TCL’s latest 6-Series Roku TV has serious gaming chops

TCL finally made a Roku TV with excellent gaming specs. The company is in a tick-tock release pattern of sorts with its popular 6-Series TV. One year, there’s a Roku version; the next year, we get a Google TV edition, and now, the company is upgrading the Roku model again. Like previous 6-Series TVs, the latest one features Mini LED backlighting, which utilizes thousands of tiny LEDs spread across hundreds of local dimming zones to create top-notch brightness, impressive contrast, and deep black levels. This panel has up to 360 dimming zones. And it uses quantum dot color, with “a measured 100 percent color volume in the DCI-P3 Hollywood reference color space,” according to TCL.

For the 2022 6-Series Roku TV, TCL is putting a big emphasis on gaming capabilities. The prior Roku model topped out at 1440p at 120Hz, but now — as you’d hope so far into the PS5 and Xbox Series X lifecycle — the 6-Series can do full 4K-resolution gaming at 120Hz. PC gamers can achieve an even higher peak variable refresh rate of 144Hz. Other TV makers like Samsung have also adopted 144Hz; Vizio has even hit 240Hz at 1080p resolution. These companies are doing their best to appeal to console and PC gamers alike, but I’m just glad TCL is offering true 4K resolution at those higher refresh rates this time around.

In a perfect world, these would all be 4K 120Hz HDMI ports, but at least eARC doesn’t use up one of the two you get.
Picture: TCL

The new 6-Series has four total HDMI ports, and two of them support 4K/120Hz. Wisely, TCL uses a different port than those two for eARC purposes, so you won’t have to waste a high-performance HDMI port on your soundbar. Every port having full HDMI 2.1 capabilities is ideal, but where that’s not possible, this is about the best layout you could ask for. The latest 6-Series supports AMD FreeSync in addition to the baseline, industry standard VRR spec.

Picture: TCL

TCL has switched to a center-positioned stand instead of putting legs at each side of the TV. There are two height levels in case you’ll have a soundbar sitting in front of the screen. You also gain some integrated cable management that runs through the stand. Supported HDR formats include Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10 Plus, and HLG. Stand aside, the 2022 6-Series Roku TV shares the usual brushed metal aesthetic and slim bezels.

At the bottom of the screen, there’s now an ambient light sensor, and this addition allowed TCL to include Dolby Vision IQ on the 2022 6-Series. When activated, HDR brightness should be optimized for your specific viewing conditions. The built-in voice microphones from the Google TV 6-Series aren’t present on the new Roku model, but you can still use the included remote for voice commands.

It’d be nice if TCL would release identically specced Roku and Google TV sets at the same time and simply let consumers choose their preferred software experience. After getting off to a rocky start, last year’s 6-Series Google TV (R646) is now a pretty excellent pick — even if Google TV itself can still be sluggish. But now, the latest Roku version has leapfrogged that set with the upgrade to 144Hz VRR; I can’t help but predict that general navigation on the Roku 6-Series will be more fluid and snappy than on Google TV.

The TCL Roku TV 6-Series is available immediately in the following sizes:

  • 55-inch model (55R655): $699
  • 65-inch model (65R655): $999
  • 75-inch model (75R655): $1499

You’ll be able to place orders from retailers, including Amazon and Best Buy, beginning today.

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