The TCL C845 uses a brand new VA panel with updated AI image processor, and is even brighter than its predecessor, but how does it stack up in a home environment?
Let’s put it to the test.
TCL’s latest 4K Mini LED sets up to be a fantastic display for gamers. It includes 4 HDMI connections, with 2 of them being HDMI 2.1. One of these offers 144Hz support for PC gaming while the other supports 120Hz, perfect for current-gen consoles. Out of the two remaining HDMI 2.0 ports, you’ll also find one dedicated eARC channel for returning audio to a soundbar or receiver.
Much like previous models it still features the Google TV interface, supports all the same video and audio formats such as HDR10+, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos and DTS-HD, and is very well priced in the market.
The 75” Model we’re reviewing here is made up of 720 local dimming zones, up from 360 in last years’ model, resulting in a peak brightness of 2000 nits for HDR10+ content – twice the peak brightness of the C835.
Out of the box, the C845 defaults to low-power picture mode. While not a bad looking picture setting for a dark room, it does seem to reduce the overall contrast and brightness so you’ll want to change this for each input.
By navigating to the Picture settings menu you’ll find the following picture modes: Vivid, Low Power, Smart HDR, Sports, Movie, Game and PC, plus IMAX enhanced and Dolby Vision modes which are automatically applied when viewing supported content.
For general movie and TV viewing, Movie Mode definitely offers the most natural looking picture and is what we defaulted to in a majority of our tests. Smart HDR also offered an accurate range of colours while producing a much brighter image.
Sports mode is also a great feature for sporting fanatics as it provides additional smoothing, brightness and saturation – perfect for fast-moving content such as football or racing.
Contrast and dynamic range is what you’d expect from a Mini LED panel, with content looking excellent in a well lit room. Contrast is advertised at a respectable 7000:1, however due to the overall brightness of this display, the local dimming algorithm can affect blacks when watching in a fully darkened space, giving a slightly washed out look depending on the content. Blooming however, thanks to TCL’s latest AiPQ Processor, is barely noticeable and is one of the main reasons we love TCL’s Mini LED displays.
For Dolby Vision content we get 4 picture presets which include, Dolby Vision IQ, Dolby Vision Bright, Dolby Vision Dark and Dolby Vision Game. We found Dolby Vision IQ to perform best in a bright room as it uses a light sensor to adjust the HDR picture to best match lighting conditions, however for some content we viewed in a dark environment we did prefer Dolby Vision Dark.
Then we have PC Mode which offers increased sharpness and chroma subsampling, ideal for those wanting clear text when using it as a PC monitor.
Last but not least, Game Mode which offers 3 separate sub-picture presets. This is part of TCL’s larger Game Master mode, an all-in-one optimization setting enabling VRR and ALLM. It can be accessed by pressing the 3 line button on the remote control, and once enabled tells the display to automatically adjust its refresh rate in real-time to match your PS5 or Xbox Series X. It will also reduce lag by disabling any unnecessary features that would normally hog your display’s processor.
To complement this mode, TCL has also included an easy to use toolbox called Game Bar. This can be displayed by holding the same button on the remote. From here you have instant access to real-time display statistics, gaming aids, HGiG options and those additional sub-picture modes – Original, FPV, and RPG.
During all our tests we found the Original setting to be the most accurate as the other modes applied too much contrast and saturation.
On the PS5 we swung into Spider-Man 2 for its bright, but fast moving action sequences, and then Alan Wake 2 to test the display’s handling of super dark content. We also tested Forza Motorsport on the Xbox Series X along with Super Mario Bros Wonder on the Nintendo Switch.
We really wanted to showcase what gaming looks like in a room with plenty of ambient light, plus how this super bright display holds up in a pitch black environment.
With each game we played, the display held up well and didn’t exhibit any sign of tearing or stuttering. Gameplay was smooth and the TV displayed an impressive dynamic range. Colours were fairly accurate Even in a dark room the local dimming algorithm displayed extraordinary contrast.
Viewing angles and screen reflections were also something we paid close attention to in this review. The C845 offers a 178 degree wide viewing angle, and combined with TCL’s ultra-low reflection screen, we were extremely impressed with the retention of colours and brightness and different angles across our room.
Now for the Audio side of things. The C845 features a 2.1 Onkyo speaker setup with rear-facing subwoofer. It supports DTS and Atmos, and comes with 7 sound presets, Standard, Movie, Music, Voice, Game, Sports and Dynamic. Overall it produces a very immersive sound with clearer, punchier bass than you’d expect from a built-in configuration.
So our final thoughts. The C845 from TCL has exceeded our expectations. Its super bright Mini LED display is perfect for living rooms with plenty of light, while its Local Dimming algorithm holds up extremely well, even when viewing in a dark environment. We feel that TCL also got the Movie picture mode right with this model, keeping brightness increased while retaining natural colours.
Gaming however was definitely our favourite experience with this display. With 120Hz, VRR, ALLM and features like the TCL Game Bar, the C845 is a gamers ultimate workhorse. What really impressed us however, was its colour accuracy, obvious brightness, and surprisingly even the contrast and dynamic range.
For its price you won’t find much else that can match what TCL have done here with the C845.
It’s available now from Australian retailers