review

TCL 20 Pro 5G Review Sony IMX582 Phone With Amoled Display

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Mounted onto an ultra thin metal chassis, the TCL 20 Pro 5G is an enticing premium midrange phone that is both utilitarian and attractive enough for those who like to display their greatness. The TCL 20 Pro 5G is the flagship phone model that TCL unveiled yesterday at the global launch, along with the TCL 20L, TCL 20L Plus, TCL 20 5G and the TCL 20SE. Among some cool features, the TCL 20 Pro 5G is an Android Enterprise recommended mobile solution that uses the latest NXTVision 2.0 technology, integration real time SDR to HDR conversion and blue light filtering.

The TCL 20 Pro 5G has been designed as a single sim with micro SD card tray or dual sim with micro SD card tray. The phone pictured is the marine blue dual sim version. It has a 6.67-inch curved amoled display with FHD+ (1080p resolution), 93 percent screen-to-body ratio and 20:9 ratio that makes the TCL 20 Pro 5G screen taller and slimmer, which is perfect for scrolling webpages, text and watching movies.

The TCL 20 Pro 5G amoled display has high luminescence (700 nits), an anti-glare (AG film) coating and 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio (same as the iPhone 12), which makes reading text in direct sunlight much easier. Watching dark scenes in movies is also improved, thanks to the brighter white colors and the darker black colors. The TCL 20 Pro 5G does not support Dolby Vision but, it does support HDR10 so, you can watch Netflix in HDR10.

In the memory department, the TCL 20 Pro 5G has 6GB of RAM, 256GB of internal storage and external storage support (via micro SD card) up to 1TB. The micro SD card slot is located on the opposite side of the SIM card tray which has an orange o-ring that provides the TCL 20 Pro 5G with IP54 water/dust resistance. The 20 Pro 5G also has a notification light but it is not a small RGB or monochrome LED light. Instead, the front surrounding edge of the phone will light up when receiving a notification/call. You can change the notification light pattern from 6 light effects, including a flashing one. Also, the notification led has another extra option that you can enable, which uses the camera led flash. Pretty cool.

The TCL 20 Pro 5G is equipped with the same battery size capacity (4500mAh) as the TCL 10 5G, although the TCL 20 Pro 5G supports wireless charging too. Runtime performance is similar, taking 2 hours to recharge via quick charge 3.0 fast charge. TCL includes an 18 watt fast charger, which supports 9V/2A and 12V/1.5A ouputs. There is no wireless charger included but, it's worth getting a 15W Qi-wireless pad because the TCL 20 Pro 5G supports up to 15 watt so, you will be able to fast charge the TCL 20 Pro 5G wirelessly in just 3 hours.

The TCL 20 Pro 5G uses Bluetooth 5.1, which supports up to four simultaneous connections via a 5Ghz Wifi network. There is hi-res support, although there is no aptX, SBC nor AAC support, which is strange considering the TCL 10 5G supports all three bluetooth codecs. The bottom firing single speaker is very good, delivering superb midrange and treble. The TCL 20L Plus and TCL 20L models beat the TCL 20 Pro 5G in the audio and battery life departments because these two phones are equipped with stereo speakers and a larger battery capacity (5000mAh). A larger battery and stereo speakers would have made the TCL 20 Pro 5G even more enticing, although it would have likely made the TCL 20L Plus and TCL 20L less appealing.

A few other features you get with the TCL 20 Pro 5G are IR blaster, 3.5mm headphone jack and dual-microphones, which deliver good quality sound and background suppression. Like all phones with curved display, the TCL 20 Pro 5G glass screen curves around the side edges making the phone screen more vulnerable to breaking when dropped than a phone with a flat screen such as the TCL 10 5G. This is, especially, more true when the screen isn't made of Gorilla Glass, which the TCL 20 Pro 5G doesn't appear to be. Replacing curved screens are also harder to replace than flat screens; hence it's wise slapping on the included TPU case to protect the phone.

The TCL 20 Pro 5G has similar dimensions to the 10 5G (16cm tall, 7cm wide and 0.9cm thick) but, it's 20 grams lighter, weighing just 190 grams. There is anti-finger print coating all around, which does a good job of repelling liquids and making fingerprint oily smudges not as visible. The back of the TCL 20 Pro 5G has a 3D curved glass back too with matte PVD thin-film coating to prevent dings and scratches.

