Welcome to T3's TCL C715 review. It's fair to say that if TCL was trying to get our attention with the C715, then they succeeded.
This relatively low-cost flatscreen isn’t just a cheapie with a dusty spec, there’s some serious TV tech inside, including a QLED panel – as favoured by Samsung for its higher-end 4K offerings – plus the latest Android smart platform.
TCL is slowly becoming more and more of a household name, which seems surprising considering it's already one of the biggest screen manufacturers in the world. The TCL C715 is a TV to shout about... and we certainly are listening now.
This model is for the UK and Europe only, but TCL has a separate range of QLED TVs available in the US.
TCL C715 review: Price & features
The TCL C715 comes in three screen sizes, 50-, 55- and 65-inches (named the 50C715, 55C715 and 65C715 respectively). And the prices are exceptionally competitive. The 50-inch model is priced at £499, the 55-inch £599, and the 65-inch model is £799. For this review, we’ve tested the 55-incher.
Smart functionality is first rate. Android 9 may not be subtle, but it does what’s required. Chromecast is built-in, and there’s compatibility with the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, for voice control over basic TV functionality.
All the key streaming services are also on-board, including Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, Rakuten TV and Disney Plus. Playing a supporting role is Freeview Play, which means we also get fully integrated mainstream catch-up TV (BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4, My5), plus UKTV Play and lesser-known sundries.
TCL C715 review: Picture performance
Our thumbs are raised. The C717 is bold and bright, offering reassuringly crisp definition and vibrant hues, much as we’d expect to see from a QLED display.
The set is a mid-range HDR performer, in line with its price tag. We measured peak HDR brightness at 400 nits, which is just about enough to add depth to HDR content, giving specular highlights, light flares and street lights enough headroom to pop from the screen.
It also helps that Dolby Vision support is on hand to manage with tone mapping. There’s a lot of Dolby Vision content on Netflix, and it all looks suitably cinematic. The set is also compatible with HDR10+, as used on Amazon prime Video.
We also rather like the C715’s 4K SDR and HD performance. There’s a chirpy vibrancy to its images, particularly with well lit dramas.
Image presets include Low Power, and Smart HDR which lends an HDR-like lift to SDR content. The latter is effectively the Standard default, suitable for most shows.
TCL C715 review: Sound quality
The audio system is rather more routine. While the TV is Dolby Atmos enabled, the Netflix app on board is not. We’re told that this will change in December, when the C71 series gets a firmware update to Android 10. In the meantime, opt for the Movie sound preset which at least opens up the soundstage a tad.
TCL C715 review: Design & usability
The design of the C715 is smart but anonymous, though you wouldn’t expect an outré statement in the bargain aisle. The panel has a three-sided micro-bezel, metallic edging and comes with feet that can be either locked centrally or positioned toward the edge of the panel.
The rear side comprises (just) three 4K capable HDMI inputs, one of which supports ARC. There’s also a pair of USB ports, Ethernet to complement on-board Wi-Fi, a digital optical audio output, plus an AV mini jack input for legacy gear.
The remote control is an unfussy pointer, with dedicated Netflix and Freeview Play buttons.
While all the smart fundamentals are present and correct, navigation can be a bit sluggish. The interface just doesn’t feel as smooth and seamless as some rival screens – the Samsung TVs and LG TVs in the same price range are a little slicker.
However, the C715 definitely impresses as a gaming display. We measured image lag at a low 9ms (1080/60) using the dedicated Game mode. For more console-friendly TVs, including with support for PS5 and Xbox Series X new features, you can take a look at T3's best gaming TVs.
TCL C715 review: Verdict
The C715 is the first evidence that TCL will carve itself a niche in the UK beyond that of just another cheap TV brand. It’s QLED picture performance is reassuringly good, combining requisite Ultra HD detail with a pleasing level of Quantum Dot colour pop. Some niggles remain, but there’s no doubting the value and quality
TCL C715 review: Also consider
The Samsung Q60T is the particular TV to watch as an alternative here. It's Samsung's lower-priced QLED TV, and is available for a similar price – the official price is a little more, but it's commonly available with discounts, so is quite close to the C715 usually. The Tizen smart platform is really slick and easy to use, and image quality is excellent for the price – black performance is a little better than the TCL. Read our full Samsung Q60T review here.