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    TCL 10L review: A modern phone for only $250, but there are trade-offs

    TCL’s 10L is the corporate’s $250 funds cellphone. 
    Sarah Tew/CNET
    Chinese electronics large TCL has made a reputation for itself within the US by way of its Roku TV choices, which have spectacular shows that punch nicely above their costs. But after years of making an attempt to interrupt into the cellphone business by way of subbrands resembling Alcatel, Palm and BlackBerry, the corporate is making an attempt once more and utilizing its personal identify. 

    LikeGood worth for valueModern design

    Don’t LikeMono speaker is weakNXTVision show tech would not add valueLag points

    One of the primary of those new telephones is the $250 TCL 10L, which will probably be accessible May 19. Overall, the 10L is an efficient try at a funds cellphone, and whereas it would not have many flashy options, it admirably handles primary duties and has a chic design. For the worth, it’s a good rival to the Moto G Stylus ($300 at Motorola). But as a result of Motorola’s cellphone carried out a lot smoother, I really helpful it between the 2. Design: Modern regardless of the priceUnlike TCL’s flashy ideas like a slideable cellphone and a triple-screen folding pill, the 10L is a extra conventional smartphone, working Android 10 with a big 6.53-inch full HD LCD show (an improve to Android 11 is promised). It has a cutout within the higher left nook for its 16-megapixel selfie digital camera. 

    Power and quantity buttons adorn the fitting facet of the plastic-backed gadget whereas a customizable “smart key” is on the left that may be programmed to open most well-liked apps or do duties, resembling a double press to open an app and a protracted press to summon the Google Assistant. The “Mariana blue” provides a little bit of colour and flashy patterns beneath daylight. The TCL 10L’s Mariana blue end gives good thrives beneath daylight. 
    Eli Blumenthal/CNET
    A mono speaker is positioned on the underside of the cellphone to the fitting of the USB-C port whereas the highest has a 3.5mm headphone jack. When I performed movies and music on the cellphone, the speaker was fairly dangerous, significantly at increased volumes. You’ll need to use headphones. A fingerprint scanner will be discovered on the again, which is responsive although not the quickest I’ve seen. There can be an FM radio when wired headphones are plugged in. As one may count on given the worth, there isn’t a IP-rated water resistance or wi-fi charging.

    Given its repute in TVs, I hoped that the show on the 10L can be a standout in its class. The firm touts that its telephones have “NXTVision,” a characteristic that enhances the show’s colours and may convert SDR content material to HDR by way of a mix of a “dedicated display” {hardware} chip and a few software program methods. TCL’s NXTVision show tech is meant to spice up the show’s high quality, however typically simply oversaturates the image. 
    Eli Blumenthal/CNET
    But to me, this characteristic did not actually add a lot. When I turned it on, movies streamed over Netflix, YouTube and Disney Plus typically ended up wanting oversaturated as did on-line matches of Call of Duty Mobile. It may very well be a private choice, however I needed to flip the characteristic off.(BTW: I attempted to obtain Fortnite from the Play retailer however the app oddly did not present up, one thing TCL mentioned was as a consequence of it not but being licensed to work with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor. Downloading the sport from Epic Games instantly did work, however it struggled to play.)The 10L’s included case is a pleasant contact, although its branding is not delicate.
    Eli Blumenthal/CNET
    The cellphone has a preapplied plastic display screen protector on the show. While it helps struggle scratches, I discovered that taking it off improves the show’s visibility, significantly outdoor. A plastic case is included within the field, and whereas it isn’t of the very best high quality (and options huge TCL branding), it’s a good add-on that helps with gripping the gadget. Camera: Good… you probably have a lot of gentleThe 10L has 4 rear cameras.
    Eli Blumenthal/CNET
    Besides some lag points (which I’ll get to later), total the 10L digital camera works nicely and may seize fairly good photographs, particularly when capturing in daylight or in areas with loads of gentle. People and objects had been sharp and the colours vivid and I really loved the macro lens for tremendous shut up pictures of objects, although particulars from its 2-megapixel sensor wasn’t nice. (FYI, the primary digital camera has a 48-megapixel sensor, however a 12-megapixel decision is ready by default.)The 10L takes good pictures outdoor. 
    Eli Blumenthal/CNET
    Taking photographs at evening with no flash, nevertheless, was troublesome. As with most telephones that do not have their very own evening mode setting, photographs taken on the 10L in these environments had been grainy and out of focus. Night shoots are usually not one of many 10L’s specialties. 
    Eli Blumenthal/CNET
    The digital camera has a particular mode referred to as “High Pixel,” which might shoot on the full 48 megapixels. But after I tried it out, it did not present a lot enchancment and it required me to be regular for a number of seconds. That’s an enormous ask when taking footage of shifting topics like kids. The 10L places a watermark within the left nook of photographs by default. 
    Eli Blumenthal/CNET
    As for video, high quality on 4K or 1080p is not nice when capturing indoors, whereas the shortage of optical picture stabilization is observed (there may be digital picture stabilization however it would not assist a lot). The cellphone’s front-facing digital camera additionally took serviceable photographs, however with out loads of pure gentle they weren’t something particular.One annoying digital camera subject I need to convey up: By default, the digital camera app features a watermark that shows a TCL 10L emblem and the tagline “display greatness” within the lower-left nook of each picture. This will be turned off within the digital camera settings, however it’s an pointless step for what ought to be off by default.Processor and battery: Manageable, however not greatBeyond the Snapdragon 665 processor, the 10L contains 64GB of storage, with the choice to broaden by way of microSD, and 6GB of RAM. On paper, the 10L ought to be quicker than the Moto G Stylus, for instance, as a result of Motorola’s cellphone has the identical Snapdragon 665 processor however 4GB of RAM. In apply, the G Stylus fared higher throughout benchmark checks, presumably as a consequence of Motorola utilizing a cleaner model of Android. Geekbench v.5.0 single-core

