TCL and Vizio are two of the most popular TV brands for buyers looking for quality televisions at affordable prices. Both companies offer a wide range of models across different display technologies, including LED, QLED, and OLED. This comprehensive comparison looks at how TCL and Vizio stack up across factors like image quality, smart TV features, design, and value.
Overview of TCL
TCL has grown rapidly over the past decade to become one of the top TV brands worldwide. The company is known for offering feature-rich 4K TVs at budget-friendly price points.
Some key facts about TCL:
- Founded in 1981 and headquartered in China.
- Ranks as the #2 TV brand worldwide by market share, behind Samsung but ahead of LG, Sony, and Vizio.
- Main TV lineups include the entry-level 4 Series, mid-range 5/6 Series, and high-end QLED 8 Series.
- Uses Roku TV or Google TV for its smart TV operating system.
- Strong value proposition: High-performing 4K TVs with advanced features at affordable prices.
Overview of Vizio
Vizio has also grown quickly since its founding in 2002 to become one of the major players in the TV market. Vizio focuses on offering quality displays with smart features at aggressive price points.
Key Vizio facts:
- Founded in 2002 in California. Headquarters now located in Irvine, CA.
- Ranks as the #3 TV brand in the U.S. and #4 worldwide by units sold.
- Main TV lineups: V Series, M Series, P Series, P-Series Quantum, OLED.
- Uses the SmartCast smart TV platform developed in-house.
- Known for budget-friendly pricing on feature-packed 4K TVs.
Now that we‘ve covered the basics on each brand, let‘s compare TCL and Vizio TVs across several important categories.
Picture Quality Comparison
When buying a new TV, picture quality should be one of the top priorities. Here‘s how TCL and Vizio TVs stack up:
LED TVs: Both brands offer affordable LED-backlit LCD TVs that deliver very good 4K picture quality. Vizio‘s V-Series and TCL‘s 4-Series start under $300 for a 50" model. At this price, they lack some of the premium features like local dimming but provide sharp 4K resolution and High Dynamic Range (HDR) support.
The mid-range M-Series from Vizio and 5/6 Series from TCL add in full-array local dimming for better contrast and black levels. Overall image quality is excellent for the price from both brands.
QLED TVs: In the high-end, quantum dot QLED lineup, TCL has the edge. Its 8-Series consistently receives rave reviews for its bright, vivid colors and deep blacks thanks to mini-LED backlighting with up to 240 local dimming zones. It matches or beats QLED sets from Samsung and LG that cost hundreds more. Vizio‘s P-Series Quantum offers very good picture but fewer dimming zones than TCL.
OLED TVs: Vizio pulls ahead for OLED TVs. The Vizio OLED delivers stunning picture quality with perfect blacks and infinite contrast for a remarkably affordable $1,299 starting price for the 55" model. TCL does not currently produce its own OLED TVs.
Winner: TCL for its superior mini-LED QLEDs, Vizio for its value OLED. Both excel at LED/LCD TV performance.
Smart TV Features
Having a smart TV with built-in streaming apps and smart home compatibility is a must these days. Here is how TCL and Vizio smart TV platforms compare:
TCL: Uses Roku TV or Google TV, depending on model. The interfaces are smooth, intuitive, and easy to use. App selection is excellent with 5,000+ options on Roku and 7,000+ on Google TV. Works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant for voice control.
Vizio: Its SmartCast platform has a simple, clean look but can run slower than competitors‘ systems. Has most major streaming apps but lacks some niche options. Works with Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri for voice interaction. Lacks ability to cast to TV from iOS devices, a disadvantage versus TCL‘s iPhone casting abilities.
Winner: TCL, for its simpler and smoother smart TV systems powered by Roku or Google TV.
While less important than picture quality or features, a TV‘s design still affects the viewing experience. Here‘s how the brands‘ TV design and aesthetics compare:
TCL: Most models have decent build quality but thicker, more basic plastic casings compared to premium brands. The mid-range 6-Series has a sleeker design with thin bezels. High-end 8-Series also has an attractive slim form. Stand designs are functional but basic.
