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TCL’s 2023 soundbars are affordable, but lack a key feature

2023 TCL soundbars.

TCL has released its 2023 soundbar lineup, which consists of five new models ranging in price from $150 to $280. They offer features like wireless subwoofers and, in some cases, Dolby 5.1 surround sound. But none of the speakers is compatible with Dolby Atmos, the increasingly popular, immersive 3D surround format used by Netflix and other top streaming video services.

LG, Samsung, Sony, and even Roku make soundbars that are designed to work with their TVs — typically offering some kind of audio sync system that lets the TV’s built-in speakers share the audio load with the soundbar. Samsung takes this even further by letting you stream audio from your compatible Samsung TV to your soundbar, wirelessly, with Dolby Atmos support. However, with the exception of being Roku TV Ready (which lets you control the soundbar’s settings using a Roku TV on-screen interface), TCL’s new models appear to avoid any special features that are optimized for use with the company’s 2023 TVs.

All five models are available now from a variety of online and physical shops. Here’s the full lineup.

Editor’s note: due to an error in TCL’s press release, an earlier version of this article had incorrect pricing for some models. These have been corrected.

TCL Q Class Soundbars

TCL Q6510, $280

2023 TCL Q6510 soundbar.

TCL’s flagship for 2023 is the Q6510, a 5.1 surround system that features a wireless subwoofer and two surround speakers that are wired to the subwoofer.

The 430-watt setup has a variety of inputs including HDMI ARC, optical, USB for MP3 playback, and 3.5mm and 2.5mm AUX line-in ports. Wireless playback via Bluetooth is on deck, and the system can be controlled by either your TV’s remote or the included remote control. Also in the box is a wall-mount kit for the main soundbar, two power cords, and an HDMI cable.

TCL doesn’t specify the number or size of drivers in the soundbar, but it does for the wireless subwoofer: 6.5 inches. There isn’t a way to manually control EQ, but TCL does give you several presets to choose from, including Standard, Voice, Music, Movie, Game, and Sports.

One clever feature we wouldn’t expect in a soundbar at this price is TCL’s automatic room calibration, which you access using the TCL Home app on iOS or Android.

And while Dolby Atmos isn’t supported, you do get DTS Virtual:X, a system that can upscale two-channel and multichannel audio to sound more like a 3D immersive format.

TCL Q6310, $230

2023 TCL Q6310 soundbar.

The Q6310 is effectively a 3.1-channel version of the Q6510. The soundbar and wireless subwoofer components are the same, but because there are no wired surround modules, overall power drops to 350 watts.

But other than these two differences, the Q6310 and Q6510 share all of the same features, including automatic room calibration.

TCL S Class Soundbars

TCL S4510, $230

2023 TCL S4510 soundbar.

TCL’s S Class offers many of the same features as the Q Class soundbars, but at lower prices. They also use a slimmer, oval cabinet shape that may be easier to integrate into some rooms.

The top S Class model, the S4510, is a 5.1-channel system with 300 watts of power that matches a three-channel soundbar with a wireless subwoofer and two wired surround modules (again, which connect to the sub). We still don’t know the details of the soundbar’s acoustics, but the subwoofer’s driver is now 5.5 inches, as compared to the Q Class’ 6.5-inch units.

The S4510 has the same wired and Bluetooth wireless connections as the Q Class models, the same EQ presets, and the same easy configuration if you’ve got a Roku TV. What the S Class lack, however, is the Q Class’ automatic room calibration. As with the Q Class, you get Dolby Audio 5.1 and DTS Virtual:X, a remote control, wall-mounting hardware, and cables for power and HDMI.

The S Class soundbars are capable of playing WMA, FLAC, and WAV files in addition to the MP3 capability on the Q Class models. TCL tells us this is due to the different chipsets used in each product group.

TCL S4310, $180

2023 TCL S4310 soundbar.

Following the example set by the Q Class models, the S4310 is the S4510, but without the latter’s wired surround modules. This drops the channels to 3.1 and the price by $100, but also the power — the S4310 is rated at 240 watts.

TCL S4210, $150

2023 TCL S4210 soundbar.

Rounding out the bottom of the TCL soundbar range is the S4210, which uses the same wireless subwoofer as its S Class siblings, but it’s a smaller soundbar that only handles two channels of audio, for a 2.1-channel setup.

Power is rated at 240 watts, which should still be plenty for powerful TV audio, and all of the other S Class features have been preserved, including Dolby Audio and DTS Virtual:X.

Editors' Recommendations

Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like…
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