The TCL x925 Mini-LED 8K Google TV Has Set an Impossible Benchmark

The TCL x925 Mini-LED 8K Google TV Has Set an Impossible Benchmark
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

These last 18 months I have spent what would usually, without lockdowns, be considered an unhealthy amount of time on the lounge watching TV. Watching TV isn’t something I did a lot before COVID, and I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but this has all changed with the TCL x925 mini-LED 8K Google TV.

The TCL X925 mini-LED 8K Google TV is an absolute dream. Due to the inclusion of Google TV, it actually understands me (again, I don’t mean to sound dramatic), and the picture quality is truly exceptional. The sound also absolutely slaps.

TCL X925 mini-LED 8K Google TV

WHAT IS IT?

TCL's latest 8K mini-LED TV

PRICE

$4,499 for 65-inch, $5,999 for 75-inch

LIKE

Picture is perfect, sound is crisp and clear, user interface is nice

NO LIKE

8K isn't quite there yet for this TV to truly shine, also the price is steep

TCL X925 TV specs

TCL is selling this TV as being the future of television. The X925 Series boasts 8K resolution (four times the resolution of 4K Ultra HD), which means it gives you incredible sharpness and clarity (more on this and mini-LED later).

At a glance, here’s what it packs:

  • Google TV
  • 8K Ultra HD
  • Mini-LED
  • IMAX enhanced
  • Up to 120 Hz variable refresh rate
  • Quantum dot tech
  • HDR10+
  • Dolby Vision IQ/Atmos
  • 200 CMR
  • Built-in subwoofer
  • Voice control
  • 7680×4320 resolution
  • 4000:1 contrast ratio
  • 1000 Nits brightness
  • Onkyo soundbar
  • 4 HDMI inputs (2 are 8K compatible)
  • USB 3 (1 slot)
  • 65-inch and 75-inch models

The TCL X925 TV brings a lot of things together, which seems quite overwhelming when you break it down. But when you’re using it, nothing is disparate, it all just brings you a great TV experience.

I’ve been using the 65-inch model, although you can opt for the 75-inch model (the experience, outside of the obvious screen size, is the same for both).

The TV isn’t thin. It’s actually quite chunky (panel thickness is 24 mm, total thickness around 60 mm). This doesn’t bother me, however, just worth noting for a new TV, it’s thicker (and heavier) than you might expect.

Also worth noting is how good the remote is. Thankfully TCL hasn’t gone the way of LG with its dot-pointer ‘feature’ that for any cat owner, is an absolute nightmare if you want your TV to remain unscratched.

remote
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Is setup hard?

No, it’s not hard, but it’s time-consuming. And the TV is so freaking heavy.

Do not set the TCL X925 TV up if you have somewhere to be. You can opt to set up the TV with your Google account (if you don’t do this, you’re opting out of literally everything smart about this TV). It was a little buggy at first, as after I signed in with Google it wanted my TCL log in (which I do not have), but it shortly clocked onto the fact I was happy with my Google profile being in charge. There was a bit of furious clicking and it took a good 30 minutes before all the apps were installed and I was ready to begin.

The plus side to multiple streaming services is you can almost find everything you would want to watch; the downside is having to log into every one of them. While that’s not TCL’s fault, it has to be factored into setup time.

But as the days (and weeks) went on, I understood why a tedious setup was necessary – the way the TCL X925 TV serves up personalised suggestions is fantastic.

The response time from the TV is quick and there’s no complaints with ease of use from the remote.

I must note, however, that I do not have an antenna connection so this TV was not set up to receive free-to-air channels.

The TCL X925 picture slaps

We have to talk about mini-LED.

While still an emerging technology, mini-LEDs could be the future of TV displays. As its name suggests, a mini-LED is much smaller than a standard LED. This allows more of them to be packed together in a single space. This results in a better picture and performance, with deeper blacks, enhanced colour reproduction, reduced blooming, improved brightness and a higher contrast ratio.

TCL is really leading the charge for mini-LED TVs – it released its mini-LED 4K 8-Series TV in 2019. Mini-LEDs are a best of both worlds situation. The combination of an LCD panel with Quantum Dots and mini-LED backlighting allows for a performance that rivals that of an OLED, with the added benefit of not having to worry about screen burn.