Vizio: Known for very thin, bezel-less designs even on budget models. The premium P-Series Quantum X has an extremely thin 1.5mm bezel and aluminum trim. Stands are wide and stable. Overall more stylish aesthetic than TCL.
Winner: Vizio tends to edge out TCL in terms of modern, sleek TV design and narrow bezels. But TCL‘s designs have been improving.
TV speakers will never match a soundbar or surround system, but better audio is still desirable. Here‘s how audio capabilities of TCL and Vizio TVs compare:
TCL: Most models have basic 10 to 20 watt speakers that lack bass and clarity. Good enough for casual TV watching but underwhelming for movies. Some 6-Series sets have more powerful 30W systems and their Roku models support private listening via mobile app.
Vizio: Also equipped with standard 10 to 20W speakers on most models. Delivers clear dialogue but lacks bass punch or surround immersion. Steps up to 30W 2.1 channel speakers with a dedicated tweeter on higher-end P-Series Quantum models.
Winner: It‘s mostly a toss up, with neither brand offering standout TV audio performance. Vizio has a slight edge for its 30W 2.1 speakers on some models. But we recommend getting a soundbar for the best experience from either brand.
Gaming on the latest video game consoles and PCs has exploded in popularity. Here is how well-suited TCL and Vizio TVs are for gaming:
TCL: Many models have a dedicated Game Mode to reduce input lag for fast response times. Newer high-end series feature HDMI 2.1 ports that support 4K/120Hz, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM). Great TVs for both casual and hardcore gamers.
Vizio: Also offers low-latency gaming modes across lineup. Equips new 2021 P-Series, P-Series Quantum models with HDMI 2.1 capabilities like 4K/120Hz and VRR. Provides a smooth, immersive gaming experience.
Winner: It‘s a tie. Both TCL and Vizio check the right boxes for next-gen console and PC gaming. Their HDMI 2.1-equipped TVs provide key features like 4K/120Hz.
Value & Budget Friendliness
When comparing brands, price and value for money are key considerations for many shoppers. Here is how TCL and Vizio stack up:
TCL: Provides exceptional value, especially with its mid-range 6-Series that delivers quantum dot QLED picture quality for hundreds less than the competition. Even entry level 4-Series models are very affordable but have basic specs.
Vizio: Also focused on giving buyers premium features at budget-friendly price points. Delivers very good picture quality per dollar across its lineup. Impressive value from its OLED TV that is hundreds less than competitors.
Winner: It‘s nearly a tie, but TCL edges out Vizio for providing QLED and mini-LED quality for remarkably low prices. Vizio OLED TVs are also a stellar value though.
Warranties & Reliability
While buying a TV, it‘s good to know what kind of included warranty you get and the brand‘s reputation for reliability:
TCL: Includes a 1-year limited warranty covering manufacturer defects. Many users report reliable performance from their TCL TVs, but some quality control and customer service concerns exist. Extended warranty recommended.
Vizio: Also offers a standard 1-year limited warranty. Reliability is generally good, though some users have experienced issues. Vizio‘s track record for customer service is mixed based on reviews. Extended coverage is an option.
Winner: This one is too close to call. Neither brand has a glowing reputation for reliability or customer service. The included 1-year warranties are industry standard. Purchasing an extended plan is advisable.
Verdict: TCL vs. Vizio
In summary, TCL and Vizio both make excellent TVs that offer strong performance and features for the money. They each have pros and cons:
Reasons to choose TCL:
- Better smart TV system with Roku or Google TV
- Superior QLED displays on its 8-Series
- Excellent value across lineup
- Smoother gaming features
Reasons to choose Vizio:
- More stylish, bezel-less designs
- Best budget OLED TV option
- Slightly better LED/LCD color and motion
- Improved 30W 2.1 audio on some models
For shoppers focused on getting the most bang for their buck, TCL is highly recommended for its combination of stellar QLED performance and smart TV functionality at mid-range prices. Vizio OLED TVs are also tempting for affordable OLED quality. Overall, both brands are great options for premium TVs on a budget. Carefully compare models to find the right mix of price and features for your needs.