The rear cameras have been positioned vertically across the top left side of the phone and leveled against the surface of the phone; hence no protruding bump. The main shooter camera uses a 48MP Sony IMX582 sensor, making the TCL 20 Pro 5G the best camera phone in the TCL lineup. The performance is as good as the 64MP Samsung GW1 camera sensor and a close second to the Sony IMX586, which is currently the best camera sensor you can get in a midrange phone because it supports 4K at 60fps video capture. In terms of picture quality, both the  Sony IMX 586 and IMX 582 sensors produce the same picture quality.
Ultrawide camera
The 48MP Sony IMX582 camera sensor has a 1/2 inch size with 0.8-micron pixel size, which allows you to take quality photos and videos on the move, thanks to OIS (Optical Image Stabilization). The 48MP Sony IMX582 sensor also supports PDAF (Phase Detection Auto-Focus) and the lens has a 79 degree field of view and f/1.8 maximum aperture, which allows the sensor to take in more light to make images clearer and sharper in low light conditions such as night time or overcast weather. The f/1.8 aperture is activated via super night mode in the camera app. Video recording is not available in super night mode.

The 48MP Sony IMX582 camera sensor is also capable of 10x digital zoom and 2x lossless zoom, which is almost as good as 2x optical zoom, meaning you can zoom in to a subject without the image getting pixelated like it does when using digital zoom. Optical image stabilization is only available for the 48MP Sony IMX582 camera and can be conveniently enabled and disabled via an on-screen toggle. When OIS enabled, you will see the words "super anti shake" appear on the screen. Optical image stabilization (OIS) is not supported in ultra wide mode, macro mode, portrait mode or super night mode. The maximum video resolution anti shake support is 1080p at 30fps.

48MP high pixel
The TCL 20 Pro 5G is also equipped with a 16MP ultra wide-angle camera sensor, which has a 123 degree field of view so, it allows you to capture more background than the 48MP Sony IMX582 camera sensor can, although the image quality isn't as good because of the small aperture (f2.4). The 16MP ultra wide-angle camera is fixed focus, just like the 5MP macro camera and the 2MP depth camera sensor for photo bokeh (blurry background effect). Portrait mode does not support video recording. The macro camera lets you take close up photos (between 2cm minimum distance and 10cm maximum distance), as well as record macros. The TCL 20 Pro 5G supports video capture and video playback in 4K (at 30fps) and 1080p at 60fps and 30fps, as well as slow motion videos in 120fps and 240fps.

The TCL 20 Pro 5G front facing selfie camera has a centre punch hole cutout, concealing a 1/2.8-inch sensor with fixed focus, 0.8μm pixel size, 80 degrees field of view and f2.45 aperture. The selfie camera sensor has a fairly high resolution (32MP), although the image quality is nowhere near as good as the main rear camera. That said, you can take photos and record video in 4K at 30fps and 1080p at 60fps and 30fps, as well as make use of slow motion and video bokeh functionality. Video bokeh takes some practice as you have to keep yourself as close to the selfie lens while shooting in order to get a constant blurry effect.

Under the hood, the TCL 20 Pro 5G integrates 6GB of RAM and the Snapdragon 750G chipset with 5G support and a Cortex A77 (Kyro 570) processor. On paper, this makes the TCL 20 Pro 5G chipset better than the TCL 10 5G Snapdragon 765G chipset, which uses a Cortex A76 (Kyro 475) processor. In real world experience though, there is only a slight improvement in performance over the TCL 10 5G, even with the higher clock speed (2.4GHz) on the TCL 20 Pro 5G. The TCL 10 5G chip clock speed isn't too far behind at 2.2GHz. The TCL 20 Pro 5G Adreno 619 GPU performance is a bit better at 950MHz than the TCL 10 5G Adreno 620, which has a 750MHz clock speed.

Compared to the TCL 10 5G, the TCL 20 Pro 5G has the superior camera and has the highest hearing aid rating (M4/T4) so, it's compatible with a wider range of hearing aids. The TCL 20 Pro 5G also no longer uses an eccentric rotor motor for vibrations like the TCL 10L and TCL 10 5G do. Instead, the TCL 20 Pro 5G has been upgraded with an X-axis (horizontal) linear motor that makes crisp vibrating pulses rather than a "buzzing". Also, the linear motor vibrating pulses provide a tactile feedback because they are in phase with the event. For instance, the linear motor will make a short vibrating pulse when toggling between the standard camera and ultra wide camera.

In terms of software, the TCL 20 Pro 5G runs Android 11, using TCL's own user interface; hence it looks different to the stock Android 11 interface. The functionality is the same, including useful functions such as edge bar, hardware diagnostics, battery management, game mode, driving mode and various other options for customizing the look and feel of the phone. 
The in-display fingerprint scanner is responsive and, it's located on the front under the screen, rather than on the rear such as the TCL 10 5G. The main advantage of in-display fingerprint is being able to be more readily accessible, especially when  the phone is mounted on a phone mount. There are three side buttons, including a "smart button", which is customizable. You can buy the TCL 20 Pro 5G from TCL.

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