TCL is a big player in the electronics industry, having made its name by manufacturing top-quality TV sets at a lower cost than its top competitors. In contrast, Onn is not nearly as well-known outside the US and mainly targets budget buyers in this country.
So, how good are Onn and TCL TVs, and which should you choose based on your requirements? If you want to find answers to these and many other questions, you’ve come to the right place! Read this Onn vs TCL comparison post to determine which budget brand offers you better value for your money.
Onn vs TCL – Quick Comparison
Onn is a private-label brand owned and sold by Walmart. These TVs are typically very affordable and come without any sophisticated performance features. Onn TVs are often simple in design and primarily target budget buyers looking for a dependable and durable TV that doesn’t cost a lot of money because it doesn’t carry a big brand’s name.
TCL is the much bigger name in this Onn vs TCL comparison, as this budget brand enjoys massive global success as one of the world’s most popular TV manufacturers. This Chinese electronics company is the world’s second-largest TV manufacturer by total market share. From basic models to giant TV sets filled with tons of advanced features, TCL caters to a wide audience, not just those shopping on a tight budget.
Features Face to Face
Most Onn TVs employ the simplistic and affordable DLED panel technology. This means that Onn TVs generally have a direct LED backlight, a configuration with lacking performance characteristics compared to full-array backlight panels. In comparison, most TCL models feature standard LED VA panel technology, with some of them featuring full-array backlight configurations.
That said, TCL TVs have a slight edge in this Onn vs TCL comparison category, as this manufacturer also produces QLED TVs, with even 8K Mini-LED QLED TVs available in its lineup. TCL’s QLED models offer better peak brightness values and lower power consumption than standard LED panels.
When buying a barebone budget TV, you can’t expect to get an image processor that offers any significant upscaling power. So, it comes as no surprise that Onn models feature an Amlogic processor, a chipset lacking advanced image upscaling capabilities.
By contrast, most newer TCL TVs employ the in-house AiPQ Engine processor. Although the TCL processor is a bit better than the one that comes with Onn TVs, it still offers disappointing image processing performance compared to the processors available in TVs made by Sony or Samsung.
Onn TVs come with decent motion technology that has mediocre response times. Although most viewers won’t notice any major blurring issues, you’ll undoubtedly catch blur behind fast-moving objects if you have a keen eye. This is mainly because Onn TVs can’t transition between scenes as quickly as most budget TVs on the market.
That said, this is another category in which TCL models have a clear advantage over Onn TVs. Most TCL TVs have outstanding motion technology times, lower than the industry average. More specifically, TCL’s TVs can fully transition between pixels in just ten to fifteen seconds. In other words, there’s almost no motion blur even in fast, action-packed scenes.
Contrast Ratio / Black Level
Onn delivers very good contrast ratio numbers for a budget TV brand, so dark scenes always look great when you’re watching content in a dimly-lit room. That said, most TCL models can have a noticeably better native contrast ratio than Onn TVs. While the specific contrast ratio does vary between different TCL units, most TCL TVs can display deep and rich blacks.
Onn TVs have a direct backlight configuration, meaning that they don’t have any local dimming properties that would assist them in improving their native contrast ratio. Conversely, TCL models with a full-array backlight configuration also possess local dimming capabilities. This helps them improve their native contrast ratio and reduce blooming around bright objects.
TCL TVs utterly outperform Onn TVs in this category, as Onn offers very poor peak brightness numbers. TCL TVs, especially those that employ QLED panel technology, deliver immeasurably better peak brightness values in SDR and HDR. Because of this, TCL TVs are a much better choice if you’re planning on putting your new TV in a brighter room.
The color gamut and color volume of Onn TVs are unimpressive, to say the least. The color reproduction is disappointing, as the colors aren’t as rich and vibrant as they should be. In comparison, newer TCL TVs have a very good color gamut and color volume and can deliver excellent picture quality in SDR and HDR. Again, this especially goes for TCL QLED models. Considering this, we’ve found that TCL TVs offer deeper and much more beautiful colors.
As Onn and TCL TVs both employ LED panels, they have pretty narrow viewing angles that mark this technology. Looking into the numbers, TCL TVs are a bit better in this category, as they start losing their image sharpness and brightness at slightly wider angles.
That said, although TCL TVs offer better viewing angles than Onn models, their performance in this regard is still unremarkable. If you’re looking for models that support wide viewing angles, it’s best to focus on OLED TVs, like those from Sony or LG.
Reflections / Anti-glare
Onn TVs have a semi-gloss screen finish, much like many TCL models. This type of screen coating is less preferred than the glossy screen finish because it struggles to deliver a good performance in well-lit environments. However, some TCL TVs do have a glossy finish, meaning they have excellent reflection-handling capabilities. Due to this, we give TCL models the edge.
Onn TVs deliver equally decent sound quality to match their picture quality properties. However, although these TVs have a reasonably well-balanced sound, they can’t get very loud and often offer disappointing audio quality at maximum volume levels.
