. It is simple, lightweight, and functional. But as it does not have the same tones as the TV, it might pass as just another remote in the living room. TCL does not follow Samsung’s trend of including eco-friendly remotes that charge with included voltaic cells on the back and have a minimalist design that needs to be learned. TCL sticks to simplicity and functionality, even if it doesn’t look flashy and has a completely different finish than the TV.
TCL’s strategy with this 65C805 is to create a new step in its C TV range in terms of image quality and price. So, this year, it would look something like this: the C645 without MiniLED technology but with interesting additions for an economical price, the C745 with QLED panel and a strong focus on the gaming market for under 1,000 euros, the new C805, which has MiniLED technology and incorporates the innovations of the top C845 but without the most advanced technology.
What does all this translate to? It means having a very good panel for those who want quality imagery but don’t want to spend more than 1,000 euros. Specifically, it features a MiniLED panel and the addition of Quantum Dots to achieve really good contrast by illuminating more detailed areas with those microscopic LEDs and, at the same time, obtaining more defined colors thanks to the quantum dots that filter different wavelengths. In other words, two of the top technologies of 2023 within the LED TV market.
The result is really good, high-quality image. The contrast is well-executed, and although it’s not OLED, I’ve been able to see all sorts of details in dark areas these days. All of this avoids issues like blooming, which is that flare in dark or black areas that are close to the illuminated areas of the screen. However, there is a bit of this phenomenon in things like the black bars in the movie format, which may not be as contrasted. And it’s because, one must not forget, this TCL C805 is a step below the TCL C845, and this is noticeable in the number of lighting zones it can control (384 compared to 586), which is slightly lower. Therefore, although its processor is updated, elements such as contrast and the overall definition of the image do not match the top TV of the year.
Something similar happens with brightness. Although it is good and reaches a notable level for the average user, it is slightly lower than the C845. It stays at peaks of 1,000 nits instead of the 2,000 of the top TV. Something that is only noticeable when we put both TVs side by side. In everyday use, it simply results in good image quality but not as vivid and striking. Although some people find very bright panels to be headache-inducing.
Regarding color, Quantum Dot technology does its job. The sense of image quality is high, without chromatic aberrations or strange cuts in gradients. Perhaps they don’t shine as much since they don’t have higher brightness peaks, but again, it’s a very enjoyable image.
The only “but” in terms of image quality that I noticed these days was in really complex scenes that put the top MiniLED technology to the test. Watching one of the last scenes of the Disney+ series “Ahsoka,” I noticed a certain trail as it showed how a character threw a lightsaber to another. The scene was dark, but the lightsaber and the characters have white tones. The result, in a fraction of a second, was that the lightsaber flying from one side of the screen to the other became strangely blurred. It’s a super-specific situation that indicates we might see some aberration or visual problem only when there is a lot of action and a lot of contrast in especially dark scenes.
Being one step below the top TV of 2023 has also left several very interesting extras for the TCL C805. On the one hand, there is the list of HDR standards used on the main streaming content platforms. Namely: HDR10, HDR HLG, HDR10+, HDR DOLBY VISION, and DOLBY VISION IQ. This means that your series and movies on Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, or HBO Max will look the same as the creator intended. Of course, this applies the advantages and disadvantages of this TV’s technology. But the key is that each frame will look as good as possible on this TCL C805.
However, if there’s one surprising feature of TCL’s advanced TVs in 2023, it’s the refresh rate. And being the little brother of the top TV, this TCL C805 does not lag behind. It comes with a native refresh rate of 144Hz. This gives agility to all the content displayed on its panel, notably helping achieve good image quality by showing sharper contours even in moving elements. Although this is something that is especially noticeable in higher-quality content than terrestrial digital TV broadcasts, especially if you play with current consoles. It’s not something that will change your life or that you’ll notice as soon as you turn on the TCL C805, but the overall image quality improves, and that’s always a plus.
