TCL 10 5G review: Excellent specs, build and performance for the price Review

Right up until lately, TCL was greatest regarded in the smartphone marketplace for building BlackBerry and Alcatel telephones under licence. But the Chinese company has now struck out under its possess manufacturer with the TCL ten series. Back in May well, my colleague Matthew Miller was incredibly impressed with the “capable, reasonably priced” TCL ten Pro, a mid-vary 6.47-inch telephone based mostly on Qualcomm’s 11nm Snapdragon 675 chipset with 6GB of RAM, 128GB of inner storage and five cameras (1 front, 4 rear).

Listed here we’re hunting at TCL’s 1st 5G telephone, the TCL ten 5G, which has a advised price tag of £399/€399 and is at the moment available from the UK’s A few mobile community for £19 upfront and £19 a thirty day period.

The ten 5G design bumps up the screen sizing to 6.53 inches and boosts the system with Qualcomm’s 7nm Snapdragon 765G chipset, although retaining the 6GB RAM/128GB storage combo and a quad rear digicam array. At 1st glance, it seems like yet another excellent-price offering — but what is the in-depth verdict?

Style and design

As pointed out, the TCL ten 5G is a somewhat bigger handset than the ten Pro, with its 6.53-inch screen sitting down in a chassis measuring seventy six.6mm broad by 163.7mm deep by 9mm thick (three.02in. x 6.44in. x .35in.) and weighing 210g (seven.41 ounces). That is 4.2mm broader, five.2mm deeper and 33g heavier than the Pro — the thickness of the two handsets — 9mm vs . 9.2mm — mainly the exact.

Building-sensible, the TCL ten 5G is the normal slab of glass in an aluminium body. The main structure element is a glass back again with a “mild-catching metallic gradient” many thanks to “20 trillion nano-patterned micro-pyramids”, which is great. Having said that, the 1st matter I did on placing up the telephone was put it in the provided very clear bumper case for a improved grip, which tremendously dilutes this effect. The TCL ten 5G is admirably fingerprint-resistant, equally front and back again, and is available in Chrome Blue or, as reviewed below, Mercury Gray.


The 6.53-inch TCL ten 5G operates on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G 5G chipset, with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of inner storage.

Photos: Charles McLellan / ZDNet

The main distinctions amongst the TCL ten 5G and Pro handsets occur down to the use of a (flat) IPS Liquid crystal display — which occupies a lot more inner volume owing to its backlight — for the 5G design vs . a (curved) AMOLED panel for the Pro. This indicates that, somewhat than applying an optical in-screen fingerprint reader, as on the Pro, the 5G handset’s fingerprint reader is a different device on the back again. The ten 5G’s quad-digicam array also protrudes significantly from the back again, whilst it really is a lot more pleasingly flush on the Pro design. At the front, the 5G design has a hole-punch digicam, whilst the Pro utilizes a tiny teardrop-design and style notch.

Major ZDNET Evaluations

The TCL ten 5G has a screen-to-entire body ratio of 83.4{d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd}, with the most noticeable bezel at the base. This is some way driving the ten Pro, which, with its curved AMOLED screen, has a sleeker-hunting screen-to-entire body ratio of 89.6{d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd}.

The energy and volume controls are on the correct facet, although the SIM slot (dual SIM or SIM+MicroSD card) is on the remaining, earlier mentioned a Clever Critical that launches the Google Assistant. The prime of the telephone homes a microphone and a three.5mm audio jack, although the base has a USB-C port flanked by grilles masking a mic on the remaining and a speaker on the correct. As opposed to on the TCL ten Pro, there is certainly no infrared port at the prime.

As with quite a few mid-vary telephones (such as the Pro design), the TCL ten 5G lacks an IP rating for dust and water resistance. 


The Snapdragon 765G that powers the TCL ten 5G is a mid-vary chipset aimed at the reasonably priced conclusion of the 5G smartphone marketplace. It’s no flagship-course Snapdragon 865, but the combination of the octa-core Kyro 475 CPU managing at up to two.4GHz, Adreno 620 GPU, X52 5G modem and Qualcomm AI Motor delivers incredibly creditable efficiency (see down below), even for players (the ‘G’ in 765G references a variety of gaming optimisations, such as “ten{d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd} faster graphics rendering compared to common Snapdragon 765”). As pointed out previously, there is 6GB of RAM and 128GB of inner storage, the latter expandable through MicroSD card in a shared SIM slot.

The screen is a 6.53-inch IPS Liquid crystal display with FHD+ (1,080 x two,340 pixels, 395ppi) resolution and 450 nits maximum brightness. TCL utilizes the phrase ‘Dotch’ for the hole-punch digicam in the prime remaining corner (as opposed to ‘notch’). Even if it was not trademarked, I do not see that catching on. 

In the Configurations application you can toggle or plan darkish mode and eye convenience (diminished blue mild) mode, and opt for adaptive screen brightness, although the NXTVISION application presents many changes: ‘Visual enhancement’ for optimised impression contrast, sharpness and saturation in Vivid screen colour mode ‘SDR to HDR’ for HDR-like movie enhancement and ‘Reading mode’ for a book-like reading working experience, as effectively as ‘Color mode & temperature’ and ‘Sunlight display’.


The NXTVISION and Clever Manager applications.

Photos: Charles McLellan / ZDNet  

The front digicam, in the ‘dotch’, has a 16MP sensor and an f/two.two broad-angle lens — a action down from the 24MP ‘notch’ digicam in the Pro design. Like its Pro counterpart, the selfie digicam can capture 720p and 1080p movie at up to 30fps.

