It is not easy in 2020 to launch a new smartphone in the mid-range category. Put simply, good phones are getting cheaper and cheap phones are getting better and there has never been more competition for consumers’ hard-earned cash. TCL, is not necessarily new in the smartphone space with endeavours in relaunching the Blackberry and Palm brands over the past 5 years, however, new this year, is their very own TCL branded smartphone and put simply – it is the best mid range smartphone money can buy right now!
It all starts with the design, it is easy for cell phone manufacturers to rest on their laurels when it comes to design with many seeking to go down the generic glass slab design motif that has been popular for nearly a decade but TCL takes a different approach and it all starts with the screen. The 6.47-inch FHD+ curved AMOLED display is just not usually seen in a phone that costs under $500 and it truly is something to marvel at offering impressive punchy colors and vibrancy that make media consumption especially a delight. This is helped in part by TCL’s NXTVISION technology and real-time HDR processing that is brought over from their knowledge of creating high definition televisions – this technology elevates the viewing experience and provides richer shades, brighter whites, and deeper blacks. The sides of the phone too have a grippy matte finish with your typical power and volume buttons and even a fully programmable side button which we appreciate. The back of the phone is also quite the treat offering uses a quad camera design completely flush with the back in a vertical strip that looks very sharp amongst the hombre grey all glass back but sadly there is no wireless charging.
Powering the show is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor with 6GB of RAM and UFS 2.1 storage on top of the latest Android 10. While the processor is just over a year old, the combination of it with the increased ram and basically stock android experience made this phone fly through everything from navigating the interface, typing emails and even some casual gaming. The performance was so good, you would be fooled into thinking you were using a device much more expensive. TCL has added in some extras that do not hinder the experience like their own gallery, music apps and such but there was little to not hit in overall power to performance ratio. You also get support for Micro SD storage up to 256GB and a massive 4500Mah battery with Quick charge 3.0 and even 5V reverse charging should one need it.
The TCL 10 Pro has the usual array of sensors even an AR blaster (#2011) and connectivity options including dual-band Wi-Fi, full carrier support and even what they call Super Bluetooth 5.0 that allows users to connect up to four speakers or headsets for parties or more intimate audio experiences. However, the absolute star of the show is the AI enabled quad camera system with its 64MP high-res main camera coupled with a 16MP (super wide) 5MP (macro) + 2MP (super low light shooter) complete with contrast detection auto focus (CDAF), laser detection auto focus (LDAF), phase-detection auto focus (PDAF) and 10X hybrid digital zoom and dual LED flash.
We are no photography experts here at One Cut, but we know when we see the difference between a good and a great camera and the 10 Pro has a GREAT camera system for a phone half the price of a Google Pixel! Photos look sharp, not overly processed (following the most recent firmware update) and have above average dynamic range. You also get 4K60 video recording, 1080p super slow-motion video capture and even a massive 24-megapixel front facing camera capable of some crisp Covid selfies! We must give a tip of the cap to TCL especially for our favorite feature the 2.9μm low-light camera that captures some seriously next level evening video and photographs especially during this time spent in the backyard around campfires safely enjoying each others company.
The TCL 10 Pro is a very impressive start for a company trying to make a name for itself. It is superbly priced and offers users premium features with little to no cut corners. Since using the device this past month, I find myself strangely drawn to its simplicity and beauty offering me all that I need from a smartphone in 2020 – great battery, superb camera and a fluid near stock experience. If you are on the market for an affordable smartphone this Summer, stop your search now, the TCL 10 Pro is the mid-range phone you should buy!