- The TCL QM8 is an unmatched flagship TV that offers premium features at an aggressively priced point, making it the best bang for your buck TV currently available.
- The QM8 features a gorgeous 4K QLED panel with Quantum Dot technology, allowing for over 1 billion colors and excellent HDR support. It also has a high refresh rate and multiple HDMI ports for gaming.
- The TV is powered by Google TV, which provides a fast and complete user interface. The only downside is that the user interface could use some improvements in terms of accidental navigation away from content. Overall, the TCL QM8 is one of the best smart TVs on the market.
I think the last time I reviewed a TV was 2021, and it was mainly because most of the great TVs were the flagship 2 to $5,000 LGs and Samsung’s of the world, and the premium sub $1500 category was good, but not great. Sure, technologies like QLED have now trickled down to them, but something was always missing. Either their UI’s were slow, or they didn’t support the latest HDMI for your new PS5, or the screen quality was just good… but for the money. So what if I told you that the best bang for the buck TV you can buy right now can be found for less than $1000? Sort of.
Well, this is the TCL QM8 2023, what the company calls an unmatched Flagship, and what I’m gonna have to agree with now I’ve spent some time with it. I know we already saw the 2024 variants at CES, which we covered extensively, but since those are due in the Spring, this might just be the best bang for the buck deal you can find right now. I’ve actually wanted this QM8 since TCL demoed it to me last year, but I just traveled too much to get around to get one.
So, why should you care? Well, this is technically a Flagship TV in every way regardless of which size you pick, but where that footprint determines what you pay. For context, the 98-inch variant launched for an insane $12,000, and every expert said it was worth it. The price obviously trickles down as you go for the 85- and 75-inch variants, but the reason why I went for this 65-inch variant is because it is the most aggressively priced. It launched for $1299, but right now, with the Super Bowl deals, you can get it for $800 bucks. Yes, the quality of a 12 grand TV for less than a thousand, and on a size that’s large enough to be imposing yet fits everywhere.
For that, you’re getting a very elegant design with a brush metal finish that I love, a matte back, and sharp corners that look great from any angle. Best of all, with a height-adjustable center base, there’s no need to get new furniture unless you go for the 98-inch model that has feet for obvious reasons: it’s massive. The thing is, 65 inches is not small, so I think this is the sweet spot for any area, especially if you want to corner it somewhere.
QM8 Features: More for your money
All four variants share the same gorgeous 4K QLED panel. This Quantum Dot technology enables more than 1 billion colors, meaning full support for HDR Ultra, Dolby Vision IQ, HDR 10+, HLG, and even IMAX Enhanced certification. This is also possible because of its miniLED backlight, allowing for up to a crazy 2300 local dimming zones depending on the size, meaning great picture quality and awesome contrast thanks to deeper blacks at almost zero blooming to near OLED territory, and yet up to an insane 2000 nits of peak brightness, which helps with the HDR highlights. This, matched with its two 10-watt speakers and 20-watt subwoofer at the back, means a great experience for content consumption even without a sound bar.
But wait, there’s more. Once you notice the input panel, you’ll see four HDMI ports that support different speeds because, yes, this panel comes at a 120hz refresh rate by default but can then go up to 144hz with certain games, and even has support for Motion Rate 480, for an even more fluid experience. Just make sure you use the right port for the right gaming console, and you’re golden. My experience using any console, from the PS5 to even the Nintendo Switch, has been like butter and pretty immersive in both how the games look and how full they sound all around. Other connectivity includes Ethernet, USB 2.0, Composite video and audio In, a Headphone jack for easy audio out, Bluetooth in case you’d prefer to use headphones, Wi-Fi 6, and it does support Apple’s AirPlay in addition to casting, obviously.
Software: Google TV is faster than ever
And then there’s the fact that Google TV is powering the show. My experience with TCL TVs was mostly on Roku, which is good, but I think Google TV is just more complete when it comes to its user interface and offerings. But then the problem has always been that every other TV I used with it was slow AF and that even includes Chrome Casts. That ends here. I’m not sure what processing power TCL is using here, but this TV is fast. It’s so fast I almost feel like it makes more expensive TVs look really bad. Google TVs have had voice commands since day one, but this is the first time I use it because it actually works. Also, this controller is pretty sleek and practical, making the navigation even better, in my opinion. The only thing I’d wish is for these shortcuts to lead to the things I care about, even if I know what companies pay to be there. That said, the input menu does lead to a quick panel you can use for shortcuts. Also, another neat TCL solution is that if you’ve decided to cut the cord and don’t wanna pay for YouTube TV, press TV Plus for another free ad-based solution.
As for scaling, I’ll tell you I spend most of my time on YouTube TV without paying for the 4K subscription, and I think the TV does really well at making it look good even from its 1080p source, and even if I were working out with older footage from Beach Body On-Demand as I work out. Obviously, once you take the TV to any 4K movie, it only gets better in how crisp the detail is, so I’m glad there’s versatility all around.
Cons: User interface could need some changes
Obviously, there’s no such thing as a perfect product, but I think this is the first time I only have one complaint in a review, and it’s not even TCL’s fault.
I think the biggest problem with Google TV, Roku, Fire TV, and others when compared to Samsung and LG’s UI is that those user interfaces don’t yank you out of your content for whatever reason. These shortcut buttons at the bottom of the controller are everyone’s worst nightmare if you accidentally touch any of them in any way while you’re watching TV. If anything, I’ll praise TCL because this TV has so much horsepower that it’s the first one I use, where the moment I find my way back to the app I was in, it picks up where it left off. Still, I feel Google and the others should prompt you if you’re sure you want to navigate away from your content. I’d prefer a quick menu under the content like Samsung and LG do, but at this point, a prompt is better than nothing.
TCL QM8 Final thoughts: One of the best smart TVs I’ve ever used
To conclude, can I just say this is like TCL’s Magnum Opus. We’ve seen the company make a name for itself in value, so much so that I think their flagships weren’t getting the amount of rep they deserved. It could be because the previous 8 series was just too similar to less expensive models, but this ends here.
This TCL QM8 is probably one of the best Smart TVs I’ve ever used, and that even includes the more expensive ones I’ve used in the past. It would be my first recommendation as the Best TV for most people, and that even includes the picky ones. And sure, you could just wait til the Spring for all we covered at CES. Sure, those improvements were all great, but you’re just not getting this $900 price at launch. I’ll be sure to leave some links for you in the description for you to decide.
Bottom line, yes, buy it. The price right now is just too good to miss the chance to give it a try.
TCL QM8 QLED TV
The TCL QM8 smart TV offers the best-in-class features such as a Mini LED display with IMAX Enhanced certification, DTS Virtual:X premium audio, 120Hz refresh rate, and Google TV OS.