Skip to main content

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.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.

Andy Boxall
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
Your next phone could get a huge 5G upgrade, thanks to AI
Qualcomm Snapdragon X80 Modem-RF chip.

It’s that time of year again when Qualcomm ushers in its next generation of 5G modem technology. Announced at Mobile World Congress (MWC ) 2024, this year’s Snapdragon X80 5G Modem-RF system is the successor to last year’s Snapdragon X75, and it builds on the 5G Advanced foundation laid last year with more raw power and new AI features.

While the Snapdragon X75 moved the needle by adding support for the latest 5G Advanced standards, we’re still in that fourth phase of 5G technology, otherwise known as 3GPP Release 18 — and most carrier networks are still catching up. So, with no new standards to embrace, Qualcomm has focused on improving the inside of the Snapdragon X80 to take even fuller advantage of these cutting-edge 5G technologies.
The magic of AI-powered 5G

Read more
TCL’s new Android phones are coming soon, and they look promising
Someone holding the TCL 50 LE smartphone at CES 2024.

TCL 50 LE Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

TCL announced a slate of new phones at CES 2024 last month, but there wasn’t a lot of information about them. Thankfully, that's just changed.

Read more
This tiny dongle will change 5G connectivity forever
TCL Linkkey IK511 5G Dongle against a blue background.

TCL is having a busy start to 2024. First, it announced a staggering number of new smartphones and two new tablets at CES, and now it’s unveiling something else at MWC 2024 — one of the world’s first 5G dongles that takes advantage of the latest power-efficient 5G standards.

TCL Mobile’s Linkkey IK511 is a pocketable new 5G adapter that’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X35 5G Modem-RF system, which debuted last year as the first 5G modem to support the new NR-Light “RedCap” standard.
5G for everyone, everything, everywhere
TCL Linkkey IK511 TCL

Read more