TCL makes two of our favorite 4K TVs: The TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635) and the TCL 8-Series Roku TV (Q825). They both give you a lot of value for the cost, with some of the latest tech packed into each display, including mini-LED backlighting, HDR support and 120Hz refresh rates. Picking between the two can be a challenge.
To help you decide the answer for yourself, we've broken it down along some of the biggest points of differentiation between the two models — and shown how they are similar. For a more detailed look at how to choose the best TV for you check out our TV buying guide.
- The best TCL TVs we've reviewed
- Questions answered: What size TV should you buy?
- Amazon Prime Day deals 2021 — date and what to expect
And for a closer look at the models discussed here, check out our TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635) review and TCL 8-Series Roku TV (Q8235) review, which take a deeper dive into each sets design, features and picture quality.
TCL 6-Series vs. TCL 8-Series: Specs
|TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635)||TCL 8-Series Roku TV (Q8235)|
|Screen sizes||55, 65, 75 inches||65, 75 inches|
|Resolution||4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160)||4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160)|
|HDR||Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG||Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG|
|Ports||4x HDMI||4x HDMI|
|Audio||2.0 channel sound, 8 watts||2.0 channel sound, 15 watts|
|Smart TV software||Roku TV||Roku TV|
|Processor||AIPQ Engine||AIPQ Engine|
|Voice interaction||Mic in remote||Mic in remote|
|Smart assistant||None built-in (works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant devices)||None built-in (works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant devices)|
TCL 6-Series vs. TCL 8-Series: Price and size options
The TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635) comes in three standard sizes: 55, 65 and 75 inches. The TCL 8-Series Roku TV (Q825), on the other hand, is only available in 65- and 75-inch sizes.
The initial retail prices of the 8-Series were significantly higher than the equivalent 6-Series models — the 65-inch 6-Series R635 started at $1,099 while the 65-inch 8-Series Q825 sold for $1,999. The 75-inch 8-Series originally listed for $2,999, making it one of the more premium models on the market.
But the two-year-old 8-Series has dropped significantly in price. As of this writing, you can find the 65Q825 for $1,124.99 and the 75Q825 for $1,429.99 on clearance discount from Best Buy. That makes the 8-Series 75-inch model cheaper than the 6-Series model of the same size!
It also makes a couple of buying decisions easy. If you need a 55-inch TV due to limits on available space, then the TCL 6-Series is your only option. And if your budget trumps all other concerns, the 75-inch TCL 8-Series is the more affordable pick.
TCL 6-Series vs. TCL 8-Series: Display
Both the 8-Series and 6-Series feature quantum light emitting diode (QLED) screens with mini-LED backlighting and 120Hz refresh rates. Both also support Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG (but not HDR10+). As a result, both have excellent picture quality. With all those features behind the displays, the images on the screen were bright and color rich, producing great contrast in dark scenes.
The main difference between the two displays is the number of dimming zones: the 6-Series has up to 240 dimming zones while the 8-Series claims up to 1,000 dimming zones. But that's not the whole story. The 8-Series was TCL's first use of mini-LED backlighting technology, and there is a marked improvement in the later 6-Series R635 models, which also use mini-LED. Most notable is that the 8-Series backlight doesn't do as well in off-angle viewing. That's fine if you're watching by yourself, but it's a bigger issue when the family gathers for movie night. The 2020 TCL 6-Series, however, seemed to have ironed out these issues.
In the lab, the 8-Series shows its muscle, though the 6-Series is no slouch. The 8-Series reproduced 99.9% of the sRGB color space; however, the 6-Series was just as good, also scoring 99.9%. The colors on 8-Series are also extremely accurate, registering a Delta E of 1.5, one of the lowest scores on the market (lower scores being better). The 6-Series wasn’t quite as good at 2.8, but that’s still very respectable. Both delivered very good lag times — important to gamers playing fast action games — with the 8-Series edging the 6-Series by a nose, 20.2 milliseconds to 21.5 milliseconds. If you’re choosing based on test results alone, the 8-Series is the one to go with. If real-world performance is your concern, the TCL 6-Series actually has the slight edge, having worked out the kinks in what was a brand new technology on the 8-Series.
Winner: TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635)
TCL 6-Series vs. TCL 8-Series: Design
The two TCL TVs are similar in appearance, though there are a few differences. The 65-inch 8-Series measures 56.9 x 32.9 x 3.1 inches, making it slightly thicker than the 56.9 x 32.9 x 2.8-inch 6-Series.
More significantly, the two take different approaches to their stands. The 6-Series uses boomerang feet that are popular on many TVs these days. The 8-Series features an T-shaped stand that attaches to the back. It’s definitely a visual difference, but could also be a practical one: if you want to use a soundbar with the 8-Series, you’ll need to place it in front of the bar of the “T.” The 8-Series stand makes the footprint with the stand 13.8 inches, versus 13.7 inches for the 6-Series. It’s minor thing, but could help you decide.
Winner: TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635)
TCL 6-Series vs. TCL 8-Series: Audio
While we have low expectations for audio coming from thin 4K TVs, the 8-Series pleasantly surprised us with its two 15-watt speakers. It produces clear, rich tones and decent bass to go along with Dolby Atmos support. The 6-Series isn’t far behind, with decent overall sound and clear dialog, as well as Dolby Atmos support. But its two 8-watt speakers can’t match the output of the 8-Series.
Winner: TCL 8-Series Roku TV (Q8235)
TCL 6-Series vs. TCL 8-Series: Remote control
Since both the 6-Series and 8-Series run Roku TV, they both come with a Roku remote, and we’re good with that. Roku remotes feel firm in your hand and have a simple layout.
Both remotes include a microphone for voice control. The remote has four quick launch buttons for apps. The 6-Series’s remote has buttons for Netflix, Disney plus, Hulu and Sling TV, while the 8-Series opts for Netflix, Hulu, ESPN Plus and the Roku channel. You can’t reprogram those Quick Launch buttons, unfortunately.
TCL 6-Series vs. TCL 8-Series: Roku vs. Roku
TCL partners closely with Roku to provide the interface for these TVs and, as a result, TCL consistently produces the best Roku TVs on the market. With almost every app available and an intuitive interface, Roku TV ranks among the best smart OSes for TVs. Both TVs run Roku TV quickly and the controls are responsive. (Check out The best Roku TVs for more.)
As mentioned, the 6-Series and 8-Series come with remotes that support voice control. This lets you search for shows across apps and control some basic functions of the TV, like volume. However, voice control isn’t as fully featured on Roku as it is on a TV with Alexa or Google Assistant built in. But in this competition, it’s a draw.
TCL 6-Series vs. TCL 8-Series: Which one wins?
We think the TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635) is one of the best TV deals around. For the price, you get a great display with an excellent experience thanks to Roku TV. In most cases, the TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635) gets our recommendation — it's a better deal for the 65-inch model, it's a more current TV, and it offers many of the same premium features of the 8-Series with slightly more polish.
But the TCL 8-Series Roku TV (Q8235) may even be a better overall TV, with a slightly better display and much better audio. And with current deals it is definitely worth the small premium for the 65-inch — and the 75-inch is cheaper than the 6-Series!
Regardless of which TCL TV you pick, you’ll go home with an excellent TV at a competitive price.
Which TV should you buy? See how our favorite TVs stack up in our collection of TV face offs: