The C715 is TCL’s Android TV for those looking for a little more than the basics. The intermediate model of the Chinese manufacturer has the same face as the P715, its most popular 4K, but it bets on QLED technology with quantum dots to offer greater volume of colors, and it supports Dolby Vision to show films with extended dynamic range.
The most famous competitors of the C715 are Samsung Q60T and LG Nano81, but TCL charges up to a thousand reais less than its peers: the 65-inch version is found for values around R $ 4,400, while the 55-inch one comes out for less than R $ 3 thousand. Does TCL’s QLED convince? I tested the C715 in the past few weeks and count my impressions below.
Video TCL C715 QLED Review
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The C715 was provided by TCL on loan and will be returned to the company after testing. For more information, visit tecnoblog.net/etica.
Design, connections and remote control
Visually, the C715 does not differ much from the P715, which is great. We continue with a very thin format for a 65 inch TV and a frame that goes almost unnoticed because it is so thin. At the bottom, TCL kept a strip covered in fabric that differs somewhat from the sameness of TVs and resembles the finish of some smart speakers.
The connections are concentrated on the right side and include two USB, three HDMI, an Ethernet, a TV antenna input, an optical audio output and a rare 3.5 mm headphone output. A potentially uncomfortable detail, also present on the P715, is that all of these ports are on the opposite side of the power cable, so you may have an additional difficulty organizing the mess of the wires behind the TV.
The HDMI ports are standard 2.0 and support 4K at 60 Hz with 12 bits of color, which enables full support for external devices with Dolby Vision, such as Apple TV 4K. For wireless connections, the C715 supports Bluetooth 5.0, which can be used by the remote control, headphones and other electronics. All tests were performed on Wi-Fi on a 5 GHz 802.11ac network, with no surprises.
The remote control is the same that comes with other TCL TVs, with shortcuts to quickly access Netflix and Globoplay. The accessory is slim and compact, with directional keys to navigate the Android TV interface and a dedicated Google Assistant button, which doesn’t even have to be activated, since the TV has hands-free technology and is always ready to hear the command “Ok Google” activation key.
In the picture, the C715 is certainly an improvement over the P715, with an emphasis on brightness. We are still talking about a TV that I classify as “premium but not so much”: it has a superior quality panel, but it does not yet have features like a 120 Hz refresh rate or local full-array dimming to improve contrast. But this is no demerit, since even some of the most expensive TVs in the competition do not have these features.
The C715’s panel can cope well with bright environments due to the brighter brightness than in entry-level TVs and the sharp contrast. The uniformity of black is not among the best I’ve seen, but it doesn’t disappoint – my sample had small inconsistencies on the left side that were only noticed in synthetic tests or when the image was all black, without prejudice to the display of real content.
The volume of colors was good, with a small color banding in synthetic tests in shades of gray and green that cannot be perceived under normal conditions. The result was better than on the P715, as expected for an LCD screen with QLED technology. Only the viewing angle is on the same level as other basic TVs with VA type panels and can disappoint those with larger living rooms, where not everyone sits exactly in front of the TV.
The input lag, which is usually excellent on TCL TVs, remains very good on the C715, below 15 milliseconds in 4K 60 Hz game mode, which should guarantee good gameplay with any genre. I have always had very low latencies on the brand’s TVs, and it is even strange that TCL does not yet have a 120 Hz model with HDMI 2.1 ports to attract the gamer audience in a new generation of consoles.
Sound quality is basic, on the same level as TCL’s simplest TVs. For being a model of the C line, which has already brought models like the C6US with integrated soundbar from Harman Kardon, I confess that I felt a twinge of disappointment in the C715, which brings only the typical set of two 10-watt speakers.
The integrated sound has enough sound pressure to handle not very large environments. Distortions in the sound and high-pitched highs start to appear with the volume above 50, but you should not go above level 30 under normal conditions. The bass doesn’t have much space in the presentation, and the immersion in action films is not so good, even with Dolby Atmos enabled.
