When it comes to pandemic spending, people just can’t afford smartphones that cost over $1000 anymore. People are seeking budget devices that look, act, and feel like a flagship phone. With the rise of high-quality mid-range phones like the Pixel 4a, LG Velvet, and more, TCL is throwing their latest competitor in the ring with some pretty great features to challenge your conception of just how much you need to spend on a device in 2020.
Let’s start with the design, from the front the TCL 10L would have you fooled into thinking it is a much more expensive device with its expansive 6.5 inch Full HD vivid screen and small hole punch selfie camera cut out in the top left corner. The back of the phone is plastic but has a brilliant deep blue that when capturing the light gives off a shimmer that is very interesting to look at. You also get a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor that we love to see the return of, a headphone jack, USB-C charging port, and a triple horizontal camera set up that features a primary 48MP camera, complemented by an 8MP super-wide lens, and 2MP macro and depth lenses. The front-facing camera is 16MP. The best part of the design is that TCL is the only mobile phone manufacturer that has managed to solve the ‘Davinci’ code of making the camera housing completely flat and it looks great!
The phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chipset with a generous 6GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable MicroSD storage. The phone is also fully unlocked for the USA and Canada and supports most of the major LTE bands. In our daily use, we were quite surprised at just how well the 10L performed, most likely due to its nearly stock Android OS, apps load quickly, browsing was snappy and navigation was a breeze. All in all, we had no slowdowns, lag, or hiccups at all, except when playing graphic-intensive games but this phone is not designed for that. We are big fans of TCL’s implementation of the programmable smart key on the side of the phone as well as the Super Bluetooth functionality allowing you to stream your audio up to 4 different Bluetooth devices. It’s a great feature that other phone manufacturers need to bring on board. Battery too was great, its 4000Mah battery easily lasted the day with 6+ hours of screen on time but sadly, the phone doesn’t charge nearly as fast as we would have liked, it is quick but no fast.
In our daily use, we were quite surprised at just how well the 10L performed, most likely due to its nearly stock Android OS, apps load quickly, browsing was snappy and navigation was a breeze
Last but certainly not least is the camera or more accurately the cameras. The primary 48-megapixel camera produces some very good shots in good lighting with excellent color accuracy and some decent dynamic range and should be more than suitable as a social media snapper. The wide-angle lens is good as well as long as you stick to landscape shots with some noticeable distortion around the edges but common with this type of lens. The macro lens sadly is uninspiring and the shots weren’t great and mostly soft but the 16-megapixel selfie camera makes up for that with some nice detail and depth of field. We would rate the camera set up a solid B and should be suitable for most people except pixel peepers.
So where does that leave the TCL 10L? For its price this is yet another solid choice for those seeking premium features on a budget, it feels well made and good in the hand, performance and battery were excellent and the cameras are Instagram ready. If you are in the market for a new device in 2020, the TCL 10L is worth checking out.