TCL has become a major player in the global electronics scene in recent years, most notably with high-quality TVs that can go toe-to-toe with the likes of Samsung and LG. And it looks like TCL isn’t going to let up in 2021.
At CES 2021, the Chinese electronics company announced a wealth of diverse products, including a new Roku TV lineup, a handful of new soundbars, an air purifier, a pair of smartphones, and a rollable tablet. If none of the aforementioned products caught your attention — or you’re looking for all the details — here’s everything TCL has announced at the show so far.
TCL’s 2021 TV lineup
First and foremost among TCL’s TV announcements is that the company’s acclaimed mini-LED backlighting tech has gotten an upgrade for its third generation, and now features something the company calls OD Zero mini-LED. Essentially, the zero number represents the zero-millimeter gap between the mini-LED layer and the backlight layer, rendering the panels ultrathin and allowing for a slimmer design overall. Tens of thousands of mini-LEDs and thousands of “contrast control zones” promise “striking brightness, precision contrast, and smooth uniformity,” according to a TCL press release.
The TCL 6-Series jumps to 8K
With every major TV maker delving further into 8K territory, it’s no surprise that TCL announced that all of its 2021 6-Series TCL Roku TVs will launch with 8K resolution. As with its 4K brethren, the 8K lineup will feature mini-LED tech and be driven by Roku TV, as well as Dolby Vision HDR and its AiPQ Engine, which is designed to intelligently upscale 4K content.
Don’t worry, however, TCL is not done with 4K yet. All existing 6-Series 4K TCL Roku models will still be available throughout 2021, with the new 8K models coming later in the year.
TCL goes big with its XL Collection
An emerging trend at CES this year is that TVs are going big — really big. As part of the XL Collection, TCL announced three 85-inch TVs that will span multiple price points. First up is the 85-inch Series 4 TCL Roku TV, a budget-friendly 4 Series launching later in the first quarter of 2021 at $1,599. The next level up is a 5-Series 85-inch 4K QLED Roku TV that the company has said will launch in the months to follow. No pricing was announced. Lastly, is an 85-inch 8K set that will adopt the new mini-LED technology. Again, pricing and availability were not disclosed.
TCL brings the soundbars
The big news in TCL’s soundbar lineup is the new Alto R1, TCL’s first wireless soundbar and the first to be powered by Roku’s Wi-Fi audio-streaming tech. The tech will reportedly make for an easy setup process — just plug in the soundbar and your TCL Roku TV will automatically begin the on-screen setup.
TCL also announced several non-wireless soundbar options. The first and only in the lineup with availability timing (in the fall) is the Alto 82i. TCL’s first Dolby Atmos-enabled soundbar, the 82i supports Alexa and Google Assistant, Airplay, and dual subwoofers.
Later in the year, TCL will launch two more wired soundbars. First up is the Alto 8e, a 3.2.1 setup with all the features of the R1 but with Spotify compatibility, a wireless subwoofer, and up-firing speakers designed to bounce sound off the ceiling. The Alto 8e will be released in the second quarter of 2021. A third unnamed Atmos soundbar was also announced, with few other details other than that it’s a “premium” model.
TCL expands its appliance game
While TCL’s TVs and smartphones continue to make waves around the world and in the U.S., many consumers may also be familiar with the company’s air conditioners and dehumidifiers. Expanding on its home comfort products, TCL announced that it will be launching several new, connected home products in the future, with the first being the Breeva Air Purifier.
With a slick-looking modern design and a three-step purification system, the company claims it can eliminate up to 99.97% of microbes in the air. This device, as well as the upcoming connected devices, will be controlled with TCL’s new TCL Home app. TCL Roku TV integration with the Home app is also coming in 2021.
The 20 Series smartphones are coming to Europe
Although it doesn’t immediately affect North America, TCL announced a new lineup of smartphones to follow up last year’s 10 Series. A total of five will be launching over the year, but for the immediate future, the big announcements were that the TCL 20 5G and the more affordable TCL 20 SE, a 4G LTE device, will be available in Europe. These devices might give us an idea of what to expect from TCL in the U.S. at some point in the future.
TCL 20 5G
First up is the 6.67-inch TCL 20 5G, a smartphone with a Full HD Plus display and NXTVision 2.0, TCL’s visual display technology, which boasts improved color accuracy, HDR conversion for viewing content, and an A.I.-driven visual enhancement technology. TCL says the latter detects the lighting around you and intelligently adjusts the brightness, color, and contrast in response.
Under the hood is a Snapdragon 690 and 6GB of RAM, kept going by a 4,500-mAh battery. On the camera side of things, the TCL 20 5G has three A.I.-driven cameras on the rear designed to enhance autofocus, image stabilization, and low-light resolution. The onboard cameras include a 48-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel 118-degree super wide-angle lens, and a macro camera at 2-megapixels. The selfie camera on the inside is 8-megapixels.
TCL 20 SE
On the more affordable end of things is the slightly bigger TCL 20 SE, at 6.82 inches, also with NEXTVision. Although it’s just a 4G device, the lower price might make it more attractive to users who aren’t quite convinced they need 5G just yet. Everything about the SE is more or less a step down from the 20 5G, including the slower Snapdragon 460 and 4GB of RAM, but that’s a big reason for the lower price.
That said, it does rock a dual-speaker audio system and a 5,000 mAh battery, allowing for seven hours of nonstop video. It’s also got an impressive quad-camera setup, which includes a 48-megapixel main shooter, a 5-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 2-megapixel macro, and a 2-megapixel depth lens.
TCL Tab 10S tablet and a new NXTPAPER e-ink rival
Like we said, TCL’s range of products is getting more impressive each year. In addition to the smartphone announcements, the company announced two new Android tablets: The TCL Tab 10S and the TCL NXTPAPER.
The Tab 10S is a slick-looking, 10.1-inch Android 10 tablet with a Full HD+ display that comes with a stylus pen called the T-Pen. You can also connect a keyboard to it with its POGO pin connector, which is cool. Inside is an eight-core MediaTek Helio processor, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage with microSD expansion up to 256GB, all juiced up by an 8,000 mAh power source. It’s set to launch in Europe around March, with no details of a U.S. launch as of yet.
If you’re a fan of e-ink devices, then the newly announced TCL NXTPAPER tablet might pique your interest. With the amount of time we’re spending staring at screens these days, something a little easier on the eyes is a welcome change. Aimed at professionals and students alike, the NXTPAPER has no backlighting, and instead relies on a reflective screen to provide a colorful paper-like experience that, according to TCL, is more power-efficient and optimized for educational activities.
The 8.88-inch Android 10 tablet also sports a MediaTek processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of expandable storage under the hood, all powered by a 5,400 mAh battery designed to last a day. The NXTPAPERtablet is also 4G LTE and Wi-Fi capable. No details were shared about its pricing or availability in the U.S.
Rollable and scrollable displays for days
Two of the neatest things TCL announced have got to be its vertical-rolling smartphone-like display and a 17-inch “scrolling” tablet display.
We were all wowed by LG’s rollable smartphone earlier in the week, but TCL also announced one of its own. The 6.7-inch concept is a rolling smartphone, but it’s different in that it’s vertical, starting out as a square-shaped device and rolling upwards into a smartphone shape (LG’s starts in a smartphone shape and expands to more of a tablet-sized device). Little else is known about the concept other than its 6.7-inch AMOLED expands up to 7.8-inches. Unsurprisingly, no release or pricing details were announced.
More eye-popping, however, is TCL’s 17-inch “scrolling” OLED panel, which it showed off in a computer-generated promo video. The video shows a 0.18mm thin display being pulled from a scroll-like cylinder, ultimately revealing a large, futuristic screen. It’s a concept at this point, one that comes from a separate company partly owned by TCL that manufactures displays. Either way, it’s some cool tech we’ll be keeping a close eye on.
TCL Wearable Display glasses
At last year’s CES, TCL showed off its Project Archery display glasses, and it looks like this year its aim is to set them free into the wild. Stylishly squeezed into a pair of sunglasses, the TCL Wearable Display features dual 1080p Micro OLED displays with 3D capability and a cinematic field of view that TCL claims will be like watching a 140-inch screen. Content is delivered from your phone, tablet, or computer via USB-C, allowing you to get a cool movie-viewing experience no matter where you are. It remains to be seen how well it works, but it might be a good alternative until we can get back into the theater, especially considering they’re set to launch this year.
TCL MoveTrack pet tracker
To address the startling statistic that more than 10 million dogs and cats get lost in the U.S. each year, TCL has stepped in with the MoveTrack Pet Tracker. The GPS-, Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-enabled device attaches to your pet’s collar, allowing you to set up a coverage area of up to 10 meters, with the MoveTrack letting you know if your pet has strayed beyond that. An accompanying app also allows you to see and track where your pet is at all times, and a helpful blinking light helps you find your lost pet in the dark. It’s IP67-rated to handle all the dirt and water your pet can get into, and the tracker features a scannable QR code that lets people find you if they’ve found your pet.
TCL MoveAudio S600 wireless earbuds
Rounding out its announcements at CES, TCL threw down with a new set of true wireless earbuds. The MoveAudio S600 earbuds have what TCL is calling “Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling,” with each bud containing three microphones that are said to create powerful noise reduction. Like similar earbuds, the S600 also feature a transparency mode — which allows outside noise in — as well as Bluetooth 5.0 and Google Fast Pair, a piece of tech that lets you quickly pair the earbuds with other devices. Touch-based controls on each earbud also come standard, as well as up to eight hours of music playback on a single charge.