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$2,699, tcl­elec­tron­

Not that long ago, a 4K 65-inch TV with HDR would’ve cost you twice the ticket price here.

The tech has trick­led down to the point where a few hun­dred bucks ei­ther side of $2,000 will get you a panel that’s not only fu­ture­proof - es­pe­cially with new con­soles like the 4K totin’ HDR-packin’ Xbox One X com­ing out soon - but also one that’s stylish and of­fers fan­tas­tic per­for­mance.

Fun­nily, not that long ago a TCL TV would’ve been one with a lot of com­pro­mises, whether in the de­sign, the pic­ture per­for­mance or how the thing works. With their mid-range se­ries, the C2 on test here, TCL has learned from its past ef­forts and the suc­cess of what LG and Sony are do­ing and ap­plied its own take.

The re­sult may not be ex­cit­ing but it’s by no means lack­lus­tre. A thin sil­ver bezel lines the perimeter and two splayed feet keep the panel well-an­chored, with an op­tion to wall mount if you wish.

A Har­man Kar­don sound bar is built into the frame, of­fer­ing ca­pa­ble sound with enough oomph to fill a large liv­ing room and with good clar­ity up to half of its max­i­mum vol­ume - af­ter that you’ll want to turn the bass down to avoid dis­tor­tion. Smartly, the speak­ers fire out from the front, and while the ma­te­rial grille adds to the bezel it an­chors the thin-edged frame nicely. You’ll want to add a sur­round sys­tem (which you can do via the ARC HDMI port, or the op­ti­cal out) but the speak­ers do a far bet­ter job than you’d ever ex­pect.

Turn it on and the An­droid logo an­i­mates, be­fore punt­ing you to the front end. Pre­vi­ous TCL units used its own OS to a fairly poor de­gree – hav­ing ac­cess to new stream­ing apps was a lot­tery. An­droid M is im­ple­mented well here, though TCL has put its own touch and bun­dled in some stream­ing ser­vices. The choice is eclec­tic, so you’ll ei­ther be rapt or am­biva­lent to see Go­live TV and Yupp TV in the apps choices. Chrome­cast is built in – a boon.

At the rear there are three HDMI ports, and a be­spoke port for ana­logue sources. A USB port lives next to it, used for record­ing free-to-air TV or to play back me­dia files. Our test unit hap­pily read a 16GB USB stick, but had trou­ble picking up a 320GB flash drive. Me­dia stream­ing over a net­work needs Win­dows Me­dia Player.

The LCD panel is the star here. While it can’t claim to scream about edge light­ing, or quan­tum dots, it does give a con­sis­tent pic­ture from cor­ner to cor­ner. We didn’t no­tice any dark patches or un­even colour re­pro­duc­tion, and the screen is pleas­ing with­out leav­ing you gasp­ing. Do be pre­pared to go in and al­ter the colour set­tings, es­pe­cially for games, as the de­fault is okay for movies, but needs a bit of bump to re­ally bring colours to life.

Part­ner all of this with a stylish, slim-line re­mote sport­ing a ded­i­cated Net­flix but­ton and you have a 4K, HDR TV you’d be happy to have in your lounge room.

ABOVE A re­mov­able rear panel gives ac­cess to the ports, and clipped on it keep ca­bles tody and in or­der ABOVE RIGHT The built-in Har­man Kar­don sound­bar is a pow­er­ful unit, though it gets a bit loose at the top end

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