TCL 20 series includes the TCL 20 Pro 5G, TCL 20L+ & TCL 20L. In this review, we have been given the opportunity to have tested out the TCL 20 Pro 5G which costs £476 from Amazon.
TCL is a brand I have covered since the 10 series and have been previously developing their mobile skills in working on Blackbury & Alcatel in the past. So when I got the chance to review the TCL 20 Pro 5G I jumped at the chance.
The TCL 20 Pro 5G is the most premium of the trio of devices they have released but in a mid-range price tag. First impressions and the design and display will grab your attention. The phone comes in two colours Moondust Grey and Marine Blue. We were sent the Marine Blue version and I have to say that colour makes it a stunning looking phone especially when the light catches the phone.
I also noticed when watching a film on this phone via Amazon Video the TCL 20 Pro 5G automatically upscaled to improve the viewing experience which was a very impressive feature to have but something you might expect from TCL when they are so well known for their TV’s.
The TCL 20 Pro 5G is not a small phone by a long shot measuring 164.2 x 73 x 8.77mm and this might cause an issue for some to reach the side buttons but I did not have this issue but it’s something to consider.
Starting from the base of the phone you have that USB-C port and sim card slot that is a dual sim or you can have a sim card and microSD card up to 1TB of storage. Moving to the right side of the phone you have the power button and volume controls and on the left side of the phone, it comes with a smart key that can be customised for the single, double and long press options.
You will notice on the front screen you do get a fingerprint scanner which worked very well and was nice to have as on other phones at this price range it might have been missed.
The phone has a glass panel on both the front and the back with that metal frame holding everything together. There is not a mention of gorilla glass being used so best use a phone case to keep this baby safe.
On the back of the phone as mentioned it looks great the Marine blue finish is such a lovely colour in the sunshine, it’s a thing of beauty. What they have also done that I feel improves the design is the removal of a camera bump the camera lens are all perfectly flush that makes the phone feel slender.
You will also notice this phone does not offer a fast charging option but what it does allow for is wireless charging at 15W or just plug the charger in the wall and get the normal 18W charging option.
Now talking about the display on this device you have a 6.7 inch AMOLED screen with a 93% screen to body ratio that also has a selfie camera at the top centre. The screen does curve around the edges which offers a little extra when watching a film. Resolution wise it does come with full HD resolution with NXTVision display which adds to the overall brightness of the screen. This feature is something normally seen in their TV’s which upscales the content making it look even better.
We did find this phone falls a little short in regards to the refresh rate it’s only 60Hz which seems a little odd when we have tested phones in the same price band that offers up to 120Hz. It won’t overly affect the speed of the phone for a general user but if we had the option to have had at least 90Hz it would increase the overall speed when opening apps or switching between apps.
Under the bonnet, the TCL 20 Pro 5G is run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G which is ideal for mobile gaming and offered a well-run machine. The phone also comes with 6GB of RAM and 256GB of storage that will allow you to download a number of apps as well as store lots of photos when you head out on your staycation this year.
When we run some benchmark tests this phone came in at 1911 and this scored well compared to others in that price range and it was nearly the same score as the TCL 10 5G We found when playing mobile games the graphics on this phone was perfect and made for a nice gaming experience.
This phone also runs on Andriod 11 which we are now seeing more devices with this Operating system and this is paired with TCL own user interface which is nice to look at but you do get a bundle of pre-downloaded apps you don’t really need which can be a little annoying to some but with a little tidy up of the apps on the phone, you won’t notice the additional apps if you use the app drawer that puts all the apps into categories something I do on my iPhone 12.
As the name on the phone suggests it 5G compatible which is handy if your in an area that has 5G am lucky that Southend on Sea is an area that offers 5G. I found the speed of downloading very fast and the 5G offering did speed up everything we were doing on the phone.
Camera Review by our camera expert James Roberson-Milligan
When I was handed this phone, I was told the camera on this device was meant to be good!! Looking at it on paper, a quad camera boasting up to 48MP, 16MP Ultra-Wide, 5MP Macro and 2MP depth-sensing Camera. We also had a front-facing selfie camera with 32MP I was expecting big things, and I was not let down at all.
The camera on this phone is all singing and all dancing and in my opinion, is up there with the top end handsets on today’s market, this phone really won’t disappoint anyone with photography in mind when it comes to a good quality camera on a phone, this camera really will make your inner photography imagination come out of you and with the help of free to download photography apps you could really set the world alight with what you can do from this phone!!
So, what lurks behind this Quad cam what do you actually get, well why wait let’s get stuck in and show you what this phone has to offer!!
First up is Super Macro!!
