TCL Soundbars
compared

TCL - High-quality sound made in China

The brand The Creative Life – in short TCL – is mainly known for its TVs. After all, the company is one of the world’s largest TV manufacturers. The Chinese electronics giant has also become creative when it comes to audio solutions, which is why its product range includes several soundbars. However, the clichés about the label “Made in China” only apply here in terms of the price range in which the devices are. Despite the comparatively low price, TCL’s soundbars can significantly improve the sound of your TV. In the following, we will take a closer look at the features they are equipped with.

Dolby Atmos Soundbars compared

Even though TCL’s soundbars tend to be in the low price segment, some of them come with innovative sound formats like Dolby Atmos. At the same time, some of the 3D soundbars even do not have height channels.

TCL Alto 9+
Alto 9+
TCL Alto 8 Plus
Alto 8 Plus
TCL Alto 8i
Alto 8i
TCL Alto 8
Alto 8
Model year 2020 2022 2020 2022
Channels 3.1 (3.1.2 virtual) 2.1.2 (5.1.2 virtual) 2.1 (5.1.2 virtual) 2.1
Dolby Atmos
DTS
HDMI 2.1 1x In
eARC
WLAN
Room size above 40 m2 up to 40 m2 up to 25 m2 up to 25 m2
Subwoofer External External Internal Internal
Satellites
Dimensions Height x Width x Depth 58 x 1050 x 110 mm 65 x 1000 x 130 mm 65 x 1000 x 130 mm 65 x 1000 x 128 mm

TCL Alto 9+ 2020
Powerful Dolby Atmos soundbar with a stylish appearance

Room size
above 40 m2
Channels
3.1
(3.1.2 virtual)

TCL Alto 9+ Connections

HDMI 2.0 InHDMI OutHDMI ARCDigital optical3.5mm JackUSB for playback
Dolby Atmos
Set
Soundbar + Subwoofer
  • 540W total power
  • External subwoofer
  • Dolby Atmos
  • Chromecast & Apple Airplay
  • Bluetooth & Wi-Fi
  • Balanced sound profile
  • No HDMI eARC
  • No DTS
  • Poor surround performance
  • Low volume
  • No voice assistants

The TCL TS9030 comes with an external wireless subwoofer and impresses with a maximum total power of 540 watts. The soundbar is equipped with TCL’s RAY-DANZ technology and therefore has a special design with vents on the sides. These are supposed to provide a wider, even more immersive soundscape. However, in practice, the TS9030’s low volume is an obstacle for this.

The 3.1-channel system features a center speaker that ensures clear voices and dialogs. It also supports a variety of sound formats with Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Atmos. Unfortunately, however, surround and three-dimensional content has to be downmixed to stereo due to the lack of up-firing and side-firing speakers. This makes the listening experience less immersive.

The soundbar’s streaming options leave nothing to be desired. It is equipped with Bluetooth and can be connected to your home network thanks to its Wi-Fi interface. Apple device owners are served with Apple’s Airplay, while Android users get their money’s worth with the integrated Chromecast.

TCL Alto 8 Plus 2022
Affordable 2.1.2-channel-setup with Dolby Atmos

Room size
up to 40 m2
Channels
2.1.2
(5.1.2 virtual)

TCL Alto 8 Plus Connections

HDMI 2.0 InHDMI 2.1 InHDMI ARCHDMI eARCDigital opticalUSB for playback
Dolby Atmos
Set
Soundbar + Subwoofer
  • 300W total power
  • Wireless subwoofer
  • Up-firing speakers
  • Dolby Atmos
  • HDMI 2.1 & eARC
  • Dolby Vision & 4K
  • Bluetooth
  • EQ settings
  • USB Playback
  • No DTS
  • Few Smart Features

A whole seven speakers are hidden in TCL’s Alto 8 Plus. We are dealing with a 2.1.2-channel setup, which comes with an external subwoofer and two up-firing speakers. The woofer is coupled wirelessly with the sound bar. Unfortunately, you have to do without a center speaker and side-firing speakers in this model. Nevertheless, the Alto 8 Plus also supports the three-dimensional sound format Dolby Atmos, for whose playback three additional main channels are simulated.

To customize the sound, the TCL Alto 8 Plus comes with three EQ presets. The soundbar’s maximum volume can also be heard thanks to a total power of 300 watts. The setup is connected to your TV ideally via HDMI 2.1 eARC connection, thanks to another HDMI 2.0 input, a console or BluRay player can also be connected to it. Otherwise, an optical and a USB port are available. Those who prefer it wireless can fall back on the Bluetooth interface.

