TCL 10 5G Review Dual-mode 5G Snapdragon Elite Gaming Phone

Monday, April 12, 2021

Entering a tough and competitive phone market, the TCL 10 5G stacks up well against the flagship world of amoled, as an exciting and affordable midrange phone with dual-mode 5G. More expensive ones such as the OnePlus 4 don't have 5G support. The TCL 10 5G is a robust upgrade to the TCL 10L version and, it's available in two colorways: chrome blue (pictured) and mercury grey. There is also the newly released TCL 20 Pro 5G.

The TCL 10 5G measures 16cm tall, 7.6cm wide and 0.9cm thick so, it's just a few millimetres bigger than the standard 10L version. Weight-wise, the TCL 10 5G is 30 grams weightier than the 10L, weighing 210 grams, due to the back glass on the TCL 10 5G, which has "3D" curved edge panels. 
The 6.53-inch display has a 1080p resolution (1080 x 2340 pixels), 2.5D curved glass and, it's equipped with 450 nits of screen brightness, which is bright enough to read text on a bright day. That said, the higher the "nits" the better it will perform under direct sunlight. The S20 ultra phone currently has the highest screen brightness on a phone at over 1,300+ nits.

The TCL 10 5G stock camera app loads quickly and has an intuitive user interface with the on-screen control buttons positioned on the right side by default. On the top right corner of the screen, there is the camera mode button to toggle from rear facing shooting to front facing selfie. 
The TCL 10 5G has a 91% screen-to-body ratio (almost bezel-less); hence it's mostly screen, aside from the small punch-hole on the left top corner, housing the selfie-camera. The image/video reproduction is clear and natural with a good balance of color contrast (395PPI) and with HDR10 support for HDR movies. There is NXTVision support too, which integrates several pre-sets that you can enable to sharpen up the screen or make it warmer for reading.

The The TCL 10 5G has a fingerprint-resistant coating all around that minimizes oily smudges and makes the phone not as slippery in the hand, although it still is; hence it is wise using the included transparent rubber protective case right out of the box. Under the back glass, there is shiny PVD layer with a chrome blue gradient effect.

The TCL 10 5G runs Android 10 (same as the 10L), although it uses TCL's own user interface; hence the menu layout/navigation is not the same as Android 10's stock UI. That said, the functionality is just the same, including customization options such as wallpapers, grid layouts and ringtones. 
There are also various built-in apps such as screen recorder (max 1080p recording), YouTube app, Play Store, and gesture controls for activating various functions such as split screen, launch camera and wake the phone. 
There is also a game mode and driving mode (same as the 10L version), as well as a smart manager where you can optimize the battery via different power saving modes, clean files and check the health of the phone via a hardware diagnostics tool.

Under the hood of the TCL 10 5G, there is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chipset that integrates an Adreno 620 graphics card and a Qualcomm Kryo Octa-Core processor, which is basically eight cores divided into two clusters (fast performance cluster and a power efficient cluster). 
The fast performance cluster contains two ARM Cortex-A76 cores (prime core and a gold core). The prime core has a max clock speed of 2.4 GHz, while the gold core is clocked at 2.2 GHz. The power efficiency cluster has 6 small ARM Cortex-A55 cores with a max clock speed of 1.8 GHz. All this means basically, the 10 5G feels very responsive when navigating between menus, browsing and loading apps.

Performance is very similar to the Snapdragon 855/855+, although the TCL 10 5G Snapdragon 765G is more power efficient and also integrates an X52 modem with dual-mode 5G that supports both NSA (Non-Standalone Access) and SA (Standalone Access) 5G networks. This means, the TCL 10 5G is future proof and will be able to support upcoming 5G networks in the future. This isn't the case with all 5G enabled phones such as the Galaxy Note 10+ and even the LG V50 Thinq 5G, which only support 5G NSA.