Another great feature inherited that I liked in this TCL C805 is the gaming aspect. And it has nothing to envy its bigger brother. It has the necessary ports, technologies, and processor to display the best possible image emitted by current game consoles. I’m talking about HDMI ports, a 144Hz refresh rate that also applies in this area, and all the compatibilities with VRR or variable refresh rate and ALLM or low latency, so that game control feels instant.
What I have noticed during these days is that there is no flickering, no image cut, no graphic error, or visual aberration when I play. All of this, taking advantage of the advanced contrast control, colors, and refresh rate that I’ve mentioned.
In addition to this, TCL includes the special bar in its TVs for the gaming environment, and as in its best TVs, it is also version 2.0 in this TCL C805. So, I was able to open the Game Bar with a button on the remote and play with different layers or image filters. Or even activate a pointer aid for shooting games. Although the most interesting thing about the bar is being able to activate the special HDR for HGIG games and check that the VRR and ALLM settings are active for the smoothest gameplay.
Moreover, the HDMI ports and the technology of this TV allow almost doubling the refresh rate if we connect a compatible computer to play on this gaming monitor that is the TCL C805. Thus, reducing the resolution from 4K to 1080 pixels, the refresh rate goes from 144Hz to 240Hz. Almost unthinkable for any other TV, being a feature more typical of professional gaming monitors. This changes the gaming experience so that we can react almost instantly in the game and take advantage of every millisecond. It’s ideal for those who play seriously at shooting games, for example. Personally, I haven’t enjoyed it, but with 144Hz to play single-player titles on my PS5, I’m more than enough.
As a high-end TV, the TCL C805 also excels in the sound department. It’s not luxurious since it’s stereo sound with two 15-watt speakers each, but it does come with the latest technologies. I’m talking about Dolby Atmos and DTS Virtual-X. These are technologies that focus on creating that surround and 3D sound sensation, capable of making effects like footsteps, shots, or all kinds of noises sound behind or to the sides of the viewer. Basically, it achieves the surround sound of a home theater system with the two speakers integrated into the back of the TV. And what I like the most: without having the living room full of cables and other devices.
Does this mean it’s the best sound a TV can offer? I’m afraid not. Although it’s powerful for a small or medium-sized living room, and although it has a very high range without auditory aberrations or a canned sound, it’s not a complete and robust sound. It’s important to remember that it’s a step below the C845, and it doesn’t have a speaker especially dedicated to bass. This is why, if you are a sound purist or if you want really complete sound, with body, and where the tones, textures, and details are well appreciated, you’ll still need a soundbar more complete than the stereo system included in the TCL C805.
In terms of content control, menus, and settings, there is Google TV once again. Something common in TCL TVs, and a big plus to have all kinds of applications and services to install and enjoy on the TV. And even the possibility of installing tools outside the usual app stores, as is the case with Adrenalina Gol, for example. It is the most open and malleable operating system if you are an expert and comfortable enough if you are not. It also comes with the help of Google Assistant, compatibility with your Android phone, and Chromecast options to seamlessly bring content from your phone to the TV. All advantages, indeed.
The problem is that TCL insists on offering its own service and integrates buttons to quickly access TCL Channel and Web, the customization layer they want to introduce as an alternative to Google TV. In my experience, and after having tried other TCL TVs this year, this has only meant ignoring the direct access buttons on the remote of this TCL C805. I have already tested that the content offered in these ways either is not available or has no interest for me. A waste of space and buttons that could be used for something else.
In conclusion, this TCL C805 is for those who do not want to exceed the threshold of 1,000 euros on a TV. In fact, there are already offers to get this TV for 700 euros. And for that, it offers TCL’s most advanced technologies in 2023, slightly cut compared to the top TCL C845 TV: MiniLED and QLED but with less brightness and fewer lighting zones. Stereo and immersive sound but somewhat less powerful and without bass. But without neglecting aspects like design or gaming. An interesting compromise that works really well in all aspects, especially enjoyable if you are not the most purist person when it comes to image quality. A good option for those who aim to go one step further in medium quality but with a reasonable price.