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This TCL R646 review looks at a QLED TV that promises to deliver on every count. TCL is an upstart brand that continues to punch above its weight, earning a place among the top TV manufacturers. The subject of today’s review is a 65-inch screen from the brand’s mid-range 6-Series.
Let’s jump right into our TCL R646 review to find out how this television matches up against other similarly priced models.
TCL R646 review: Design
The TCL R646 widescreen panel makes an excellent first impression, with a nice exterior and a solid build. Most of the TV guts sit in an extension that sticks out of the lower half of the back panel. This puts the TV at just under four inches at its thickest point, which is chunky by today’s standards.
We move on to the chassis, which is basically plastic-and-metal housing with different textures for different surfaces. The edges and three of the bezels have brushed metal surfaces that come in matte black. The bottom bezel is thicker, with a chrome finish and a Google speaker at the bottom. You’ll find two buttons at the right edge of the TV: The power button and the microphone ON/OFF button.
Then you have the back panel with a 300 x 300 VESA wall mount pattern and a column of ports on the left end.
Inputs and connectivity
Four HDMI ports and two USB ports let you connect several devices at the same time. There’s also an optical port, a composite AV port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Through its dual-band WiFi adapter, you can connect the TCL R646 to the internet via Ethernet jack or wirelessly.
TCL R646 review: Smart TV Interface
Earlier TCL 6-Series televisions run Roku OS, but the manufacturer chooses to go a different route with the R646. The TV runs on Google TV, a platform that is rich in apps and functionality. Google’s app store has thousands of streaming and productivity apps with something for everyone.
The OS itself has useful features like hands-free voice commands and a smart-device platform. You can use these features to access and control a wide selection of smart-home devices. Then there’s the ever-dependable Chromecast that lets you send content from your devices, through the home WiFi network, and onto the TV screen.
TCL R646 review: Hardware and picture quality
The R646 is a QLED TV with mini-LED backlighting and up to 240 dimming zones. This VA panel boasts a 120Hz native refresh rate and circuitry that runs AI algorithms to execute color, contrast, and motion handling.
VA panels are famous for their brightness and infamous for their narrow viewing angles. It follows that you should expect to make one or two tradeoffs with the TCL R646.
1. Picture quality: Color
QLED TVs like the TCL R646 have a wide color gamut, which allows for pinpoint accuracy in color reproduction. This 6-series TV has a color palette that covers more than 90 percent of the DCI P3 color space. To put it another way, the TCL R646 has everything it needs to render colors that are close to what a camera captures.
Sticklers for complete color accuracy can make adjustments to the on-screen color settings. These changes would create a near-perfect match between a source signal and what you see on your screen. It bears mentioning that this type of adjustment requires the kind of knowledge you expect from a videographer.
2. Picture quality: Brightness, contrast, and HDR content
A bright panel adds depth to its native color palette to create a larger, more expansive color space. We put together a quick ‘ brightness scale’ to get a sense of what makes a bright TV. A TV with a peak brightness level of 500 nits is good. Displays that can reach levels of 700 are great.
The TCL R646 gets to real-scene brightness levels of 800 nits, and it can reach peak levels of 900. This expands an already wide color selection, allowing the TV to reproduce tones and shades that you’d otherwise only see in nature.
Contrast compares a display’s peak brightness to the deepest blacks that it can produce. The resulting measurement is the native contrast ratio, which in the case of the R646 is around 8,000. This means that the deepest black that the TV can produce is about 8,000 times dimmer than the brightest colors. What does this mean for picture quality?
For starters, this QLED TV produces lifelike highlights in HDR content with bright scenes. The smallest of detail stands out, with a level of depth that often weaves an illusion of 3D picture. Dark scenes look just as good thanks to shadow detail.
3. Reflection handling
The finish on the R646 screen absorbs ambient light instead of reflecting it back at you. Add this matte screen finish to the panel’s impressive brightness, and you have a TV that works great in a sunlit room.
4. Picture quality: Viewing angles
VA panels are bright, with good reflection handling and great support for HDR content. The downside of a VA panel is its narrow viewing angles, and the TCL R646 is not exempt from this downside.
At 40 degrees from the center, you’ll start to notice dimming and a color shift. The images on your screen will lose their accuracy as dark colors lose their depth, and brighter colors wash out. So if you like having a bunch of people over for movie night, you’ll have to make clever seating arrangements.
5. Picture quality: Motion handling
Another benefit of the VA panel is its low input lag, with the R646 coming in at a record-breaking 6ms in game mode. The lag increases with devices that require variable refresh rates, but the delay remains less than 20 milliseconds. For gamers, these numbers give you a competitive edge when gaming. They mean that the TV renders high-resolution, fast-action content without missing a beat.
Each pixel in the TCL R646 changes colors in less than 15ms, a speed that should ensure minimal motion blur. However, you may notice slight motion blur with sudden bursts of action.
- Solid build and a pleasant design
- Feature-rich smart OS that allows for hands-free voice commands
- Precision color reproduction
- Accurate reproduction of HDR content
- 120Hz refresh rate and HDMI 2.1 ports make the TCL R646 a great widescreen TV for gaming
- There are several user reports of crashing with select apps. You may need to stabilize Google TV with a software update
- Narrow viewing angles
- You may notice motion blur in content that suddenly changes from stillness to all-out speed
TCL R646 review verdict: Good value for money
The performance of the TCL R646 is comparable to that of QLED televisions from the competition. For a reasonable sum, you get to enjoy a wealth of features and good picture quality. This TCL R646 review finds a QLED TV that promises to deliver many years’ worth of excellent service. Click here to learn more about this television.