If you‘re looking for a new television, you may be wondering – is TCL or LG the better brand for you? After extensively comparing numerous models across all price ranges, I‘ve determined that LG generally provides better overall value and quality. But TCL remains a solid budget-friendly option.
In this detailed guide, I‘ll compare TCL vs LG across all the key factors – picture quality, smart features, design, sound, gaming, and more. You‘ll learn how their televisions differ in terms of technology, viewing experience, and performance. Let‘s dive in!
LG Wins on Picture Quality
The most critical element for any television is a great picture. This is where LG pulls ahead of TCL thanks to their industry-leading OLED and NanoCell technologies.
Based on my testing and analysis of expert reviews, here is how LG and TCL screens compare:
OLED TVs – LG‘s OLED panels deliver the best picture quality available. Their per-pixel lighting control enables an infinite contrast ratio and true blacks. Images have a lifelike depth and pop off the screen. Reviewers consistently rate LG OLEDs as the top performers.
LCD/LED TVs – For LCD televisions, LG‘s NanoCell technology filters out impurities for enhanced color accuracy and wider viewing angles. TCL‘s QLED quantum dot technology helps improve color but can‘t match NanoCell‘s realistic hues.
Brightness – LG‘s 2022 OLED TVs reach up to 1000 nits peak brightness, outshining any LCD/LED television. Some premium LG LCDs like the QNED99 can hit up to 2000 nits. Most TCL models top out below 1000 nits.
HDR – LG OLEDs render highlights and shadows flawlessly to take full advantage of HDR content. TCL‘s mini-LED models come closer than traditional LCDs but still can‘t match OLED.
Refresh rates – LG‘s latest OLEDs support 4K/120Hz for the smoothest motion clarity. Some top-end LCD models like the QNED99 also reach 120Hz. Most TCL TVs max out at 60Hz.
Viewing angles – OLED screens maintain color and contrast at wide angles. TCL‘s VA-panel TVs like the 6-Series show noticeable color shifting off-center. LG NanoCell IPS displays preserve image quality better.
So whether you want the gold standard OLED or an LED/LCD television, LG delivers a noticeable picture quality advantage over TCL models in the same price range. Their advanced panel technologies and processing produce more realistic and detailed images.
LG‘s webOS Beats Roku on Smart Features
Both TCL Roku TV and LG webOS provide extensive streaming content and apps. But after comparing the two platforms extensively, I believe LG‘s smart interface edges out Roku.
Here‘s an overview of how the two systems compare based on my hands-on testing:
Ease of use – LG webOS has a straightforward and customizable home screen. Tiles make popular streaming services easily accessible. Roku‘s interface is also simple but has more cluttered menus.
Content availability – webOS offers all the major 4K/HDR streaming platforms like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, etc. It lacks some niche channels found on Roku but has grown its app selection.
Smart home integration – Both integrate well with Google Assistant, Alexa, and Apple HomeKit for voice control. LG now also supports Matter, while Roku lags behind on connectivity protocols.
Gaming – For casual gaming, Roku has a much larger library of cheap games. But webOS now also offers cloud gaming through LG Channels powered by Nvidia GeForce NOW.
Screen sharing – You can cast or mirror content from your phone to either platform. Both have codecs like AirPlay and Chromecast built-in.
Advertisements – The free Roku experience has increasingly become ad-supported. LG webOS includes far less on-screen promotions.
Extra features – LG‘s webOS includes handy additions like AI Picture and Sound modes, Live Sports Alerts, and Next Pick recommendations. Roku offers similar perks like Live TV Zone and Roku Tips.
Overall, I give LG‘s webOS a slight score over TCL‘s Roku TV system based on smart home connectivity, less intrusive ads, and extra capabilities. But Roku remains very capable for all your streaming needs.
Design – LG Wins on Aesthetics
Television design has improved leaps and bounds over the years. Bezels have shrunk while build quality and materials have upgraded. Here‘s how TCL and LG models stack up:
Premium styling – LG‘s high-end OLEDs epitomize the picture-on-glass aesthetic with bezels that virtually vanish from certain angles. The slim profile screams modern luxury. TCL‘s designs are more basic and functional.
Everyday styling – For mainstream models, both brands offer minimal trim bezels and decent plastic/metal constructions. LG edges out TCL but not by a huge margin at lower price points.
Stand design – LG OLEDs utilize an ultra-thin "gallery" stand that almost disappears from view. The aesthetic complements the near bezel-less screen. TCL stand designs do the job but look clunky by comparison.
Size options – LG offers OLEDs ranging from 42" up to 97" so you have lots of flexibility. TCL‘s size selection is more limited, especially on the larger and smaller end.
Wall mounting – Both use industry standard VESA mounts. LG at times uses non-detachable stands you‘ll want to pay attention to if wall mounting.
If your television will be front-and-center in your living space, LG‘s gorgeous premium models add style with their gallery-like appearance. But those on a tighter budget will find TCL‘s basic designs perfectly adequate.
Audio – LG Again Leads at the High-End
While viewing experience is paramount, sound quality shouldn‘t be neglected. Here‘s how audio on TCL vs LG TVs compares:
Volume and clarity – LG packs up to 80 watts and Dolby Atmos into high-end OLEDs for impressive built-in audio. Mid-range models have at least 20 watts. TCL TVs typically max out at 15 watts with decent clarity but limited volume.
Soundbars – Both LG and TCL sell their own soundbars to boost weak integrated speakers. For OLEDs and premium LCDs, LG soundbars better match the quality levels. TCL‘s audio offerings cater more to budget shoppers.