While the TCL 10 5G supports dual-mode 5G, it does not support dual SIM 5G and, it wouldn't anyways because the TCL 10 5G is only capable of running one SIM card. Thanks to 6GB of RAM and Snapdragon Elite Gaming integration, the TCL 10 5G is optimized for serious hardcore gaming too, delivering smooth graphics, good audio, fast display refresh rate and a responsive touch screen, which makes gaming enjoyable and immersive. Another neat feature about Snapdragon Elite Gaming, it's that also allows the TCL 10 5G to cast the screen on to a larger display with higher resolution like a 4K TV.

The TCL 10 5G bluetooth 5.0 chip only supports SBC codec (no aptX support) but, it supports "Super Bluetooth" (same as the 10L), which lets you connect up to two simultaneous devices (when connected to a 2.4Ghz network) and up to 4 devices when connected to a 5GHz Wifi network. This means, you could output music to four speakers and/or listen to music via bluetooth headphones while playing mobile games via a bluetooth gamepad controller.

The 10 5G has a horizontal camera array inside a housing that protrudes very little (3 millimetres); hence there is no noticeable rear bump. There is an led flash on either side of the camera housing. The square shaped fingerprint reader is located just beneath the quad cameras at a good height for convenient operation with the index finger. 
The rear cameras include a 48MP (high-res) lens with auto focus, a 8MP (super wide) with fixed focus, a 5MP (macro) with auto focus and a portrait depth sensor for bokeh style photography. The level of bokeh effect can be manually adjusted. There is electronic image stabilization (IES) but no OIS (optical image stabilizer), although as you can see in the video below, EIS does a good enough job.
As well as record and taking still photos, the TCL 10 5G gives you the ability to record 240fps slow motion videos in 1080p and 720p, light trace photos, create panoramas, take macro photos and macro recordings (not all phones can do that). There is also a 64 megapixel photo setting, which opens up the sensor, letting more light for higher quality (4:3) photos that you could potentially print as posters.

The rear main shooter camera supports the following photo sizes: 16 megapixels (4:3), 12 megapixels (1:1), 12 megapixel (16:9) and 10 megapixel full screen. Video size support are as follows: 4K (16:9 30fps), 1080p (16:9 30fps), 1080p (16:9 60fps), 720p (16:9 30fps), 720p (16:9 60fps), 480p (4:3 30fps). 
The selfie camera supports the same photo sizes but only 1080p (16:9 30fps), 720p (16:9 30fps) and 480p (4:3 30fps). The TCL 10 5G camera app is also equipped with intelligent features such as scene detection, which automatically changes the camera mode (e.g. macro) when it senses a close up. Since there is no telephoto lens, the TCL 10 5G is not capable of taking long range high quality photos, although you do have the ability to digitally zoom in to a subject.

On the top side of the TCL 10 5G, there is a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microphone pinhole. On the left side, there is a dedicated Google Assistant button and a card tray with space for one SIM card and a micro SDXC card up that supports up to 1 terabyte. The built-in internal storage space is 128GB. On the right side of the 10 5G phone, there is the volume rocker and multifunctional power button. 
On the bottom, there is another microphone and a single speaker, which delivers good sound. There is no built-in equalizer or Dolby Atmos support. The microphones perform well, delivering a good call quality sound, which is clear and loud and without too much noise leaking into the call, thanks to noise cancellation.

The TCL 10 5G is equipped with a non-removable 4500mAh battery that can hold power for 20 days in standby mode. The 10 5G has a larger battery capacity than the 10L version. At 50% volume and without video playing (just audio), the 10 5G battery has a 20 hour runtime in loudspeaker mode and a 5-day runtime when listening via the headphone jack. Video streaming is approximately 9 hours at medium brightness. The TCL 10 5G charging time is 2 hours.

Accessories included with the 10 5G are an 18W ac adapter (QC13EU) with European 2-prongs and a female USB-A port on the front. The ac adapter is capable of variable output: 15 watts via 5V/3A, 18 watts via 9A/2A and 18 watts via 12V/1.5A. There is also a meter long charging/data cable included. There is software/security updates, although these only appear to be guaranteed for a 1 year. You can buy the TCL 10 5G from amazon. Check out the review of the TCL 20 R 5G phone.

Similar Gadget Explained Reviews


Connect With Gadget Explained