I just reviewed the TCL Q6 — here’s how this budget QLED TV stacks up

The budget-friendly, big-screen TV

TCL Q6 QLED TV
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The TCL Q6 QLED TV is a good value 4K TV if you’re looking to maximize your screen size with a small budget. You get solid performance along with the intuitive Google TV software. While it’s far from the best TVs in terms of picture quality, there are a number of saving graces that make it a smart mid-tier pick for the price-conscious customer.

Pros

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    Abundant streaming options via Google TV

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    Two stand options

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    Good size selection

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    Well-rounded performance

Cons

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    Laggy interface

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    No HDMI 2.1 ports

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    Middling sound

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TCL Q6 QLED: Specs

Price: $599.99
Screen size: 65 inches
Model: 65Q650G
Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160
HDR: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Ports: 3 HDMI 2.0
Audio: 10W
Smart TV Software: Google TV
Size (without stand): 56.9 x 32.8 x 3.2 inches
Weight (without stand): 33.7 pounds

Sometimes, the best TV overall might not be the best TV for you. There’s something to be said for shopping on a budget and these days, affordable sets are more attractive than ever. Certain TV brands have mastered the art of making smart cost-cutting measures — the TCL Q6 QLED TV is a great example.

TCL’s mid-tier 4K QLED TV doesn’t have the picture appeal of the TCL QM8 Mini LED TV, but for those looking for a big-screen set under $600, the Q6 presents an attractive offer. The TCL Q6’s simple design, large size options, solid performance and abundance of streaming options through the Google TV platform deliver pretty much everything a price-conscious customer is looking for. 

In return, you’ll miss out on some bells and whistles: you get limited HDMI ports, a rather basic remote, an occasionally laggy interface and audio quality you’ll probably want to beef up with a soundbar. But if those things aren’t deal-breakers for you (and they definitely don’t need to be,) I can make a strong case for the TCL Q6 as one of the best budget TVs. Read my full TCL Q6 QLED TV review below to learn more.

TCL Q6 QLED TV review: Pricing and availability

The TCL Q6 comes in four sizes, starting at 55 inches and going up to 85 inches. I recommend checking our guide on which TV size to buy if you’re unsure of which configuration is ideal for your space.

As is standard practice at Tom’s Guide, I tested the 65-inch configuration of the TCL Q6 QLED TV, but you can expect this review’s information to apply to all sizes. 

It’s worth noting that TCL Q7 QLED TV comes in the same size options and is a step up from the Q6 in TCL’s 4K QLED TV lineup. It starts at $599 for the 55-inch size, so it costs more than the Q6.. But compared to the Q6, the Q7 offers a backlit TV remote, HDMI 2.1 ports, a native 120Hz refresh rate and slightly sleeker design.

TCL Q6 QLED TV review: Design and features

There’s nothing particularly remarkable about the TCL Q6’s design. It’s a rather basic-looking TV with standard thickness and plain plastic bezels. Perhaps the best aspect of the design is that it’s outfitted with two installation options for the included pair of feet. I initially stood the set up on the narrower slots, but after realizing I needed more room beneath the screen for a soundbar, I easily swapped the feet out to the wider setting. Of course, wall-mounting is also an option with a 400mm x 300mm VESA mount.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The ports are found on the rear of the TV facing out towards the right side. It supports 3 HDMI 2.0 ports, with no options for the newer HDMI 2.1 standard that gets you the most performance-wise out of your Blu-ray player and PS5/Xbox Series X gaming consoles. That said, the HDMI 3 port supports the eARC protocol which simplifies soundbar connectivity. Considering the TV’s mediocre 10W speakers, I’d say one of the best soundbars is a must. Luckily, the compatible TCL Q Class soundbar starts at just $199 for the 3.1 channel setup.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

This TCL TV runs Google TV, one of our favorite smart TV platforms on the market. It has all the best streaming service apps available to download, including a good few of the best free streaming services. As you’d expect, it’s particularly good for watching YouTube and you could even try cutting the cord with YouTube TV as your cable replacement. It also pairs to your Google account to curate your profile and communicate with other Google Home devices you might own. 

Google Assistant is available for voice search via the remote, too. Otherwise, the TV remote is familiar with what I’d consider just the necessary amount of buttons. There are even some dedicated launchers for Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV and more.

