TCL QM8 vs. Hisense U8K: budget battle royale

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The showdown betwixt nan Hisense U8K and nan TCL QM8 is agelong overdue. This turns retired to beryllium 1 heck of a comparison, because these 2 TVs are some very, very good, particularly considering their highly charismatic value points. I deliberation it’s adjacent to opportunity that these TVs are mounting nan modular for what’s to beryllium expected erstwhile it comes to capacity for nan price. The truth that these TVs do what they do astatine their value points intends that TVs costing much request to connection immoderate beautiful important upgrades to warrant their higher prices. That makes them a driving unit successful nan market, and benignant of a large deal.


The title betwixt these 2 TVs is beautiful tight. I mean, they are cervix and cervix successful truthful galore ways that I tin show you correct now which 1 you’ll for illustration is astir apt going to travel down to one, possibly 2 small considerations. It’s almost a toss-up. But, I cognize folks latch connected to very circumstantial issues that they find meaningful, truthful hopefully, I tin thief you fig retired which 1 of these 2 TVs you would for illustration to bargain successful this comparison.



Starting pinch nan stands. The Hisense U8K has 2 feet that you tin position astatine 2 different heights, and you tin group them successful toward nan mediate for a narrower stance that useful pinch smaller media stands, aliases spell for nan wide look for much stableness and to accommodate longer soundbars.

Hisense U8K vs TCL QM8Hisense U8K Zeke Jones / Digital Trends

The TCL QM8 has a pedestal-style stand, and it besides offers 2 different tallness settings for accommodating a soundbar, though it is worthy pointing retired that nan soundbar will beryllium benignant of high-centered connected nan pedestal.

I mention soundbars because I deliberation a batch of folks will want sound that’s arsenic bully arsenic nan picture, but dissimilar galore TVs today, these some person better-than-average onboard audio, which I’ll talk successful a moment.

Hisense U8K vs TCL QM8TCL QM8 Zeke Jones / Digital Trends

Both TVs are charismatic enough, but nan TCL is astir half arsenic thick, and I besides for illustration that its logo isn’t shiny, truthful if I had to prime a victor connected aesthetic, I’d spell pinch TCL successful this case.


Both TVs person 4 HDMI inputs. On nan Hisense, 2 inputs are branded 4K 144Hz, indicating those 2 are HDMI 2.1-compliant, however, statement that 1 of those 4K 144Hz ports is nan eARC port. The TCL has 1 larboard marked 4K 144Hz, and 1 marked 4K 120Hz, but neither of those is nan eARC port, truthful hooking up a soundbar aliases AV receiver to that eARC doesn’t return up 1 of your TV’s gaming ports. I for illustration that. Another constituent for TCL.

The TCL distant is slimmer and longer and sits level connected a surface; nan Hisense distant is shorter, wider, and wobbles connected nan array a bit. Not judge if you care, but thought that was worthy pointing out. Drop a remark now if distant wobble rubs you nan incorrect way.

Both of these remotes are backlit, but nan TCL distant backlight is usefully brighter, and it’s mobility activated, truthful erstwhile you prime it up, it lights up. The Hisense distant dims a mates of seconds aft your past fastener property and doesn’t ray up until you property a button, truthful for me, that’s not particularly helpful. I for illustration nan TCL remote, moreover if it is simply a spot larger.



Power nan TVs connected and you’re going to beryllium greeted by nan Google TV interface. There are nary Roku versions of these TVs astatine this time, and I person my doubts location ever will be. I’ve spent a bully magnitude of clip clicking done these menus, and they some behave nan same: They’re arsenic snappy and responsive and app loading times are astir nan aforesaid for each.

Hisense U8K vs TCL QM8Zeke Jones / Digital Trends

There are meaningful differences successful performance, but nan menus are surgery down a spot differently, and arsenic I’m ever having to get into nan menus, I’ve noticed that I thin to for illustration really TCL has chosen to laic things out. I don’t deliberation this is simply a meaningful quality for astir people, though.

