No smartphone is perfect, and for mid-range smartphones, you expect a compromise. The $399 iPhone SE does not have a face ID and cannot use portrait mode when taking pictures of puppies. The Galaxy A51, priced at $399, is mixed. TCL’s $449 10 Pro is not very good at photography, but the display is good with the $250 TCL 10L, you also want to lower expectations.
Mid-range smartphones are designed to achieve the best position in terms of value and functionality. Yes, they should handle communication, text, web browsing, streaming, and take decent photos. But what is the special seasoning that TCL uses to make 10L stand out in mid-range smartphones?
- Brand: TCL
- Model: 10L
- Form Factor: Touchscreen
- Dimensions: 162.20 x 75.60 x 8.40
- Weight (g): 180.00
- Battery: 4000 mAh
- Fast Charging: Proprietary
- Colors: Arctic White, Mariana Blue
- Screen size (inches): 6.53
- Resolution: 1080×2340 pixels
- Processor make: Qualcomm Snapdragon 665
- RAM: 6GB
- Internal storage: 64GB
- Expandable storage: Yes
- Expandable storage type: microSD
- Rear camera: 48-megapixel (f/1.8) + 8-megapixel (f/2.2) + 2-megapixel (f/2.4) + 2-megapixel (f/2.4)
- Rear autofocus: Yes
- Front Camera: 16-megapixel (f/2.2)
- Operating system: Android 10
- Wifi/GPS/Bluetooth: Yes
- Fingerprint/Accelerometer: Yes
Smooth and colorful equipment
Despite weighing less than a pound, the TCL 10L can still feel the feel. It is mainly made of plastic and has a smooth back. The camera that accommodates four cameras and two LED flashes has only one hair sticking out.
We like that the 10 Pro is flat in most cases, but there is not much swing here because it spans most of the back. We like TCL to focus on ergonomics. The left and right sides of the back are slightly curved upward, so it is easy to grasp. It is also very high, with a ratio of 19:5:9.
The back is smooth and shiny, but the palm will not loosen and fall off. The back also contains a physical fingerprint sensor, which brings us back to older LG smartphones and Google’s Pixel series.
It may be tall for people with small hands, but it is easy to find us and connect with them. In terms of ports, there is a USB Type-C and a headphone jack at the bottom. On the right side, there is a volume key and a power button. On the left side, there is a combined microSIM and microSD card slot, and a customizable key.
There is a pinhole display on the front, and a 16-megapixel camera is installed in the upper left corner. There are elongated borders around the top, left, and right sides. However, the bottom bezel is thicker, which allows you to secure the device.
TCL 10L Perfect Display
The 10L display is impressive. The 6.53-inch LCD panel is not the clearest or brightest panel we have ever used, but its price is worth the money. It’s still full HD+, and TCL’s proprietary NXTVISION is now available to improve display quality.
Well, it can increase the saturation and brightness of the content you are viewing. If you like vibrant extra colors, the colors will become very bright in all cases.
But it eliminates realism in some content. We did not notice much on the 10 Pro with AMOLED display, but the panel is of higher quality and has better contrast handling.
The 10 L display has done a good job in color reproduction, but we found that the brightness may be very low, and it is also difficult under direct sunlight.
When playing “Frozen II”, the contrast is lower than we expected, especially in the scene where Elsa is at sea in a storm, there is less separation between bright and dark. However, the brightness here is very strong, we noticed that this is the entire 10-liter theme.
It is still immersive, but the viewing effect is not as immersive or pleasing as 10 Pro, iPhone SE, or even Galaxy S20. NEXT VISION ultimately did not have a huge impact on contrast.
TCL 10L Camera
The price is $249.99, and you may be surprised when you hear that there are four cameras in the back. As mentioned earlier, these are horizontal formats at the top. The main lens, super wide-angle, macro, and depth sensors are fixed in place, with LED flash on both sides. Essentially, the well-known end cap.
The main lens is a 48-megapixel sensor, which by default takes pictures in the form of 12-megapixel. This is the same pixel merging technology we saw on multiple phones this year (especially the TCL 10 Pro and Galaxy S20 series). Its purpose is to provide vibrant and sharp photos at smaller file sizes.
The main lens is a standard size, you can adjust the resolution in the settings. Next is an 8-megapixel ultra-wide screen, which is ideal for taking more photos. TCL chose a 2-megapixel macro lens instead of a telephoto lens.
With a macro lens, you can shoot details at close range, but you need to keep a very close distance to the subject. Finally, you will get a 2-megapixel depth sensor that can be used in portrait mode.
When using the macro camera mode, you need to get close to the lens to focus it, but even then, it may not. The recommended distance for this device is 4 cm.
The main lens takes less than one second to take a snapshot, while other modes are not as fast as the latter. Macro shooting and portrait mode functions take about two seconds to process.
Battery Life and Performance
Powering the TCL 10L is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor with 6GB RAM. The 10L of RAM is large enough, and overall, this is an efficient but fast setup.
However, echoing the ideas behind the mid-range devices, this does not mean to keep pace with flagship devices (although the iPhone SE is an outlier compared to the fast A13 Bionic).
TCL 10L has been mixed for more than a week. It can easily handle social applications such as TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter. Real Racing, Idle Tycoons, and Call of Duty Mobile games have longer loading times. Fortnite can play, but it lags significantly, making the game more difficult.
Browsing settings and selecting files can sometimes cause slowdowns. But after a few seconds or even the next day, these tasks can be completed quickly. Various factors may cause these slowdowns (background tasks, even open applications), but it is frustrating.
As with any emphasized inspections we conducted, we conducted benchmark tests to set standards to compare quantitative testing of multiple devices and our daily use, testing, and opinions. We used the benchmark application GeekBench 5, which tests the device by running an intensive process that simulates real-life use cases.
Through GeekBench 5’s CPU test, the TCL 10L scored 310 on a single core and 1,368 on multiple cores. These indicators are low and in line with our expectations. 10 Pro scored 489 in singles and 1,550 in extras. Samsung’s Galaxy A51 has 345 orders and more than 1,301.
In most cases, the TCL 10L does not have those speed bumps and provides a similar experience to other mid-range smartphones. Very good, especially considering the price. In terms of batteries, the non-removable lithium-ion battery made us spend the whole day. In some cases, even two days.
TCL’s UI on Android 10 looks heavy, but it does not reduce efficiency. 10L has no wireless charging function, so you need to plug it in to charge.
TCL’s 10L price is $249.99, which is very valuable. It will bring some benefits, including a solid display. The battery life is long, and UX will not hinder you.
You should be able to complete daily tasks. And the camera is very good, so it can take very beautiful photos, but this is not as simple as pressing the shutter button like on the iPhone.