TCL has been known for their affordable TVs like the 6-Series. However, for the last couple of years, they have also made smartphones under brands like Blackberry and Palm. This changed last year when TCL debuted their first TCL-branded phones with the 10 series and continued that this year with the 20 series.
Design & Hardware
At first glance, the TCL 20 Pro doesn’t seem like a typical mid-range phone. The entirety of the phone is made from glass and metal, giving it that flagship feel. It almost feels like you’re holding the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy.
The back of the phone has a nice matte finish that makes it easier to hold but the phone is still a bit slippery and can slide around on your table.
On the right side of the phone, you have the power button and volume keys and the left features the smart key that you can reprogram.
At the bottom of the phone, you’ll find the SIM/microSD card slot and USB-C port. The top has a headphone jack and IR blaster to control other devices like TVs or AC units.
Displays are one of the things TCL is known for, especially for their TVs. The company has taken some of their TV display technology and applied it to the TCL 20 Pro.
The phone’s display comes with NXTVISION 2.0 which is TCL’s proprietary technology that offers better contrast and HDR enhancements.
The TCL 20 Pro 5G features a 6.67-inch FHD+ curved AMOLED display. The screen on this phone looks great with its resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels at a 20:9 aspect ratio. It feels almost like you’re watching a small version of one of TCL’s TVs.
One thing that would have made the display even better would be the addition of a high-refresh screen like 90Hz or even 120Hz like other Android phones these days. Hopefully, we see a high-refresh display in the TCL 30 Pro.
Powering the TCL 20 Pro is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G processor with 6GB of RAM. In my time using the phone, there weren’t any major slowdown issues and the Snapdragon 750G kept up.
Battery life on the TCL 20 Pro was great thanks to the 4,500 mAh battery that can be charged via 18W wired or 15W wireless charging. There’s also 256GB of internal storage that can be expanding using the microSD card slot.
The phone also features an in-display fingerprint sensor and face unlock support.
The TCL 20 Pro is running Android 11 out of the box with TCL UI on top. TCL’s skin is a mix of ones from other OEMs.
Like, when you swipe to the left of the homescreen, you get access to the Google Feed. Swiping up brings you to the app launcher that is a bit like the one in OnePlus’ OxygenOS along with a built-in search box.
Other than a couple of pre-installed apps, the TCL UI doesn’t add too much bloat to Android.
In terms of software updates, TCL has said that the TCL 20 Pro will be getting at minimum two years of major OS updates and two years minimum of security updates. Meaning that the TCL 20 Pro will be getting Android 12 and 13.
At the time of this review (in October 2021), it’s unclear when TCL plans to roll out the Android 12 update for the TCL 20 Pro.
For cameras, the TCL 20 Pro 5G is using a 48MP standard lens Sony IMX582 sensor, 16MP ultra-wide angle, 5MP macro, 2MP depth camera along with a 32MP sensor for the front camera.
Photos taken with the TCL 20 Pro are pretty good, especially for a phone in this price range. It’s nothing that beats champs like the Google Pixel phones, iPhones and Samsung Galaxy but still good.
The camera app on the TCL 20 Pro comes with a number of modes including:
- Super Night
- Light Trace
- Stop Motion
- High Pixel
- Super Macro
- Short Video
There’s also an auto night mode, which helps when taking low-light photos. And a Google Lens shortcut in the camera app.
Low-light photos like nighttime shots on the TCL 20 Pro are pretty good as well. You can actually see objects at night instead of everything just being a blur.
Video quality is good thanks to the ability to shoot at up to 4K 30fps along with 1080p at 60/30fps.
The TCL 20 Pro is a great phone that offers an excellent and vibrant display as well as good cameras.
- Premium design that makes it feel like a flagship
- Good cameras
- 15W wireless charging
- All-day battery life
- IR blaster can be useful
- Solid performance
- Slippery to hold
- Priced on the higher side for mid-range phones and specs