TCL Mini LED TVs are coming to the UK – but should you buy one?

TCL 8-Series
(Image credit: TCL)

TCL is set to give its UK TV range a big upgrade in 2021, announcing that displays featuring its Mini LED backlighting tech will come to the UK in the coming months (via What Hi-Fi?).

The TCL C82 – a successor to the C81 QLED that launched last year – will make use of Mini LED, though we're short on other specifications so far. Suffice to say it'll still be a 4K HDR model with Onkyo audio, but with some beefed-up backlighting for improved contrast and brightness control, as well as a 100Hz panel. You'll also be getting HDMI 2.1 support as well as HDR10+, HLG and Dolby Vision HDR formats.

There are successors to the C71 QLED coming too, in the form of the C72 and C72+, though neither will make use of Mini LED.

Mini LED has been a core component of TCL TVs in the US for some time now, with the high-end 8 Series and more mid-range 6-Series both getting Mini LED to enhance their picture performance.

Mini LED can vastly improve contrast and brightness control in television displays, thanks to the tens of thousands of tiny LEDs packed in behind the panel. It's no surprise that LG is making use of the tech in its new QNED range, nor Samsung in its Neo QLED range, but TCL by all accounts brought the technology to market first – even if it's a bit late to its own party in the United Kingdom.

The special relationship

TCL's TV range in the UK has remained pretty bare bones compared to the US, though that is slowly changing. In 2020, the TV brand introduced QLED TVs to the UK for the first time with the C71 and C81 QLED models, and it's clearly been motivated to push harder into the British market with its other display technologies.

Prior to that, the DP648 and EP658 were the only TCL 4K TVs on offer, and neither really captured the imagination or offered a distinct selling point compared to other cheap TVs on the market.

If TCL can capture the same audience as in the US, that would be impressive indeed, though a number of factors are working against it. For one, various TV makers like Toshiba occupy similar price points, if with not as flashy technology, and the pull of Mini LED may not be as attractive with multiple TV brands releasing similar ranges in the same year.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.