The TCL X925 65” Mini LED 8K Google TV features technology to produce such clear and rich video and gaming experiences, including variable refresh rate up to 120Hz, booming Dolby Atmos surround sound and the added convenience of integrated Google TV.
Funny story. It’s 2014. My girlfriend at the time (now wife) and I went to Harvey Norman to buy her one of those you-beaut $350 Dyson vacuum cleaners. I wandered off to the audio/visual section and cutting a very long story short, we walked out with a vacuum cleaner, and a full home theatre set up worth $11,000. The 110” projector screen and surround sound system has long been the envy of my mates, but it’s only 1080p and is now showing its age. Given the Xbox Series X supports 4K, I’ve been doing some research into 4K projectors and they’re not cheap. Then along came a review opportunity for the TCL X925 65” Mini LED 8K Google TV and whilst the RRP is $4499, this is an awesome TV with incredible built-in Onkyo surround sound and subwoofer that has blown me away in more ways than one.
Firstly, this is the biggest TV package I’ve dealt with to date. I could only just lift it by myself, though I shouldn’t have, and I recommend transporting this with two people to save your back. You’ll definitely need two people to handle the 65” TV out of the box safely. The unit is heavy weighing 34.5kg including the stand, and the X925 also comes in a 75” variant. The viewing panel is 24mm thick but at the back is the electronics of the TV and sound bar which extends a total of 75mm with overall dimensions 1146mm (W) x 914mm (H) x 309mm (D) including the stand. It can be wall-mounted and given the size of this unit, you wouldn’t notice it sticking out that much when watching it. The base plate required four screws and is quite sturdy at 30cm deep which I was thankful for. If you are bench-mounting this TV, you should secure this to the wall using a strap to prevent accidental toppling.
Sticking with the exterior of the TV, the power socket is on the left of the screen while all other inputs are on the right. There are four HDMI 2.1 ports total including two designated as 8K compatible, one with ARC/eARC (for running audio to an external sound system like a separate sound bar), and the fourth HDMI port is designated 4K. There’s an ethernet port, one USB 3.0 slot, a composite AV minijack with an adapter cable supplied, two antenna connectors and audio out via optical digital and analogue minijack. Plenty of options for external connections and to plug in the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, and the PC if I wanted to.
The TCL X925 features a built-in Onkyo surround sound bar and subwoofer below the viewing panel which would contribute to the weight and the 2-star energy rating. This is in matte grey and adds to the overall aesthetic of the X925 with silver trim, making it pleasing to look at when in standby mode. Once I powered up the TV, I had to go through some initial set up processes for Google TV. Whilst some initial set up is standard with new TVs, the Google TV integration and downloading updates took about 15-20 minutes. It was all very easy to do, and a lot of the work was done on my phone logging into Google and following the prompts.
This was my first experience with Google TV, and I am extremely impressed. Once you have indicated which streaming services you want to integrate and set up your accounts, I was blown away that all my streaming options were integrated into the one interface. Under recommended sci-fi movies were Star Wars from Disney+ as well as other movies from Netflix and Stan, all in the same list. I just scrolled through them, and you can see instantly whether you can play them now or must pay/rent them from other services like Apple TV and many more services. It’s insanely convenient.
The remote control is also a godsend with six buttons clearly marked with the popular streaming services for instant access. My wife loved this feature the most because we need three separate controllers in the theatre room. You can hold down the ‘Hey Google’ button and use voice commands too. In addition, the TCL X925 ships with a TV Smart Camera that can sit on top of the unit and looks like a streaming camera. With this you can utilise Google Duo which is for video calls with up to 32 other people. In addition, when you’re in the TCL media player with USB content or in the gallery, you can use simple hand gestures to fast forward, rewind, pause, play or take selfies while watching content.
Now I will get to the nuts and bolts behind the AiPQ Engine technology within the TCL X925 which boasts 8K resolution while upscaling display and audio. This is four times the resolution of 4K Ultra HD and pumps out at 33 million pixels with max resolution of 7680×4320, compared with 4K that is 3840×2160. The panel features Mini LED backlights which produces much deeper blacks and enhanced colours, contrast, and brightness for a smoother and more powerful overall picture quality. Couple this with HDR10+ (High Dynamic Range) and the colour quality is unreal. I went through Google TV and purchased the full season of 2001’s Band of Brothers TV series. It looked amazing, as if the series had been produced recently.
What I found interesting was the use of Dolby Vision IQ for optimised room viewing. I have the TCL X925 set up next to my PC station in the lounge room. To my left is a large window without a curtain, so during the day it lets a lot of light in. When it’s bright, it sometimes affects me viewing my PC monitor. However, with Dolby Vision IQ, light sensors in the TV measure the lighting in the room and dynamically adjusts the screen output for optimal picture quality – unreal! No more straining to see from the glare and different light levels.
I got many yells from the wife, ‘Turn it down!” as I tested out the TV’s Dolby Atmos sound capabilities. I was sent a TCL Sound Bar to review along with the TV, but I didn’t need to install it given the built-in Onkyo surround sound bar and subwoofer. My surround system in the home theatre is Onkyo as well so I’m familiar with the quality. Years ago, when I got my first ever surround sound system, the first thing I used to test it was Band of Brothers and when an RPG flew past the soldiers, so too did the sound fly past my ears and land behind me. That episode of Band of Brothers is now my default testing case for any new sound system I get, and I was amazed at how good the sound quality was. It is the best quality sound I’ve heard out of a TV unit by far.
From a gamer’s perspective, the TCL X925 is fantastic to use with the Xbox Series X. I was able to tick all possible 4K output options on the console and the TV provides Auto Low Latency mode (ALLM) and variable refresh rate up to 120Hz. ALLM allows the console or PC graphics card to automatically switch the TV into it’s game mode which helps to reduce motion and input lag. I tried Dirt 5, Hot Wheels Unleashed and Doom Eternal on the Xbox Series X. Initially I experienced one crash where the Xbox seemed to lock up loading into Hot Wheels Unleashed. After checking the TV input settings and resetting the Xbox, it all smoothed out and the gaming experience was amazing. The bass in some of the Dirt 5 songs was awesome and the visual quality of these fast-moving games was crystal clear with vivid colours, no screen tearing and no input lag whatsoever.
Overall, The TCL X925 65” Mini LED 8K Google TV features technology to produce such clear and rich video and gaming experiences, including variable refresh rate up to 120Hz, booming Dolby Atmos surround sound and the added convenience of integrated Google TV. Not all households have a room big enough to have a projector in a home theatre like I do. Considering I paid $11,000 for my complete home theatre set up, $4499 sounds a lot more affordable. I highly recommend this TV for next-gen console gaming if it’s fits into your budget. This experience has certainly got me thinking about whether my next home theatre upgrade is going to be a 4K projector or a good quality TV like this one.
Written by: @ChrisJInglis