As I’m going through quite a bit of stuff right now, I’ve switched to doing video reviews but hey, we’re still going in-depth.
This, for just £19 per month with Three on an unlimited contract (plus £19 upfront), is the TCL 10 5G.
Wait, who? Well, don’t worry too much. TCL were behind the BlackBerry rebirth and you may have seen some of their Alcatel phones in the past. They know their stuff, and here we get a mid-ranger (£399.95 on Amazon by the way) with a very decent camera setup and a fairly unspoiled version of Android 10.
Let’s get straight into the video review …
As mentioned, the main 64 megapixel lens produces some very decent results. You can also zoom in quite a way, although the phone does tend to do a weird bit of post-processing on your shot to try and make it look less blurry on heavily-zoomed shots. See that a bit further down.
The phone also gets a wide-angle lens, a macro camera and a depth camera for those funky Bokeh shots.
There’s a 4-in-1 “big pixel technology” that automatically combines four pixels into one to produce brighter selfie photos and improved low-light ones, plus all your snaps get sharp focus with phase detection autofocus (PDAF).
Here’s some example photos from the camera..
Here’s a shot zooming in..
As you can see, as the zoom reaches its maximum, things get a little fragmented, but overall the pictures are colourful and clear. Pretty damned decent for a phone at this price.
As mentioned in the video overview, the CPU here keeps everything jogging along at a very respectful pace. It’s not going to match the £900+ phones but hey, you’re not going to be moaning about the speed – put it that way. Sure, you can tell that the refresh rate isn’t as high as those super-expensive phones but again, at this price, you can’t moan a great deal.
The screen is clear, bright and the interface is relatively untouched other than some TCL upselling and a support centre. I was also quite impressed with the whole “NXTVISION” thing that I mentioned in the video – it really added some shine and clarity to shots.
The gallery system, the way that apps are organised and the simplicity of the interface and setup was refreshing – although I should mention that a lot of that is due to Android itself. The Smart Manager, which keeps your phone running well throughout its life, is good to see and the GUI flows well. You can search for apps, drag them to the main screen, add widgets and change everything about the phone without too much hassle.
This is where I felt a little let down. The finish on the rear panel is quite cool, but it’s a little weighty at 210g and the overall look of the phone is a little generic up-front. Perhaps the most individual part is that rear camera arrangement.
Up-close it’s a little pronounced but seems to lack a bit of styling. I can’t quite put my finger on it really..
Around the polished plastic edging, the various buttons I mentioned in the video – volume, power and one to awake your selected assistant.
Plus there’s that 3.5mm audio port and USB-C charging..
This particular price-point is becoming crowded with some very good handsets (a lot of which carry the same CPU). The OnePlus Nord and the Moto G 5G Plus – oh, and the OPPO Find X2 Lite too. The competition – especially the Nord – have really pumped in some styling and individuality. Here, although the internals and the price are decent enough, there’s a lack of “pzazz” which TCL really need to work on.