55 inch TVs range in price from under $600 to over $3,000 so when you grab a TV almost smack bang in the middle of the price range just what can you expect? We’ve been putting the TCL C835 Series 55 inch TV to the test and spoiler alert – it’s impressive.
The C835 series from TCL comes in 55, 65 and 75 inch sizes, and feature Google TV as the operating system and a MiniLED Backlighting system.
I think it’s the combination of Mini LED and Google TV which make this a really compelling device to consider.
Why Google TV is the choice of TV operating systems
With apologies to all the TV companies pushing hard to build their own Operating Systems, but Google TV is the best, and in some cases I’d recommend just adding a Chromecast with Google TV even to the newest of smart TVs.
The simplicity with which it operates just shines.
Voice control to search for content, and launch some apps (we were unable to launch Stan but could launch Netflix and YouTube), plus integration with your Google account across devices is a win.
The layout and design has improved quite well so it’s a really easy to use system also.
Of course, with Google on board you can ask it anything like a Google speaker, including weather which will display on-screen.
Critically, the TCL C835 doesn’t just run Google TV, it runs it fast. A cheap TV might lack the performance and power to make Android TV or the slicker and better Google TV a great experience, this C835 feels like it lacks nothing. Navigating the system is snappy, Google voice response is fast – it’s an exhibit for Google TV and that’s saying something.
What is MiniLED?
So alongside Google TV is the headline act here of MiniLED. MiniLED is the newest form of backlighting in the world of TVs.
Put simply, every TV has coloured pixels that show the picture, but you can’t see them without some light. For years, there was a backlight – shining from behind the actual LED panel of pixels which showed us the picture.
Then we got edge lighting, where the light shone in from the edges to light the pixels, and that progressed to what we know as Full Array backlighting. This allowed the TV to light smaller areas of the TV, meaning that if half the screen was black, those ‘arrays” of light would not light, making the black area of the screen a true black.
However, those zones shone brightness into the black areas, creating a blooming effect around the colours.
Of course, the best way to avoid all that is OLED – Organic Light Emitting Diodes – where each pixel is able to self-illuminate, without doubt the best picture with crisp edges on the brightest areas bumping onto the blacks.
But OLED is expensive to produce, and is still the most expensive form of TV backlighting.
Enter Mini LED around 18 months ago and what we have are tens of thousands of LED’s in hundreds of zones pushing light more directly out into the pixels.
It’s not OLED quality, let me be clear, but its streaks ahead of most Full-Array backlighting.
I found some sensational blacks on screen here, with a great contrast. Pair that with solid brightness in the colours and you’re getting a cracking picture.
There is still blooming around White text on a black screen, but it’s not extreme to the point of frustration, it’s just not OLED levels.
Sitting back, watching a movie in a dark room, this is an impressive screen. I think the right level of brightness right out of the box, but I can imagine if you have a bright room and do a bit of daytime TV viewing you’d want to pick VIVID mode or customise the brightness a touch for sure.
TCL C835 Sound Performance
While I would always recommend a soundbar on a TV because there’s no question it’s better for overall sound performance, the TCL C835 does bloody well.
I felt a strong stereo sound – I wanted to say surround but that’s just no true, but it was more pronounced than many TVs at this price point, let alone size.
The maximum volume isn’t crazy stuff, but in a small room where a 55 inch TV would go this would be more than ample.
Around the back of the TV are some big bass emitting woofers, they look impressive, but of course would be hidden in a normal installation. They offer a solid level of bass for sure, but I for one don’t love for too much bass on a TV so be sure to adjust that to suit your needs.
Bottom line here would be that the sound performance I experienced from the TCL C8350 is above average for the size and the price point.
Perhaps the coolest thing about the TCL C835 is that the stand for a sitting not wall-mount is actually adjustable. There are two sets of holes for the stand to go into, one lower and one higher to allow for a soundbar to sit in front if you do choose one. That’s genius.
Quality of build – TCL C835 MiniLED TV
Gotta say, this may be the real standout. Sure you can get some fancy new MiniLED technology, and sure you can power it well and throw Google TV on.
But if you wrap it in a cheap crappy package it takes all the shine off.
TCL hasn’t done that. The materials feel premium, the bezel design is as thin as I think they could manage, and the remote is an example of a really well put together bit of kit – again, just doesn’t feel “cheap”.
Sounds simple, but hey, you’ve just paid $1,000 more than you could have for a 55 inch TV – it should deliver in every way. This one does.
Made for Aussies?
Every TV has a Netflix button, but not all have Stan. This remote has Stan right there to launch, and while its simple – it shows that the TCL team here in Australia are thinking about their users and they have the clout with head office to get a fully localised version of things.
I like that!
Should you buy the TCL C835 Mini LED
Let me put it this way, it’s hard to find a reason not to.
It’s a good price, while not the cheapest, I think it delivers in spades the additional performance, quality, design and sound that you won’t get on a cheaper model.
TCL is a great brand, they have history and credibility here in the Australian market so there’s nothing to be concerned about there.
But in the end, it’s a stunning 4K picture with great sound and an outstanding user interface.