    Note:
    Longer bars point out higher efficiency

    Geekbench v.5.0 multicore

    Note:
    Longer bars point out higher efficiency

    With day-to-day utilization, the 10L generally carried out admirably, like after I performed graphic-intensive video games like Call of Duty or scrolling by way of a content-heavy app like TikTok’s For You Page. But different instances there have been fixed small lags when doing primary duties like opening up the cellphone’s app drawer, closing or switching apps and scrolling by way of some webpages or playlists on Spotify. The processor additionally struggled and lagged for a number of seconds when switching between the varied lenses on the rear of the cellphone, significantly when switching between the primary 48-megapixel shooter and the cellphone’s 8-megapixel ultra-wide and 2-megapixel macro lenses. One different factor: For some weird motive the “User Support” suggestions app was locked within the notification tray and could not be swiped away. The solely technique to clear it was by going into Settings, Smart Manager, Notifications and toggling the app to off. Like the watermark within the digital camera app, that is one other software program subject that ought to’ve been resolved earlier than delivery. We’re ready on official battery take a look at outcomes from the lab, and I’ll replace this evaluate after they are available in, however anecdotally, the battery is strong. It can final all day with no cost, and was in a position to stream each Avengers: Endgame and Avengers: Infinity War with the brightness jacked up and nonetheless have about 24% of battery left over. TCL 10L spec comparability

    TCL 10L

    Motorola Moto G Stylus

    Motorola Moto G Power

    Display measurement, decision

    6.53-inch LCD; 1,080×2,340 pixels

    6.4-inch LCD; 2,300×1,080 pixels

    6.4-inch LCD; 2,300×1,080 pixels

    Pixel density

    395ppi

    399ppi

    399ppi

    Dimensions (Inches)

    6.39 x 2.98 x 0.33 in

    6.24 x 2.98 x 0.36 in

    6.29 x 2.98 x 0.38 in

    Dimensions (Millimeters)

    162.2 x 75.6 x 8.4mm

    158.55 x 75.8 x 9.2 mm

    159.85 x 75.8 x 9.63 mm

    Weight (Ounces, Grams)

    6.35oz; 180g

    6.77 oz; 192 g

    7.01 oz; 199 g

    Mobile software program

    Android 10

    Android 10

    Android 10

    Camera

    48-megapixel, 8-megapixel tremendous vast, 2-megapixel macro, 2-megapixel depth

    48-megapixel wide-angle, 2-megapixel macro, 16-megapixel ultra-wide angle

    16-megapixel wide-angle, 2-megapixel macro, 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle

    Front-facing digital camera

    16-megapixel

    16-megapixel

    16-megapixel

    Video seize

    4K

    4K

    4K

    Processor

    2.0GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 665

    Snapdragon 665

    Snapdragon 665

    Storage

    64GB, 128GB

    128GB

    64GB

    RAM

    6GB

    4GB

    4GB

    Expandable storage

    Up to 256GB

    Up to 512GB

    Up to 512GB

    Battery

    4,000 mAh

    4,000 mAh

    5,000 mAh

    Fingerprint sensor

    Back

    Back

    Back

    Connector

    USB-C

    USB-C

    USB-C

    Headphone jack

    Yes

    Yes

    Yes

    Special options

    90Hz show, NXTVision Display

    Stylus, Action Cam

    Price off-contract (USD)

    $250

    $300

    $250

    Price (GBP)

    £199

    N/A

    N/A

    Price (AUD)

    AU$500

    N/A

    N/A

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