First Look - TCL 8K QLED TV with Dolby Atmos is an all-in-one wonder

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You want 8K? You want a soundbar? You want that soundbar to have Dolby Atmos sound? TCL wants you to get all that from just one package with its TCL 8K QLED TV at IFA 2018.

The TCL 8K QLED, for the time being at least, is going to be a China only model, branded as the “TCL 8K QLED FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Edition” to capitalise on the local popularity of the sport. But TCL is planning to release essentially the same screen in the west next year, with different branding.

Which, given TCL’s commitment to value, feels particularly enticing given the features crammed in here.

8K imaging

The TCL 8K QLED TV is a 75-inch UHD 4K Quantum Dot Display TV, making use of local dimming and an “AI powered full-scene mode”, which it uses to upscale full HD and 4K content. That’s particularly important at the moment, given that there’s a complete dearth of native 8K content until the 2020 Olympic Games. 65-inch and 55-inch models will also be available.

The demo reel on display however looked pin-sharp and vibrant, taking advantage of the Dolby Vision HDR imaging engine. Combined with the local dimming, it’s able to deliver wonderfully deep blacks and impressively punchy colour, with the Quantum Dot display offering a wide color gamut and 1,000 nits peak brightness.

What wasn’t easy to discern however is how capable the screen is at handling motion. The only footage on display was time-lapse – perfect for distilling the detail of a scene, but not so great for seeing whether or not the image moves smoothly and naturally. We’ll have to wait a bit longer to give a verdict on that aspect of its performance.

Sound design

In terms of design, the panel is 20mm at its thinnest point, but notably wider at its base. That’s in part thanks to the fact it rests within a Dolby Atmos soundbar, tapering forwards in a wedge shape with bronze detailing.

The soundbar, which would bounce audio off a ceiling, wasn’t possible to effectively test at the high-ceilinged conference centre. But in action it should provide overhead surround sound action produced from the TV itself – a convenient space saving solution. However, note that while the audio bears Onkyo branding, the home theatre specialists precedes here is more a seal of approval than an engineering role, with the speaker units also produced by TCL.

Lastly, there’s a microphone built into the remote. It offers voice control navigation of the screen’s features, but isn’t tapping into the big name services like Alexa or Google Assistant.

While the lack of motion footage and audio makes it hard to get a true impression of the TCL 8K QLED TV, it’s great to already see ambitious packages like this coming together at the dawn of the 8K race.

  • IFA 2018 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced.