Let’s get something out of the way right away – the TCL C835 Mini LED 65inch 4K TV (henceforth simply TCL C835) is not the cheapest 4K TV out there but if you were to spend the R27 999 displayed on the price-tag, you won’t be disappointed in the slightest.
At 65 inches, this unit is large and if your TV stand is compact, it may be worth considering an upgrade in that department.
But we’re jumping the shark, let’s start at the beginning.
Inside the box
The TCL C835 is well packaged and despite our review unit having been through a number of other reviewers’ hands, we felt that the unit could survive the knocks that accompany a ride in a courier van.
The box is easily removed and while you will require two people to set up the TV owing to its size and weight (26kg with the stand and 23kg without the stand) setting the TV up requires no more than a Philips head screwdriver.
A standard kettle cable provides power and there is a bevvy of HDMI ports for you to make use of depending on what your set-up is.
The TCL C835 features Android 11 so setting the TV up is rather easy so long as you have an Android smartphone nearby. Your mileage may vary depending on how entrenched you are in the Google ecosystem but we found the setup experience was a breeze.
The TV is also a Google TV which means that you don’t need a set-top box or anything else to start using the TV.
Inside the TV
The TCL C835 is sporting a wealth of tech under the hood that drives it.
The CPU here is an ARM Cortex-A73 with four cores running at 1.35GHz (1.6GHz turbo), the GPU is a Mali-G52 with a frequency of 550MHz.
The performance while using Google TV and by extension, the TV’s hardware exclusively, is great. Apps launch quickly and run as fast as you expect them to.
One of our highlights was using Steam Link on the TV and it was a decent experience. Connecting a DualShock 4 controller to the TV was simple thanks to Bluetooth capabilities and once cloud gaming launches in South Africa, you could turn this TV into a gaming centre with no console or PC attached.
The remote that ships with the TV connects via Bluetooth and runs on two AAA batteries. The remote features Google Assistant so you can search with your voice rather than typing. There is also a wide collection of quick-access buttons for media apps.
As for ports you will not be found wanting.
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 4 x HDMI 2.1
- AV IN
- 3.5mm jack
- Digital Audio Out
There is also WiFi 6 support for great connectivity speeds.
To take full advantage of this TV however you will want to plug some sort of external device into it. For our test, we used an Xbox Series X as well as a mid-tier gaming PC.
The TCL C835 sports a blistering 144Hz variable refresh rate. Unfortunately, try as we might our gear wasn’t able to hit this mark at a 4K resolution. At 1080p however, we were able to enjoy Destiny 2: The Witch Queen at 144Hz. With the Xbox Series X we were easily able to maintain a 120Hz refresh rate though and it’s quite spectacular gaming on a screen of this size.
The Xbox Series X delivered in heaps though. Switching to the 4K 120Hz port, we were enjoying 4K HDR content with a jaw that simply wouldn’t close. Gaming is smooth as you’d like and honestly, we’re sad to see this review unit go.
This visual clarity is thanks to a micro LED setup driving this display along with 2 304 micro dimming zones and 288 local dimming zones. This makes for an image nearly as crisp as one you might find on Apple’s Retina displays. We’re not saying it’s identical but rather that from the optimal viewing distance (4m) you won’t spot a single pixel out of place. While it may lack the deep blacks you will find in OLED TVs, the colours you witness are a reasonable trade-off.
The TCL C835 features a number of picture presets including those for Movies, Games and a Dynamic mode. We found the Standard preset was the best baseline for all content but you can adjust colour settings to your preference using a number of sliders.
The TV also supports the HDR10+ standard and Dolby Vision IQ. As regards sound there is support for Dolby Atmos and you will want to include external speakers.
The pair of 10W speakers created by Onkyo are serviceable but tend to sound a bit hollow and could use some more bass in our opinion. We highly recommend that you consider a sound bar to augment the pitfalls of the on-board speaker system.
It’s hard to look away from the TCL C835 and its performance was absolutely impressive. We never found ourselves wishing there were more features or that the picture was just a bit better, it outperformed our expectations in almost every avenue.
The price tag is going widen your eyes but if you do happen to spend that money, you’re getting a TV that will have those who visit saying “Wow, what TV is this?”
We do wish that the on-board sound quality was a bit more generous in the bass department.
Whether you’re gaming, watching sport or simply binge-watching your favourite content, the TCL C835 is going to impress you. It certainly impressed us.
Final Score: 9 out of 10
Disclaimer: The TCL C835 was sent to Hypertext by local representation of the brand for the purposes of a review. The unit has since been returned to the brand.