There are four cameras at the back again, organized horizontally in a somewhat protruding panel, flanked by a pair of flash units. The main digicam has a substantial-resolution 64MP sensor and a broad-angle f/1.9 lens. This is complemented by 8MP ultra-broad-angle (f/two.two, 118°), 5MP macro (f/two.two) and 2MP depth (f/two.4) cameras. Digital zoom is available up to 10x, but there is certainly no committed telephoto digicam, although movie capture operates to 1080p at up to 120fps or 4K at 30fps, with EIS (Digital Picture Stabilisation). It’s a similar arrangement to that noticed in the PCL ten Pro, with the notable exception that the ultra-broad-angle digicam is 50 {d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd} the resolution (8MP vs . 16MP).

You will find a excellent vary of options available in the digicam program, such as ‘AI camera’, which enables AI impression composition and calorie detection (the previous currently being substantially a lot more handy than the latter, in my viewpoint). ‘Dark shot’ is available for improved minimal-mild efficiency, alongside with a watermark attribute. 5 digicam modes are offered by default — Automobile, Online video, Portrait, Tremendous Night and Pro. Other modes available through the ‘More’ button are Slo-mo, End Movement, Gentle Trace, Pano, Tremendous Macro and Superior Pixel (64M). You can drag any of these to swap the main digicam screen possibilities if demanded.

Here’s a collection of pictures taken with the TCL ten 5G:


Automobile (remaining) and Tremendous Macro (correct).

Photos: Charles McLellan / ZDNet    


Automobile (remaining) and Extremely-broad-angle (correct)

Photos: Charles McLellan / ZDNet    

Camera efficiency is frequently pretty excellent, whilst you must prevent the electronic zoom as a great deal as probable. A telephoto digicam would be great, but you can constantly use Superior Pixel (64M) mode and do your zooming in write-up-generation.

Audio quality from the speaker on the base of the handset is fantastic — it isn’t going to go loud sufficient to distort, and if you want to participate in through Bluetooth speakers or headsets, there is certainly a reward: Tremendous Bluetooth lets you hook up up to four devices at the exact time for a shared listening working experience. I managed to correctly hook up two Bluetooth speakers, which is the restrict when you might be related to a two.4GHz wi-fi community.


The Camera and Gallery applications.

Photos: Charles McLellan / ZDNet

The TCL ten 5G arrives with a rather uncluttered implementation of Android ten, with a several extras courtesy of TCL UI. As effectively as NXTVISION, Clever Manager and the Camera application, there is certainly Gallery, File Manager, File Share, New music and Online video. IR Remote and Radio, which are existing on the TCL ten Pro, are missing from the 5G design.

Functionality & battery lifetime

The Snapdragon 765G chipset with 6GB of RAM delivers a respectable established of benchmarks, confirming the in-use impact of a responsive handset. It’s not flagship-course efficiency, of class, but mainstream customers and informal players must have several grievances. 

The TCL ten Pro scored 621 (single core) and 1925 (multi core) under the Geekbench five CPU test. To put that in perspective, the Snapdragon 865-based mostly OnePlus eight (£599/$699 for 8GB/128GB), which at the moment sits atop the Android benchmark charts, scored 902 and 3302 respectively.

The PCMark for Android Get the job done two. suite offers a excellent comparison for equally the OnePlus eight and the TCL ten 5G’s Pro stablemate. The two mid-vary TCL handsets produce similar overall success, with the 5G design somewhat ahead — but the improved-specified OnePlus eight is effectively ahead:


When it arrives to gaming, as assessed by the 3DMark Slingshot Extreme benchmark, the gain of the TCL ten 5G’s gaming-optimised Snapdragon 765G chipset is obvious around the Pro model’s significantly less capable Snapdragon 675. Having said that, after yet again, the flagship-course OnePlus eight is in a different league:


The TCL ten 5G and Pro equally have 4500mAh batteries and assistance quickly 18W charging through Swift Demand three.. TCL’s 5G handset arrives out on prime, managing for fifteen several hours under the PCMark Get the job done two. battery lifetime test (which terminates when 20{d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd} of a full cost stays). That compares to 12h 13m for the ten Pro and 12h 25m for the OnePlus eight, which has a 4300mAh battery:


The TCL ten 5G also outperforms the lately reviewed OnePlus Nord, yet another Snapdragon 765G-based mostly mid-vary 5G handset. This £379 (8GB/128GB) telephone has a 4,115mAh battery, and lasted for eleven.4 several hours under the PCMark test.

Sadly, many thanks to a combination of patchy 5G coverage in the Uk (especially in rural areas) and lockdown, I was not able to test this handset’s 5G capacity. Having said that, it executed beautifully satisfactorily on a 4G LTE sign.


The TCL ten 5G has a good deal going for it: the specification, make quality, efficiency and battery lifetime are all impressive supplied the £399 (inc. VAT) price tag. It is demonstrated up in some areas by its (4G) 10 Pro stablemate, most notably by acquiring an IPS Liquid crystal display screen somewhat than AMOLED, and by acquiring an awkardly protruding rear digicam panel. Continue to, it really is a excellent-price 5G telephone — whilst most likely not rather as excellent price as the OnePlus Nord, which operates on the exact Snapdragon 765G system and arrives with 8GB somewhat than 6GB of RAM for a somewhat reduced starting up price tag (£379 inc. VAT).

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