TCL Alto 8i 2020
Simple all-in-one Soundbar with Dolby Atmos support

Room size
up to 25 m2
Channels
2.1
(5.1.2 virtual)

TCL Alto 8i Connections

HDMI 2.0 InHDMI OutHDMI eARCDigital optical3.5mm JackUSB for playback
Dolby Atmos
Set
Soundbar
  • 260W total power
  • Integrated subwoofer
  • Compact design
  • HDMI eARC
  • Dolby Atmos
  • Bluetooth
  • Poor surround performance
  • High latency
  • No DTS
  • No Wi-Fi, Chromecast or Apple Airplay
  • No voice assistants

Unlike the previously listed soundbars from TCL, the TS8111 comes without an external subwoofer. Instead, it is already integrated into the slim device. Despite the low number of channels and the missing heights, the soundbar supports Dolby Atmos content. It should be obvious that surround and 3D content from a 2.1 system does not sound particularly immersive. Nevertheless, the TS8111 cuts a good figure for an all-in-one soundbar and also gets quite loud.

Unfortunately, the TS8111 does not have a center speaker nor a dialog enhancement feature. Nevertheless, it can reproduce voices and dialogs quite clearly. This is also evident when playing music, although you will have to do without music that is too bass-heavy since the integrated subwoofer cannot really reproduce low bass convincingly. But, at least the soundbar is equipped with some sound modes and adjustment options for bass and trebles.

This soundbar from TCL is equipped with two HDMI interfaces. One is an HDMI 2.0 input and the other is an HDMI 2.1 interface with eARC. It also has an optical port and a 3.5 mm jack input. Those who prefer to connect wirelessly can do so via Bluetooth.

TCL Alto 8 2022
One-body Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Room size
up to 25 m2
Channels
2.1

TCL Alto 8 Connections

HDMI 2.0 InHDMI eARCDigital optical3.5mm Jack
Dolby Atmos
Set
Soundbar
  • 260W total power
  • Integrated subwoofer
  • HDMI eARC
  • Dolby Atmos
  • EQ settings
  • 4K & Dolby Vision
  • Apple Airplay & Bluetooth
  • Integrated Chromecast
  • No height channels
  • No DTS

The TCL Alto 8 also comes without external subwoofer and treble channels. The woofer is already integrated into the approximately one meter long sound bar. Despite the slim dimensions, the speakers can boast a total power of 260 watts inside. This soundbar from TCL can also play Dolby Atmos content and virtually simulates 5.1.2 channels.

In terms of smart features, the TCL Alto 8 is definitely something to be proud of: Besides Apple Airplay, it also has Chromecast integrated and supports Multiroom. It can also be used with the voice assistants Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, but this requires an external third-party device. A classic Bluetooth interface is also available.

For wired connection, the soundbar offers an optical port, a USB port and an AUX input. Dolby Atmos content is transmitted via HDMI 2.1 eARC, another HDMI 2.0 input is also given.

Stereo Soundbars

Besides soundbars that offer three-dimensional sound, the Chinese manufacturer also produces stereo soundbars.

TCL Alto 7+ 2019
Compact soundbar with subwoofer for little money

Room size
up to 40 m2
Channels
2.1

TCL Alto 7+ Connections

HDMI OutHDMI ARCDigital optical3.5mm JackUSB for playback
Set
Soundbar + Subwoofer
  • 320W total power
  • 160W wireless Subwoofer
  • HDMI ARC, Bluetooth & USB
  • Max. Volume
  • Low-precision bass
  • Bass-heavy sound profile
  • No DTS & Dolby Atmos
  • Moderate surround sound

The TS7010 is a slim soundbar and comes with an external wireless subwoofer. Together, both components have a maximum total output of 320 watts. Since it is a 2.1-channel setup, you have to do without three-dimensional as well as surround sound, because these would always be converted into stereo sound for playback. Accordingly, the soundbar only supports Dolby Digital as audio format.

The soundbar has two tweeters and two full-range speaker drivers to reproduce stereo sound. It also comes with special sound modes that are supposed to adapt the sound to the content being played. The EQ settings include a music mode, a news mode and a movie mode.

To connect the soundbar to your TV, it is equipped with an optical input and an HDMI ARC port. If you want to play music from another device, you can do so via the USB interface or the 3.5mm AUX input. Wireless transmission via Bluetooth is also possible.