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

Victoria D. Doty

Right until just lately, TCL was very best recognized in the smartphone market for producing BlackBerry and Alcatel telephones beneath licence. But the Chinese maker has now struck out beneath its have model with the TCL ten sequence. Again in Could, my colleague Matthew Miller was pretty impressed with the […]

Right until just lately, TCL was very best recognized in the smartphone market for producing BlackBerry and Alcatel telephones beneath licence. But the Chinese maker has now struck out beneath its have model with the TCL ten sequence. Again in Could, my colleague Matthew Miller was pretty impressed with the “capable, inexpensive” TCL ten Professional, a mid-assortment 6.forty seven-inch mobile phone based mostly on Qualcomm’s 11nm Snapdragon 675 chipset with 6GB of RAM, 128GB of interior storage and 5 cameras (1 entrance, 4 rear).

Here we are wanting at TCL’s initially 5G mobile phone, the TCL ten 5G, which has a encouraged price of £399/€399 and is now readily available from the UK’s 3 mobile community for £19 upfront and £19 a month.

The ten 5G product bumps up the monitor size to 6.53 inches and boosts the platform with Qualcomm’s 7nm Snapdragon 765G chipset, whilst retaining the 6GB RAM/128GB storage combo and a quad rear digicam array. At initially glance, it looks like another good-benefit offering — but what’s the in depth verdict?


As famous, the TCL ten 5G is a a bit even larger handset than the ten Professional, with its 6.53-inch monitor sitting down in a chassis measuring 76.6mm vast by 163.7mm deep by 9mm thick (3.02in. x 6.44in. x .35in.) and weighing 210g (seven.41 ounces). That’s 4.2mm broader, 5.2mm further and 33g heavier than the Professional — the thickness of the two handsets — 9mm versus nine.2mm — mainly the same.

Building-wise, the TCL ten 5G is the usual slab of glass in an aluminium body. The principal style aspect is a glass again with a “gentle-catching metallic gradient” thanks to “twenty trillion nano-patterned micro-pyramids”, which is nice. Nonetheless, the initially factor I did on placing up the mobile phone was place it in the supplied distinct bumper situation for a much better grip, which significantly dilutes this impact. The TCL ten 5G is admirably fingerprint-resistant, the two entrance and again, and is readily available in Chrome Blue or, as reviewed below, Mercury Grey.


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

Pictures: Charles McLellan / ZDNet

The principal variations in between the TCL ten 5G and Professional handsets arrive down to the use of a (flat) IPS Lcd — which occupies much more interior volume due to its backlight — for the 5G product versus a (curved) AMOLED panel for the Professional. This usually means that, relatively than working with an optical in-monitor fingerprint reader, as on the Professional, the 5G handset’s fingerprint reader is a different unit on the again. The ten 5G’s quad-digicam array also protrudes significantly from the again, while it truly is much more pleasingly flush on the Professional product. At the entrance, the 5G product has a gap-punch digicam, while the Professional uses a little teardrop-model notch.

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The TCL ten 5G has a monitor-to-physique ratio of 83.4%, with the most recognizable bezel at the base. This is some way powering the ten Professional, which, with its curved AMOLED monitor, has a sleeker-wanting monitor-to-physique ratio of 89.6%.

The electrical power and volume controls are on the ideal aspect, whilst the SIM slot (twin SIM or SIM+MicroSD card) is on the left, previously mentioned a Intelligent Essential that launches the Google Assistant. The best of the mobile phone houses a microphone and a 3.5mm audio jack, whilst the base has a USB-C port flanked by grilles covering a mic on the left and a speaker on the ideal. Compared with on the TCL ten Professional, you can find no infrared port at the best.

As with lots of mid-assortment telephones (such as the Professional product), the TCL ten 5G lacks an IP score for dust and h2o resistance. 


The Snapdragon 765G that powers the TCL ten 5G is a mid-assortment chipset aimed at the inexpensive conclude of the 5G smartphone market. It really is no flagship-class Snapdragon 865, but the combination of the octa-main Kyro 475 CPU jogging at up to 2.4GHz, Adreno 620 GPU, X52 5G modem and Qualcomm AI Engine provides pretty creditable performance (see beneath), even for avid gamers (the ‘G’ in 765G references a number of gaming optimisations, such as “ten% faster graphics rendering compared to normal Snapdragon 765”). As famous earlier, there is 6GB of RAM and 128GB of interior storage, the latter expandable through MicroSD card in a shared SIM slot.

The screen is a 6.53-inch IPS Lcd with FHD+ (1,080 x 2,340 pixels, 395ppi) resolution and 450 nits maximum brightness. TCL uses the time period ‘Dotch’ for the gap-punch digicam in the best left corner (as opposed to ‘notch’). Even if it was not trademarked, I never see that catching on. 

In the Options app you can toggle or program dim method and eye consolation (reduced blue gentle) method, and choose adaptive monitor brightness, whilst the NXTVISION app delivers numerous adjustments: ‘Visual enhancement’ for optimised picture contrast, sharpness and saturation in Vivid monitor colour method ‘SDR to HDR’ for HDR-like online video improvement and ‘Reading mode’ for a e book-like examining experience, as nicely as ‘Color method & temperature’ and ‘Sunlight display’.


The NXTVISION and Intelligent Manager apps.

Pictures: Charles McLellan / ZDNet  

The entrance digicam, in the ‘dotch’, has a 16MP sensor and an f/2.2 vast-angle lens — a move down from the 24MP ‘notch’ digicam in the Professional product. Like its Professional counterpart, the selfie digicam can capture 720p and 1080p online video at up to 30fps.