Supported tech

Let’s talk astir support. These TVs connection truthful galore features that it is intolerable to database them all, but I’ll tally done those I deliberation are astir important. Both connection HDR 10, HDR 10 plus, Dolby Vision (2745441), and HLG support. The Hisense packs an ATSC 3.0 tuner (1308536) successful it, and nan TCL does not, though truthful far, I don’t see alleged NextGEN OTA broadcast support a prize for astir folks, and by nan clip ATSC 3.0 does connection thing cool, it mightiness beryllium clip for a caller TV. That said, nan Hisense has it and nan TCL doesn’t, truthful props to Hisense.


As for sound quality, I first want to opportunity that I admit that some Hisense and TCL put immoderate effort into nan onboard sound systems for these TVs. They some person large bass transducers connected nan backmost to thief adhd fullness and richness to nan sound, truthful it isn’t conscionable a piercing, nasal mess. But nan Hisense U8K sounds importantly amended than nan TCL QM8. The U8K has a amended balanced sound signature, whereas nan TCL tries to woo you pinch overly crispy treble and that large bass, but not capable in-between – nan midrange is earnestly lacking successful comparison to nan Hisense here. The QM8 sounds amended than a batch of TVs, but this is simply a head-to-head, and nan U8K handily takes nan audio win.

Picture quality

Brightness and achromatic levels

Performing this side-by-side comparison was nosy and revealing to maine arsenic a TV reviewer, and I’m very excited to stock it pinch you. But I besides request to punctual everyone that galore of nan infinitesimal differences successful image value that I’m going to constituent retired could ne'er beryllium registered unless nan TVs were broadside by side. If I were to put you successful a room pinch 1 TV and fto you watch a 5-minute clip connected repetition and fto you return notes for a afloat hour, past put you successful different room pinch nan different TV and asked you to do nan same, I’m consenting to stake money that you would not drawback astir 80% of what I recovered successful this side-by-side comparison.

Some of this stuff, we’ll want to return pinch immoderate skepticism, but location are a fewer elements present that I deliberation make a meaningful effect connected nan regular TV-watching experience, truthful I’ll beryllium judge to telephone those out.

Hisense U8K vs TCL QM8Hisense U8K (left) and TCL QM8 Image utilized pinch support by copyright holder

I’ll return you done nan acquisition I had, which started connected nan Google TV location screen. With nan TCL successful its movie mode and brightness group to 49, and nan Hisense successful its Filmmaker Mode ( I recovered this to beryllium existent successful Theater Day and Theater Night arsenic well), I noticed nan achromatic inheritance connected immoderate of nan slides was overmuch blacker connected nan TCL QM8 than it was connected Hisense U8K. This was accordant crossed aggregate backgrounds. Also, I noticed that moreover pinch nan brightness juiced up connected nan Hisense, nan achromatic tiles for Netflix and YouTube look brighter and whiter connected nan TCL.

Thinking this mightiness conscionable beryllium a quality successful really nan TV handles nan interface, I went into Netflix, and I noticed much of nan same. It’s arsenic if nan achromatic areas are made acheronian gray, moreover though nan Hisense is very tin of dimming these areas down to black. Everything seems raised a bit, moreover though nan image doesn’t person nan aforesaid brightness punch, which is interesting.

Keeping that successful mind, I loaded up 1 of my favourite clips to usage for evaluation, and nan Hisense inheritance was much acheronian gray, while nan TCL’s was much black. Pulling up a YouTube clip successful 8K HDR Dolby Vision – which not presented successful Dolby Vision because YouTube doesn’t support it — we get thing to excavation our teeth into correct away.

Hisense U8K vs TCL QM8Zeke Jones / Digital Trends

About 18 seconds in, nan creator starts slow illuminating nan scene. What I noticed was nan TCL started showing nan signs of golden foil connected a champagne vessel taking shape, but it was not to beryllium seen connected nan Hisense. And I didn’t spot it connected nan Hisense for almost a 2nd aft it emerged connected nan TCL, moreover though nan timecodes were nan same.

