© Ivanko80/Shutterstock.com

If you were asked to create a list of the most popular TV manufacturers, there’s a strong likelihood that both TCL and Samsung would be at the top of any list. Between the two, there’s a good chance there is a television for your viewing needs and your budget.

Samsung has long been known to manufacture some of the most technologically advanced televisions on the market that add new features TCL will later integrate into their own models. On the other hand, TCL has done a fantastic job catering to a more budget-conscious market with prices that feel almost too low for the quality they deliver. 

So, which TV manufacturer is the best for you? Let’s find out below!

TCL vs. Samsung Televisions: A Side-by-Side Comparison

TCLSamsung
Screen Size28-85” 24-85” 
Display TypeLED, OLED, QLEDLED, OLED, QLED, QD-OLED
Resolution1080p, 4K, 8K1080p, 4K, 8K
Smart TV (Operating System)Roku, Google TVTizen OS
Number of Apps5,000 plusn/a
Price$200 and up$300 and up
ConnectivityWi-Fi, USB, HDMI, BluetoothWi-Fi, USB, HDMI, Bluetooth

5 Must-Know Facts: TCL vs. Samsung

  • TCL is a much younger brand than Samsung as it’s only been around since 1981, while Samsung has been in business since 1938. 
  • Samsung offers voice assistance with its Bixby voice assistant, whereas TCL offers a limited set of voice controls on its Roku televisions and Google Assistant with Google TV. 
  • Samsung has long been something of a de facto leader in the television space, capturing market share from the likes of Sony and LG. 
  • Samsung televisions are powered by its own Tizen operating system while TCL heavily focuses on Roku to power its televisions but has made recent models with Google TV. 
  • TCL is often viewed as one of the best feature-to-price television sets, while Samsung is considered more premium. 

TCL vs. Samsung: What’s the Difference? 

Main Benefits

Samsung has made it a staple of their televisions to have some of the best features on the market. Their versatility has ensured they have a wide set of options for customers in many different sizes. The look and feel of their televisions often command a high price because of their thin bezels or unique designs like the “The Frame” that double as wall art when not in use.

There are even QLED 4K models that you can place outside and handle the elements so they are perfect for backyard barbecues. You can find Samsung TVs for as low as $300 or over $3,000 dollars, which only drives home the point that versatility is among the biggest benefits. 

TCL on the other hand has placed heavy emphasis on being best-in-class with features for the price. There’s no question the company has come a long way over the years and is consistently thought to be among if not the best value television in the market.

Combined with their Roku smart system, TCL has made lots of headway in the market because of their ease of use, sizes, and quality that work for everyone. For those looking for excellent 4K quality, the TCL 6-series is a close Samsung rival, while their 4-series is perfect for anyone who just wants a television set in their home to enjoy. 

Picture Quality

Any discussion about picture quality comparing TCL and Samsung has to start with the reality that both manufacturers offer a variety of LED, HDR, OLED, and QLED options. These different screens all help ensure that colors are bright, contrast is strong, and that the picture looks as natural as can be, depending on the quality of the screen panel. 

However, Samsung’s use of Quantum Dot technology is arguably better than TCL’s use of NBP Photons. Whereas TCL uses the latter because it’s less expensive and helps keep their costs down, Quantum Dot technology is able to show a wider color gamut. Because of this, Samsung’s picture quality is arguably going to look more natural and more life-like.

Samsung’s choice to stay away from using OLED displays enables them to focus on QLED which is better than LED, as well. QLED, in particular, is going to be particularly welcome in a bright room as it reduces glare and can also be more affordably built into larger screens (think 100 inches or greater). 

TCL, on the other hand, has emphasized the use of HDR technology on its popular 4-series televisions, its entry-level series. It’s basic and does a good job of reproducing colors, but Samsung’s picture quality is the clear winner in the budget price point with its Crystal 4K UHD technology.

The jump to TCL’s 5-series adds QLED technology, which does a standout job of providing a wider color gamut and controlling contrast through contrast control zones. The jump to TCL’s 6-series is where its best picture quality lives with mini-LED QLED, which offers a backlit display that does a great job of reducing glare and showcasing brightness. 

