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TCL's bargain QLED TVs are now available for preorder – but should you buy one?

(Image credit: TCL)

TCL's pair of budget QLED TVs are now rolling out to the UK, with models now available to preorder ahead of their official release in the coming days.

The TCL C71 and C81 QLEDs start at £499 and £649 respectively, both coming in 55-inch and 65-inch sizes, with a more compact 50-inch size for the C71 as well. Both run on the common Android smart TV platform, and feature integration with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa – with the latter TV coming with an Onkyo soundbar and Dolby Atmos support (to justify the uptick in price).

You can now preorder all model sizes at Amazon, with the sets being available to buy outright from June 8. will also stock the sets from the same date, while Costco is selling the C71 online with an in-store release date of June 20.

What's all the fuss about QLED? The QLED TV panel tech was popularized by Samsung, and is seen as the rival to the rich pictures of today's best OLED TVs. QLED makes use of a quantum dot filter to enhance color and contrast, while still utilizing the same underlying panel technology of LED.

TCL has made no secret of its ambitions in QLED, with an 8-Series 8K QLED and 6-Series 4K QLED both launching in the US, where TCL has made the biggest name for itself. Its foray into the UK is a bit more tentative, though we saw its first couple of sets land there in 2018, with 2020 being the year that its more premium QLED range follows suit.

When the price is right

The most tempting aspect of the C71 and C81 QLEDs is certainly the price: at just £499 for the 50-inch, the C71 is the same price as last year's Samsung Q60R QLED (at a 43-inch size), meaning you're getting a bigger TV for your buck. The Q60R is an edge-lit TV, and the cheapest in Samsung's 2019 QLED range – though we deemed it a worthwhile purchase for its affordability and low input lag for gamers.

By contrast, the 2020 successor to the Q60R, the Q60T, is retailing at £899 for the 50-inch model. That's a saving of £400 for a new QLED TV – though, as ever, there's more to consider than just the underlying panel technology. We haven't gone hands-on with TCL's new sets yet, but it's likely part of the saving over Samsung can be found in the quality of the processor.

Both sets still feel like a bargain, though, and they're now available to preorder if you want to be the first off the bat.

Henry St Leger

Henry is TechRadar's News & Features Editor, covering the stories of the day with verve, moxie, and aplomb. He's spent the past three years reporting on TVs, projectors and smart speakers as well as gaming and VR – including a stint as the website's Home Cinema Editor – and has been interviewed live on both BBC World News and Channel News Asia, discussing the future of transport and 4K resolution televisions respectively. As a graduate of English Literature and persistent theatre enthusiast, he'll usually be found forcing Shakespeare puns into his technology articles, which he thinks is what the Bard would have wanted. Bylines include Edge, T3, and Little White Lies.