There are four cameras at the again, organized horizontally in a a bit protruding panel, flanked by a pair of flash units. The principal digicam has a superior-resolution 64MP sensor and a vast-angle f/1.nine lens. This is complemented by 8MP extremely-vast-angle (f/2.2, 118°), 5MP macro (f/2.2) and 2MP depth (f/2.4) cameras. Digital zoom is readily available up to 10x, but you can find no devoted telephoto digicam, whilst online video capture operates to 1080p at up to 120fps or 4K at 30fps, with EIS (Electronic Impression Stabilisation). It really is a very similar arrangement to that seen in the PCL ten Professional, with the noteworthy exception that the extremely-vast-angle digicam is 50 % the resolution (8MP versus 16MP).

You will find a good assortment of functions readily available in the digicam program, such as ‘AI camera’, which enables AI picture composition and calorie detection (the former staying considerably much more helpful than the latter, in my feeling). ‘Dark shot’ is readily available for increased reduced-gentle performance, along with a watermark aspect. 5 digicam modes are introduced by default — Car, Movie, Portrait, Super Night time and Professional. Other modes readily available through the ‘More’ button are Slo-mo, Quit Movement, Light Trace, Pano, Super Macro and Substantial Pixel (64M). You can drag any of these to substitute the principal digicam monitor alternatives if required.

This is a range of illustrations or photos taken with the TCL ten 5G:


Car (left) and Super Macro (ideal).

Pictures: Charles McLellan / ZDNet    


Car (left) and Extremely-vast-angle (ideal)

Pictures: Charles McLellan / ZDNet    

Digital camera performance is generally fairly good, although you ought to keep away from the digital zoom as much as doable. A telephoto digicam would be nice, but you can often use Substantial Pixel (64M) method and do your zooming in post-manufacturing.

Audio good quality from the speaker on the base of the handset is fantastic — it does not go loud ample to distort, and if you want to enjoy as a result of Bluetooth speakers or headsets, you can find a bonus: Super Bluetooth allows you join up to four equipment at the same time for a shared listening experience. I managed to successfully join two Bluetooth speakers, which is the restrict when you happen to be connected to a 2.4GHz wi-fi community.


The Digital camera and Gallery apps.

Pictures: Charles McLellan / ZDNet

The TCL ten 5G will come with a comparatively uncluttered implementation of Android ten, with a number of extras courtesy of TCL UI. As nicely as NXTVISION, Intelligent Manager and the Digital camera app, you can find Gallery, File Manager, File Share, Audio and Movie. IR Remote and Radio, which are existing on the TCL ten Professional, are lacking from the 5G product.

Effectiveness & battery daily life

The Snapdragon 765G chipset with 6GB of RAM provides a good set of benchmarks, confirming the in-use perception of a responsive handset. It really is not flagship-class performance, of training course, but mainstream end users and relaxed avid gamers ought to have number of complaints. 

The TCL ten Professional scored 621 (single main) and 1925 (multi main) beneath the Geekbench 5 CPU exam. To place that in perspective, the Snapdragon 865-based mostly OnePlus eight (£599/$699 for 8GB/128GB), which now sits atop the Android benchmark charts, scored 902 and 3302 respectively.

The PCMark for Android Work 2. suite delivers a good comparison for the two the OnePlus eight and the TCL ten 5G’s Professional stablemate. The two mid-assortment TCL handsets produce very similar general outcomes, with the 5G product a bit forward — but the much better-specified OnePlus eight is nicely forward:


When it will come to gaming, as assessed by the 3DMark Slingshot Extreme benchmark, the profit of the TCL ten 5G’s gaming-optimised Snapdragon 765G chipset is evident in excess of the Professional model’s significantly less capable Snapdragon 675. Nonetheless, the moment yet again, the flagship-class OnePlus eight is in a various league:


The TCL ten 5G and Professional the two have 4500mAh batteries and guidance speedy 18W charging through Brief Cost 3.. TCL’s 5G handset will come out on best, jogging for fifteen hours beneath the PCMark Work 2. battery daily life exam (which terminates when 20% of a full demand continues to be). That compares to 12h 13m for the ten Professional and 12h 25m for the OnePlus eight, which has a 4300mAh battery:


The TCL ten 5G also outperforms the just lately reviewed OnePlus Nord, another Snapdragon 765G-based mostly mid-assortment 5G handset. This £379 (8GB/128GB) mobile phone has a 4,115mAh battery, and lasted for eleven.4 hours beneath the PCMark exam.

However, thanks to a combination of patchy 5G protection in the Uk (especially in rural locations) and lockdown, I was not able to exam this handset’s 5G ability. Nonetheless, it carried out flawlessly satisfactorily on a 4G LTE sign.


The TCL ten 5G has a large amount likely for it: the specification, establish good quality, performance and battery daily life are all spectacular presented the £399 (inc. VAT) price. It is demonstrated up in some locations by its (4G) 10 Professional stablemate, most notably by having an IPS Lcd monitor relatively than AMOLED, and by having an awkardly protruding rear digicam panel. Even now, it truly is a good-benefit 5G mobile phone — although maybe not rather as good benefit as the OnePlus Nord, which operates on the same Snapdragon 765G platform and will come with 8GB relatively than 6GB of RAM for a a bit lessen starting off price (£379 inc. VAT).

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