TCL Q6 QLED TV review: How we test TVs

We follow a standard testing protocol for every TV we review at Tom’s Guide. Our benchmarks include a series of technical and subjective tests designed to rate the set's performance. As part of our technical tests, we use an X-Rite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, a SpectraCal VideoForge Pro pattern generator and Portrait Displays’ Calman TV-calibration software for measurements. We use a Leo Bodnar 4K Input Lag Tester for measuring the TV’s gaming prowess, too.

Subjective tests vary based on the reviewer, but usually feature anecdotes from a diverse selection of movies, TV shows, and other content reflecting the types of things you may actually want to watch on the TV. For a more detailed look at what we do and how we do it, check out our ‘how we test TVs’ page.

TCL Q6 QLED TV review: Performance and test results

The TCL Q6 QLED TV impressed in our benchmarking testing, putting up results that are better than we typically expect from the budget TV category. For example, the Q6 registered 431 nits brightness in SDR and 498 nits in HDR in a 10% window. That’s more than adequate, especially considering it lacks local dimming. A super-bright TV without local dimming would make dark scenes look washed out, and although the black levels aren’t anywhere near OLED levels, I didn’t find them distracting to movie-watching.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
TCL Q6 TCL Q7 Hisense U6K Sony Bravia X75K
SDR Brightness (10%, in nits) 431 489 334 157
Delta-E (lower is better) 2.1065 2.3594 3.5783 2.0027
Rec. 709 Gamut Coverage 97.4192 99.2041 99.4728 93.5566
HDR Brightness (10%, in nits) 498 592 525 295
UHDA-P3 Gamut Coverage 94.51 93.38 97.16 78.52
Rec. 2020 Gamut Coverage 68.92 71.16 72.13 57.57
Input Lag (ms) 8.9 13.1 10.2 9.7

If having a brighter picture or local dimming matters to you the TCL Q7 is a bit more compelling in those areas. We’re also big fans of the Hisense U6K Mini LED TV, which is one of the most affordable Mini LED TVs you’ll find. 

In terms of color, the Q6’s Delta-E (meaning the accuracy of the color compared to the source) is a respectable 2.1065 and the TV covers 97.4192% of the Rec. 709 (SDR) color gamut. For HDR content, it covered 94.51% of the UHDA color gamut and 68.92% of the Rec. 2020 gamut, which are both fair scores for a set of this price. 

After turning off the motion smoothing settings that come enabled by default, I enjoyed a variety of content on the TCL Q6 QLED TV. For example, watching Oppenheimer, the picture clarity allowed me to pick up on all the key nuances in the close-up scenes of Cillian Murphy’s face. During the Trinity Test, the colors of the swirling flames looked true to life while the bright light from the explosion that reached the test teams didn’t wash out or compromise the image details. I will say the colors become muddled with off-angle viewing, but I suppose the idea is that you’ll buy a large screen size and maximize the amount of “sweet spot” viewing space.

As for gaming, without a native 120Hz refresh rate or HDMI 2.1, I wouldn’t consider the Q6 one of the best gaming TVs. It’s a shame considering the outstandingly low lag time of just 8.9 seconds. I’m not saying this can’t be used for gaming with say, a Nintendo Switch, but there are better options for those who take their gameplay seriously.

TCL Q6 QLED TV review: Verdict

Coming from someone who has tested some of the most expensive TVs on the market, I think the TCL Q6 QLED TV makes an attractive proposition. There aren’t very many 65-inch TVs you can get for $500, let alone ones that come with a great streaming interface and strong enough performance to impress shoppers that are upgrading from a TV that’s a few years old. 

Even if you’re looking at the Q6 as a solution for a secondary TV-watching space, average viewers shouldn’t find this set to be a major downgrade from a nicer TV they might have in another room. At least, not if you plan to add a soundbar to make the setup feel more premium, which I strongly suggest. 

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef. 


  • wkm001
    I bought the 65Q650G a couple weeks ago, when Best Buy marked it down to $499. Then Sam's Club marked he 65Q670G down to $399. I'm pretty sure they are the same TV, just slightly different model numbers. I had an optical sound bar on the tv I was replacing, so I tried to use it on the TCL. The audio delay was different for SDR, HDR, and Dolby Vision. I ended up having to buy another sound bar that uses ARC. I agree, a sound bar is really needed for this TV. Even my 77" LG C2 needs a sound bar, so I expect to put one on every tv.

    I didn't find the built in Google TV interface to be any worse than a Chromecast. I use a Chromecast on mine, I don't like connecting any tv to the internet. I do like to do stuff on the local network, maybe I need to add a static lease and a firewall rule for each of them.
    Reply