Man holding smart tv remote
Samsung and TCL offer a variety of fantastic features in their smart TV lineups.

©iStock.com/M-Production

Smart Features

Tizen

Picture quality and sound are going to play a big role in choosing between a Samsung and TCL television, but nothing may be more important than which smart operating system you’d prefer.

Samsung’s TizenOS is its homegrown operating system that runs on multiple different products outside televisions like smartwatches and fitness trackers. It’s clearly borrowed a lot from LG’s webOS interface in that it immediately places icons, apps, and shortcuts on a horizontal strip at the bottom of the screen. 

Where Tizen falls short is that it’s not nearly as intelligent as some other operating systems. Whereas Roku will start to learn what you like and begin to suggest new content, Tizen focuses more on opening up apps that haven’t been utilized in a while.

Tizen offers a selection of traditional apps like Netflix, Apple TV, Prime Video, and YouTube, along with local apps for local news and more entertainment apps for kids and adults than you can ever hope to watch. Samsung’s higher-end models offer its Bixby voice assistant which is a solid option for controlling features, but it still requires patience when compared to Google Assistant or Alexa. 

TCL

On the other hand, Roku is among the most popular smart TV operating systems because of its ease of use and its design specifically for TV. Compared to Tizen, Roku is very straightforward and offers an interface that is as simplified as it can get with three rows of apps on top of one another.

There are thousands and thousands of apps available, leading to more than 700,000 movies and TV shows plus more than 300 “live” channels for free. Roku even includes its own Roku channel which offers an ever-changing selection of “hit movies, popular TV shows, live news, sports, and more.” 

One final benefit for consumers is that TCL has recently introduced Google TV into its 5-series and 6-series televisions alongside Roku. Not only did this move give its customers more smart options, but TCL enacted this addition without raising prices on its sets. 

Sound

When comparing Samsung to TCL speakers, it’s important to note that for the best possible audio experience, you’ll want a soundbar or full surround sound system. That said, Samsung leads the way with 20W speakers whereas you don’t get that level of audio until you jump into TCL’s 5-series of televisions. TCL’s more premium 6-series adds 40W of power whereas one of Samsung’s most popular models, the Samsung QN90B, adds 60W of power, which leads to a vastly stronger sound. 

Samsung Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/SAMSUNG-55-Inch-Tracking-Anti-Glare-QN55QN90BAFXZA/dp/B09SBHSNNZ/ 

There’s room for debate but, overall, anyone looking for a better sound experience will gravitate toward Samsung, and for good reason. TCL doesn’t offer a poor audio experience, Samsung is just better. 

TCL Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/TCL-Dolby-Vision-QLED-Smart/dp/B0885N17CC/

Flexibility

Samsung’s biggest strength is that it puts out what can only be described as a huge number of televisions each year. Even a cursory look at their website shows no less than eight different television options, ranging from its entry-level Crystal 4K UHD to its premium Samsung Neo QLED 8K models at $3,499.

While its televisions are more expensive than TCL overall, there are plenty of mid-level options that do a good job of comparing feature-wise against TCL. Samsung’s options include its “The Frame,” “The Sero” for displaying mobile content, and “The Serif” for a showroom television, giving it huge flexibility in nearly every type of environment. 

TCL adds plenty of flexibility between its 4, 5, and 6 series televisions, but not nearly to the level of Samsung. The simplified system might be better for shoppers looking for just a basic smart TV, but it also means that TCL loses out on buyers hoping for something that can properly handle outdoor entertainment. 

Where to Buy

You can buy TCL and Samsung TVs at a variety of online and in-person retailers, but the best deals tend to be found on Amazon and Best Buy.

