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The most frustrating part of buying a new TV is choosing between OLED, QNED and Mini-LED – wrapping your head around each one, let alone determining which one is right for you, is a bit mind blowing… it’s confusing. Definitely confusing.
Then you have to decide if you want 8K or if 4K is enough.
Every manufacturer will tell you something different and every review will probably do the same. The best thing to do is list a few features that are must-haves for you and work backwards.
With that in mind, let’s review the TCL C835 mini-LED TV. It’s a compelling proposition.
TCL C835 Mini-LED TV
Of course, this 2022 TV model (I reviewed the 55-inch) boasts a Mini-LED – as the name suggests, a Mini-LED is much smaller than a standard LED. This allows you to collect more of them in one space, giving you more accurate backlighting of LCD panels and an increased number of local dimming zones.
The result is better images and performance with deeper blacks, improved color reproduction, reduced blooming, better brightness and a higher contrast ratio.
In the past few months alone, I’ve reviewed LG’s OLED, Samsung’s QLED, LG’s QNED, and TCL’s 8K Mini-LED. In terms of picture quality, they’re all spectacular – but each provides subtle differences when it comes to actually watching TV. I can’t fault the Mini-LED, especially the TCL C835 Mini-LED TV, for handling the bright Australian sun.
T stands for “Top Picture Quality”
The TCL C835 Mini-LED TV is bright, but not also sure your eyes will hurt after a night of overeating. Mini-LED in collaboration with the Quantum Dot (QLED) color enhancement layer offers a complaint-free viewing experience.
Despite there being plenty of new movies I haven’t seen yet that are available in brilliant streaming quality, the first movie I watched on the C835 mini-LED TV was Crow. The only noticeable indication that I was watching a movie that is almost 30 years old was the poor special effects. But it actually turned out to be a great film for testing how black the C835 blacks were. Most of Crow takes place at night, when it doesn’t, you’re indoors with a dimly lit scene. It’s a vibe that the TV can really handle, but it’s clear that with the Mini-LED the black is being replicated and it’s not Black as you can get with OLED.
It helped that there was so much Sydney sun shining on the screen and no living room lights reflecting – but I could actually see every scene and the detail was immaculate. Shadows were handled well, contrast too. Unfortunately, the iPhone 13 Pro Max relies on software to take photos and adds things that aren’t there, so the photos aren’t true, but you can definitely see my reflection passing through on the right in the TV shot below.
Shifting gears to something a little more modern, back and forth between movies and TV shows, it turns out that the TV shows are what shines on the Mini-LED displays. The bright colors are just that and the colors are vivid (which means pretty much the same thing in a different way) but I mean there’s no smearing, smearing and everything looks like a high resolution photo was taken. set up and blow up on a picture hanging on the wall in my living room.
Obviously the photo doesn’t do the brightness justice as the flamingos were moving when I captured the image.
Mini-LED doesn’t handle movies as well as OLED, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad, by any means. But Mini-LED definitely elevates your TV viewing experience above other types of TV technology. It’s also worth noting that the last OLED TV I reviewed was the LG OLED Evo, and that bad boy retails for $3,400 — more than double what TCL is paying. I can’t just sit here and tell you that the difference is somewhere around $1500.
As we noted when reviewing the C825 last year, to get the full TCL TV experience, you really need to play around with the settings. One size definitely doesn’t fit all, and you really benefit from customizing the picture mode to what you’re watching. The car is fine, but you’d be doing yourself an injustice by not tinkering with the settings. If you leave it on ‘Power Saver’, you’ll be mighty impressed.
Speaking of glare, unfortunately this issue will never be fully resolved. Next to my TV nook is a large floor-to-ceiling window that spans the entire wall. This is great for natural light, but usually not so great when it comes to watching TV. Fortunately, the C835’s light sensors adjust the screen according to the light in the surrounding environment. This led to a drastic reduction in daytime sun, meaning glare was barely noticeable during the day. This is where Dolby Vision IQ really shines. You can still see the reflections, but when I’m sitting on the living room, it’s barely noticeable.
Using the TV for gaming, the refresh rate wasn’t great, there was some lag, but I don’t think it was enough to bother the eye unless you paid as much attention as I did purely to catch it The game I played was Quarrywhich as Crow, has quite a dark atmosphere. It Yippee a slasher after all. But all the similarities were with the display: black black, bright brightness and the need to change the mode to play.
4K UHD also gives a reason not to jump to 8K anytime soon, even though I said last year that the TCL x925 Mini-LED 8K TV set an impossible benchmark for the future of TVs. I don’t want to sound like I’m excusing poor performance, because I’m really not, but the TCL C835 Mini-LED TV is so much cheaper than its 8K cousin, and again, extra cash you’d be splashing out. doesn’t translate into a proportional number of how much better it is, not even remotely. Besides, we’re still in the embryonic stages of 8K mega-upscaling.
C stands for “consider a soundbar”
TV manufacturers generally focus on picture first, user experience second and sound third. The sound is more than good if you’re not interested in adding a sound system (but I’d suggest at least checking out TCL’s range of soundbars – TCL makes some pretty decent and affordable ones). It’s a trap I fall into every time I review a TV: I plug in a soundbar and everything I thought about the quality of the TV’s speakers is thrown out the window. But I hungered for the Sonos Ray Soundbar, much like I smell coffee beans before the next whiff of a bottle of perfume, and it wasn’t long before I was watching the clock Seinfeld with the TV speakers, I didn’t even notice a drop in my experience.
The TCL C835 Mini-LED TV’s speakers are loud, clear and, like the display, will benefit from a little sprucing up.
L is for “beautiful user experience”
The user interface of the TV is very important. Does the TCL C835 Mini-LED TV look nice when the show/movie is not running? Yes. Does it have all the apps I want to use? Yes, too. Does it teach what I like? Hard to say given the short time I’ve had the TV, but it seems to be doing well so far.
TCL made a great decision by choosing to use Google TV as their operating system instead of making a half-assed attempt to create their own. Signing in with your Google account is seamless, and if you have a Google Home device nearby, it’s an easy integration. One thing worth noting though is TCL too he wanted my login details. That’s no. Google was enough. TV manufacturers need to ease up on data collection.
I have a lot of complaints about TV controls, but I only have one with the TCL C835 Mini-LED TV. It’s so long. Like ridiculously long. Cat for scale.
It’s pretty cool to see Aussie streaming service Stan feature on the remote. Personally, I don’t care for quick app launch buttons on remotes – if the user interface is easy you shouldn’t need it – but it’s nice to see something made for Australia. Weird patriotism from afar, but OK.
What does it mean?
It’s hard to fault a 55-inch Mini-LED TV that boasts black black, white white, vivid colors and pretty good contrast. Especially one that costs less than $2,000. Did TCL make the best TV on the market? No. But is it less than half the cost of one? Yes. Something has to be reckoned with. It’s hard for me to tell you that the TCL C835 Mini-LED TV isn’t good value for money – I’m pleasantly surprised by how much.
Where to buy TCL C835 Mini-LED TV?
The Good Guys $1,795 | RetroVision $1,995 | JB Hi-Fi $1,595
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