Super Macro allows you to get super fine detail at a close range on photography and really capture the fine elements of an Image close up, the super Macro on this phone works and works well normally when testing Macro on a phone I choose my trusty satsuma but for this, as its Springtime, I decided on a lovely bunch a Lillys I bought for the wife, and the super macro works well, you do have to get up close and personal but you do get the fine detail of the image and on this handset, they have got the balance perfect of that with great definition and colour of the subject.
Next up is the Light trace function.
This is basically “light painting” that you would normally have to have a professional DSLR which needs to be tripod mounted as you have to have a very steady hand for, and on this handset, they have bought that element to a camera phone BUT you will need a phone tripod to make this work, I have a steady hand but the slightest of camera shake and that’s your image ruined!
The fundamentals are there in this phone and you can have some real fun with it BUT you will need to buy that phone tripod to make use of this function I don’t have a phone tripod and unfortunately, it shows in this image but you can get the gist of what this function does!
This handset also comes with a common feature on most new handsets which is “Super night mode”, so in dark or poorly lit area’s you get a well-defined image still of the subject you are taking, due to Covid guidelines, I am not able to try it in a club or similar setting so I decided to take a trip to my local church to see what this would come out like as it’s a poorly lit area at night and the subject came out extremely well, so I can go as far as to say in a club/pub or back garden party setting you will get a decent result as I did when testing this, the outcome I was happy with!
Auto Mode, so auto is your basic point and click along with zoom and wide-angle, let’s look at wide-angle first.
Wide-angle opens the lens up to get more of the image that you are taking so you get more of the surrounding and on a fine Spring day today whilst walking the pooch I decided to see how good this was.
The quality of the image is excellent and well defined with a nice crisp feel to the end result.
Next is your typical point and click without using zoom and again, the clarity, the definition and a superb end result from the quads on the rear! You get true to life colour and really good high-end tones, again if you use one of the many free to download photography apps, most popular being Snapseed you can make some amazing images from the camera on this handset and you can really let your imagination run wild and post some truly amazing award-winning pics on social media!
The zoom on this phone tops out at a 10x zoom so it’s not the best but on a full zoom on most phones the picture comes out a little grainy or you get a slight bit of camera shake, but on this handset, you get none of the above, you still get a really nice crisp clean image with great colour tones with a well rounded off image.
This phone also offers Pro Mode, basically a DSLR camera but on a phone where you can fettle with all different settings to get the best results for the image that you are taking, I took one on pro mode with no fettling and got a nice crisp clean clear image.
Portrait mode, my fave! I love a portrait photo, I love the definition you get with the subtle background blur on the image, and the clean crisp tone to the picture and this will certainly not disappoint. You even get a little metre measure so you can define how much background blur you get! this is a nice touch and pictures will come out lovely with that professional feel.
The all-important selfie mode, we all love a selfie, don’t we 🙂 and on this phone be prepared to only capture the best!! with its 32MP central mounted camera, you really get a good clean crisp shot with great detail and clarity! you will definitely get some great FB profile pictures with this device!
This really is a great camera on this handset and it sure does have enough give to play with the market leaders such as Samsung and Apple, you could really make your pictures come alive with this phone and make some award-winning shots and post some truly spectacular images to social media,
I really like this handset and as tech evolves I would love to keep an eye on TCL and see what they bring out next!
Moving back to the phone to enjoy this great camera you need decent battery life and the TCL 20 Pro 5G offers a 4,500mAh battery that is fairly impressive and in testing, we gave it a fair bit of use such as watching some wresting videos and listing to some Amazon music as well as the normal texting and calls and photo taking and we found it lasted all day so what more can you ask for.
As we mentioned early in this review when it’s charge time you have the option of plugging the charger into the wall you get 18W of power which will take about 2 hours to fully charge. The other option is wireless charging that comes in at 15W. With the number of wireless charging devices I have in my house I always made sure this phone never dropped below 50% battery life.
The TCL 20 Pro 5G is definitely an improvement on the 10 series with the introduction of wireless charging. This phone does tick a lot of boxes especially if you’re looking for a great looking phone. It also offers a lovely display with that curved-edge and NXTvision AMOLED display which improves any video on your phone with very subtle changes.
However, it’s not perfect with the lack of fast charging it does allow wireless charging but having a fast charge option would have been nice to have had. Also, the fact you only have a 60Hz refresh rate will be fine for the average user but if you like your phone to operate with speed it would have been nice to have had this phone at 90Hz but with a 60Hz option.
I am also concerned without any real IP rating as I prefer my phone to be waterproof as just in case of an accident you know your phone will be safe.
All in all yes this phone is not perfect but for a phone under the £500 mark that offers 5G. The TCL 20 Pro 5G is well worth considering if you can look past its faults.
Design: 5.0 out of 5.0 stars
Features: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
Speed: 3.0 out of 5.0 stars
Camera: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
Value For Money: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
Overall Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
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