By comparison, TCL TVs offer better sound quality than Onn models. Some TCL models, like those in the 5 Series and 6 Series, can get very loud and perform well even at higher volume levels. With all of this in mind, even though TCL TVs outperform Onn models in this category, they still have a fairly flat bass that can’t produce much rumble.
Smart TV Platform (Operating System)
These two affordable brands feature solid Smart TV platforms that don’t significantly differ from those you can find in premium TV sets. That said, here’s a closer comparison of the operating systems that come with Onn and TCL TVs:
|OS Features||Onn||TCL TVs|
|OS Version||Roku TV||Google TV/Roku TV|
|Ease of Use||6/10||6/10|
Going by the information we’ve featured in the table above, TCL models that use Google TV provide you with a better Smart TV platform overall. Still, if you’re choosing between Onn TVs and TCL TVs that run on the Roku Smart TV platform, the OS platform features, in this case, are nearly identical.
When you’re buying a budget Smart TV, connectivity properties are certainly one of the aspects you have to make compromises on. However, as connectivity features are still vital if you want to get the most out of your Smart TV, it’s essential to consider them when comparing different budget brands.
Taking this into account, we’ll focus this part of our Onn vs TCL comparison on three crucial connectivity aspects. These are the quality and quantity of inputs, voice assistant support, and availability of wireless technologies.
As TCL offers more models in its lineup than Onn, holistically comparing input specifications between two brands can’t give us any reliable information. Instead, to get a clear perspective of how these two brands fare on this front, we’ll compare an Onn and a TCL TV that are in a fairly similar price range. With that in mind, here’s a quick Onn vs TCL input overview:
|Input Ports||Onn 4K Roku TV||TCL S Series|
|HDMI Ports||3 HDMI 2.0 Ports||3 HDMI 2.0 Ports|
|USB Ports||1 USB 2.0 Ports||1 USB 2.0 Ports|
|Digital Optical Audio Out||1 Port||1 Port|
|Price||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon|
The table above shows that the two models in a similar price range from these two brands offer identical input specifications. But again, it’s important to remember that TCL offers you many more options to choose from, so you can easily find a TCL model with more favorable input specs.
What’s more, TCL TVs heavily outperform Onn models in terms of input lag. Most TCL TVs deliver excellent input lag numbers, usually around twelve to fifteen milliseconds across all supported resolutions. Conversely, Onn models have abysmal response times that average around 32 milliseconds.
As Onn TVs run on Roku TV, the best way to set up voice assistant support on these TVs is to purchase a Roku remote with voice control functions. That way, you can use it directly or connect it to Alexa or Google Assistant by additionally purchasing a dedicated device that works with one of these services. Otherwise, Onn TVs won’t have any voice control properties.
In comparison, TCL offers better voice assistant support, although this can significantly differ based on the specific model. For example, TCL TVs that run on Roku TV have the same voice control properties as Onn TVs. But, TCL TVs that operate on Google TV support the Google Assistant, one of the best voice assistants you can get in a Smart TV.
This is another category in which TCL TVs have the edge over Onn TVs. While both manufacturers input Wi-Fi support in the form of 2.4GHz and 5GHz standards into their models, TCL has the edge because its TVs also offer Bluetooth support. Although most TCL TVs only support Bluetooth LE, this is still more than what you can count on if you opt for an Onn TV.
While both Onn and TCL fall into the “budget brand” category, TCL offers you a handful of standout features you won’t find in any Onn TV. This is because Onn TVs are very basic and only come with the necessary Smart TV, visual, and audio features to deliver a solid set for mixed usage.
In comparison, TCL TVs have some traits that put them closer to one of the premium brands than to Onn in this regard. Some of the most impressive standout features you can find in TCL TVs are HDR10+, HLG, VRR, and FreeSync. Many newer TCL TVs even come with Dolby Vision support. Considering the quality of all of these features, TCL models are a much better choice.
There’s no arguing that Onn TVs are generally cheaper than TCL TVs. However, while TCL TVs are slightly more expensive on average, they also come with plenty more features than Onn TVs.
What’s more, even when comparing picture quality features that both brands possess, TCL more often than not comes out on top. So, while Onn TVs are cheaper outright, the slightly higher price tag that marks TCL models is well worth it, as these TVs offer much better value for your money.
To sum up this thorough Onn vs TCL comparison article in a few sentences, we want to highlight that TCL is undoubtedly a more reputable and better brand overall. TCL TVs are a bit more expensive than Onn models but deliver significantly more value, as they outperform Onn TVs in most of the categories we’ve compared them.
If you still can’t decide which brand is a better choice for you, we want to leave you with a simple rule of thumb that will help you make your choice. If you’re buying on a very tight budget and the overall cost of the product heavily outweighs all other factors, Onn TVs are a solid pick. They deliver well-rounded performance suitable for general mixed usage but don’t perform particularly well in any area.
On the other hand, if you want a better HDR viewing experience or plan on doing more serious gaming on your new TV, TCL TVs are clearly the better option. You might spend a couple of hundred dollars more in the end, but you’ll be getting a TV that’s much closer in quality to a big brand name TV than a budget TV manufacturer.
Related Read: Onn vs Hisense: Which budget TV brand is best in 2023?