TCL 10 5G UW evaluate: Verizon’s least expensive 5G cellphone truly does not suck

It wasn’t way back that we have been lamenting the “5G tax” in high-end units. As lately as this summer time, many telephones have been launching at astronomical costs, solely as a result of they have been in a position to pull marginally sooner cell knowledge speeds in sure markets (in theory, at least). At present, 5G remains to be dubiously helpful to most shoppers, however a sequence of competent, competitively-priced 5G telephones just like the Samsung Galaxy A71, Galaxy S20 FE, Pixel 4a 5G, and, to an extent, even the Pixel 5 have modified our fascinated by what 5G entry has to value.

The brand new Verizon-exclusive TCL 10 5G UW pushes the reasonably priced 5G envelope even additional. It is the most cost effective 5G cellphone the provider provides by a large margin. It is also obtained respectable efficiency, an all-day-and-then-some battery, and simply concerning the quickest knowledge speeds cash should buy. Except you actually put a premium on knowledge speeds — and occur to dwell in a Verizon 5G market — it’s best to weigh your choices earlier than diving in. However for simply 400 bucks, the 10 5G completely does not suck.

Design, {hardware}, what’s within the field

The TCL 10 5G is a fairly good-looking system, all issues thought-about. It is obtained a 6.53-inch, 19.5:9 show with bezels which are somewhat thick by 2020 requirements — though not sufficient so to complain about for $399. What does benefit some criticism is the standard of the display screen. It is LCD, which is not essentially the worst factor, however it from any angle however head-on distorts the colour. There’s additionally a shadow seen alongside the underside bezel and across the show cutout. Additionally owing to being an LCD, there is not any possibility for an always-on show.

Round again, there is a charming gemstone-like sample with an iridescent rainbow glow seen in the appropriate gentle. It is extra refined than it sounds — from most angles, particularly indoors, the 10 5G appears to be like bluish-black, however if you happen to catch it good, it will get much more fascinating. It is a disgrace, although, that that sample is roofed by high-gloss Gorilla Glass 5 that will get dirty if you happen to have a look at it the unsuitable manner. It is also actually slippery; I’ve had this cellphone slide off tables solely by itself.

Nestled in a really snug place on the again panel is an old school capacitive fingerprint sensor that may open completely different apps relying on which finger you unlock the cellphone with — a novel function, however one I did not ever use after testing it.

There is a headphone jack up prime, energy and quantity keys on the appropriate edge, a mixture SIM/MicroSD card tray on the left, and a USB-C port and single (unhealthy) speaker on the underside. I used to be pleasantly stunned by the cellphone’s haptics; they’re rather a lot tighter than I might anticipate in such an reasonably priced system.

You will not discover any surprises within the field: the cellphone itself, paperwork, a SIM card device, and a chintzy white USB-A-to-C cable and energy brick.

Software program, efficiency, and battery life


TCL hasn’t mucked with Android 10 an excessive amount of on the 10 5G, and I commend the corporate for that. However the tweaks it did make are weird.

The standing bar is positively filled with space-wasting icons: an icon to let you already know NFC is on; a horizontal battery indicator with a discrete numerical proportion; separate sign energy and community icons. The clock can also be on the appropriate facet, regardless of the Android 10 default placing it on the left, and it exhibits an AM/PM indicator (until you turn it to 24-hour). It does not actually matter in any sensible sense; the system will solely present three notification icons anyway. However it certain is gnarly to take a look at.

These standing icons are uncontrolled.

An replace to Android 11 is within the works, which is heartening, however TCL could not inform me when it’s going to land. The 10 5G can also be assured quarterly safety updates for “no less than” two years — hardly excellent, however higher than you’d anticipate for a $400 cellphone not made by Google, and even higher than some high-end units.

My greatest criticism about TCL’s software program is how navigation works. With gestures on, there is not any residence “tablet” on the backside of the display screen the way in which there may be in principally each different Android pores and skin. Which means content material goes all the way in which to the underside of the show with no padding. That features the keyboard, so you will must retrain your muscle reminiscence coming from some other gesture-based navigation setup. The keyboard’s nook buttons are additionally reduce off by the rounded corners of the show, and there is not any button to shut it — it’s a must to swipe in from the facet of the display screen. It is actually irritating.

Get able to hit the unsuitable row on the keyboard.

Additionally irritating: being a Verizon cellphone, this factor is completely filled with bloatware. Greater than two dozen non-essential apps come pre-installed (together with two variations of Sweet Crush). However at 128 gigs, the cellphone’s obtained ample storage, and a lot of the apps could be uninstalled or no less than disabled.

Again on the sunny facet, I am floored at how competent lower-mid-range telephones are getting. The Snapdragon 765G paired with six gigs of RAM — the identical setup driving the Pixel 4a 5G, if you happen to’re conserving rating — retains the 10 5G buzzing alongside. As an expert cellphone nerd, I might completely use a cellphone that performs at this degree full-time with out getting pissed off, and that positively bodes properly for the informal viewers TCL is courting with this system. That 765G chipset additionally means the cellphone is 5G-compatible on Verizon, together with the provider’s still-basically-useless mmWave bands.

Battery life is unbelievable, too. I used to be by no means truly in a position to drain the 10 5G’s 4,500 milliamp-hour cell in a single day, however primarily based on my time with it, I might guess it might simply clear eight hours of mixed-use display screen time. It helps wired charging at as much as 18 watts, and TCL tells me it might probably go from zero to 50 p.c cost in about 35 minutes.


I do not know if it is honest to name the 10 5G’s cameras unhealthy contemplating the cellphone’s worth level, however they’re positively not nice. There is a 48-megapixel normal shooter, an eight-megapixel wide-angle, and a particularly middling five-megapixel macro. Images from all three are typically fairly washed out and flavorless.

However in some conditions, the cameras go wild and actually crank up the saturation:

It is an actual disgrace no Android OEM other than Google can appear to get imaging proper at this worth level, however in order for you an honest-to-gosh good digital camera for underneath 500 bucks, you will in all probability need to go for the the 5G-less Pixel 4a.

Do you have to purchase it?

Possibly. In the event you’re actually desperate to attempt 5G and you may get Verizon’s service in your space (as an apart: I can not), there are worse methods to spend 400 bucks.

The shortcomings right here in supplies, picture processing, and software program all make me really feel the Pixel 4a 5G may be very clearly a greater purchase at $500. In the event you maintain an eye fixed out, you possibly can in all probability catch the Galaxy A71 on sale for that much, too. However if you happen to sincerely do not care concerning the finer factors — otherwise you actually need mmWave 5G and you’ll actually solely spend $400 —  the TCL 10 5G is a totally tremendous cheap cellphone. It performs very properly, the battery is unbelievable, and it is getting Android 11… sometime.

Plus it will get actually quick knowledge on sure corners in choose cities.

Purchase it if:

  • You are champing on the bit for mmWave 5G on the lowest doable worth.
  • Good efficiency and battery life are all you care about.

Do not buy it if:

  • You may’t get Verizon 5G in your market.
  • You anticipate a sophisticated software program expertise or constantly ‘Grammable photographs.

The place to purchase:

Verizon – $399.99

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Anil Kumar

Anil Kumar Gadgets writes for Review Tech smartphones, wearables, headphones and speakers based in Delhi for 360 Tech News. Anil Gadgets is a reviewer for 360 Tech News and has written in detail about smartphones, software updates and upcoming devices.

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