Another year, another TCL phone, but no complaints here because I’ve not seen a bad one yet. And spoiler alert, this isn’t a bad phone either. In fact it’s a decent handset for the £150 asking price. It’s light, looks smart, and performed well throughout this review proces. I’ll be diving into the details in this review video, but I must say from what I’ve seen I was impressed.

Design

The TCL 50 5G is packed within a 6.46 x 2.96 x 0.33 inch plastic body. It features some nice rounded corners, and feels extremely lightweight coming in at 183 grams. Looking at the phone from the front, it’s got some really nice skinny bezels, though isn’t bezelless like some of the higher end devices on the market. Flipping it over, you can find two camera nodes which we’ll run though later, and you’ll notice I have the Space Grey style one here which I must say does look quite fresh, though it is also available in a Dark Blue colour.

The camera housing has a gloss accent compared to the rest of the phone too. There was a sticker with some details on the back of the handset when it arrived and it did leave a residue on the phone when trying to remove the sticker, and I needed some solution to get rid of it. Next time, stick the sticker in the box TCL On the right hand side you’ve got a lock button and volume rocker which feel pretty solid and have a nice tactile click when pressed, and on the left is your SIM and SD card tray.

Display

The screen is where TCL phones shine, and it’s no different here. It has a 6.6-inch IPS LCD with a 90Hz refresh rate and can produce 480 nits of brightness, which pushes into that entry-level HDR range, though don’t be too excited. It’s not the best looking HDR here. It can produce a resolution of 720×1,612 with a 20:9 ratio so using the handset to watch media is enjoyable and also nice and clear. NXTVISION makes another appearance and as usual it’s split into three main settings, being image, video and game enhancements, and all aid in increasing things like contrast ratio and sharpness, shadow detail and overall resolution. With NXT Vision there’s also a reading mode and eye comfort mode to aid with minimising eye strain.

And finally, a way of changing the colour temperature of your display. From warm, cool and a neutral white balance. The selfie camera on the froont is unobtrusive and small, and doesn’t take away from the overall use of the phone. It’s got stereo speakers and it’s using DTS Audio called 3D Boom for its sound driver. However, it’s nothing special here and to be honest, it just sounds like every other phone.

Performance

Specs wise, the TCL 50 5G isn’t packing the fastest spec, but it sure is a capable handset. It’s got a Mediatek Dimensity 6100+ octacore processor, with two cores at 2.2GHz and six at 2.0GHz. It’s backed by Mali-G57 MC2 graphics processor, 4GB RAM and 128GB of storage space. This can be expanded using a microSD card if needed. Running a Geekbench 6 benchmark, which by the way took an absolute age to run – first time for me with Geekbench 6 so maybe this is normal – I got a score returned of 688 on a single-core and 1,817 on a multi-core score, which to be honest with you is pretty decent considering this is a mid-range handset, and puts it on par with the likes of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 and Nokia X10. This isn’t too bad, and thanks to the specification of the device, using your general social media apps on the handset isn’t going to cause any issues. I also did not notice any kind of slow down or stuttering either which is a nice feeling for a phone. For gaming though, I wouldn’t count on the TCL 50 5G to play anything more than a bit of light gaming. I tried some Wings of Heroes, and it was a bit jittery, but it was clear enough to make it through a game.. Its 3DMark score of 1,237 reflects this performance though so it is expected before going in. I wouldn’t want to play any kind of graphically intensive game on this handset, but if gaming is important to you, chances are you’re looking at something a little more high end anyway.

Android 14 is present on the device though it’s using TCL’s own overlay. It comes with some unwanted bloatware like mobile games and a Booking.com app and an Office suite. I mean I get it. TCL make some cash when they do this but uninstalling these types of apps is generally the first thing I’d do when receiving a handset like this though they’re just a little annoying. It’s using TCL 7 which is their own Android skin version, with a version number of 7.0.6FAU. It’s not a bad experience at all and is quite close to stock Adroid, which is something I’ve not seen for a litle while now on TCL handsets so it’s slightly refreshing to say the least. It uses gesture controls, but you can use button navigation if you want to which can be changed in the settings. It also features TCL link which is a system where the phone will integrate seamlessly with other TCL devices like laptops and tablets. Think documents and media files which are accessible on each devlice. The fingerprint sensor on the side of the phone is nice. It’s not too quick but you’re not going to be sitting there ages waiting for your phone to unlock. It was pretty accurate for me too when I switched it on. I do though prefer the pincode method of unlocking the device.

For battery life you’ve got a generous 5010 mAh battery which they’re claiming can last up to two days, which I know they’re not wrong, but it also means that you’ve got to use the phone quite sparingly. It does though have 18 watt fast-charging though so if you do get caught in a pinch, then it won’t take long to get some juice back into the phone. And with an intelligent charging system featured, it won’t ruin your battery life in the long run either because it’ll only give you as much juice as the phone needs.

The Camera

As for the camera, let’s discuss this because there’ssome AI features that are quite interesting, but from what I can see, it seems ot kick in more for videos rather than photos. You’ve got two cameras on the back. The first is a 50-megapixel Hybrid camera and a 5-megapixel ultrawide camera. Now most of the time I was using the 50-megapixel camera as I had no real need for using the ultrawide but some nice featuers for the camera include a macro ability, Steady Shrot 2.0 which helps with video and image stabilisation, AI Colour video which clears the saturation of backgrounds from your subjects and finally an AI focus enhancement desiged to help with auto focusing on moving subjects. All quite fancy, and the photo quality that is actually created by the TCL 50 5G is really nice. They’re not goign to replace your DSLR camera in terms of sharpness or quality, but for any Instagram shooters out there, it’s definitely a decent experience with the camera.

Same with video too. No 4K unfortunately but the cameras are capable of 1080p at 30 fps. You can also find the usual modes here too on the camera like your panoramic shot, your slow motion video, your portrait mode and all of those kind of things. Again, not a bad camera at all on what I would considerr a mid-range handset, and here are some comparisons betweern this and my Google Pixel 7 Pro, just you know because I use a Pixel 7 as my daily driver so I had it handy.

Conclusion

But for the price of £149, this isn’t a bad phone at all! It’s cheap to be honest with you. And if you’re budget concious when it comes to your tech, or are needing a secondary handset, then this could be the phone for you. It’s an extremely capable device that’s for sure for all of your day-to-day apps. Gaming sucks, but that’s understandable. And the camera is passable for social media use. If you would like some more information though, then check out the TCL website.