The TCL 10 Pro, TCL's flagship smartphone, for $ 449.
The TCL 10 5G, which only seems to be intended for Europe.
TCL is primarily known as a company that makes cheap televisions, but has also been building smartphones for some time. After Blackberry left the smartphone market in 2016, TCL licensed the brand and started pumping out Android phones equipped with QWERTY. It licenses the Alcatel brand from Nokia and builds cheaper slab phones. The company bought the Palm brand from HP and produced the microscopic smartphone "Palm Palm". From now on, TCL will give the smartphones it manufactures its own name, and the first is this set of three devices, all of which cost less than $ 500.
The lineup here is a bit strange since the most expensive phone is not the fastest phone in the group. The most expensive is the $ 449 TCL 10 Pro with a Snapdragon 675 SoC, 6 GB RAM, 128 GB storage, a 4500 mAh battery, and a 6.47-inch OLED display with 2340 × 1080 pixels. The design is a pretty flagship with a fingerprint reader on the screen, a notch in the front camera, a curved side display and a constantly active display mode. There are four rear view cameras, a 64 megapixel main camera, a wide-angle lens, a macro camera and a "low-light video camera". According to the TCL, this phone will be available in "Europe, North America, Australia and the United Kingdom from the second quarter of 2020 for € 449 / $ 449 / £ 399."
The Snapdragon 675 is the only listing in this data sheet. This is an 11 nm SoC with eight cores and two Cortex A76 cores and six Cortex A55 cores. This SoC was first introduced in 2018, which makes it quite old. Now let's get weird and compare this $ 449, 4G, Snapdragon 675 phone to the next phone in the TCL range, a Snapdragon 765G, 5G phone for … $ 430?
Yes, the "TCL 10 5G" is faster and cheaper than the TCL 10 Pro. The display is a 6.53-inch 2340 × 1080 LCD – in a way, this is a downgrade as you switch from OLED to LCD. However, it can also be seen as an upgrade as it is not a pointless, blinding, curved display. There is now a rear fingerprint reader instead of an in-screen reader and a pinhole camera instead of a notch. Apart from that, there are four rear-view cameras, 6 GB RAM, 128 GB storage and a 4500 mAh battery. I think the trick here with the shaky differentiation is that this phone doesn't get the wide distribution of the other two. According to the TCL, this device will "come to selected regions around the world later this year for € 399" The absence of a Freedom Bucks price could indicate that America is not among these selected regions, but TCL informed 9to5Google that a "major US carrier" will pick up the phone sometime this year.
Enlarge /. The TCL 10L. This is the cheapest of the $ 250 range. Thanks to the slim bezel design and the large number of cameras, this cannot be seen in the picture.
Back on the cheap seats, we have the "TCL 10L", a phone that will be coming to "Europe, North America, Australia and Great Britain" for € 249 / $ 249 / £ 199 from the second quarter of 2020. This has a Snapdragon 665 SoC (11 nm, four Cortex-A73 cores and four Cortex-A53 cores), 6 GB RAM, 64 or 128 GB memory and a 4000 mAh battery. There's a punch display and a fingerprint reader on the back, and there are still some pretty, slim bezels for that price. There are still four rear cameras on this $ 250 phone. I'm not sure if I want to spend my parts list there for such a cheap device, but it could also be a kind of record at this price.
Each model has Android 10, a headphone jack, a USB-C port, NFC, a microSD slot, and a programmable side button – even the $ 250 10L. Nobody has wireless charging or water resistance. The operating system has a "Dynamic TCL UI" skin that doesn't sound very promising. We also have no idea what TCL's update track record will look like for its own phones.
At a time when smartphones are becoming more expensive than ever, more competition in the low-cost smartphone sector is certainly welcome. In more competitive markets like China and India, the phones will not attract a lot of attention, but devices in this price range are rare in the United States.
Listing image from TCL