The TCL QM8 (2024) pushes past the limits of last year's Mini-LED TVs with a 5,000-nit peak brightness and up to 5,000 dimming zones in the largest screen size. Some tweaks still need to be made, though, and we're slightly concerned about the upscaling based on the brand's previous TVs.
5,000 nits peak brightness
Up to 5,000 dimming zones
2.1.2 Atmos speakers
Bass response could be improved
Only two HDMI 2.1 ports
Upscaling could be an issue
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TCL's motto for 2024 is bigger, brighter and better, and the all-new TCL QM8 (2024) seems to be living proof of those values.
The TCL QM8 Mini-LED TV won accolade after accolade in 2023, and now it's returning in 2024 with some big new upgrades. Chief among them are a higher peak brightness of 5,000 nits and 5,000 local dimming zones on the largest model. Last year's model was one of the brightest TVs we've ever tested, and this year's QM8 looks like it will keep that trend going for another year.
Other improvements like the addition of an ATSC 3.0 tuner, an anti-glare coating and a rock-solid 2.1.2-channel speaker system all add to the value offering.
Is there anything less-than-ideal about the QM8? We've only had a half-hour or so with the TV at CES 2024, but we found out that it will once again only have two full-spec HDMI 2.1 ports (though, thankfully, eARC will be a separate input) and despite the new processor, sub-HD upscaling could still pose a challenge.
TCL QM8 (2024): Availability and potential price
TCL doesn't provide a release date or price at CES 2024. Typically, this show is only used as a showcase for the upcoming models.
What we heard from TCL during our briefing however was that the new QM8 would be "comparable in price" to last year's model. That's around $1,699 for the 65-inch screen size at launch and then $1,199 once the sale prices hit.
No release date has been set yet, but if the last decade of TV launches are anything to go by, expect to see the new QM8 on store shelves in March or April of this year.
As for screen sizes available at launch, the QM8 will be available in 65-, 75-, 85- and 98-inch variants, with a super-sized 115-inch model that has even higher brightness and more control zones called the TCL QM89.
TCL QM8 (2024): Design
At face value, there's not a lot new in terms of design for the new TCL QM8 (2024). In fact, most of the changes take place under the hood. The two exceptions to that are the new anti-glare coating and the 2.1.2 speaker system that's found on the back of the TV. We'll cover the repercussions of those additions down below, but these are mostly good changes.
Inside, however, is where the real innovation is happening. To wit, TCL is boosting the overall brightness of the TV this year and adding more local dimming zones to better control blooming. That's pretty impressive considering there wasn't much blooming on last year's model, and ambient light was rarely an issue when the TV was on.
Speaking of ambient light, we still were able to notice some glare on the QM8 despite the new coating. Often we could see the reflection of other TVs in the background of the screen, which doesn't bode well if you have windows sitting directly behind you when you watch the TV. We haven't had a chance to really put it through its paces, however, so we'll just reserve judgment for now.
On top of those aforementioned changes, TCL is adding in a new processor that it's calling the AIPQ Pro and an ATSC 3.0 tuner. These will come in handy for folks who want to watch the highest quality over-the-air channels.
If there's any real downside to the design of the QM8 it's that it will still only have two full-spec HDMI 2.1 ports on the back. You'll get two additional HDMI 2.0b ports in there, too, one of which functions as the eARC port, but it's not as good as having four full-spec HDMI 2.1 ports like we've seen on last year's LG C3 OLED or the Samsung QN90C.
TCL QM8 (2024): Performance
Specs are one thing, but what matters most is performance. While we've only seen the TV run pre-canned content, the QM8 made everything look great. Scenes with golden ring on a pure black background had excellent black levels and zero blooming, while a shot of a blue-and-purple chameleon crawling across a branch showed off the TV's immense color saturation.
At 5,000 nits peak brightness, you might be worried that the QM8 might be relatively painful at times to watch. Thankfully, that wasn't the case. Keep in mind that just because a TV has a high peak brightness, it can usually only hit that level in a small window for a limited period of time. This works to enhance effects like a sunrise or a firework that briefly illuminates small sections of the screen for a few seconds. It's not like the TV blasts you with brightness every second you're watching it.
The TV's sound output was definitely impressive as well — the 2.1.2-channel system has two up-firing speakers and a built-in sub-woofer. It easily filled a large demo space where the TV was being shown off at a volume level of 30 and the up-firing speakers expanded the soundstage. We would've been more blown away if the bass was a bit deeper, but that might've been an issue with the sound settings and not entirely the speaker's fault.
It's worth noting that all the pre-canned content we saw on the TV was native 4K, and I suspect there's a good reason for that. Traditionally, TCL has not had the best upscaling and has lagged behind companies like Sony.
That doesn't mean that the new QM8 will be bad at processor-intensive tasks — it's just that we couldn't really see the new AIPQ Pro Processor in action and that's a bit worrying.
TCL QM8 (2024): Outlook
From the increased brightness and number of dimming zones to small new additions like the ATSC 3.0 tuner and anti-glare screen, the QM8 (2024) appears to really have stepped its game up from last year's award-winning model.
Based on what we saw at our CES 2024 demo, it's likely that we're looking at the next entry in our best TV list of 2024 — though it's not a given at this stage. We've still yet to see the latest TVs from Hisense, LG, Samsung and Sony, all of which are likely to elevate their games this year as well.
With the right price and the right tweaks between now and launch (more bass response, please!) the QM8 could once again be the best mid-range TV you could buy — and we can't wait to get it into the lab to test it for ourselves.
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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.