Check out these two options below, which come with some great features in time for the holiday season:

SAMSUNG 55" Class Neo QLED 4K QN90B Series Mini LED Quantum HDR 32x,Dolby Atmos,Object Tracking Sound+,Anti-Glare,Ultra Viewing Angle,Smart TV, Bluetooth with Alexa Built-In(QN55QN90BAFXZA,2022 Model)
  • HANDPICKED BY AMAZON: They did the research so you don’t have to.
  • QUANTUM MATRIX WITH MINI LEDs: Brilliant details shine even in daylight; Powered by a huge grid of Samsung’s ultra precise Quantum Mini LEDs, it takes exact control of the individual zones of light in your picture for breathtaking color and contrast
  • QUANTUM HDR 32X: Every detail bursts to life with realistic contrast and brilliance; With HDR 32X and its wide range of vivid shades of color, you’ll discover all the nuances in the latest movies and shows made for High Dynamic Range
  • NEO QUANTUM PROCESSOR WITH 4K UPSCALING: See all you enjoy upscaled to spectacular 4K resolution; The Neo Quantum Processor 4K uses AI based deep learning to analyze your content and optimize it to full 4K
  • ANTI-GLARE WITH ULTRA VIEWING ANGLE: You’ve got the best view from every seat. Designed to reduce glare and deliver brilliant color across your screen, Ultra Viewing Angle makes sure you’ve got amazing picture quality, from virtually anywhere in the room
TCL 65-inch 6-Series 4K UHD Dolby Vision HDR QLED Roku Smart TV - 65R635, 2021 Model
  • Superior 4K Ultra HD: Picture clarity combined with the contrast, color, and detail of Dolby Vision HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the most lifelike picture.Panel Resolution 3840 x 2160. VESA Hole Pattern 300mm x 300mm
  • Mini-LED Technology: Uncompromised contrast, brightness, and uniformity for incredible viewing in any environment
  • Product Size (WxHxD) with Stand: 56.9" x 35.7" x 13.7"; Product Size (WxHxD) without stand: 56.9" x 32.9" x 2.8"
  • QLED: Quantum dot technology delivers better brightness and wider color volume
  • Contrast Control Zones: Contrast is individually optimized across up to 240 localized zones for striking contrast between bright and dark areas of the image

TCL vs. Samsung: Pros and Cons

Samsung

ProsCons
Outstanding 4K color qualityTizen includes non-removable ads
Huge selection of models for all budgetsPremium televisions are pricey
Excellent sound qualityBixby voice assistance is just okay
Strong versatility between modelsJudder issues 
Fantastic picture quality

TCL

ProsCons
Feature-to-price ratioThe budget television picture is just okay
Roku is a best-in-class smart TV OSDolby Sound isn’t as strong as Samsung
Google TV models recently available 4-series doesn’t offer backlit technology
Excellent simplified remoteNot all models have voice control
Dolby vision even on lower-end models

TCL vs. Samsung: Which is Better? 

While a winner might be obvious when choosing between TCL and Samsung, it’s actually not that black and white. Both manufacturers offer distinct advantages and disadvantages, and it’s hard to make a decision unless you are making a direct comparison between two individual TV models.

However, when looking more broadly, TCL is ultimately a better choice for those looking for the best feature-to-price ratio. Not to mention that Roku is a better overall smart TV operating system than Tizen. 

In the end, if you need a huge set of options to choose from, Samsung is the way to go, but there’s a cost to that decision. Samsung’s most premium televisions really pull away from TCL’s 6-series in price and can even be as much as triple what TCL offers.

Given that, TCL remains the better overall option for most buyers. TCL also allows you to choose between Roku and Google TV without sacrificing features, which is yet another reason it pulls out ahead, even slightly so, from Samsung.

Last update on 2023-01-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

TCL vs. Samsung: Which TV is Better for You? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the biggest difference between TCL and Samsung?

There are a variety of differences, but the biggest is the smart TV operating system. Tizen versus Roku is a major deciding factor as it’s so deeply integrated into how you will use your television every day. 

When was TCL founded?

TCL was founded in 1981 and, by 2010, it was the 25th largest television manufacturer in the world. Ten years later it’s the second largest. 

When was Samsung founded?

Samsung was founded in 1938 and has long been one of the premiere consumer electronics brands in the world, partially due to the strength of its TV sales. 

Why does TCL offer two different operating systems?

It’s all about choice as TCL has seen its fortunes grow with the Roku OS, but by adding Google TV, they now offer a stronger set of options without sacrificing any TV quality. 

Is Samsung worth the price over TCL?

This question is entirely subjective and is absolutely dependent on your needs. For most people, TCL offers enough options but its 6-series is often regarded as the best feature-to-price television on the market. Unless you need the absolute best picture quality, TCL is the way to go. 

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