Disappointing finances cellphone with skin-deep enchantment

Patrick

There was once a time the place you can purchase a premium flagship gadget for underneath $600, and whereas TCL isn’t significantly recognized for its smartphones, it nonetheless goals to satisfy an reasonably priced but premium bar. The TCL 20 Professional provides a aggressive expertise coming in at €549/£499 (~$667) and is the flagship smartphone within the model’s 2021 portfolio. Can it compete with rival mid-range choices from firms corresponding to Samsung and OnePlus? Discover out in Android Authority’s TCL 20 Professional assessment.

About this TCL 20 Professional assessment: I used the TCL 20 Professional 5G for 5 days operating Android 11 (3.0.3CFD). The TCL 20 Professional 5G unit was offered to Android Authority by TCL Canada for this assessment. We additionally examined a secondary unit to substantiate our findings round battery life and digicam efficiency.

What you could know concerning the TCL 20 Professional

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

  • TCL 20 Professional 5G (6GB/256GB): €549/£499

Following its predecessor, the TCL 10 Professional, the TCL 20 Professional (dubbed the TCL 20 Professional 5G in advertising and marketing) ships with the extra budget-friendly Snapdragon 750G. The cellphone is out there in a single choice with 6GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. There may be assist for expandable storage as much as 1TB.

Associated: The very best finances telephones you may presently purchase

Design-wise, the cellphone is similar to its predecessor, however this 12 months, TCL moved the cameras to the cellphone’s left facet. The gadget is available in two colours: Moondust Grey and Marine Blue. Within the field is the cellphone, an 18W charger, and a USB-A to USB-C cable.

The TCL 20 Professional is priced at €549 throughout Europe and £499 within the UK and is presently that can be purchased as of April 2021. TCL has mentioned the 20 Professional will come to the US later this summer time, with pricing to be confirmed.

What’s the design like?

TCL 20 Pro 5G on white table

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

Most trendy smartphones sport giant digicam bumps. The TCL 20 Professional, then again, has a digicam module that sits flush with the again glass of the cellphone. To be trustworthy, it’s refreshing to see a design like this. The again is matte frosted glass, and the perimeters are encased in an aluminum physique. It feels premium in hand. As with final 12 months’s TCL 10 Professional, there may be a further customizable good key on the left facet. I’m glad to see this addition, particularly contemplating that this button may be personalized for a number of actions, not simply Google Assistant. The highest of the cellphone additionally options an IR blaster and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

On the entire, I just like the design of the TCL 20 Professional. It’s glossy, minimal, and premium trying. Regardless that the again has a frosted matte end, it nonetheless picks up a substantial variety of fingerprints. It’s nowhere close to as unhealthy as a shiny end gadget, but it surely’s positively one thing to make word of. The cellphone is protected on the back and front by Gorilla Glass 5, which isn’t the most recent grade however is aggressive with telephones at this value level.

TCL 20 Pro 5G on table with mousepad

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

For those who’ve heard of TCL earlier than, then you definately most likely know the corporate for its shows. Fortunately, the TCL 20 Professional provides a aggressive show expertise with a Full HD+ AMOLED panel. That being mentioned, this display screen is locked at 60Hz, which is a bit unhappy to see. Different finances choices such because the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G provide the same expertise with a 120Hz panel.

The 20 Professional depends on TCL’s NXT Imaginative and prescient 2.0, which makes an attempt to show SDR content material into an HDR picture. This works surprisingly properly. It’s not going to remodel something into true HDR content material, however for what it’s price, each SDR visible content material and video games look extra saturated, with increased distinction and extra dynamic vary. The show additionally options assist for HDR 10, which implies viewing real HDR content material seems unbelievable. As a result of longer 20:9 facet ratio, most vertical content material seems nice, however horizontal content material can look somewhat small, particularly in case you are viewing an ordinary 16:9 picture. This leads to giant black bars on the left and proper sides of the content material. Motion pictures, then again, fill the big 6.67-inch display screen.

The TCL 20 Professional has a really aggressive show for a finances cellphone.

The TCL 10 Professional shipped with a waterdrop notch design for the digicam. This 12 months the TCL 20 Professional ships with what TCL calls a “dotch,” which is nothing greater than a central punch gap digicam. The show is usually full display screen, however there may be nonetheless an ever so slight brow and chin. It’s not distracting, however I’d have appreciated to see some slimmer bezels on TCL’s flagship cellphone.

Is the TCL 20 Professional battery life good?

TCL 20 Pro 5G

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

Transport with a 4,500mAh battery, the TCL 20 Professional seems like a stable performer on paper. Sadly, that’s not the case.

In my day-to-day testing, which consisted of some average gaming, a substantial quantity of social media, and a few images, I averaged about 5 hours of screen-on time at finest. The cellphone jogged my memory of Android telephones of yore (not in a great way), as I used to be fairly anxious I’d must recharge it about 75{2d266c2b7f7b21b9d5247541775384085ff4c78fbe34d1f6195ea0b207eacd24} into my day. That mentioned, lighter utilization noticed the cellphone lasting by means of a full day, however that’s with minimal social media and no images. TCL did embody an excellent saving mode that drastically will increase battery life. Nevertheless, this mode limits the variety of apps you need to use to the dialer and messages, and likewise adjustments the wallpaper to a black background. This could be a helpful function in a pinch however doesn’t excuse the poor battery life.