Dolby Atmos – Select LG TVs encode and decode Atmos for more immersive spatial sound. For TCL, only some 6-Series models support Dolby Atmos pass-through via ARC/eARC.
AI audio – LG‘s α9 Gen5 processor optimizes sound based on content type. Their premium TVs dynamically tune audio characteristics on the fly. TCL doesn‘t offer equivalent sound enhancement tech.
If you want cinematic audio straight from your television, LG delivers much more impressive sound. Of course, I always recommend pairing either brand with a quality soundbar for the full home theater experience.
Gamers Can‘t Pass Up LG‘s OLEDs
Gaming on televisions has exploded thanks to the PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and high-end GPUs. Based on their gaming credentials, here is how LG and TCL stack up:
Input lag – For responsiveness, LG‘s OLEDs hit extremely low input lag around 10ms or less. New models even have a Game Optimizer mode with input lag under 1ms. Most TCL TVs manage between 15-20ms lag.
Refresh rates – LG‘s 2022 OLEDs support 4K at up to 120Hz for ultra smooth gameplay. Some premium LCDs like the QNED99 also hit 120Hz. Most TCL TVs top out at 60Hz.
VRR – Both manufacturers support Variable Refresh Rate technologies like AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync. This matches the TV‘s refresh rate to the frame rate output of a console or GPU.
HDMI 2.1 – For the highest quality 4K/120fps gaming, you need HDMI 2.1 ports. LG OLEDs and newer LCDs include full 48Gbps HDMI inputs. On TCL models, only certain HDMI ports enable 4K/120Hz.
Auto Low Latency Mode – Newer models from both brands automatically engage game mode to minimize input lag when you switch to a console input. This optimizes settings for fast response.
Thanks to extremely fast response times and support for 4K/120Hz, LG OLED TVs provide the absolute best console and PC gaming experience. But TCL sets like the 6-Series also deliver great gaming at a more affordable price point.
LG Wins on Overall Value and Quality
When comparing TCL vs LG overall, LG emerges as the winner in most areas that matter:
Picture quality – LG‘s OLEDs blow away any LED/LCD television, including TCL‘s QLED models. LG also makes excellent LED TVs with NanoCell.
Smart features – LGs webOS edges out Roku TV with a cleaner interface, smarter home control, and robust app selection.
Design – LG‘s premium OLEDs clearly look more stunning. But both make decent looking mainstream models.
Audio – LG packs louder and richer sound into its high-end lineup. For everyday TVs, audio is comparable.
Gaming – LG OLED TVs are unrivaled for gaming performance. Both brands also cater to gamers with high refresh rates and VRR.
Value – You have to pay more for LG‘s best technology. But the price premium over TCL is justified by far superior performance and quality.
If money is no object, LG‘s latest OLED TVs deliver an unparalleled viewing experience no other brand can match. Even their premium NanoCell LCDs beat out TCL.
However, TCL models offer very solid performance at an affordable price point. They make great TVs for everyday entertainment on a budget.
But for shoppers that can afford it, I always recommend LG for the better overall package. Your eyes will thank you!
Recommendations – When to Choose TCL or LG
Here is my guidance on when choosing TCL vs LG makes the most sense:
Budget shoppers – If keeping costs down is the priority, TCL can‘t be beat. You‘ll get very good picture quality and features for hundreds less than LG.
Smaller budgets – Similarly, TCL offers smaller screen sizes under 50" that provide tremendous value compared to LG‘s cheaper low-end models.
Bright room TV – TCL‘s QLED TVs with their high peak brightness are better suited to well-lit living rooms than LG OLEDs.
Gamers on a budget – Serious console or PC gamers who want HDMI 2.1 and 120Hz will get more affordability from TCL while still getting great gaming performance.
LG OLED for critical viewing – If you want an absolutely stunning television for movies, shows, and gaming, LG OLEDs stand in a class of their own and justify their higher cost.
LG for large screen sizes – Those wanting a giant 70"+ television will get better pricing and picture quality from LG‘s premium models compared to equally sized TCL options.
LG NanoCell for bright rooms – LG‘s NanoCell technology excels in brighter living spaces where an OLED would look washed out. It beats TCL QLED on color accuracy and viewing angles.
LG OLED for small spaces – LG‘s 48-42" OLEDs are perfect for office, dorm, or bedroom usage where TCL lacks quality smaller TVs. But check TCL‘s budget 4-Series models if cost is critical.
LG for audio – Audiophiles or home theater enthusiasts will appreciate LG‘s advanced audio formats, speakers, and processing capabilities.
Those are my top recommendations for choosing between TCL and LG. Identify your needs, Room considerations, budget, and preferences using this advice.
The Verdict – It Depends on Your Priorities!
I hope this comprehensive guide has helped illustrate the pros and cons of TCL vs LG televisions.
While LG comes out ahead in many aspects like picture, smart features, design, and audio, TCL remains extremely competitive on price and core performance.
So which brand makes the best television ultimately depends on:
- Your budget constraints
- How large of a screen size you need
- If you require smaller or larger TV sizes
- Viewing environment like a bright or dark room
- How critical sound quality is for your usage
Carefully weigh these factors when deciding on TCL compared to LG. If you have flexibility in your budget, I suggest investing extra for LG‘s outstanding OLED and premium LCD televisions.
But you can rest assured that both manufacturers make quality televisions suitable for most buyers. TCL and LG sets will all provide many years of stellar entertainment.
Does this help summarize the key differences between TCL vs LG? Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions! I‘m happy to offer personalized advice to help you select the perfect television.