- Google TV
- Good contrast
- High refresh rate
- A little blooming
- No Mini-LED
TCL has been delivering great TVs at a reasonable price for some time now, but this year, it decided to shake things up a little. Gone are the ultra-successful 6-Series, 5-Series, and 4-Series TVs, in favor of the new Q-Class. Squarely in the middle of that class sits the new Q7, underneath the QM8 that’s supposed to be its new flagship but ahead of the entry-level Q6 model.
The Q7 certainly misses features on offer by the higher-end model, chief among which is the Mini-LED backlighting that gives higher-end TVs such great contrast. But how does it compete in its price range? I’ve been testing the TV to find out.
TCL Q7 design and setup
The design of the TCL Q7 TV is not necessarily revolutionary, but thankfully, it’s still a good-looking TV. The bezels around the TV are relatively thin, adding to the immersive viewing experience, except for a slightly thicker one at the bottom, which is common among TVs in the budget price range.
The stand of the TCL Q7 is equally thoughtfully designed. The V-shaped feet can be placed in two different positions, which accommodates various setups but also allows for the placement of a smaller soundbar in between the feet. For example, a compact soundbar like the Sonos Beam can fit snugly in the space. That said, if you own a larger soundbar, such as the Sonos Arc, you might need to place it in front of the feet due to space constraints.
The TCL Q7 comes with ample connectivity options, including four HDMI ports (two HDMI 2.1 and two HDMI 2.0), an Ethernet port, and a USB 2.0 port. The port selection is good, however, we hope TV manufacturers switch to only including HDMI 2.1 ports at some point in the near future.
Setting up the TV itself is incredibly simple, thanks to the integration with Google TV. Users need to log in to their Google account, and the system takes care of the rest, guiding you through a seamless setup process, and offering a user-friendly experience right from the start.
TCL Q7 software
The TCL Q7 TV comes preloaded with Google TV, providing an intuitive, well-organized interface that is easy to navigate and use. This integrated system is especially beneficial for users already immersed in Google’s ecosystem, such as those with Android phones. Google TV offers a tidy layout with rows of apps displayed at the top, and rows of content corresponding to each app or service presented below. The seamless design allows users to easily find and access their favorite shows, movies, or games. Through Google TV, you’ll also get features like Google Cast and Google Assistant, which is handy.
The TCL Q7 TV doesn’t stop at Google integrations; it also embraces the Apple ecosystem. It supports Apple’s AirPlay 2, enabling iPhone users to stream their favorite content directly to the TV. And if you’re a fan of smart home automation, you’ll be pleased to learn that the TCL Q7 works with Alexa and also offers HomeKit support. This means you can control the TV using voice commands, and even integrate it with other smart home devices for a unified, smart home experience.
Overall, the TCL Q7 TV offers a rich and easy-to-use software environment that works incredibly well, regardless of whether you’re immersed in the Google, Apple, or Amazon ecosystem. I’m a fan of Google TV, too, considering how easy it is to use.
TCL Q7 performance
The performance of the TCL Q7 TV is excellent for the price. The TV comes with over 200 dimming zones that significantly enhance the contrast, ensuring deep, rich blacks that lend an immersive quality to the viewing experience. It is important to note, however, that the Q7 lacks Mini-LED backlighting, a feature found in the new QM8 model. This puts the Q7 a step below the QM8 and Hisense U8 in terms of image quality, but it still delivers a strong performance for its price point.
Vibrancy and brightness are notable features of the TCL Q7 TV, thanks to its HDR support. The colors are beautifully vibrant and bright, contributing to a superior viewing experience. Whether you’re watching a high-action blockbuster or a visually rich documentary, the Q7 does justice to every frame, rendering every color with a lifelike quality.
For gaming enthusiasts, the TCL Q7 TV is great too, offering a 120Hz native panel with support for a 144Hz Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) gaming mode. This feature ensures a super smooth gaming experience with minimal lag or ghosting. Furthermore, the TV also provides a 240Hz VRR mode at lower resolutions, though I preferred the balance between high resolution and refresh rate at 120Hz.
The brightness level of the TCL Q7 TV is commendable. It definitely gets bright enough for most viewing environments, providing a clear and crisp picture even in well-lit rooms. Although there is a little blooming, this is a common occurrence for TVs without Mini-LED backlighting, and here it’s usually not distracting to most viewers. Overall, the TCL Q7 TV delivers a bright and satisfying visual performance.
TCL Q7 audio
The audio performance of the TCL Q7 TV aligns with what one would typically expect from built-in TV speakers. They deliver a decent audio experience, producing some bass, but not a significant amount that can replace an external sound system. Similarly, the high-end details are somewhat lacking, which might affect the richness and depth of certain soundtracks. To maximize audio quality and ensure a full-bodied sound that complements the TV’s excellent visuals, it’s a good idea to pair the TCL Q7 with an external soundbar. This addition will significantly enhance the auditory experience, making it more immersive and enjoyable.
The TCL Q7 is a great option for the price, in typical TCL fashion. The TV may not deliver the same high-quality image as those with Mini-LED backlighting, but it does still deliver a great image with plenty of smart features.
The biggest competition to the Q7 is the Hisense U7K, which has Mini-LED backlighting, unlike the Q7. The Hisense option doesn’t have the same motion handling as the TCL, but because of the Mini-LED, I do prefer the Hisense TV.
Should I buy the TCL Q7?
Yes, if motion handling is very important to you. Otherwise, go for the Hisense U7K.