Charging isn’t significantly better both. Within the field comes an 18W charger, and charging from 0-100{2d266c2b7f7b21b9d5247541775384085ff4c78fbe34d1f6195ea0b207eacd24} took somewhat over an hour and a half. That is on par with the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G which additionally ships with an 18W quick charger however powers up in 90 minutes. Surprisingly, although, the TCL 20 Professional does embody assist for wi-fi charging as much as 15W.

How highly effective is the TCL 20 Professional?

Whereas the Snapdragon 750G is not any slouch, efficiency on the TCL 20 Professional is lower than best. Day-to-day duties noticed little to no stuttering, however any heavy gaming or video duties noticed the cellphone lag considerably. Attempting to playback 1440p HDR video resulted in a jumpy and sometimes frozen picture. In the meantime, video games like Conflict Royale ran simply wonderful, whereas 3D titles like Genshin Influence or PUBG Cell have been laggy and stuttery in high-action moments, albeit nonetheless playable. Is it the worst gaming expertise I’ve had? No, however the 6GB of RAM and decrease clocked chipset can’t deal with heavier gaming titles.

See additionally: Greatest gaming telephones

Benchmark scores actually weren’t half unhealthy. In Geekbench 5, the TCL produced respective scores of 651 and 1,886 in single and multi-core efficiency. These outcomes dangle with different opponents such because the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G and the OnePlus Nord. 3DMark’s Wild Life check positioned the TCL 20 Professional with a rating of 1,114 and a median body price of 6.70fps. Once more, these outcomes are on par with the Galaxy A52 5G and truly beat it by a really slim margin.

How are the cameras?

TCL 20 Pro 5G Cameras

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

Probably the most disappointing facet of the TCL 20 Professional is its cameras.

The principle 48MP, f/1.8 sensor captures respectable pictures at a look, however upon additional inspection, photographs are oversoftened and noisy within the shadows. There additionally appears to be a little bit of oversharpening occurring within the edges. When coupled with the oversoftening this produces some unusual artifacts. Luckily, the dynamic vary shouldn’t be horrible, however the cellphone nonetheless darkens the picture in favor of retaining the highlights. Additionally, there’s a small quantity of chromatic aberration taking place within the out of focus areas and edges of every picture. Nicely-lit photographs can come out trying good, however most of the time the oversoftening ruins the picture. Most photographs will work in a pinch however don’t anticipate phenomenal outcomes.

Evening mode photographs once more don’t look half unhealthy at a look, however taking a more in-depth look reveals the identical oversoftening downside. I’ll say that the colours are very saturated however I believe the nighttime mode boosts the colour of the sky somewhat an excessive amount of, making for nearly dawn-like pictures.

The 16MP ultra-wide digicam produces comparable outcomes however is far softer and noisier than the principle sensor. Once more, the chromatic aberration is current however is way worse with this sensor in comparison with the others. Apparently sufficient, the colour science typically seems to be extra correct on this digicam, producing extra true-to-life colours in sure scenes, however the dynamic vary isn’t practically nearly as good. Highlights once more are retained, however shadows are crushed to an unacceptable level.

Telephoto pictures carried out equally to each the principle and ultra-wide digicam and tended to provide some overly smooth pictures. Bear in mind that is only a digital crop of 2x from the principle sensor. The 5MP macro sensor does an alright job of getting shut element however once more suffers from TCL’s softening picture processing.

Lastly, the 32MP front-facing shooter performs the very best out of all of the cameras. My face seems detailed, with little noise and good colour accuracy. Fortunately the oversoftening and chromatic aberration problems with the rear sensors aren’t current on this digicam. Portrait pictures look good as properly, and I’m fairly impressed with the sensor’s means to find out the perimeters of my hair from the background. It’s not the very best I’ve seen however positively not the worst.

You’ll find high-res variations of the digicam samples right here.

Anything?

TCL 20 Pro 5G 27

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

  • In-display fingerprint reader: I had blended success with this fingerprint sensor. Setting it up labored simply wonderful, however for no matter cause, it took a couple of makes an attempt to really learn. I ended up setting it up once more, with extra constant outcomes. When it labored, it was pretty snappy and correct.
  • Software program/UI: The TCL 20 Professional runs a skinned model of Android 11, and TCL has mentioned it’ll assist the cellphone for 2 main software program upgrades. To be trustworthy, I’m not an enormous fan of the TCL pores and skin or launcher. Whereas the menus and navigation are all fairly simple, the icons and fast settings really feel unpolished to me. There’s nothing inherently flawed with them, they only remind me of Android telephones from a couple of years in the past and really feel barely outdated. Additionally, there may be some bloatware put in on the cellphone, corresponding to Reserving.com and some different miscellaneous apps, however these can all be uninstalled. There are a good quantity of choices for personalisation, and TCL does embody a couple of themes to play with.
  • Audio: Sadly, the one mono speaker on the underside of the gadget yields lackluster outcomes at finest. The audio produced lacks base, and whereas the treble sounds clear, general audio is washed out. Luckily, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack, which implies audio fanatics don’t have to fret about carrying a dongle with them.
  • Video: At 4K 30fps footage isn’t half unhealthy, though there are some jerky actions current, which might be a results of the Digital Picture Stabilization at play. You’ll find an instance of a video right here.
  • IP ranking: The TCL 20 Professional doesn’t ship with any kind of official IP water and dirt resistance ranking.
  • 5G: Because the TCL 20 Professional ships with the Snapdragon 750G, it’ll assist sub-6GHz 5G networking, however not mmWave.

