After the TCL Plex, the first Android smartphone that the Chinese manufacturer brought to Europe in 2019, the brand has renewed its catalog with three phones, the so-called Series 10. And I have been able to test them: it is not a bad bet for the range to which they are aimed. Especially the most accessible of all: the TCL 10L.
The mid-range with Android is so nourished by brands and models that it is difficult to find a place for a ‘new’ manufacturer. It is not that TCL debuts in the manufacture of mobile phones since the Chinese brand has extensive experience, but it has not lavished much in Europe either; hence want to change the trend with three new models: the Series 10. Among the three phones, it is the TCL 10L that offers a better quality / price ratio: after my first test I can confirm it.
TCL 10L datasheet
DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT
162.2 X 75.6 X 8.4 mm
LCD with 6.43-inch FHD + resolution
Qualcomm Snapdragon 665
64 GB EMMC
SD memory up to 256 GB
48 MP, f / 1.8, 79º amplitude, 0.8 μm pixel size
8 MP super wide-angle, f / 2.2, 118º width, 1.12 μm pixel size
2 MP macro, f / 2.4, amplitude 79º, pixel size 1.65 μm
2 MP depth, f / 2.4, width 86.6º, pixel size 1.65 μm
16 MP, f / 2.2, amplitude 75.3, pixel size 1.0 μm
TCL UI custom layer
Dual band WiFi
USB C 2.0
Rear fingerprint reader
Very good build and elegant design
TCL adds three more mobiles to its unique phone catalog offering a smartphone for almost every need. On the one hand there is the TCL 10 Pro, for those who want better specifications; There is also the TCL 10 5G, with the new connectivity as a standard-bearer feature; and finally comes the TCL 10L, more content in specifications and without excessively reduced specifications. Therefore, it is a contained phone that offers a high-quality construction. In hand it shows.
It is solid, large and not very heavy. The touch is somewhat slippery, but not too slippery either. The mobile makes good use of the front thanks to the hole in the screen for the camera: the TCL 10L features a straight cut LCT panel and without the curved edges of its big brother, the TCL 10 Pro. The frames are visible to the naked eye without being exaggerated, a detail that also accuses the lower ‘chin’.
Volume and power buttons on the right side, dedicated Google Assistant button on the left side next to the SIM tray (dual, for two SIMs or SIM and SD card), the TCL 10L includes USB C and external speaker output at the bottom, the rear fingerprint reader is capacitive (fast and reliable after my first impressions) and the edges of the rear face are smoothed to promote grip. The set achieves extreme elegance and a certain distinction, especially for its rear appearance.
Big screen and well used
The TCL 10L boasts an LCD panel with FHD + resolution (1080 x 2340 pixels). Its dimensions are loose, 6.53 inches diagonal. These dimensions get the mobile to become somewhat large, although not exaggerated when compared to the trend of the mid-range. In fact, TCL follows this trend including a hole in the left corner for the front camera.
The screen looks pretty good from my first impressions. Good color balance, sufficient brightness for most conditions (need to be checked outdoors) and without too much trace of saturation as standard. TCL includes proprietary display technology, NXTVISION, a automatic calibration system specially designed for multimedia playback. With videos and games the experience is very positive, the immersion provided by the panel with a 19.5: 9 ratio also helps; only hindered by the front hole of the camera.
The processor chosen for the TCL 10L offers more than enough solvency: the Snapdragon 665 is powerful, fast and arrives loaded with connectivity, including the NFC
There are not too many surprises in terms of power: the TCL 10L bets on a proven processor, although with one year on the market: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665. I did not encounter noticeable slowdowns, nor with jumps when switching between applications: the mobile has more than acceptable performance. The 6 GB of RAM memory contribute to this; staying a little fair in terms of storage: 64 GB EMMC.
With 4,000 mAh of battery it does not seem that the TCL 10L will suffer far from the plug, at least during the day. In this line you will find the included software: custom TCL UI layer on Android 10. Said layer does not abuse pre-installed applications since it has what is necessary so that nothing is missed once the mobile leaves the box. Updated, with everything Google offers and a certain ‘Android stock’ aspect.
Four rear cameras and 4K recording
After my first contact with the TCL 10L, the phone was versatile in possibilities with a camera app that promises to squeeze the set of sensors, lenses and technology included. In the absence of analyzing the results in depth, I would say that the phone is displayed on the line as expected by the range to which it belongs. And without missing portrait mode, wide-angle or macro photos, perfect for capturing details up close.
The TCL 10L includes a 48 megapixel Samsung S5KGM1 sensor that uses ‘pixel binning’ technology to combine four pixels into one. With an aperture of f / 1.8, this sensor is agile in the shots without the TCL 10L slowly penalizing the saving of images: the process is carried out properly. The wide angle is not weighed down either: with an f / 2.2 aperture, said sensor has a lens capable of capturing 118º of the scene.
HDR, professional mode, background blur and real-time portrait, 4K recording, stop-motion, slow motion e Artificial Intelligence with which to identify the scene and choose the best values to photograph it: the capture software of the TCL 10L is comprehensive enough.
Not a bad choice for the price
In the absence of analyzing it in depth since all of the above are first impressions after making contact, the TCL 10L did not seem like a bad phone, nor is it expensive for everything it offers. Sufficient capacity, updated in software, with a sufficiently versatile photographic set, the screen is of great quality, it makes good use of the front face and does not dispense with a headphone jack or NFC, which makes it suitable for mobile payments, for example. And for 229 euros it remains in the line of phones such as the Realme 6, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro or the Huawei P30 Lite. They are tough opponents of the TCL 10L, each with its advantages and disadvantages in comparison, but they do not represent an exaggerated improvement in performance. At least on paper.
TCL bets heavily with its new range of phones, especially in the case of the TCL 10L. It may not excel in anything concrete, but it does maintain a good balance of specifications for the price with which it starts in Europe. From what I have been able to prove, the phone offers what is necessary to obtain a pleasant Android experience: I cannot get too much trouble after my first contact. In the absence of analyzing it in depth, I would say that it is not a bad option for those who are looking for a good phone for just over 200 euros and do not want to stay with the usual brands of that strip.