TCL has announced a new range of QLED 4K TVs launching in the UK that include 120Hz gaming support for far cheaper than other 120Hz TVs on the market – and Dolby Vision gaming support for Xbox, which is incredibly rare even on high-end TVs. But this comes with the catch that 120Hz is limited to 1080p Full HD resolution.
The TCL C64 series is set to launch during April 2023 in the UK, and comes in a wide range of sizes (prices are just below) – and is packed with features of all kinds as well as that 120Hz refresh rate and QLED screen. You get both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ HDR support, Dolby Atmos and DTS Virtual X sound processing, Auto Low Latency Mode and AMD Freesync too. These specs are up there with the best gaming TVs around, but for a fraction of the price.
The 120Hz support is really the headline feature here, despite being lower-resolution than the full 4K 120Hz gaming you get from the best 120Hz TVs at the high-end, such as the LG C3. There's a technical reason for why it works this way, which I'll explain later for those interested – but I think it's absolutely fine that 120Hz is limited in resolution when the TVs are this inexpensive. When you're playing something with lush visuals such as Horizon: Forbidden West, you stick with 4K 60Hz; when you're playing something where smooth response is preferable such as Rocket League, you switch to 1080p 120Hz.
The TCL C64's prices and sizes are listed below, but note that only the 55-inch and above models support 120Hz.
You can see from the prices above that the TCL is a fraction of the price of other 120Hz TVs – for example, the Sony X85L (also from 2023 and one of the lower-end models in Sony's line-up for the year) costs £1,399 for the 55-inch version. The TCL C64 equivalent is just £429.
Of course, while there's an impressive list of features on the TCL, we expect a more basic level of backlighting and processing here than you would get from that Sony – but if you want 120Hz support for under £500, this TV could be the best buy of the year.
Why is 120Hz only at 1080p?
The screen in the TCL C64 is actually only a 60Hz screen, but there's a clever technique that can overdrive 60Hz screens to appear to refresh at 120Hz instead. It's called Dual Line Gate, and I wrote more about it here, including my experience of seeing a Philips TV using the technology.
The downside of using this tech is that you have to reduce the resolution in order to push the panel to do this. This combines with resolution limitations in HDMI tech to mean that TCL has chosen to limit the feature specifically to 1080p, but both the PS5 and Xbox Series X support 1080p 120Hz – and with the Xbox, you get the Dolby Vision gaming support too.
We're looking forward to doing a full review of the TCL C64 to see if it's as good for movies as it looks like it'll be for games – but at this price, it could be a budget gamer's dream.