TCL’s new 6-Series TVs deliver Mini-LED and 120Hz gaming for amazingly cheap

TCL 2020 5-Series and 6-Series TVs
(Image credit: TCL)

TCL announced pricing and availability of the 2020 update to its most popular models, the TCL 5-Series and 6-Series Roku TVs. Refreshed with new display technologies and AI-powered processing capability, these popular TCL models update our favorite Roku TVs while maintaining the value-focused prices TCL is loved for.

Coming new for 2020, the latest TCL TVs are getting more of everything we've loved from TCL in recent years. The TCL 5-Series Roku TV (S535), the mid-range budget-friendly model line, is getting quantum dot color enhancement, and is being outfitted with TCL's AiPQ Engine video processing hardware, which optimizes HDR performance, upscaling, and contrast to provide better clarity and picture quality.

The TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635), brings back a long time favorite of ours -- known for its blend of premium features, high quality picture, and affordable pricing -- and is also being updated with mini LED backlighting for better contrast control, and offers what should be the best implementation of Roku's smart TV platform on the market.

The 2020 TCL 5-Series Roku TV (S535) is available for purchase through Amazon and BestBuy starting today, with sizes ranging from 50 inches up to 75 inches and starting at $399. The TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635) will be available in 55, 65, and 75-inch sizes ranging in price from $649 up to $1,399, and is available for pre-order now, with some limited availability today and full retail availability coming in the next few weeks.

TCL 6-Series: Mini LED, THX game mode

TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635)

(Image credit: TCL)

TCL's 6-Series line of mid-range televisions has long been a favorite of ours, showing up on our best TVs list thanks to high performance standards in picture quality and audio capability, as well as its use of the excellent Roku smart TV platform.

The new 2020 6-Series Roku TVs continue this tradition of quality and update the set with new technologies, such as mini LED backlighting, originally introduced in the TCL 8-Series QLED Roku TV. With thousands of micrometer-class LEDs backing the LCD panel, the 6-Series boasts up to 240 discrete dimming zones for improved contrast and HDR performance. 

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TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635)
Model numberScreen sizePrice

The 6-Series' LCD panel itself boasts quantum dot enhancement, with a film of nanoscale crystals providing the same color and brightness boosting characteristics as Samsung's QLED displays. The result is a more vivid picture with better color reproduction and deeper contrast.

On top of these two primary technologies, the TCL 6-Series has a full roster of desirable technologies, such as Dolby Vision HDR, Dolby Atmos audio support, and Roku voice search with a microphone-enabled remote control.

TCL 6_Series with THX Certified Game Mode

(Image credit: THX)

The 6-Series will also be getting an industry-first in gaming technology, as the first sets with THX Certified Game Mode. Building on top of HDMI 2.1 features like Auto-Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), the certification also ensures that the 6-Series meets stringent requirements for everything from color quality and refresh rates to rise time, which looks at how quickly the TV can handle dark-to-light transitions, essential for fast-paced games. And, it does all of this while delivering minimal lag time, promising a great combination of picture quality and gaming-grade responsiveness. With all of that on offer, we can expect to see the 6-Series show up on our list of the best gaming TVs.

The result is a TV fit to take on some of the best premium LCD sets on the market, and priced at several hundred dollars below the competition. The TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635) is available for pre-order starting today, with the 55-inch model selling for $649, the 65-inch model for $899 and the 75-inch model selling for $1,399.

TCL 5-Series: QLED and HDMI 2.1

TCL 5-Series Roku TV (S535)

(Image credit: TCL)

The TCL 5-Series Roku TV (S535) is one step below the new 6-Series in overall quality and price, but that's not a knock on the new 5-Series sets. In fact, with the addition of QLED enhancement to the 2020 set, the TCL 5-Series now outstrips the older 6-Series sets that won so many awards only two or three years ago.

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TCL 5-Series Roku TV (S535)
Model numberScreen sizePrice

 The 5-Series is missing the 6-Series' mini LED backlight, but with up to 80 zones of standard LED local dimming behind the QLED panel, the 5-Series should still be able to punch above its weight class in terms of HDR capability and overall contrast control. In addition to Dolby Vision, the set also supports HLG and HDR10 content.

The TCL 5-Series boasts the same Roku smart TV software, with its enormous catalog of apps and services, missing only the remote control with built-in microphone. Even the voice search capability is still available through the Roku smartphone app.

TCL is also touting features on the 5-Series that are part of the HDMI 2.1 spec, such as Auto Game Mode, which detects when a game console is attached and powered on, and seamlessly switches to the low-latency game mode without any futzing with the remote or settings menus. Whether other HDMI 2.1 features are implemented on the 5-Series is yet to be seen.

The 5-Series is available for purchase now in sizes ranging from 50 inches up to 75 inches, starting at $399 and ranging up to $1,099 for the 75-inch model. That blend of once-premium features with ultra-affordable pricing makes the TCL 5-Series Roku TV a strong contender for the best budget TV value on the market today.

Brian Westover

Brian Westover is currently Lead Analyst, PCs and Hardware at PCMag. Until recently, however, he was Senior Editor at Tom's Guide, where he led the site's TV coverage for several years, reviewing scores of sets and writing about everything from 8K to HDR to HDMI 2.1. He also put his computing knowledge to good use by reviewing many PCs and Mac devices, and also led our router and home networking coverage. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he wrote for TopTenReviews and PCMag.