TCL is a consumer electronics company that was founded over 35 years ago. They are now ranked 2nd globally in terms of product shipment in volume and have over 75,000 employees, 28 Research and Development laboratories and 22 production sites. While they are first and foremost TV designers (you’ll see why this matters later), they also manufacture a number of other technology products, including home appliances, audio equipment, tablets and smartphones – the latter being the basis for this article, which looks more closely at the recently launched TCL 10 Pro smartphone.
A lesser-known fact is TCL has actually been manufacturing phones for a number of years, but with the TCL 10 Pro, it’s the first time one has been produced with their brand name on the back. It sits alongside the new TCL 10L and 10 5G which were released in the summer and is a strong debut for the company in the midrange handset arena which is notoriously competitive. With the TCL 10 Pro, there’s a lot to love at a price that will work for business customers.
Digital Wholesale Solutions Marketing Executive, Bradley Gavin, has been using the device for a week, here’s what he thought:
Slick design, even better display
The TCL 10 Pro both looks and feels like a flagship device. It’s built using a combination of metal and glass and has a slick matt grey finish. It is big which is the norm for top-end smartphones nowadays, but it is pleasing to hold in the hand and it isn’t too heavy. The closest smartphone that I can think of which matches its size is the One Plus 8 (give or take a millimetre).
One or the more obvious design features I noticed upon receiving TCL’s own smartphone was the fact the rear cameras are flush on the back, not raised, which in my view looks more refined. It also means the device can sit flat on a table, avoiding potential damage to the camera lenses. This is a unique part of the design which is missing on the top flagships such as the iPhone 12 Pro.
The other immediate feature you’ll notice should you get your hands on the TCL 10 Pro is the full screen display with curved edges. It makes for a really immersive experience, especially when coupled with 4K and rice media content. For me, it’s up there with the richest displays I have ever seen on a smartphone, and this is why making TV displays helps TCL in this area.
Unfortunately, the smartphone does forego an IP water resistance rating and wireless charging capability – this was disappointing as this technology generally comes as standard on many mid-tier and high end phones.
The TCL 10 Pro runs on a Snapdragon 675 chipset and is backed by 6GB of RAM. It’s no speed demon and there are other devices in the market )at a similar price point) which are more powerful, but it ran smoothly enough for me, with fluidity between transitions and quick loading speeds for apps.
The device also has a 4,500mAh battery, which is slightly larger than the battery seen on the One Plus 8 and Realme X2 Pro. After some reasonable use I found it lasted a bit longer than a day which I was impressed with. And for times when I did run out of juice, I could charge up to 50% in 35 minutes – not the fastest but better than you would find in some devices at this price point.
What about software?
First and foremost, the TCL 10 Pro is an Android smartphone, but TCL has layered over its own UI which compliments some of the apps and functionality that Google provides as standard.
While Google delivers most of the stuff you would expect to see on the device (email, messaging, web browser), TCL has provided some simple yet clever ideas, including playback controls after hitting the volume rocker on the side, and Super Bluetooth, which allows you to connect up to four speakers or wireless headphones.
I was pleased to see lots of options for configuration, but there is that added layer of bloatware that comes with TCL’s UI including a web browser alternative, music, video and file manager which takes up memory.
Great camera, but not quite the full package
The TCL 10 Pro has packed in four rear cameras which deliver some good quality shots. On the back is a 64MP main, 16MP ultra-wide, 5MP macro and 2MP depth lens. And while there is no telephoto lens (meaning zoomed photos are cropped), the main and ultra-wide camera does deliver some decent photos.
Despite this, the setup did have some negatives. The first is that some pictures were a touch oversaturated, pumping up colours to an unnatural degree. The AI scene detection was touch and go in terms of success, at times not picking up colours in the right way and identifying scenes that were incorrect.
To make up for this however, images were editable within device and Super Night Mode was pretty good in capturing shots in low light conditions (this still required holding the button down for a few seconds before it captured the image).
So what’s the verdict?
Out of nowhere, TCL has delivered a device that matches up and, in some cases, betters other devices in the market at this price point. It gets most things right, including the overall performance, the design and display, and it’s a solid debut for a company beginning to establish their own brand devices in the smartphone market.
And while it’s not quite the finished article, we anticipate it will be by the time the next model comes about.
If you’re interested in taking the latest TCL phone out to your customers, or want to discuss our mobile hardware range in more detail, fill out the form below and a member of the team will get in touch.