Review: TCL C855 (75C855)

Good all-rounder with high contrast

TCL is known for their powerful MiniLED displays, and this year's newcomer, the C855, has even more dimming zones - and you can see that in the contrast.

Published 5 July 2024 - 6:00 am
TCL C855 (75C855)
Audun Hage

Chinese TCL is one of the most ardent supporters of LCD TVs with Mini LED backlighting: by driving down prices and offering more choice, they’ve also helped make this technology more accessible to ordinary people. The new C855 series is a fresh addition this summer and is available in screen sizes from 65 to 98 inches.

TCL C855

Its predecessor, the C845, was one of the better premium LCD TVs we tested last year, but the C855 has more power under the bonnet, which should make the picture quality even more sparkling. The backlight reportedly has more than twice as many dimming zones, and in addition, brightness is claimed to have increased from 2,000 to 3,500 nits.

On the design front, this TV is very similar to the previous TCL models, with a centralised stand that is easy to mount (the larger 85- and 98-inch models may have other solutions). The finish is a little more industrial and angular than the slightly slimmer screens from Samsung and Sony.

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TCL C855 (Photo: TCL)

Ease of use and features

The TCL C855 is equipped with the Google TV user interface, which includes a wide range of apps and support for familiar features like Google Assistant, Chromecast and AirPlay. Here you can find all the streaming services you could wish for and the main menu can be customised to give you personalised programme recommendations. However, the menu system isn’t lightning fast like on Samsung’s display with the Tizen operating system on board.

The TCL monitor is otherwise characterised by good format support, including HDR10+ and Dolby Vision for movies, series and gaming.  The panel supports frame rates up to 120 Hz, or up to 144 Hz for gaming. Connectivity is good, but not on par with Samsung: like Sony, only two of the four HDMI inputs have full bandwidth for 4K/120 fps video signals. But TCL has at least made sure that the third connector can be used as an audio output (HDMI eARC), so you have two free inputs for gaming purposes.

Image quality

The TCL monitor features a new QLED LCD panel and upgraded Mini LED backlighting with multiple local dimming zones for better contrast and brightness. At first glance, it looks quite impressive.

As expected, the C855 has dazzling brightness and contrast, which contributes to a very vivid and dynamic image. The light distribution is very precise, with no annoying halo effect around bright objects on a dark background. Moreover, there is plenty of brightness across the entire screen at the same time. This means that the TCL monitor will work well both for sports in daylight and for watching films in the evening in a dark room.

Naturally, films and series in HDR format look very impressive thanks to the generous brightness. There’s plenty of high-lit detail such as sunlight, flames and explosions, but also excellent detail levels in dark scenes.

Colour reproduction is good, with strong and nuanced colours from the QLED-based display. The TCL C855 has a very accurate grey scale and colour reproduction in SDR mode, but in HDR mode it deviates slightly more from its competitor Samsung. It may therefore make sense to sacrifice a Calman calibration on this monitor to achieve the most accurate reproduction.

As we look at the TCL C855 with different types of test content, we also become aware of a few potential challenges. For example, it’s clear that the screen doesn’t follow the fastest movements as well.

The motion compensation, also known as interpolation, is characterised by a kind of ‘curtain effect’ where some blocks in the image are delayed compared to the rest. The result is that the image reproduction is not as seamless as Sony and Samsung achieve. This is hopefully something that can be improved with a software update, but nonetheless something to be aware of.

Another possible criticism of the TCL monitor is that, like most LCD monitors, it has a rather narrow viewing angle. You don’t have to sit very far to the side for the beautiful colours and greyscale to look significantly paler. However, the TCL isn’t dramatically worse than Samsung’s competitor.

Sound quality

The TCL C855 has an upgraded sound system with 60 watts of output power, distributed over a total of six speakers. This is also reflected in a large and powerful soundstage that spreads well across the large screen. Voices come through loud and clear, and the music and sound effects are full and rich. The sound does a good job on its own – but there’s no doubt that a TV of this size deserves to be complemented with a soundbar.

 

TCL C855. (Photo: TCL)

Conclusion

Overall, the TCL C855 delivers impressive picture quality with excellent brightness and contrast. Compared to the challenger Samsung in this test, the TCL display isn’t quite as convincing for sports or discerning film lovers respectively, but overall this is a good all-round TV that performs well in all disciplines. We also note that this monitor has already been on offer at prices well below the recommended retail price. The C855 will therefore be a good buy in many contexts.

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TCL C855 (75C855)
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We think

With plenty of contrast and brightness, the TCL display is excellent for both sports and film viewing. Movements aren't as smooth and flicker-free as Samsung, and the viewing angle could be better.

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