While it may not be the perfect TV, the 98-inch TCL P745 is feature-packed, with plenty of options for gamers and movie fans. Its picture and sound quality can be inconsistent, but for those looking for a budget big screen TV, you could do worse.
Extensive gaming features
Affordable price for the size
Inconsistent contrast and black levels
Average sound quality
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As demand for larger, well-priced TVs has grown in recent years, many manufacturers have jumped on the value big-screen train. TCL has been one of the companies leading the way in this market and with the announcement of a full range of 98-inch TVs, we were eager to get our hands (and eyes) on these giant screens.
Thankfully, we recently got invited to TCL’s Experts meet Experts conference in Warsaw, Poland and were able to feast our eyes on the company’s huge range of TVs, including four 98-inch models. The one that first caught our attention was the 98P745, for one main reason: price. The 98-inch P745 is priced at £1,999. Yes, you read that correctly: a 98-inch screen for under £2,000.
But, a TV at this size at that cost definitely raises questions – does it have the features and performance to back up its attention-grabbing price? After spending a few hours with the 98-inch P745, we can say there’s a lot to like, but also some setbacks that show you have to be cautious when buying a big, budget TV.
Pricing and availability
Initially released in September 2023, The TCL P745 series comes in a wide variety of sizes, including 43, 50, 55, 65, 75, 85 and this 98-inch model. In the UK, the main model available is the 98-inch, which is priced at £2,000.
For a large, budget TV, the TCL 98P745 is surprisingly packed with features. Although it has a standard LED panel, compared to more premium models such as the TCL C745 which features a QLED panel and TCL C805 which features a mini-LED panel, there are plenty of welcome features included in the 98P745. The 98P745 also uses Google TV as its smart TV platform, but how this looks and works varies from region to region. For example, the version in Poland is limited compared to what we’re used to seeing in the UK.
In terms of picture, the 98P745 supports all HDR formats including Dolby Vision and HDR10+ to get the optimal quality from your TV shows and movies. During our testing, Dolby Vision HDR was cutting in and out but I chalked this up to the individual set we were testing at the time.
Gaming features on the 98P745 are also impressive, with 4K 120Hz, VRR, ALLM and Freesync Premium support on two HDMI 2.1 ports across the four it has in total. There’s also the option for 144Hz PC gaming if you want a bigger screen. An included Game Master mode and Game Bar allows you to edit more settings if you wish, but it feels a little bare compared to other Game modes on TVs from the likes of LG, Samsung, Sony and others.
Audio for the TCL 98P745 comes in the form of a 2.1-channel speaker configuration from Onkyo, totalling 60W of power. Dolby Atmos and DTS Virtual:X sound formats are supported.
One thing worth noting is that features will vary across the P745 range, with one example being that the 98-inch model is the only one with a 120Hz refresh rate. If you’re thinking of getting a smaller screen size, check the specs to make sure it has what you need.
While I didn’t have the opportunity to test the TCL 98P745’s picture with the full range of movies and TV show scenes we normally would, I did get access to a good variety of 4K Blu-rays and streaming apps to test aspects such as color, black levels, contrast, motion and detail.
Starting with Blade Runner: 2049, which was set to HDR10, one thing that became clear in the multiple scenes I watched was just how accurate skin tones and textures looked on the 98P745. Any character’s skin was true-to-life, and for a large LCD screen, the picture was detailed and well-defined.
Moving on to color, during the market scene in Blade Runner: 2049 there was enough punch in the neon signs and in the array of glowing, colorful lights to create the pulsing, frenetic feel the scene is trying to invoke. Contrast was also good, with black levels looking suitably deep and well-balanced, as was the brightness of the neon as the camera emerged from a darkened alley way into the bright streets. When we measured the P745 for its DCI-P3 color gamut coverage (the colour space used to master 4K Blu-ray and digital cinema releases) and BT.2020 coverage, it yielded results of 93.4% and 72%, respectively, which for a standard LED TV of this size are very good results.
However, black levels and contrast are areas where the TCL 98P745 is inconsistent. In some scenes, such as the above-mentioned market one, black levels were good. But in others, like the opening scene where K sits in Sapper Morton’s kitchen, black levels were so deep that it was difficult to make out any details in the shadows. In the very beginning where there is almost an entirely black screen with white and red text on display, the 98P745 struggled, showing obvious uniformity issues with a cloudy, grey-ish hue instead of a true black.
