TCL 10 5G

What is it?

The TCL 10 5G is a large-screen smartphone, boasting a 6.53-inch Full HD+ display (2,340 x 1,080p). Its screen has a fairly good 83.5% screen-to-body ratio and comes with HDR10 (High Dynamic Range) a technology typically found in TVs that's designed to deliver better detail and colour on the screen.

As with a lot of smartphones that have launched in 2020, including the OnePlus Nord and Motorola Edge, it uses the 5G Snapdragon 765G chipset.

With 6GB of Ram and 128GB of internal capacity (which can be expanded with a microSD card up to 256GB), you should have more than enough storage to use.

What’s it like to use?

One tiny niggle you’ll notice is that the phone’s glass back makes it very slippery – keeping it stationary on any type of gloss surface feels like an almost impossible task – so you’ll definitely need to get a phone case to keep it from unwanted marks and scratches.

Other than that, it feels impressively sturdy in your hand, which is one thing you typically have to sacrifice with cheap and mid-range smartphones.

Scrolling through the phone and navigating between apps is a smooth and easy experience. The 10 5G seemed responsive in our initial trial, no lagging in sight. It shouldn’t have any problem keeping up with your daily activities.

Video and audio are both clear, and sound has a reasonable amount of depth while you’re watching videos and listening to music.

Although the phone is quite big it’s not uncomfortable to hold and is easy to operate with one hand. A useful feature of this phone is during the setup process, there’s the option to choose the dominant hand that you’ll be using the phone with (right or left). The navigation keys at the bottom of the screen are then reorganised for easy access.

How good is the battery?

Although our battery test trial run was based on the confines of lockdown, the 10 5G lasted for a full day of usage after we watched videos, took photos and browsed the internet, as well as giving it some time to recoup on standby.

This isn’t hugely surprising since the TCL 10 Pro managed a whopping 31 hours of call time in our battery tests, so we will expect to see similar performance in a full battery test.

It has a 4,500mAh battery, the same capacity as the Pro model and rival, the Samsung Galaxy A71 that lasted 27.5 hours of call time in our tests so our expectations are high.

How good are the cameras?

There is a whole host of cameras on this phone; four rear cameras and one front camera.

Its quad camera array is made up of a 64Mp wide-angle lens as its main camera, an 8Mp ultra-wide-angle lens, 5Mp macro camera and 2Mp depth camera. There’s a 16Mp wide-angle lens for selfies.

We took a few photos on the phone and what stood out the most is how bright the colours are. Outdoor shots look vibrant and when zooming into the pictures, you’ll see a reasonable level of detail but not as much as on premium smartphones. We are disappointed in the macro lens as it lacked detail in the shots that we took.

One of the handy photo features on this phone is NXTVISION, which has its own app on the phone. It allows you to adjust your image settings to automatically make them brighter or sharper as well as turning on HDR to enhance colour and contrast.

Is there anything I should watch out for?

The TCL 10 5G isn’t currently available at many retail stores, but it is up for grabs on contract at Three and will also be available at EE.

Is there anything else I should know?

This smartphone doesn’t come with many fancy features, but it is 5G ready and has fast charging, which is always useful.

Which? first look verdict

TCL makes some sleek, high-spec devices for an affordable price. In a world where the likes of Motorola and Oppo are joining Apple and Samsung in launching £1,000+ smartphones, the 10 5G is a great option if you’re looking to spend less than £500.