This amazed maine because, based connected nan raised image level I saw connected those smart TV screens earlier, I figured nan Hisense mightiness show nan vessel first. There were fantabulous blacks and nary blooming arsenic nan backlight strategy needed to activate, yet I didn’t spot nan lowlight object. On nan TCL, we sewage awesome blacks, and nary blooming arsenic nan section dimming strategy kicked connected those mini-LED backlights, but I could spot nan outline of nan vessel connected nan screen.

Then arsenic I proceeded to afloat brightness of nan scene, nan TCL was intelligibly a spot brighter than nan U8K. And remember, this is HDR content, truthful nan brightness and opposition are maxed and it’s really astir really nan TV’s processor decides it’s going to coming nan image. And nan TCL QM8 is punching a small harder.

Is that a bully thing? That’s up to you and what you want. The logic nan TCL appears brighter and shows lowlight objects erstwhile nan Hisense does not is because nan TCL tracks precocious connected nan EOTF (electro-optical transportation function) curve — successful different words, it mostly overbrightens images comparative to nan instructions it is fixed by nan content. I’m not going to measurement this arsenic a triumph aliases nonaccomplishment for either TV. It conscionable is.


But nan aforesaid segment besides shows wherever nan QM8’s processing falls a spot short of nan U8K’s. When examining nan inheritance of nan segment wherever nan ray is formed against nan backdrop, it astatine first looks for illustration nan ray excavation takes up a larger wide area connected nan QM8 than it does connected nan U8K. But look a spot person and what you’ll announcement is that what’s happening is nan U8K is doing a amended occupation pinch gradation. The modulation from ray to acheronian is smoother, pinch little banding and stair-stepping connected nan U8K than connected nan TCL QM8, wherever there’s a hotspot of brightness here, past immoderate mid-shaded area, different large measurement down, and past it conscionable dumps to black.

Hisense U8K vs TCL QM8Hisense U8K (left) and TCL QM8 Zeke Jones / Digital Trends

The transitions connected nan QM8 from ray to acheronian are not astir arsenic soft arsenic they are connected nan U8K. This is wherever nan U8K wins ,and this is an important triumph because erstwhile we talk astir cleaning up low-bit extent contented for illustration nan benignant we get from immoderate streaming services – particularly unrecorded TV streaming – arsenic good arsenic immoderate cablegram and outer channels, you’ll want that that cleanup effort nan U8K is bringing to nan table.

Hisense U8K vs TCL QM8Hisense U8K (left) and TCL QM8 Zeke Jones / Digital Trends

In sample aft sample, nan U8K offered smoother gradations, but tracked a touch dimmer than nan QM8 crossed nan board. You tin spot that successful really overmuch dimmer nan flower successful nan segment supra is astatine 3:35 earlier nan ray intensifies, and past again aft it dims down. At 3:55, there’s much of nan same, pinch smoother nuance connected nan Hisense U8K than nan TCL QM8. Get nan idea?

Let’s move connected to thing else. And I’m acrophobic I person to propulsion retired nan aged Spears and Munsil benchmark disc for this. I know, I know, we’ve seen it a cardinal times, but it’s a known quantity, right? So we tin really excavation into a mates of scenes and prime isolated nan differences.

Obviously, I’m going consecutive for nan horses successful nan snowy field. Now this is contented mastered to 1,000 nits, truthful good wrong nan capacity of some TVs, and they tin determine really to walk their brightness headroom – let’s spot what they do. They some do conscionable fine, but nan TCL has higher mean brightness again.

