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Here’s a TCL Q5 review to help in your search for good deals this holiday season.
TCL continues to expand its Budget QLED lineup with the Q5 TV, which runs on the Google platform. The manufacturer brings this entry-level TV to market in collaboration with BestBuy, just in time for the holiday sales season. With the TCL Q5, the buyer should expect QLED-level picture quality, a user-friendly smart TV platform,i9, and good pricing. This review finds out if the TCL Q5 QLED TV lives up to these expectations.
TCL Q5 review: The checklist
There’s a basic set of features that you’ll find in any modern TV that’s worth its salt. These qualities should combine to ensure a pleasant, immersive viewing experience and a TV that’s fun to use. In addition to attractive pricing, here is what shoppers should look for in a widescreen TV:
- A solid build that will allow the TV to last a long time
- Enough connection options for all kinds of networks, media players, gaming consoles, and storage devices
- Crisp, clear picture with vivid color and smooth motion
- A smooth, responsive user interface
- Access to a wide selection of content and streaming apps
This list is a summary that explains the user requirements behind the acronyms and jargon that we wade through when shopping for a TV. The upcoming sections reveal how well the TCL Q5 Google TV sticks to this list.
Where the Q5 QLED TV sits in the TCL lineup
TCL has a QLED lineup that comprises entry-level, mid-range, and high-end product lines. Until September 2023, the Q6 series was the entry-level product line for the budget-conscious buyer. The Q7 series sits in the mid-range section while the Q8 series remains the TCL flagship QLED TV.
Now the Q5 has become the most affordable Q-series TV that TCL has to offer, and it has plenty in common with the Q6. Q5 and Q6 displays have similar specifications, operating systems, and smart features. Do the similarities end at specifications, or do both TVs have similar performance?
Build and design
The Q5 has the boxy side profile that you find with all the other TCL QLED TVs, but the panel still looks good when you mount it on the wall. Thin, brush-metal bezels add an edgy feel to an otherwise plain chassis, and this makes the TV look more expensive than it really is. Most of the Q5 chassis is solid, matte-black plastic with tight seams that prevent the entry of dust and particles.
A pair of sturdy TV feet will hold up the TV if you choose to place it on a piece of furniture. The TV feet raise the bottom edge of the screen to a height of about three inches from the furniture surface. This is enough of a height clearance to accommodate a soundbar without blocking the IR receiver.
There’s a column of ports at the far right end of the TV, so you don’t have to contort yourself whenever you need to connect a device. Even better, you can manage the cables that extend from the ports with cable clips and grooves that run along the back of the TV feet.
Three HDMI ports provide the versatile connection option you need for your soundbar, Blu-Ray player, gaming console, and any other HDMI-capable device you can think of. You also get your pick of the following physical ports:
- USB-A port
- Ethernet jack
- Cable/antenna connector
- Composite AV port
- 3.5mm audio port
Bluetooth and dual-band WiFi take care of wireless connections to your mobile devices, audio equipment, and home network. They provide a cable-free alternative while supporting smart features like screen sharing via Google Chromecast or Apple’s Airplay.
Hardware and performance
The TCL Q5 is a 60Hz QLED panel with 4K resolution and a direct-array backlight with a decent amount of power. Like most QLED panels, the Q5 has an ultra-wide color gamut that provides enough material for the TV’s processor to paint accurate, realistic hues. The Q5 also has the deep blacks and bright backlighting you’d expect from a QLED TV. This translates to impressive native contrast that delivers vivid detail that could almost jump off the screen.
Here’s how the TCL Q5 Google TV performs across different metrics:
There’s little to complain about when it comes to the color reproduction of the TCL Q5. The panel boasts near-perfect color reproduction, and the result is pretty good. Colors manage to have the right amount of richness, absent of the type of exaggeration that would create garish, cartoon-like images. HDR content looks just as realistic, with a good mimicry of light and shadow across the color spectrum. The result is images with hues that look a lot like real life. However, you may notice that skin tones look a little warm on this TV, but this small drawback is easy to overlook.
Brightness and reflection handling
While the Q5 panel is bright enough to render HDR content, the TV will look dim in a brightly lit room. Images will lose definition in strong sunlight or bright light fixtures, and the reflective surface of the screen doesn’t help.
Contrast and detail
Clever image processing and impressive native contrast allow the TCL Q5 to render texture that your eyes can almost feel. Each strand of wet fur on a sunbathing otter will stand out as sunlight and tiny water droplets play off each other.
Shadow detail is just as distinct, thanks to the clever execution of subtle lighting against a deep, dark background.
VA panels like the TCL Q5 have narrow viewing angles that cause images to lose color accuracy, brightness, and definition at an angle. This shortcoming forces you to make interesting sitting arrangements when you host a group of people for movie night.
The Q5 has a decent response time that minimizes motion blur to barely noticeable levels. Still, you may catch a hint of dark trailing with fast-moving objects that transition from dark regions of a screen to brighter zones.
Low input lag makes the screen even more responsive, which is good news for the casual gamer. The screen is fast enough to keep up with user commands during gameplay or as you browse the Google TV user interface.
You also get additional gaming perks thanks to VRR and FreeSync features that prevent screen tearing with low frame-rate games.
- Very good motion handling
- Decent local dimming prevents light bloom and delivers sharp, stark contrast
- Accurate color reproduction
- Good rendering of contrast, depth, and detail
- A reflective screen surface does a poor job of handling glare and reflection
- The smart TV platform may cough out the occasional glitch
- Some skin tones may have a slight, pink tint that shouldn’t be there
User-friendly features and solid performance from an affordable QLED TV
This TCL Q5 review reveals a QLED TV with plenty to offer, starting with irresistible pricing. Good picture quality and a feature-rich smart TV platform ensure that you get maximum value for your money. On most counts, the Q5 performs at a level that is close to that of the TCL Q6.
There’s every reason to give the TCL Q5 a second look and a chance to take up space in your entertainment nook. Click here to learn more about this television.