Using the Spears & Munsil UHD Benchmark Blu-ray to analyze the same picture criteria as before, the demo footage showcased more of the same strengths and weaknesses as Blade Runner: 2049. Colors were dynamic and jumped from the screen, particularly in daytime shots of nature where greens looked luscious and bright. Textures again were detailed and well-defined, giving a lifelike quality to the animals and landscapes.
Here again, however, black levels in the night-time shots of a city were inconsistent, with the black sky sometimes taking on a grey tone. But although my time with the 98P745 was brief, its black uniformity issues definitely didn’t seem as bad as the 75-inch Samsung CU8000 I reviewed before. It was interesting to note that when I measured HDR peak brightness, the 98P745 gave a result of 389 nits and 441 nits in movie and standard mode, respectively. This result is to be expected for a standard LED panel and was even brighter than expected considering the TV's huge size.
Finally, when testing motion, again looking at Blade Runner: 2049 with no motion processing settings on (as they default to off in Movie mode), during the scene where K flies towards the city the P745 struggled to keep up and there was stuttering and juddering present, which gave the scene a choppy look. However, there were options to adjust blur and judder reduction, and with this tuned to 5 (halfway), the judder was reduced, though a little was still present.
As mentioned above, the TCL 98P745 comes with a 2.1-channel speaker system boasting 60W of power and is tuned by Onkyo. Using Blade Runner: 2049 again, the P745’s sound did have a power to it, with bass being the most prevalent element in the mix. I heard a suitable rumble as the distorted synths echoed from the screen. Movie was definitely the best sound mode, if a little heavy on the bass. Standard mode had a better balance overall when it came to speech and mids and trebles, but it lost a bit of the power present in Movie mode.
Although the TCL 98P745 supports Dolby Atmos, the rain effects in the market scene from Blade Runner: 2049 were present but not well-defined. There was also no sense of the surround I typically hear in this scene as voices, cars and noises come from all sides. The P745 had a very direct sound, which meant speech stayed clear but there was no spatial quality to the audio, particularly when it came to sound following action in the picture itself. For those looking for the full experience, you’re best off buying one of the best soundbars to go with this TV.
The TCL 98P745 is a well-equipped gaming TV that supports 4K 120Hz, VRR, ALLM, AMD FreeSync Premium and Dolby Vision gaming (but only at 60Hz). If you’re a PC gamer, there’s also the option for up to 144Hz refresh rate as well. The Game Master Pro mode and Game Bar were effective, displaying information such as current frame rate (which could even be adjusted by a slider if you wished). Game Master Pro felt a little bare compared to other game modes from Samsung, LG and others, however.
TCL provided an Xbox Series X and I played Battlefield 1 during my session. Motion during gameplay was smooth, and when switching between targets and quickly panning across the screen, the action was fluid enough that you could tell the Game Master mode was doing its job. In terms of graphics, textures were again detailed and the color was dynamic. Is this one of the best gaming TVs around? No, but for the size and panel it has, it was impressive and enjoyable, taking gaming to a whole new level.
The 98-inch TCL P745 needs to be seen to be believed – It really is massive in person. When I saw the smaller P745 series TV sizes that we usually test such as 55 and 65-inch, they paled in comparison, almost feeling small. As for its overall design, the TCL P745 was adequate, with a plain black frame and bezel. It was slimmer than expected for a TV of this size, but there is no getting around the fact that it is a behemoth of a screen.
Although it’s unlikely we’ll get to fully test the TCL 98P745 TV due to its size, getting to go hand-on with it was still an experience. It’s not a perfect TV due to its inconsistent black levels and slightly lacking sound. But, as a gaming TV and for viewing movies and TV shows with brighter and more colorful scenes, the 98P745 proved impressive. For anyone looking for a really big screen on a budget, you could certainly do worse. Just bear in mind that for £2,000, you can get some of the best TVs on the market, though in a smaller size.
James is the TV Hardware Staff Writer at TechRadar. Before joining the team, he worked at a major UK based AV retailer selling TV and audio equipment, where he was either telling customers the difference between OLED and QLED or being wowed by watching a PS5 run on the LG 65G2. When not writing about the latest TV tech, James can be found gaming, reading, watching rugby or coming up with another idea for a novel.