They have new names, but the Q Class and S Class TV lineups deliver big picture specs across a range of prices. Several of the models are available now.
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TCL’s latest crop of TVs will begin shipping over the next few weeks. If you didn’t catch the news back at CES, the company is taking a new approach to its naming conventions: the lineup is now split into the budget-friendly S Class and higher-performance Q Class. Within each of those are several models at different price points. Across the lineup, TCL is continuing its quest to prove a better value than similarly priced sets from Samsung, LG, Sony, and others. Over the last couple of years, Hisense has been on a similar path, releasing TVs that far exceed what’s typically expected for the money.
S stands for “smart” in smart TV, and the Q signifies QLED picture technology. Even with the step-down S Class, TCL highlights the metal bezel-less design, which is available as far down as its 32-inch 720p S2 model. Stepping up to the 1080p S3 — available in 32-inch, 40-inch, and 43-inch sizes — you also add HDR picture and other value adds like Bluetooth audio support and a voice-enabled remote. The S4 is where 4K starts to come in. That model also includes Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and frame insertion for smoother motion clarity. TCL says it’s available now in a wide range of sizes, from 43 inches ($279.99) to 85 inches.
But most Verge readers will probably take more interest in the Q Class TVs. The entry-level Q6 offers “up to” a 66 percent brighter picture than the S4. It also includes what TCL calls “Game Accelerator 120,” which can push the refresh rate to 120Hz during gaming (albeit while halving the vertical resolution of a 4K image). But you’re getting that smoother action at budget prices:
The TCL Q Class Q6 is now available in a 55-inch model (55Q650G) at $499.99 MSRP, 65-inch model (65Q650G) at $699.99 MSRP, 75-inch model (75Q650G) for $899.99 MSRP, and 85-inch model (85Q650G) for $1,599.99 MSRP.
TCL doesn’t think its rivals can deliver smooth VRR gaming at that tier of pricing. The Q8 steps up picture performance further: it’s a native 120Hz panel that can ramp up to 240Hz in its own Game Accelerator mode. Again, the vertical resolution gets cut down if you’re playing a 4K game in the Accelerator mode, but assuming you’re a console gamer keeping things at 120Hz, you’ll get full-quality 4K gaming on this model. The 240Hz ceiling is only relevant to PC players. AMD FreeSync Premium Pro is also supported on the Q7, along with other features like Dolby Vision IQ, IMAX Enhanced certification, and a more premium backlit remote.
TCL’s flagship set for 2023 is the QM8 with Mini LED backlighting. The largest model tops out at over 2,300 local dimming zones, and TCL uses its “AIPQ Engine Gen 3” to get the best possible contrast from all of those zones while avoiding blooming. The QM8 can hit a searing 2,000 nits of peak brightness. The TV has a built-in subwoofer — not unlike the Hisense U8H — and gets upgraded to Wi-Fi 6 for optimal streaming performance. The height-adjustable stand also lets you position the TV without a soundbar cutting into the picture. This is TCL at its best, and the prices reflect as much:
The QM8 is available in a 65-inch model (65QM850G) at $1,699.99, 75-inch model (75QM850G) for $2,299.99, 85-inch model (85QM850G) for $2,799.99, and a 98-inch model (98QM850G) that will be coming later this year for $9,999.99 MSRP.
TCL is still only giving you two 4K120 HDMI ports, but like with the last 6-Series Roku TV, it’s using one of the less powerful ports for eARC purposes. So if you’ve got an Xbox Series X and PS5, you can plug them both in without losing anything.
The company is also still attempting to lead a double life by supporting both Roku and Google TV; the S2 ships with Roku software, the S3 and S4 can be purchased with either OS, and the Q Class runs Google TV exclusively. TCL landed a big partnership with the NFL this year that the company hopes will make its brand more recognizable to anyone who hasn’t yet tried its TVs; that’s why you see a bunch of football plastered all over these marketing images. Brand awareness will be a key priority for the company this year, as TCL is also planning to boost its social media presence as it looks to eat up even more TV market share in the US.