A soundbar, even basic, can be an interesting upgrade to improve sound immersion with the C715. Whoever has more money can buy a sound system with Dolby Atmos, whose signal is transmitted through the HDMI ARC port.
Smart TV software and functions
The C715 comes with Android TV in its version 9.0. The home screen is similar to the most recent TCL TVs and boxes with the Google platform, showing good integration with media services: you can see suggestions of what to watch on Netflix or YouTube before opening the app, which makes it easier consumption of content in those moments when you don’t know what you want to watch.
The experience could be better if TCL releases an update with Google TV, an interface that comes with the new Chromecast and brings a unified watchlist between different streaming services, and can even suggest movies and series based on your interests. Unfortunately, TCL confirms to the Tecnoblog that Google TV will only be available on new TVs, which will be launched throughout 2021.
The TV has an integrated Chromecast, making it easy to play content from an Android or iPhone. The Google Assistant is also always available to understand the “Ok Google” command, eliminating the need to use the remote control when you want to talk to the personal assistant, which is a big plus for the C715. At Samsung, for example, hands-free is only available from the Q70T, a much more expensive model.
YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are pre-installed on the TV. On Google Play, you can find names like Disney +, Pluto TV, Telecine, HBO Go, DirecTV Go, Spotify, Deezer and Tidal to install them on just over 11 GB of available storage. A notable absence is the Apple TV +, which even works on TVs with Sony’s Android TV, but was not available for TCL models at the time of publication of this review.
As with many other Android TVs, it takes a dose of patience to deal with the interface. Despite standing out for the many applications and the various customization options, the Google operating system owes a lot in fluidity compared to the webOS from LG and the Tizen from Samsung, with locks in the animations and an application stopping responding now and then.
It is worth it?
The C715 is not perfect, but it is very cost-effective. My problem with the “premium entry” segment, which includes the more affordable Samsung QLED and LG NanoCell, is that these models tend to be priced at 30%, sometimes up to 40% higher than the most basic 4K of the same brand without offering a difference in quality that big. But TCL launched a basic QLED the right way.
While doing this review, the 65 inch C715 costs R $ 4,400, while the same size P715 cost R $ 3,700. It is a difference of less than 20%, which I am willing to pay to have a little extra in image quality. The price of the C715 comes to match that of the TU8000, a Samsung entry model with weaker brightness, without hands-free and with a lower volume of colors.
You won’t find 120 Hz, zone-controlled dimming or an above-average sound quality on the C715, but you’ll get a fairly honest image for the price charged (and you’ll spend less than the competition).
TCL C715 QLED TV
- Wide range of applications
- Brighter brilliance than in entry-level TVs
- Respectful design and sophisticated finish
- Google Assistant without using your hands
- More contrast, more dynamic range and Dolby Atmos
- Android TV could be faster
- Integrated sound too basic
- Model: TCL 65C715
- Panel size: 64.5 inches (164 cm)
- Resolution: 3840 × 2160 pixels
- Refresh rate: 60 Hz
- Panel type: LCD QLED (VA)
- Supported imaging technologies: HDR (HDR10, HDR10 +, HLG, Dolby Vision)
- Speaker power: 2x 10 watts
- Supported audio technologies: Dolby Atmos
- Operating system: Android TV 9.0
- Power consumption: 118 watts (average), 0.3 watt (standby)
- Video inputs: 3 HDMI 2.0, 1 RF, 1 component video
- Audio outputs: 1 optical digital audio output, 1 analog audio output
- Other connections: 2 USB 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4 and 5 GHz), Bluetooth 5.0, Ethernet
- Dimensions (width x height x depth): 144.6 × 82.6 × 7.6 cm (without the base) and 144.6 × 88.7 × 30 cm (with the base)
- Weight: 19 kg (without base), 20.4 kg (with base)