TCL 403 Smartphone Review Removeable Battery Dual SIM

Wednesday, July 12, 2023


Say goodbye to the limitations of fixed batteries! In 2023, you can still find a phone with removeable battery such as the TCL 403, which allows you to easily replace the battery in literary seconds!

The TCL 403 is equipped with a 6.0" bezel display and MediaTek Helio A22 quad-core CPU - the same one found on the Nokia C200 and Redmi 6A. The performance is decent for a super budget phone. If you're accustomed to a higher end smartphone though, the TCL 403 will feel sluggish when browsing the internet, running apps and gaming. 
The 8MP rear camera with macro and HDR modes captures good photos, while the 5MP front camera delivers decent selfies. You should note though, tat the front camera doesn't natively support 5MP - it interpolates photos from 2MP so, it digitally blows up (upscales) photos, which is nowhere the same quality as a photo taken with a true native 5MP camera.

TCL 403's onboard microSD card supports up to 512GB cards, which is super useful as this makes up for the small internal storage capacity (~22GB). Comparing the TCL 403 to other TCL smartphones, it is clear that the TCL 403 is positioned as a budget-friendly option. It doesn't reach the same heights as higher-end TCL smartphones in terms of specifications and premium features, but it holds its ground as a capable device within its price range. If you want a backup phone or prioritize essential smartphone functionalities without the need for cutting-edge specifications or premium features, the TCL 403 provides a solid combination of performance, display quality, camera capabilities, and expandable storage.

When compared to higher-end models like TCL 30SE, TCL 20 Pro 5G or the TCL 20 R 5G, the TCL 403 falls short in terms of display resolution, processing power, camera capabilities, and storage options. These higher-end models offer superior features, such as higher resolutions, more advanced chip sets and processors, and enhanced camera systems, making them better suited for users who demand top-tier specifications and premium features.

In terms of build quality, materials, and design, the TCL 403 is very lightweight. It is entirely made of plastic, including the buttons, and features a 3.5mm headphone jack, a single speaker at the top and micro USB port and mic at the bottom. The weight is just 182 grams (202 grams with included phone case). The lack of USB-C connectivity is an odd one, considering the TCL 403 was released in 2023.

The internal battery is not the largest but charges in 3.5 hours and lasts a full work day (8 hours). While battery life isn't long lasting, the TCL 403 battery is user-replaceable. Phones with detachable batteries have been around since the days of the old Nokia phones with interchangeable fascias. The trend of smartphones transitioning from removable batteries to non-removable (fixed or sealed) batteries started around 2010.

While non-removable batteries offer some advantages in terms of design and performance, they limit your ability to easily replace a faulty or degraded battery. With the TCL 403, you can easily replace the battery without the worrying about voiding the warranty or requiring professional service from a service center. Another plus of owning a phone with a removable battery, it's that you can properly power off the phone by taking out the battery - something you can't do with most flagship smartphones. 

Some drawbacks to consider right out of the gate are the large bezels and 2D glass TFT-IPS panel, which doesn't provide the best viewing angles compared to higher-end displays. Then, there is the screen resolution (only 480 x 960 pixels), which is not the sharpest nor the brightest - an issue in a bright sunny day. Additionally, the 2GB of RAM is very low, which hinders the performance of the Helio A22 CPU and GPU (PowerVR GE8320) - particularly when playing graphically demanding games. As far as operating system, the TCL 403 runs Android 12 Go Edition (lighter version of the original Android 12), which has the benefit of faster apps and battery life.

Like with most phones cameras, the photo quality in camera mode is a bit better than when capturing a photo while recording video. In the case of the TCL 403, you can clearly see the difference specially when taking still photos at night.

Overall, the TCL 403 is a solid choice. It has removeable battery and expandable storage, which is convenient for keeping all your important files, photos, and videos at your fingertips. Whether you're a budget-conscious user or someone seeking flexibility in their smartphone experience, the TCL 403 won't disappoint

Potential deal breakers
  • Non-native interpolated front camera
  • Lack of USB-C connectivity
  • Only 22.5GB internal storage out of the box
  • No bubble notifications
  • Large bezels
  • No fast charging
  • Available only in two colors: black and purple
  • No phone case included
  • HDR mode not supported on the T431Q model
  • No wireless charging
  • Macro camera not the best for close-up shots
  • Low memory (RAM) power
  • No 60fps support
  • No 2k or 4k video support
  • Not the best for phone calls
  • No image stabilization when recording video OIS or EIS

Selling points
  • Torch light
  • No screen notch
  • Dual SIM: 2 Nano SIM + 1 T-Flash card
  • Lightweight
  • Not expensive
  • Perfect start up phone for children
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Flip to mute gesture
  • Face unlock
  • Android 12 Go Edition

The TCL 403 is available with single or dual SIM and 1GB or 2GB RAM memory across 5 models: T431A, T431D, T431E, T431Q and T431U. The T431Q model doesn't support HDR mode and 2MP front camera (no interpolation). The 1GB RAM model only supports 256GB expandable storage. The 2GB RAM model supports up to 512GB expandable storage.
Accessories included with the TCL 403 (T431U 2GB RAM model) are a micro USB cable, 5W (5V/1A) USB wall adapter, phone case and screen protector. The phone case is made of clear flexible silicone rubber so, it will do the job safe guarding the phone against bumps and scratches. The phone case has an anchor points for a lanyard, which is useful. You can buy the TCL 403 smartphone from amazon.

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