TCL are seemingly bringing handsets to the market very quickly these days. The last one we took a loot at was the TCL 10 Pro, and although there were a couple of things that could have been improved, overall, the handset was decent. Now TCL has released a 5G model of the TCL 10, and we’ve been lucky enough to check it out.
In terms of design, there’s not much between the 10 Pro and 10 5G. The dimensions of the TCL 10 5G comes in at 158.5 z 72.4 x 9.2mm, so a little bigger than the last model, but in terms of how it feels in the hand, it’s no different. The front and rear are both made of glass giving it somewhat of a premium feel. There’s an aluminium frame that spans around the outside to give it some protection from drops and bangs, but it also gives the phone that seamless rounded look from front to back. The rear, even though it’s made from glass isn’t slippery, which is something new handsets fall victim to. The colour scheme follows TCL’s design, and my phone was a dark grey to light grey gradient. One handed use is completely fine.
I could reach the lock and volume buttons down the right hand side, and on the left is a dedicated Google Assistant button. The fingerprint sensor is placed on the back below the camera, and is easily reached, and is actually quite responsive to your fingerprint, unlocking in well under a second.
The screen technology is also slightly different from the older model. The 5G uses IPS LCD panel, and the screen size comes in at 6.53-inches with a resolution of 1080 x 2340 and pixel density of 395. Its average brightness comes in at 450 nits and also has HDR10 technology. One feature that makes the screen look bigger than it is is the fact that it’s using a holepunch style camera as the front facing selfie cam. It makes the phone from a front perspective look very neat and tidy, and I’m all for moving away from the teardop style selfie cams to increase screen real estate.
TCL have brought back their NXTVISION technology which enhances your image by automatically adjusting the contrast, sharpness and saturation to improve quality. This time round, I left this setting on, and I also turned on SDR to HDR, which again, improves image quality.
Under the hood we’ve got a pretty decent spec too. There’s a Snapdragon 765G processor with 6GB of RAM and 128GB worth of storage. It’s an upgrade from the last 10 Pro’s Snapdragon 675. Running a CPU benchmark using Geekbench 5 gave me a score of 622 on a single core score and a multicore score of 1912, which according to the Geekbench website, places it just above a Samsung S9+ and below a Google Pixel 4 XL on a single core score, and again the Samsung S9+ on a multicore score. The phone recommended me a 3DMark Sling-Shot Extreme benchmark, which gave me a score of 3,332 on OpenGL and 3,112 on Vulkan.
A new feature I’ve not seen before during setup was the fact I could choose a search provider. Of course I went with Google, but you’ve got the choice of DuckDuckGo, PrivacyWeb and Info.com. All it does it change the default search provider bar on your homescreen, but it was interesting to see.
Android is also seemingly lacking bloatware, which coming from the TCL 10 Pro, is welcome. Sure you get some preinstalled apps like Facebook, Netflix and the Google Chrome browser, but who’s not going to download these as standard as soon as they get their new phone? Not many, so useful apps are definitely a welcome sight. From what I can see from my model, there’s two TCL branded apps. One for their support centre which gives you useful informatiom on the handset and how to work certain features, and TCL+ which gives you TCL news.
The camera hasn’t had much of an upgrade either. Most features between the TCL 10 5G and TCL 10 Pro remain the same. The only difference I can see iis the slight reduction in aperture on the wide camera, from f/1.9 to f/1.8 and the increase in megapixel on the ultrawide lens from 8MP to 16MP with the 5G model. The macro remains at 5 megapixel, and the the depth lens remains at two, and video capability sits at 4K at 30FPS, 1080p at 30, 60 or 120FPS and slow-mo at 720p at 960FPS, though it’s still limited to very short clips at 960.
There’s also dual flash capability so low light level shots remain very even, though photos during low light are still pretty noisy.
But, comparing phone to phone isn’t really the point. This, after all is a 5G variation of the TCL 10 Pro, which means you are able to use the new 5G infrastructure for your data. But, there’s a caviat to that. 5G isn’t hugely widespread right now. In my hometown, I can’t get 5G. And the closest place I can find 5G signals is London. So, I won’t be able to get the full capability of 5G right now. This also means I don’t pay for it through my provider. So, something like the TCL 10 5G isn’t worth the upgrade right now. If you’re in one of the 44 cities that is being advertised online, which is pretty much the biggest cities in the UK, you’ll be fine.
The TCL 10 5G does a decent job with keeping up with the higher end handsets on the market, and everything I threw at it including gaming was pretty seamless. I never experienced any kind of stuttering or slow-down and for casual users, this handset would be a dream. It’s a little heavier than the top end flagships, and a little bulkier, but I don’t mind that. It’s still superbly designed, and has a decent big, bright and vivid screen. And although not yet confirmed, from what I can see online, I can expect this handset to sit between £349 and £399, which is a decent price for this type of handset. For more information, head over to the TCL website.