The TCL C825 QLED will introduce Mini LED to the company's range in the UK, but how much of a difference will it make?
That's the question we're asking ourselves after the surprise announcement of the TCL C825, a successor to last year's C81 QLED that brings in more advanced technologies from its US range.
TCL is still gaining a foothold in the UK, though the arrival of the C71 and C81 QLED televisions certainly helped to showcase its particular mix of premium-value TVs – with high-end specs snuck into low-price displays – in a better light.
The TCL C825 could prove a notable part of the 2021 lineup for TCL, with technologies old and new at TCL's usual competitive price point. But what exactly are you getting, and how much should it cost? Here's everything we know so far – and some educated guesses for what we don't.
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TCL C825 QLED release date
The new TCL C825 Series is set to land later this year. There's no exact release date as of yet, but you can be sure it's arriving within 2021 – well before other TV makers announce their 2022 ranges, but a bit after competing Mini LED sets from Samsung and LG have launched for this year.
TCL C825 QLED pricing
The TCL C825 will ship in both 55-inch and 65-inch sizes, costing £1,099 and £1,499 respectively.
That's a step up from last year's C81 model, which started at £649 / AU$1295 / 799 Euros for the 55-inch size, and went up to £849 / AU$1,999 / 1,199 Euros for the 65-inch. Given the addition of Mini LED backlighting, though, we're not surprised to see a price jump.
Listings for the TCL C825 so far only mention 55-inch and 65-inch sizes, though it's possible we could see a larger model release further down the line, seeing as the C81 also came in a 75-inch size.
TCL C825 QLED specs and features
The TCL C825 Series will build on the functionality of the C81, being a 4K HDR TV based on the Android TV smart platform.
4K resolution is a must-have on any TV these days, of course, though it's notable that TCL supports all the important HDR formats: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision and HDR10+.
This is a QLED TV, meaning it uses a quantum dot filter to enhance colors and contrast, similar to what you'll find on new Samsung TVs.
The arrival of Mini LED is the biggest shakeup here, especially given that the C81 was an edge-lit set. Edge lighting shines light across the panel rather than from behind, and is a cheap solution that tends to lead to inconsistent brightness. The use of Mini LED means you can expect lighting from behind the panel, with much more precise brightness control thanks to the many more thousand LEDs at play.
The C825 will feature a 100Hz panel – so you won't get 120Hz video or gameplay here, though you will get HDMI 2.1 support, alongside VRR (variable refresh rate) and eARC.
There's a big nod towards the latest gaming features, with HDMI 2.1 support as well as VRR (variable refresh rate). Before you get excited about 4K/120fps gameplay, though, the display's 100Hz panel means you'll be limited to a lower refresh rate.
Android TV is a common, if basic smart TV platform; these days it doesn't suffer as many bugs as a few years back, but with a new Google TV operating system entering the market it's looking more and more like the product of a bygone era. You will, however, get Google Assistant built-in and hands-free voice control.
In terms of sound, an integrated ONKYO 2.1 sound system sounds impressive for the likely price point, with the speakers on last year's model offering a large soundstage with a genuine sense of verticality – something that pairs well with the set's Dolby Atmos audio support.
Some press shots of the C825 include a "magic camera" for Google Duo video calls, too, possibly in a similar vein to the Portal TV webcam or the pop-up camera of the Honor Vision, but we'll be able to give you the full lowdown once we've put the TV through its paces for a review.
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