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TCL’s new 5G phones are the most affordable yet, but U.S. buyers have to wait

The TCL 10 series may not have made all that many headlines, but now the company wants to step things up a little. At CES 2021, TCL has announced the new TCL 20 series, which will eventually be made up of a hefty five models. For now, however, the company is only launching two: The TCL 20 5G and TCL 20 SE.

Here’s a rundown of the two new phones and what they have to offer.

TCL 20 5G

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The TCL 20 5G is the top model in the 20 series, though that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a super high-end device. The phone has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 690 processor, along with 6GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage — solid, but not mind-blowing. On the front, there’s a 6.67-inch display with a 1,080p resolution and a small hole-punch cutout for the front-facing camera.

On the back of the device, there’s a triple-lens camera, with a 48-megapixel main sensor, an 8MP wide-angle camera, and a 2MP macro camera.

Perhaps more important than the specs are the features, and TCL is quick to tout its NXTVISION display technology. Now on its second generation, NXTVISION encompasses features like SDR to HDR conversion and blue light filtering, which should make for a brighter display but also one that’s easier on the eyes. Of course, a high refresh rate and higher resolution may have made more of an impact, but we’ll have to wait and see.

The TCL 20 5G is now available in Mist Gray and Placid Blue in Italy for 299 euros, or around $366. TCL says that the device will roll out to more countries in the coming months, but specific U.S. details were not confirmed.


Image used with permission by copyright holder

The TCL 20 SE, following classic Apple naming fashion, is the budget model. The device swaps out the hole-punch for a small teardrop notch, though it’s still subtle enough to not be too intrusive. The display sits in at 6.82 inches, with just a 720p resolution. Under the hood, the phone features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 processor, along with 4GB of RAM, and either 64GB or 128GB of storage.

On the back, there’s a quad-lens camera, with one 48-megapixel main sensor, a 5MP wide-angle camera, a 2MP macro camera, and a 2MP depth camera. As is usually the case with these inexpensive quad cameras, I’d expect the latter three to be limited in their usefulness.

The TCL 20 SE will be available later this month in Nuit Black and Aurora Green for 149 euros, or around $182. This one’s even less likely to come to the U.S., if I had to guess.

TCL has confirmed that some 20 series devices will be coming to the U.S., but with five to choose from (even just right now), it’s hard to say which will arrive. But given the company was able to get the TCL 10 5G on Verizon last year , it’d make sense to see the same sort of deal spin up again. And the more inexpensive 5G-capable phones we can get here, the better.

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