Bumping up to 2,000 nits, again they some do fine. The TCL is possibly retaining a small much of nan trees successful nan background, but some TVs are doing good pinch this contented overall. Now, I don’t person a 4,000-nit mounting here, but I fishy that nan Hisense U8K could extremity up clipping a small difficult and taking immoderate of nan inheritance item retired successful an ultrabright segment for illustration this because, erstwhile we jump to 10,000 nits, we tin spot it do that. However, I garbage to responsibility nan U8K pinch thing since cipher will ever beryllium throwing 10,000-nit contented astatine this TV, and successful fact, nan number of times it sees 4,000-nit contented will beryllium slim to zero. So, for each nan contented we get connected a regular basis, some TVs grip it well, but nan TCL is brighter connected average. And truthful far, I’ve enjoyed that, but location are immoderate instances successful which it is not needfully a axenic blessing.

Hisense U8K vs TCL QM8Hisense U8K (left) and TCL QM8 Zeke Jones / Digital Trends

Let’s look astatine these scenes from nan Spears and Munsil disc. Watch what happens erstwhile I region conscionable arsenic nan sun reflecting disconnected nan right-most upland highest reaches its … well, highest successful nan TCL image. Look, it’s blown retired compared to nan Hisense. It only lasts a second, but we tin spot much of it if we look for it. Here, nan image connected nan full is brighter connected nan QM8, but look astatine nan apical of nan mountain, wherever you tin spot amended opposition connected nan Hisense U8K than you tin connected nan TCL QM8 – location are much of nan acheronian lines.

Hisense U8K vs TCL QM8Hisense U8K (left) and TCL QM8 Zeke Jones / Digital Trends

You tin spot a small of this successful agleam colors, too. Here, nan apical of this cactus flower looks conscionable a small overblown connected nan QM8, whereas nan colour is deeper and nan texture is much evident connected nan Hisense u8K.

Hisense U8K vs TCL QM8Hisense U8K (left) and TCL QM8 Zeke Jones / Digital Trends

Finally, here, connected nan Ferris wheel, location is intelligibly much item of nan lights successful nan halfway connected nan Hisense U8K than connected nan TCL QM8.

As for mobility resolution, solution upscaling, and crippled mode image quality, it’s beautiful overmuch a dormant heat. So, wherever does that time off us?


Well, from an mundane usage standpoint, I thin to for illustration nan TCL. I for illustration nan distant better, I for illustration nan layout of nan paper better, and I deliberation I’m conscionable going to bask interacting pinch this TV more.

From a sound value perspective, nan Hisense is better, though you could region sound value from your determination by getting a decent soundbar.

There are aspects of each TV that I want. I wish 1 TV did them all.

From a image value perspective, nan Hisense does a amended occupation pinch colour nuance from lower-quality sources, which I deliberation is worthy weighing reasonably heavily. But past there’s nan wide brightness and low-luminance image performance, wherever nan TCL tends to guidelines out. The QM8 is conscionable a brighter TV. So, if you request a batch of punch, nan TCL is nan amended pick. And if you watch a batch of really acheronian content, nan TCL could beryllium a amended prime for wide visibility, while nan Hisense tends to person little sound and macroblocking pinch nan lowlight images it does show you.

So, for me? This is simply a very reliable call. There are aspects of each TV that I want. I wish 1 TV did them all. But, if I had to choose, correct now, I’m astir apt going to take nan TCL if I’m pressured, but I would beryllium very pleased to ain nan U8K arsenic well. Folks, it’s that close.

Now, arsenic if this determination wasn’t difficult enough, there’s nan Sony X90L retired there, too. And if that TV was successful this operation here? It would beryllium an moreover tougher decision. But … I would astir apt prime nan Sony if this was a three-way competition. Again, that’s a very individual decision, and which TV you deliberation is nan victor comes down to your priorities. Hopefully, I’ve helped limb you pinch capable knowledge to make a decision. It’s going to beryllium a reliable one, arsenic some of these TVs connection outstanding capacity for nan price. Perhaps nan champion news coming retired of this comparison is that, nary matter which TV you get, I deliberation you’re going to beryllium beautiful happy.

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