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TCL launches its first phones, and even the 5G version costs less than $500

TCL Communication has officially announced the TCL 10 Series of smartphones, which it teased during CES 2020 and had originally intended to announce during Mobile World Congress in February, had the show not been canceled. However, good things come to those who wait, and the TCL 10 5G, the TCL 10 Pro, and the TCL 10 L are all very good. What makes them good? These are smartphones that combine everything we want in a phone: Good specs, pleasing design, and a very competitive price.

TCL 10 5G

The TCL 10 5G is the model set to shake things up the most. It’s a 5G smartphone that costs just 400 British pounds, or about $490 U.S., making it just about the cheapest phone we’ve seen with the latest 5G connection technology inside. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chipset and the X55 modem provide the power and 5G connectivity, along with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage space. The 210 gram body has curved glass on the front and back, with a 6.53-inch, 2340 x 1080 pixel LCD screen on the front.

On the back is an unusual horizontal quad-camera array consisting of a 64-megapixel main sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle sensor, a 5-megapixel macro sensor, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. Features include an up to 10x digital zoom, night mode, macro mode, and 4K video recording at 30 frames per second (fps). The 16-megapixel selfie camera is inside a hole-punch in the screen, which TCL embarrassingly calls a “dotch.” We’ll call it a hole-punch, if it’s all the same to you, TCL.

What else? The phone takes energy from a 4,500mAh battery, has a MicroSD card slot, a 3.5mm headphone socket, Android 10, reverse charging, and perhaps most interestingly, TCL’s NXTVISION display enhancements. Based on its expertise in televisions, for which the brand is best known for in the U.S., it provides natural colors, contrast, and clarity, along with an SDR to HDR conversion feature.

The TCL 10 5G has only been given pricing for the U.K. and Europe so far, and TCL says it will be available in select regions around the world later this year. Whether the U.S. joins the list closer to launch remains to be seen.

TCL 10 Pro

Disappointed the TCL 10 5G isn’t announced for the U.S. yet? How about the TCL 10 Pro, instead? It’s coming to the U.S. in late spring, and will cost $450.That gets you a massive 6.47-inch screen with the same NXTVISION technology as the TCL 10 5G plus an in-display fingerprint sensor. It comes in gray, but the forest mist green color is the one to get, as the cascading screen makes the phone look really superb.

Set in the glass back of the phone is another quad-camera array. It has the same 64-megapixel main sensor as the 10 5G, but comes with a 16-megapixel wide-angle sensor, which joins a 5-megapixel macro sensor and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. A 24-megapixel selfie camera is inside a teardrop notch at the top of the screen. The 10 Pro has a 10x hybrid zoom. can shoot 4K video, and features a comprehensive autofocus system too.

There’s no 5G inside the 10 Pro, so it comes with the Snapdragon 675 processor with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage space. Android 10 is on board, and you also get a 4,500mAh battery, a MicroSD card slot, dual-SIM support, and a 3.5mm headphone port. The phone will be released between now and the end of June in North America, Europe, and the U.K., where it will cost 400 British pounds.

TCL 10 L

At just $250, the TCL 10L is the cheapest member of the new lineup, but don’t think you’re losing out on all the best features by choosing it. The TCL 10L has the same 6.53-inch LCD screen with NXTVISION enhancements as the TCL 10 5G, plus a 3.5mm headphone socket, 6GB of RAM, a MicroSD card slot, and a 16-megapixel selfie camera inside the screen’s hole-punch.

Savings are made by using a plastic body for the phone, a Snapdragon 665 processor, and a choice of 64GB or 128GB of memory space, plus a smaller 4,000mAh battery. The camera on the back still has four lenses, but it’s a 48-megapixel main lens joined by an 8-megapixel wide-angle sensor, along with 2-megapixel depth and macro sensors. TCL will release the TCL 10L at the same time as the TCL 10 Pro, and in the same regions, including the U.K., where it will cost 200 British pounds.

TCL has impressed with its televisions and its audio products, and from our early impressions of the TCL 10 series phones, it’s set to do the same with its first branded smartphones. While these are the first to launch internationally with TCL’s name attached, the company currently still has a license to produce devices using the Palm name, and until recently did the same with BlackBerry too. The prices make these phones worthy of attention, especially when matched with strong specifications and good design.

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