TCL C725 review summary:

Critics Rating: 3.5/5

Design

Audiovisual

UX

Connectivity

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Pros

  • Slick and stable design
  • 4K Dolby Vision and HDR10+ display
  • Reasonably loud Speakers
  • A genrous connectivity suite
  • Hands-free Google Assistant
  • Alexa support
  • A fairly usable 1080P webcam
  • A functional remote
  • Wall-mount included

Cons

  • Performance needs some improvement
  • For 4K 120 and more than one HDMI 2.1, you’ll have to look elsewhere
  • No local dimming and HDR playback isn’t always optimal

TCL had released three TVs from its C-series in 2021. This included the titular C725, the higher-end C825, and a new gaming-focussed model named C728. It’s been a while since they entered the Indian market, but some strong entrants nonetheless. And here, we have the C725 model, which is a refresh of last year’s C715. It’s a 4K QLED TV, which offers some visual benefits over the regular LED sets out there. I have had it in my living room for quite some time now. And so I’ll let you know what these QLED benefits are and whether it’s still worth considering this 4K TV at the fag end of 2021.

This is the Smartprix review of the TCL C725 4K QLED TV. It is available in 50-inch, 55-inch, and 65-inch variants. Mine is the middle one and let’s begin the review.

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Unboxing | Price and Specs | Design | Audiovisual | UX | Connectivity | Verdict | Buy or not?


TCL C725 Unboxing

As usual, the C725 also comes shielded by Styrofoam frames and a cardboard cover. Taking protection up a notch was the wooden frame. So although the TV comes well protected, unpacking was a chore, especially the wooden one. Anyways, once taken out, lifting the TV and setting it up on a table is easy. Here’s what you get within the box:

  • The monitor (with detachable power cord)
  • Table top stands (2) with screws (4)
  • Remote
  • VESA wall mount frames
  • External FHD video call camera
  • AV cable
  • Installation and user manual

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TCL C725 India Price and Specs

Dimension and Weight: 302×888×1446.2mm (with stand); 19.9 Kg (with stand)
Screen: 55-inch 4K, VA LCD, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HLG, 5000:1 contrast, 60Hz, MEMC, DLED backlighting, 330nits of peak brightness, 8ms GTG response time, 15ms input lag, 178° FoV, 16:9 aspect ratio, 8 bit+ FRC, 93% DCI-P3, AIPQ Picture Engine
Audio: 2 unit 12W Speakers, Dolby Atmos, DTS-HD, eARC, and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) – HDMI
Processor: 1.3GHz Quad-core Cortex A53 CPU, Mali G31 MP2 GPU
RAM: 2GB DDR3
Storage: 16GB eMMC 5.0
OS: Android 11
Ports: HDMI2.1 X1, HDMI1.4 X 2, USB3.0*1+USB2.0*1, RF inputx1, Audio outputx1, AV Inputx1, Ethernetx1
Wireless: Bluetooth 5.0, Dual Band WiFi (2T2R)
TCL C725 Price: 50″ at ₹62,999, and 55″ at ₹72,999, and 65″ at ₹97,999


Before we proceed to the screen examination, note that the pics shared here are taken from an iPhone camera and the actual visuals from the TV are better.

TCL C725 Review: Design

Rating: 4 out of 5.

C725 appears minimal due to the extremely slim bezels on all sides except the bottom one. This silver-colored chin has a shiny TCL logo in the middle and an Onkyo insignia (for the integrated speaker) towards the right-side corner. The actual speaker outlets are by the bottom.

The TV isn’t that heavy but I won’t say it is built weak either. I felt this while lifting it off the floor and seating it on the table. There are two sets of holes to insert the base. As a result, you could fix the stand closer to the center or set it a bit spaced out. This means you shouldn’t have a problem positioning it on most table sizes. A thoughtful design choice by TCL. The company also bundles the VESA mount brackets if you intend to fix the TV on the wall.

The attention to design is apparent from its slim side profile too. Yes, there is a bump by the back but it is smaller in size and is where the core machinery of the device stays. You’d find a large array of ports, the far-field mic on/off toggle, the power button, and the detachable charging cord here. The position of the latter is on the right (when you look from the back). This is different from most TVs I have seen.

I also like the design of the remote. It is narrow, curvy by the back, and handy overall. It is long too but for good reason. There are plenty of buttons on it including a button for mute, input switch, Google Assistant, and a few OTT options. I only wish there was a dedicated button for Youtube or say a configurable button that can be mapped to a function of the user’s choice.

But all in all, it is a well-designed TV set. Let’s see how it fares in presenting multimedia content.

TCL C725 Review: Audiovisual

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

As mentioned already, this evaluation unit is a 55-inch model powered by AIPQ Picture Engine. It is a VA LCD 8 bit+ FRC panel with 4K resolution and supports premiere HDR formats like Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and HLG. It covers 93% of the DCI-P3 color gamut which is good, the contrast ratio is only 5000:1, and brightness peaks at 330nits. I did watch loads of content and it was mostly bright and colorful. In some videos, the TV briefly intimates the HDR type it’s playing.

