TCL’s new quantum dot Mini-LED TV embarrasses OLED TVs in one big way

The TCL X955 Mini-LED TV on a wall.
(Image credit: TCL)

While companies like Samsung, LG and Sony are laser-focused on making the best  OLED TVs even better, TCL is taking Mini-LED to the next level with its newly unveiled X955 flagship TV. 

The TV, which made its debut at IFA 2023, will offer an unfathomable 5,000 nits of brightness that will be held in check by 5,000+ local dimming zones. It’s all crammed into a 98-inch TV that TCL says will provide roughly 100,000 hours of screen time — though it’s likely that number could fluctuate depending on usage. 

Recent updates

Update Sept 2: Our Best of IFA 2023 awards are live, including Tom's Guide top picks for TVs, phones and AR glasses. 

According to Tom's Guide's sister site What Hi-Fi?, TCL says the X955 will offer a “27.5% increase in brightness, 33% increase in viewing angles and a 210% increase in light control precision” compared to the company’s previous flagship TV.  

Unfortunately, however, TCL didn’t provide us with the two most important details — price and release date. Because it was unveiled at IFA alongside its two siblings, the C955 and C805, it’s likely going to be a European exclusive model. That being said, it’s worth noting that cinephiles living in China are now able to order the 115-inch QD-Mini LED TV that TCL unveiled last month for 79,999 yuan (roughly $11,000), so Europe’s new 98-inch model is surprisingly, well, kind of a step down.

OLED vs QD-Mini LED: what’s the difference? 

Don’t let its mashup of terminologies fool you, the QD-Mini LED is really just a regular Mini-LED TV with a quantum dot filter. It’s the same thing Samsung offers with its Neo QLED TVs and LG offers with its QNED TVs. That’s not the impressive part about the TCL X955.

What’s blowing folks away at IFA is that this is the first commercially available 5,000-nit TV with 5,000+ contrast control zones. It's akin to the prototype TV Sony had teased back in 2019 at CES with its unheard-of-at-the-time 10,000-nit display that it said would take a decade to produce on a large scale. 

Fast-forward to five years later and TCL already has a 5,000-nit model ready to ship out to stores around Europe. 

While OLED will likely never reach this level of brightness — QD-OLED and LG’s new META OLED panels peak at around 1,500 nits of brightness — you can still count on OLED delivering better black levels. Yes, 5,000+ contrast control zones are going to help drastically reduce blooming but nothing is going to beat the pixel-perfect light control that OLED offers. 

Obviously neither OLED nor Mini-LED TVs are likely to disappear anytime in the near future, so this will be a fun rivalry to watch as manufacturers continue to try and top one another in terms of brightness, color saturation and, most importantly for us, price point.

Want a cheaper TCL TV that still offers oodles of brightness? Check out the recently released TCL QM8 that can be had for around $1,200. 

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Nick Pino
Managing Editor, TV and AV

Nick Pino heads up the TV and AV verticals at Tom's Guide and covers everything from OLED TVs to the latest wireless headphones. He was formerly the Senior Editor, TV and AV at TechRadar (Tom's Guide's sister site) and has previously written for GamesRadar, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade. Not sure which TV you should buy? Drop him an email or tweet him on Twitter and he can help you out.

  • Sasha2023
    Wow talk about focussing on the wrong thing with reviews for TVs.
    With my experience with these I believe manufacturers should be focusing on features, mainly

    User interface and a Powerful processor serving needs to make it responsive.
    Air mouse like LG magic remote.
    Ensure apps like YouTube etc are still supported 10 years plus.

    These are the biggest issues I see manufacturers not tackling adequately.

    I have a 2011 LG 4K 3D tv which uses Magic remote and love it butttt, havve had to switch to firetv stick for media needs since the YouTube app is glitchy making it unusable. No 3D upgrade options also leave me with no option but to stay out of this race to own the best. Frankly when I go to the shops and check out new TVs, I really see no difference in visual representation of videos etc so don't see the point to upgrade anyway