TCL 30SE Review Dual SIM Power Efficient Phone

Thursday, May 26, 2022

 A brilliant phone...4GB RAM, Octa-core 2GHz processor and 128GB of internal storage are some key features you get with the TCL 30SE phone, which also resurrects the 3.5mm headphone jack and microSD card function to give the phone external storage (up to 512GB) - a useful feature you won't find on most flagship phones! 

The TCL 30SE seen pictured has a dual SIM card tray 6165H phone model, which comes with many pre-installed apps in the app drawer, including pedometer, facebook, YouTube Music, TikTok, calculator, sound recorder, office suite, Google Pay, gmail, Amazon Shop, Google Play Store and switch phone, which is a useful app that lets you easily transfer data from another phone to the TCL 30SE. There are also a couple of games pre-installed - Game box and MC: Rebel Guns - as well as the TCL Home app, which is useful for controlling TCL smart devices.
You can quickly access the apps via the Edge Bar shortcut menu by swiping left on the small panel tab located on the right edge of the screen. You can customize the Edge Bar with a number of apps of your choosing and, you also get access to a handy metric ruler. Speaking of shortcuts, you can access more functions via the notification area - same on most Android phones - giving you quick access to flashlight, location, dark mode, aeroplane mode, bluetooth and brightness control. 

Other useful things you can do from the TCL 30SE phone, include wireless printing, cast to an Android TV or Android projector, link the phone to a Chromebook, directly share files with nearby devices (within 30cm), as well as answer calls and control the audio playback with your voice via the Android Auto app, which is already built-in to the TCL 30SE phone. 
The TCL 30SE smartphone has a 6.52 inch notch glass display with 720p HD+ resolution (720 x 1600 pixels) and high screen to body ratio (89%) with a 20:9 aspect ratio. This makes the screen very tall and skinny, which has advantages and disadvantages. 

The tall narrow width screen of the TCL 30SE is useful for split screen, running two apps (map app and music player) at the same time on top of each other, which is convenient when driving. The disadvantage of having a 20:9 aspect ratio is that it isn't ideal for every day use since most of the content we watch on a phone is constrained by the width so, having a taller screen isn't ideal. The back panel of the TCL 30SE phone looks like glass but, it is in fact, glossy plastic.

 The TCL 30SE display has adequate contrast and color reproduction, although it is slightly below the the standard 72% NTSC. The higher the NTSC the more vivid and true-to-life colour reproduction. The TCL 30SE display has above average max brightness (450 nits) - same as the TCL 10L phone - which allows you to read texts in a sunny day. 
The TCL 20 Pro 5G is even brighter (600 nits). As well as brightness settings, the TCL 30SE has a "comfort eye mode" (removes harmful blue light), as well as a color and temperature settings to make the display cooler or warmer. 
As far as performance, the TCL 30SE runs Android 12 at its core with TCL's own personalized Android skin. Powering the phone is the MediaTek Helio G25 processor and PowerVR GE8320 GPU, which makes the TCL 30SE fast for browsing and good for gaming without compromising power efficiency, thanks to the high speed of the octa-cores (up to 2GHz) and fast GPU (with speeds of up to 650MHz). The TCL 30SE 5000mAh battery has a charging time of 3 hours via 5V2A (10W) and 2 hours via 15W (5V/3A) charger.

Most phones these days come with multiple cameras and the TCL 30SE is no different. It has three cameras housed inside a vertical array, which protrudes a little bit creating a bump on the backside of the phone. The only issue with the bump is that it makes the phone wonky as you cannot keep the phone flat on a desk.
The triple camera setup consists of a wide angle 50MP main camera, a wide angle 2MP macro camera (does not support video macro) and wide angle 2MP depth sensor camera to help with macros, portraits and panoramic shots. The front facing selfie camera is also a wide angle 8MP camera. The rear cameras and selfie cameras support 1080P @30FPS video capture and playback. The main camera also supports slow motion (at 30fps, 24fps and 12fps).
Overall, the TCL 30SE is a solid midrange phone for productivity work, watching videos and gaming. It even has a 3.5mm headphone jack and only weighs 188 grams, making the TCL 30SE even more appealing for mobile gaming on the go. 
The camera performance is good but has no night mode, no image stabilization, no telephoto, no ultra wide angle and no periscope.; hence the TCL 30SE is not the best phone to get if you plan to use the phone exclusively for photography and shooting videos on the go. You do get security features such as screen lock, face unlock and fingerprint.
There is one single bottom firing (mono) speaker and dual-mic noise cancellation, which work well for calls. The single speaker produces loud and clear sound at 100% volume and favors the higher tones, specially the vocal midrange. 

Accessories included with the TCL 30SE comes are a branded 10 watt USB charger and unbranded cable (USB-A to USB-C). You can buy the TCL 30SE in two colorways from amazon - Atlantic blue and Space grey which is cheaper. When buying the phone be aware that there is also a single SIM version of this phone (models 6165A/6165A1) with 64Gb only; while the dual SIM versions (models 6165H/6156H1) come with 128GB. The TCL 30SE does not come with a phone case but you can grab a phone case also from amazon.

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