TCL has launched its newest smartphone, the TCL 20 PRO 5G phone with the Android 11 OS. I’m Erin TGC.com and I recently got my hands on one of these devices, which TCL says is designed to be light and easy to use, and to deliver the ultimate visual experience, with high-speed connectivity thanks to 5G, professional-quality cameras, adaptive screen displays and HDR conversion for video.
In this review, I’ll look at what using the phone and what the ownership experience is like, we’ll dig into what you get with this phone and its features. But I won’t be going in depth into the features and details of the Android operating system experience.
5G technology & cellular service
Let’s get to the 5G… Almost every smartphone provider and maker has a 5G phone now, but in case you haven’t been keeping up on this technology, 5G is a new network standard for cellular connectivity.
5G gives you bigger bandwidth for your smartphone and wireless use, meaning faster downloads, less lagging especially on video, and no waiting or buffering, and better overall smartphone performance.
Actual 5G access across Canada is hit or miss as carriers are rolling it out in bigger cities first. Even so my smaller smartphone carrier didn’t support 5G during my testing period, so I can’t make any claims about how well this phone uses the new more powerful network. But if you’re looking for a phone that an access 5G in the future, the TCL 20 PRO should serve you well when the time comes.
Video and screen
Let’s get a closer look at this phone…
The TCL 20 Pro 5G is sleek and moody with its minimalist dual glossy and matte design features a curved-glass face. The rounded edges of the screen allow for seamless viewing, easier cleaning and easy swiping.
The screen is a 6.67” Full HD+ AMOLED screen that does more than just light up. The screen uses an AI algorithm to analyze what’s on the screen to deliver the best possible colours, contrast and sharpness, and it’s supposed to adaptt better whether you’re watching a movie or reading an eBook.
Dubbed NXTVISION, you can try this feature out for yourself if you like. Turn on NXTVISION to automatically enhance the colours of your photos and videos.
- Go to Settings> NXTVISION
- Toggle Image Enhancement to turn it on
- Tap Colour mode & temperature to enhance the screen colour.
- Tap Adaptive Tone to do this automatically
- Watch a video to show the effect
The screen is definitely a thing of beauty; from reading emails, so surfing Instagram and watching videos, it looks amazing.
The TCL 20 PRO 5G can use up to 4 Bluetooth audio devices at the same time so there’s no competition when connecting to your headphones, speakers and smart displays.
If you prefer the analogue route, the 3.5mm headphone jack lets you plug in headphones for a high quality, private listening or viewing experience.
More and more of us are choosing to use our larger smart phones to watch videos. Particularly in homes where there’s competition for the television, having your own high definition screen at your beck and call can be very enticing. To improve the video viewing experience, the TCL 20 automatically converts all video content to HDR or High Dynamic Range a technology which should mean you see more bright and vivid colors.
Indeed, watching video on the TCL 20PRO 5g is pure pleasure. The edge to edge screen is vibrant and colourful and it makes pretty much everything look good.
With the 5G options you can even watch videos on the go without having to reply on downloads or finding Wi-Fi, meaning if you like to surf and watch while you’re commuting or traveling, the TCL 20PRO might be a really great choice.
Cameras on TCL 20 PRO 5G
Not good just for viewing, the TCL 20 Pro 5G is also a photographer’s dream.
Featuring four inset rear cameras (no raised array here!), including a 48 MP main camera, which is actually a change from the 64MP camera in the TCL 10. On the front there’s a 32 MP front camera which is an upgrade from the 10’s 24 MP camera, so there appears to be some give and take.
A macro lens lets you get incredible closeups and an ultra wide-angle sensor helps you capture large scenes that fully capture the awe-inspiring beauty of any landscape. The front camera sensors are specifically designed to help recognize skin tones so you get accurate and selfies with the Portrait Mode.
As with the previous TCL 10 the 20Pro shoots in both 1080p HD and in 4K video, giving you some great options. There’s also a video stabilization feature for less shaky videos.
TCL talks up the cameras in this phone as a major selling feature. I found the camera could be hit or miss for me depending on the source lighting.
Under the ‘More’ tab inside the camera, there’s options for slow-mo, stop motion, panorama, and even light trace which lets you get more DSLR-style effects and look for.—plus there’s super night mode and Pro mode which lets you customize your shooting in a lot more depth and detail.
Battery life & charging
Let’s talk battery life & charging
The phone has built-in power management optimization, designed to make smart use of your screen and display. The 4500 mAh battery should last the day, but depending on how often you’re pulling it out and what you’re doing with it it’s hard to say precisely how long that might be.
I found that even with light use, or no use at all, the battery was often fully depleted within about 24 hours.
This quick charging battery can get up to a 50% charge in 35 minutes and, with a Qi charger can be charged wirelessly. I was even able to get it to charge on a charging pad that refuses to juice up an iPhone. In my experience the battery seemed to last while I was using it.
Use TCL 20 PRO 5G as a Universal Remote.
A built-in IR port lets the phone act as a universal remote control for your home theatre and even other electronics around your home. You can use it to control lots of smarthome gadgets or your TV. Just search the phone for IR Remote, and follow the on-screen prompts to get a device set up.
The TCL 20 Pro 5G has Android 11 installed and fingerprint sensing and face imaging technology to ensure your phone’s security. An octa-core processor and 6GB of RAM ensure you have fast and smooth performance and 256GB of internal memory ensures you always have the space to store your data.
This phone has an option for you to access what’s called the Edge Bar. It’s essentially a customizable quick menu bar that you can add different apps to. Adding things to the bar is super easy, and then with a quick tap you can access some of your most used apps. If this feature was available on the previous phone, I certainly missed that, so I find it a welcome addition to the 20 Pro.
Reading Mode: not a magic wand
If you enjoy using an E-reader, this phone has Reading Mode that supposedly creates a paper-like reading experience.
When I tested it out though, it really just adjust the overall screen colour from blue to yellow. It’s not as though it’s going to turn a webpage into an e-book for you. It’s really just a softening of the overall colour tone, and I found it kind of unnecessary. If you want to give it a try, access Reading Mode by going into your setting and searching Reading Mode; the setting for this lives as part of the NXTVISION menu. You can just toggle it on or off.
The TCL 20 Pro 5G also lets you allow the phone to adapt and brighten the screen in bright sunlight.
Overall review: TCL 20 PRO 5G smartphone
Overall, the TCL 20 Pro 5G is built for those that value a great viewing experience. The included cameras and photography technology stay up-to-date with competitors, allowing anyone to create beautiful images and videos, and the display is sure to please any cinephile.
The sleek design, included features and thoughtful adaptive technologies will make this phone a breeze to use and well-suited for anyone’s needs. Downsides? I’m having a hard time finding any… it’s got all the best Android features in a sleek and powerful package.