The new C8 series by TCL was launched earlier this year and this latest model builds up on the success of its previous TCL C6 series. And just like each launch, we have seen consistent improvements with better features from TCL. Just when the company discontinued their C6 series late last year, we saw a spike in the number of queries people had about that model. After all, there are not a lot of TV sets that come with an integrated soundbars. Since the launch, I have been really looking forward to review this TV. With TCL’s growing reputation for feature-packed TVs at reasonable prices, I wanted to use and see what has changed and how big of a difference is it when switching from a Harmon Kardon soundbar to ONKYO.
TCL C8 is the latest UHD TV launched by the company. There was supposed to be another model coming up soon after this, but due to the COVID-19 situation, it looks like that has been postponed. This 4K TV comes with Android 9.0 Pie, HDR10+ support and Dolby Vision. The main highlight of the TV is the improved HDR support and the ONKYO soundbar — so great display and sound. TCL has been dominating the global market by offering all these features at such affordable prices.
Our In-Depth TCL C8 Review
The new TCL C8 is available in two sizes: 55″ & 65″. We were able to get our hands on the 55-inch model for this review. I will not go into deep technical specifications or hardware details, instead this will be more of a pictorial review. I’ll go through the various Android TV OS features this TV has and what makes it so powerful.
Let’s start off with some quick technical specifications of the TV:
- 3840p x 2160p display screen
- A55x4 1.1Ghz 64bit CPU
- Mali 470 x 3 GPUs
- HDR10+, Dolby Vision
- 16GB storage
- 4500:1 contrast ratio
- Built-in Chromecast
- Dolby Atmos
- Google Assistant
- Onkyo Sound Bar
What’s Inside The Box
Now that we have established the basic tech specs of the TV, these are all the things that come inside the box of TCL C8:
- TCL C8 TV
- 3x table metallic stands
- 2x AA batteries
- Remote control with mic
- Power cable and adapter
- Plenty of screws
- Quick user guide and manuals
- AV cable / adapter
- Wall mount (given separately)
So this is everything you get when you purchase TCL C8 TV.
Display / Design Quality
TCL C8 features a brilliant, crisp 4K display screen with full HDR10+ support and Dolby Vision. There is a lot of HDR content available now on YouTube and Netflix, and you can enjoy it even more so if you have a PlayStation 4 to run games with High Dynamic Range. The content you get to experience has sharp brightness, exceptional shadow detail and vividly accurate colours.
The backlit technology inside TCL C8 is intelligent enough to adjust the brightness automatically depending on the type of content you are watching on the screen. This allows you to enjoy rich and real-life pictures with the display to be precisely optimized for colour, contrast and the finest details. The C8 panel offers a 4500:1 contrast ratio and 350 nits peak brightness levels.
Just like all the previous TCL models, this one also features a super-slim metallic frame with almost no bezels. This sleek design looks beautiful either way, on a desktop or the wall. The metallic casing also allows for good heat radiation to allow the TV to keep cool in warm temperatures. One of the most elegant parts of this TV set is the ONKYO soundbar which is located at the bottom. It features the same texture on the exterior as the TCL C6 series.
Inside the box, you get three different stands that you need to connect with the screws if you want to place the TV on a desk. Connecting the stands was a bit tricky that took a lot of time figuring it out, but I was able to get it done after some help with a friend. If you are good with solving puzzles, this should be fun for you! Alternatively, you can put up this TV on a wall using the wall mount that comes as a separate accessory, but you get it when you buy the TV. It’s just that the wall mount is not included inside the main TV box.
All the connectors, ports and the power plug area are located at the back to connect any external wired hardware you want. There are three HDMI slots, a LAN port, a cable connection port, two USB slots, AV port, SPDIF port and a 3.5mm headphones jack. In addition to these, there are two new buttons at the back. TCL has given an external switch at the back to disable mic support. Please note, if turned off, you won’t be able to use Google Assistant or any of the voice-controlled functions. There is also a power button to turn the TV on or off, if the remote control is not working.
Performance / Android TV
In terms of performance, TCL C8 is very similar to the TCL P8S (we reviewed it back in December last year). It features the same processor, equivalent RAM and internal storage. And just like the P8S, TCL C8 handles everything on the fly! It is able to handle all basic operations and functions very easily. The internal storage is enough to download and install apps from the Google Play Store and even install software updates when they arrive.
Just like a smartphone, the software experience is equally important just like its hardware. Android TV has been an integral part of TCL TVs and with each model, the company makes sure they offer the latest version out-of-the-box. We have talked about Android TV several times in our review, so we won’t be discussing it much. But what needs to be said is TCL C8 is incomplete without the Android TV running on it. The latest Android 9.0 Pie has an improved UI and updated apps.
You get to enjoy the full set of streaming apps that you can download from the Google Play Store. A few we tried include: Netflix, Prime Video and Hulu. However, some apps may not work for you depending on your country. The software also comes pre-loaded with several Google apps and third-party apps that you can start using right after the first boot of the TV.
The support for Android TV is limited by app developers, but some apps that I had purchased for my phone worked on the TV as well. For instance, I had access to the full TV storage with Solid Explorer. It’s a very neat, solid app for files management on Android devices and it is fully supported on Android TV.
Pro Tip: If you use Google Assistant on your Android phone or have a smart speaker like the Google Home, you will be happy to know that you can control your entire TCL C8 TV with the help of voice controls. For example, you can turn on or off the TV by saying, “Hey Google, turn on the TV“. To enable this, you just need to enable the “Networked standby” mode.
In case you ever feel the TV is sluggish and not performing well, TCL has bundled an app called TV Guard that allows a quick checkup with RAM and storage cleanup and remove any apps that you no longer use. For your file manager needs, you can download TV File Manager (free) from the Google Play Store.
Chromecast support is another plus point for the TCL C8. I have the TV in my living room, and with all my friends having Android phones, Chromecast support helps a lot. It is super easy for anyone to put up music, play a video from YouTube or even cast photos from the Google Photos app. And with Android TV app’s support on phones, I have rarely used the remote control that came with the TV.
Audio / Sound Quality
I don’t consider myself an audiophile, but when I hear crisp, clear sound I can easily tell the difference. The ONKYO soundbar is one of the main highlights of this TV. It features an immersive sound experience with the 2.2 sound bar. Left and right bass are located into the bar which features 2x40W capacity offering cinema-quality audio for the movies on Netflix and other streaming apps.
Dolby Atmos is very reliable on this TV for high-performing sound in movies or Netflix content. There is not much you can tweak around in terms of sound quality, but the presets are really good.
Connectivity and Ports
As mentioned earlier, there are several connectivity options. TCL C8-series come with a dedicated LAN slot — and trust me, you’d really need it. LAN connections are super useful if you really want to enjoy true 4K content from streaming services.
There are 3 HDMI slots and 2 USB slots as well, among other ports at the back of the TV. Like other TCL models, there is no back case to cover the slots and wires when they are plugged in at the back.
Just like all review conclusions, the question at the end comes up if this is the TV that you should buy or not? In my opinion, it’s a definite yes. At this price and the feature-set TCL C8 offers, there isn’t much left to argue about.
If you have been looking to get a big screen TV for yourself, this is the TV where you should put your money at.
You can explore other TCL TVs on their official website!