The TCL X925 TV boasts superior backlit display, colours are exceptional, it is bright and performance is not comparable to other TVs that aren’t packing mini-LED tech.

8K Ultra HD is what TCL is pushing as being at the forefront of television resolutions, with 8K maxing out at an incredible 33 million pixels. 8K is great, until you watch an old Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares episode on YouTube. But put something new on that doesn’t require so much 8K upscaling and your mind will be blown. (Unless of course you come super close to the TV, but don’t do that).

While many will point to a lack of content at that resolution (more resolution than most movie cinemas), the TCL X925 TV’s sophisticated upscaling technology will have future-proofers and early adopters firmly on board.

You don’t need 8K, no, but it’s rad.

specs from TCL
Image: TCL

The TCL X925 TV is IMAX enhanced, which means it’s gone through a certification program to guarantee the content is being delivered with the best picture and sound quality. TCL is touting this TV as delivering a ‘more pleasing gameplay experience’ thanks to its variable refresh rate (up to 120Hz).

At the simplest level, as the name suggests, refresh rate is how fast the screen refreshes or redraws itself: particularly important if you’re watching sport or gaming

Up to 120Hz refresh rate allows the TCL X925 TV to provide automatic adjustment of panel refresh rates to match your input device, while saving power. Meanwhile, Quantum Dot technology utilises efficient light emitting nano-crystals for the precision control of individual picture elements. And light sensors in the TV measure the surrounding environment and dynamically adjust the screen output – this is thanks to Dolby Vision IQ.

I wish I could take a photo that would do this justice, but I simply cannot. The colour quality is exceptional.

I guess it’s also worth noting under this header that the TCL X925 TV has one of the nicest user interfaces I’ve ever seen on a TV. The UI is pretty perfect.

TCL X925 TV
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

What about the sound quality?

Yeah, it’s mint.

The built-in subwoofer definitely shouldn’t be slept on. The TCL X925 TV has super rich and powerful bass. This is great great great when watching anything action or thriller. The sound absolutely packs a punch and adds to the suspense in a horror flick, can. confirm.

Also surprising is how good a live concert sounds on the TCL X925 TV.

TCL X925 TV
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

The TCL X925 TV comes with an Onkyo soundbar. Before I sat down to review this TV, TCL told me Onkyo Audio “brings a new level of dynamic energy to your TV sound”. And while I hate to use marketing material in a review, there’s no other way to describe it. It actually is the perfect match for the TCL X925 TV’s picture quality.

Full volume is utterly obnoxious. To comfortably watch TV I never once went past 50 per cent volume. I mean, I did to test it (sorry neighbours) and it was mostly clear, but given the TCL X925 TV has been crammed into a small space in my apartment, I’m not sure all the fault of a drop in clarity as the volume hits max can be placed on TCL.

Dolby Atmos also offers audio realism that kind-of gives the illusion that there’s a surround sound setup behind the lounge.

TCL X925 TV

I also wish there was a way to convey sound in a photo, you’d be blown away. Instead, take a look at the soundbar closer up.

The TCL X925 TV is needy

What do I mean by that? Well, the Google TV experience is best experienced with constant interaction. The more the assistant gets to know you and your viewing habits, the better the TV becomes.

Google TV brings together movies and TV shows from the apps you use (and those you don’t use). You can also search for whatever you want and the assistant will show you where you can watch it.

Instead of spending 45 minutes trying to find something to watch, and ending up back on Law and Order: SVU or South Park for the 740th time, the TCL X925 TV cuts out a ton of the effort by getting to know, you.

I said above this UI is the best I’ve used to-date and using the in-built microphone you can ask the TV instead of navigating the remote. Honestly, I could write another 1,500 words on the TCL-Google TV experience. Google TV, combined with the TCL X925 picture and sound quality makes this TV the new benchmark for what ‘good’ is.

So what’s the verdict?

It costs a pretty penny, RRP $4,499 for the 65-inch and RRP $5,999 for the 75-inch (and the 65-inch dwarfs my two-bedroom apartment). It also requires you to be constantly active to get the most out of the smarts.

Is 8K absolutely necessary? I’m not sure, but it’s bloody sick.

Apart from that, I don’t have any other complaints. None. This TV is it.