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TCL P8S 65” 4K Android Smart TV First Impressions: Should Xiaomi be Worried?
TCL has unveiled the company's new range of 4K AI-enabled Smart TVs in the Indian market. Running on Android Pie (9.0), the TCL P8 Smart TV line-up comes pre-installed with Google Assistant and can serve as a smart home hub by controlling all your IoT-enabled smart devices such as smart lights, smart fans, audio devices etc. The price of the new Smart TV range by TCL starts at just Rs. 27,990 and goes all the way up to Rs. 64,990.
The new P8 Smart TV range comprises of three categories- the flagship P8S line-up which comes in two screen sizes- 55"and 65" priced at Rs.44,990 and Rs. 64,990 respectively. The P8E series with three different screen sizes- 43", 50" and 55" starts at Rs. 29,990 and the entry-level P8 series with similar screen sizes as P8E that starts at just Rs. 27,990.
Three Categories Under TCL P8 Series
TCL claims that all the models support Google Assistant, AI features and feature 4K panels. We focused on the TCL P8S, which is the flagship model with a 65" bezel-less full-screen design. We tested the Smart TV's user-interface, audio and picture quality during the launch event to understand how TCL has managed to bring all flagship features at such aggressive price-point. Let's get started.
65” 4K Panel With Thin Bezels And Metal Frame
The massive 65" screen is undoubtedly the highlight of the flagship P8S Smart TV. The 4K panel offers a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels and supports HDR10 content playback. The screen has thin bezels and is surrounded by a metal frame.
TCL claims that the in-house TV panel is smart enough to automatically adjust the backlight to boost the peak brightness for a wider brightness range.
The panel did seem vibrant; however it is far from matching the contrast, vividness and sharpness of pricey UHD and OLED TVs by LG and Sony. It still makes for a very good big-screen at an affordable price-point. The 4K HDR panel offers a contrast ratio of 5000:1 and peak brightness levels of 300 nits, which seems somewhat on the lower side.
We are yet to test the color reproduction, contrast and brightness performance in non-favorable light conditions.
How Does AI Works On TCL P8S?
TCL talked about the AI use-case scenarios in the new Smart TV range. The new Smart TVs feature AI Fairfield technology, which claims to enhance the image and sound delivery. The TVs also come with a dedicated Sports Mode that essentially tunes the display colors and even the audio produced by the 20W down-firing speakers to create an immersive stadium-like viewing experience.
However, the best use of AI in the new TCL Smart TV range can be experienced in a Smart home ecosystem. The new TCL TVs can serve as a hub to control all your IoT-enabled devices. You can simply give voice commands to the TV via smart remote to switch off/on smart lights, fans, smart speakers and other smart household appliances.
We tried the feature and it worked quite well. The TV was quick to recognize the voice commands to switch on/off smart devices.
The IoT-enabled devices that do not require a hub such as Mi Smart bulb can simply be controlled via built-in Google Assistant. Other smart appliances like Philips Hue Bulb would still require a smart hub to be controlled via voice commands.
Supports Netflix But Amazon Prime Is Still In Testing Phase
The Smart TV users are gradually shifting to media streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Notably, the good old Cable TV was replaced by DTH services over time and apparently the media streaming apps are doing the same thing with the DTH service providers.
TCL's new Smart TVs support Netflix, Hotstar, YuppTV, Voot, AltBalaji, etc; however the support for Amazon Prime is yet to be offered.
The product team at TCL informed us that the company is still testing the support for Amazon prime on the new Smart TVs and it might take a while. It is disappointing that even Xiaomi, which is doing really well in smart TV market in India hasn't been able to offer Netflix and Amazon Prime support to Mi TV users. Even the most recent Mi TV update fails to provide the leading media streaming app support.
TCL clearly has an edge over Mi TVs as the new P8 SMart TV series come pre-installed with Netflix app- the most widely preferred media streaming application by the audience.
Hardware And Software
TCL's new P8 Smart TV line-up runs on Android Pie (9.0) out-of-the box. The user interface is quite easy-to-use and I was glad to see the new smart TV remote, which offered ease-of-use. The TV remote gets a dedicated Netflix button and also takes voice commands to control built-in Google Assistant on new TVs.
As far as hardware is concerned, the P8S has 2GB RAM, supports Dolby audio with 5.1 surround sound (2 X 10W down-firing speakers) and has 16GB in-built memory. There's no concrete information about the underlying CPU that powers up the new P8S Smart TV by TCL. The company's official website mentions that the P8S features Mali 470x3 600-800MHz GPU and A55*4 1.1 GHz chipset.
For the connectivity, the P8S flagship Smart TV offers Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1 x headphone port, A/V In, SPDIF, 3 x HDMI port and MHL support.
The new 4K AI-enabled Smart TVs by TCL run on Android Pie, offer 4K panels and IoT support at an aggressive starting price of Rs. 27,990. The 65" P8S 4K Smart TV can be a very good option if you fancy a big screen TV for your living room and don't want to spend a fortune.
We haven't got a chance to fully evaluate the TV's performance during the launch event. We would recommend you to wait for our comprehensive review to better understand the full potential of these affordable 4K enabled AI Smart TVs.