TCL 20 Professional specs

Specs TCL 20 Professional

Specs:

Show

TCL 20 Professional:

6.47-in AMOLED
Full HD+ (2,400 x 1,080)
20:9 facet ratio
394ppi
93{2d266c2b7f7b21b9d5247541775384085ff4c78fbe34d1f6195ea0b207eacd24} screen-to-body

Specs:

Processor

TCL 20 Professional:

CPU:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G
Octa-core Kryo 560
GPU:
Adreno 619

Specs:

RAM

TCL 20 Professional:

6GB

Specs:

Storage

TCL 20 Professional:

256GB
MicroSD as much as 1TB

Specs:

Cameras

TCL 20 Professional:

Rear:
48MP major: 26mm, f/1.8, 0.8 micron pixel dimension, 1/2-inch sensor dimension
16MP ultra-wide: 16mm(123˚), f/2.4, 1 micron pixel dimension, 1/3-inch sensor dimension
5MP macro: f/2.2, 1.12 micron pixel dimension, 1/5-inch sensor dimension
2MP depth: f/1.8, 1.75 micron pixel dimension, 1/5-inch sensor dimension
Entrance:
32MP: f/2.5, 0.8 micron pixel dimension
Video: 4K @ 30fps, 1080p @ 30/60fps

Specs:

Battery

TCL 20 Professional:

4,500mAh
Quick charging 18W
Quick wi-fi charging 15W

Specs:

Wi-fi

TCL 20 Professional:

LTE 4G
5G
Twin-band Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 5.1

Specs:

Colours

TCL 20 Professional:

Moondust Grey, Marine Blue

Specs:

Dimensions

TCL 20 Professional:

164.2 x 73 x 8.8mm

Specs:

Weight

TCL 20 Professional:

190g

Specs:

TCL 20 Professional:

Worth and competitors

TCL 20 Pro 5G Product Shot

TCL 20 Professional 5G

TCL 20 Professional 5G

TCL 20 Professional 5G options a big 4,500mAh battery, a Snapdragon 750G chipset, an attention-grabbing Full HD AMOLED show, and a glossy design.

The TCL 20 Professional sits on the increased finish price-wise in relation to mid-range units. Priced at €549 in Europe and £499 within the UK, the 20 Professional is dearer than each the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G (€399/£399) and the unique OnePlus Nord (€399/£379). Each units provide increased refresh price shows and higher cameras, and provide a really comparable gaming expertise. The A52 5G additionally has the identical processor and longer battery life for over €150 much less. Even final 12 months’s Pixel 4a 5G provides a terrific digicam expertise and on par efficiency, however prices round €50 much less.

Associated: The very best telephones underneath £500

To be trustworthy, I’ve a tough time justifying the worth of the TCL 20 Professional. Whereas the design and show each appear and feel nice, the poor digicam high quality and mediocre battery life are main points. Positive, it’s good to have a headphone jack, however the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G provides that too, with a wildly higher expertise general.  The TCL 20 Professional’s solely notable options are wi-fi charging, NXT Imaginative and prescient 2.0, and the inclusion of an IR blaster. For many on a regular basis shoppers, the Galaxy A52 5G is the higher purchase.

TCL 20 Professional assessment: The decision

TCL 20 Pro 5G 10

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

I’ve received to be frank; I used to be fairly disillusioned with this providing from TCL. Final 12 months’s TCL 10 Professional provided a aggressive expertise with a terrific show and a few respectable cameras, however this 12 months, the 20 Professional falls down in a number of core metrics. On prime of that, it actually seems like TCL is out of contact in relation to the pricing mannequin. Alternate options from Samsung and OnePlus price much less however provide equivalent, if not higher, experiences, suggesting that TCL isn’t taking note of the aggressive mid-range market.

The underwhelming battery life, poor rear cameras, and gradual charging make the TCL 20 Professional arduous to advocate. The spectacular show and handsome design make the cellphone a pleasure to have a look at, however they nonetheless don’t make up for these apparent shortcomings when truly utilizing it.

The spectacular show and nice design cannot make up for the disappointing digicam and battery life.

If you’re a die-hard TCL fan and should have its finest gadget, then the TCL 20 Professional ought to give you the results you want, particularly if TCL can handle the battery life and digicam efficiency by means of software program updates. Nevertheless, in case you are searching for a premium expertise at a fraction of the associated fee, then it’s best to actually look elsewhere.

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