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TCL’s 20 XE and 20A 5G are new budget phones that cost less than $200

TCL is back again after its recent announcement of the Tab Pro 5G tablet, this time with two affordable new carrier-exclusive smartphones — one 4G and the other 5G. While the pair definitely aren’t among the best 5G phones of the year, they might have a chance to make it on the best cheap phones of 2021 list.


20 XE

Image of TCL 20 XE front and back.

Starting today, you can pick up TCL’s 20 XE for $160 at Metro by T-Mobile. It will also be coming to Boost Mobile for $120, but there is no confirmed released date as of yet.

The smartphone features a 6.52-inch HD+ 1600 x 720 display with a notch for the selfie camera. Weighing 6.88 ounces, it comes in Moonlight Gray in a matte gray finish. It features a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and face unlock.

The triple rear-facing cameras are 13 megapixels. On the front, it uses a 5 MP camera. Video recording will be 1080p at 30 frames per second (fps) with dual microphones.

A MediaTek 2.0 GHz Octa-core processor is running under the hood, with only 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage that can expand up to 512GB with a microSD card. It’s rather limited in its power overall, but it’s not truly meant to be much more than just a simple phone for day-to-day use and browsing.

The 20 XE has a 5,000mAh battery that fast charges with an 18-watt adapter through its USB-C port. According to TCL, it should last for 22 hours per charge, though those numbers are always optimistic (and usually inaccurate in actual use). The phone comes with a 3.5mm audio jack as well, which is fortunately still common on budget Android phones.

Lastly, it comes preinstalled with Android 11 and supports Bluetooth 5.0. It will operate with 4G networks, so no 5G support here.

20A 5G

Image of TCL 20A 5G front and back.

Only for sale online at Visible come November, the 20A 5G will be available for under $200, though the specific price isn’t known yet. It has a lot of similar features to the 20 XE, but some of them are noticeably upgraded.

The 20A 5G features a 6.52-inch HD+ 1600 x 720 display with a notch and a standard 60Hz refresh rate. It will also weigh 6.88 ounces like the 20 XE. And it will come with a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and facial recognition. The sole color is cyan gray with a matte gray finish to help prevent fingerprints.

For cameras, its triple rear-facing cameras are 16MP, 5MP, and 2MP, while the front-facing camera is 13MP. Video recorded by the front or back will be 1080p/60fps. Dual microphones provide noise cancellation.

Inside of the phone, it has a 4,500mAh battery that charges with an 18-watt adapter through its USB-C port. According to TCL, a full charge for the phone is supposed to last around 16 hours of mixed usage, which again, seems optimistic. It will operate on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G chipset with 4GB of RAM, making it fairly average and comparable to the TCL Tab Pro 5G. However, unlike the Tab Pro 5G, it will come with an actual 3.5mm audio jack. It comes with 64GB of built-in storage that is expandable up to 512GB with a microSD card.

It will also come Android 11 and will support Bluetooth 5.1. Perhaps most importantly, it can use 5G networks, unlike the TCL 20 XE.

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