C725 has Direct Quantum LED backlighting with no local dimming zones. And so, the dynamic contrast albeit functional was not always seamless or savory. For instance, in The Grand Tour S01 (2016, Amazon Prime Video), the highlights were blown out and I couldn’t really figure out what’s outside the front door glass of the hosts’ cars. However, while testing dark scenes on several episodes of Jack Ryan S02 (2019, Amazon Prime Video), I found things were quite discernible. Also, the fast-motion stunt sequences on it as well as Logan (2017, Disney+ Hotstar) were enjoyable. Also, there is MEMC (Motion Estimation, Motion Compensation) chip inside the TV for sports matches and soap shows. Now, I had this Motion Clarity setting turned off for most content. But, you can enable it on the content you prefer.

Even SDR and 1080p content look nice on this screen. The TV also lets you easily switch between the various picture presets (as well as audio and other settings) by pressing the cog icon button. But, there is no standard mode. So, I was switching between Movie and Smart HDR mode mostly. Other modes are Sports, Vivid, and Low Power.

One other shortcoming of this VA panel is its limited field of view. Unless you are looking dead on the TV, the viewing angles won’t be that great. I was watching Togo (2019, Disney+ Hotstar) and my dad who was sitting horizontally at a distance felt the scenes looked bland. So, I asked him to move towards the center.

So you see, the visual experience is largely delectable but it isn’t without some downsides.

As for gaming, you can play games at max 4K 60 frames per second as this is a 60Hz panel only. There are 3 HDMI ports, although only one of them is 2.1 (as noted in the official specs). There is no VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) as there is no point of it here. There are other HDMI 2.1 benefits like ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) and eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel). TCL claims up to 8ms GTG (Gray to Gray pixel speed) response time and up to 15ms of input lag.

There is a 2x12W summing up to a 24W speaker setup on the C725. It is fairly loud and comes with Dolby Atmos support. I liked it in dialogue-heavy movies/series/podcasts as well as instrument-heavy music.

Moving to other aspects of the user experience —

TCL C725 Review: UX

Rating: 3 out of 5.

TCL offers Android TV v.11 with goodies like hands-free Google Assistant, Alexa, Chromecast, and AirPlay. There are a few pre-installed apps. Some of them like MagicConnect, Netflix, and Prime Video were useful to me. And I don’t mind the rest as they can be uninstalled or disabled. But what I mind is the slow pace at which the TV moves and responds. This includes everything from the Google Assistant activation to latency issues while casting (on a 100Mbps connection), and general hiccup in navigation across the interface. Also, in the case of Google Assistant, there were few instances of uncalled triggers that interrupt an otherwise immersive experience.

Now, on its website, TCL states Google TV is coming soon, but until that happens, the present situation is rather uninspiring.

This feeling extends to the video call feature. It is appreciated that TCL gives a 1080p webcam (with a privacy shutter and front-facing mics) in the box that can be mounted atop the TV and connected over a USB-A socket. But, it works only with Google Duo at the moment and the quality is just average. Also, there were lags in the video during my test.

The relatively weaker hardware inside must be the cause for all this sluggishness, I reckon. Under the hood, the C725 is packing a quad-core A53 CPU, Mali G31 MP2 GPU, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB storage. The latter two specs are standard affair but the processor and GPU are inferior to even some lower-priced TVs.

Anyhoo, let’s check out the ports now.

TCL C725 Review: Connectivity

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The array of ports on the C725 includes one HDMI 2.1, two HDMI 1.4, one USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, one RF input, one audio output, one AV Input, and an RJ45 LAN socket. Indeed, a long spate of options.

Wirelessly, you get dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, and Infrared. The remote uses the latter two and works fine for the most part. Occasionally, the key taps don’t work, meaning I have to point and click again for it to act.

So having covered all that, finally, it’s time to conclude my thoughts on this TV.

Review Verdict: Should you buy TCL C725?

Editor’s rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

As a member of the QLED TV alliance, TCL is a big proponent of Quantum Dot technology. And compared to run-of-the-mill LCD screens, this produces richer blacks and popping colors on the C725’s screen. You also get to enjoy Dolby Vision and HDR10+ content backed by a reasonably loud Dolby Atmos speaker system. Now, this experience is delectable for the most part but has its downsides. For instance, the lack of full-array local dimming causes the dynamic range to be inadequate in some content. But, these cases are few and far between, and not something an untrained eye would ever pick.

So in other words, the TCL C725 is sufficient for watching movies and shows with your family. And if you’re into gaming, you can get by a respectable 4K 60 frames per second with ALLM. Yes, I would’ve liked to have more HDMI 2.1 ports but for that TCL pitches the C728 model. The latter comes with better connectivity and screen specs like a 120Hz refresh rate. But, it would cost you slightly more. As for the titular C725, it is priced at ₹72,990 and for that, you are getting the aforementioned audiovisual experience, a generous connectivity suite, hands-free Google voice Assistance, Alexa support, a fairly usable webcam, a functional remote, a rather slick cum stable design, and a UI that isn’t smooth but serviceable.

Reasons to buy

  • Slick and stable design
  • 4K Dolby Vision and HDR10+ display
  • Reasonably loud Dolby Atmos speakers
  • A genrous connectivity suite
  • Hands-free Google Assistant
  • A fairly usable 1080P webcam
  • A functional remote
  • Wall-mount included
  • Alexa support

Reasons to not buy

  • Performance needs some improvement
  • For 4K 120 and more than one HDMI 2.1, you’ll have to look elsewhere
  • No local dimming and HDR playback isn’t always optimal

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