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TCL 10 Pro, review and opinion

Review of TCL 10 Pro, the new mid-range mobile that boasts a very careful design thanks to elegant lines.

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After several weeks of use, we tell you our opinion of the TCL 10 Pro in our analysis, in which we test both the battery, the camera and the performance … and in which we continue to hallucinate with the design. If we forget the processor, we could say that we have a smartphone of more than $750 in our pocket.

The Chinese company is one of the most powerful in Asia thanks both to its panel development branch (where they are one of the world leaders) and, above all, to the ‘ecosystem’ of products they have in China, at most pure Xiaomi style.

The western invasion begins with bringing mobile phones and televisions and, after the analysis of the TCL 10L, a strictly mid-range mobile that sought a balance between price, performance and design, we tell you our opinion of the TCL 10 Pro.

TCL 10 Pro
Screen AMOLED panel | 6.47 “diagonal | 89.5% of the front is screen | Resolution 2,340 x 1,080 pixels | Density of 398 pixels per inch | Supports HDR10 | Always-on Display mode
Processor Snapdragon 675 | NFC
RAM Memory6 GB
Storage 128 GB UFS 2.1
Main Camera 64 Mpx f / 1.8 main | 16MP f / 2.4 wide angle | 5 Mpx f / 2.2 macro | 2 Mpx f / 2.4 depth
Front Camera24 Mpx f/2.0
Baterry4.500 mAh | 18W Fast charge
OSAndroid 10 + TCL UI
Dimensions and weight 158,5 x 72,4 x 9,2 mm | 177 g
Price449$ on Amazon

We advance you that the TCL 10 Pro is a surprising device. And, when you take it out of the box, you don’t expect to have such a premium mobile. Obviously, we do our homework and we already knew all the characteristics of the terminal and we knew that, by numbers, it is a pure and simple mid-range mobile.

However, the design continues to amaze us after these days of use. And the thing is, if I forgot the chip that it mounts, I would think that in my pocket I have a mobile that can easily cost double.

The design’s above its range thanks to the aluminium and glass unibody body with a matte finish

We begin the analysis of the TCL 10 Pro talking, obviously, of the most surprising section of the terminal. The design makes the difference in many companies and TCL already warned us with the TCL 10L.

It’s a polycarbonate phone at a low price of just 250$ for the TLC 10L. It’s a smartphone with attractive colours, good finishes, a hole in the screen and a camera module that hears, protruded, but was horizontally made so the phone can not wobble on a surface.

The intention to do different things is evident in the TCL 10 Pro. First of all, let’s have a reflection. With the Analysis of the Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite and, above all, of the Oppo Find X2 Lite, we tell you that there were ways and means to make lite mobiles and that, precisely, those two exponents dignified the term.

When a mobile phone has the last name ‘Pro’, we usually think that it has a much better camera, better screen and a better processor than the ‘Lite’ terminal, standard or whatever they want to call it. That is the case of the phone that we have in hand is fulfilled … half.

And it is that we are going to get rid of this point, the hardware is practically the same as that of its little brother. We will talk about it later and we will share results and conclusions, but where we must say that the Chinese company has wanted to stand out with this ‘Pro’ model is in the design.

We have a mobile of 449$ in which glass abounds. On the front, we have a drop-type notch (different from the TCL 10L) that is very well integrated into the front thanks to a very thin upper frame (only 4 millimetres). The chin is also contained in size, 5 millimetres and the sides are its strong point.

Its AMOLED panel allows a curvature that we have seen in premium mobiles this year like the OnePlus 8 Pro (big words and here our analysis) and the side black frame part is barely a millimetre and a half. And yes, it is accentuated and we have accidental touches both in games and on the camera, losing some photos or changing the focus point.

Those rounded corners and sides blend into a matte aluminium frame with textured sides. On the right side, we have the volume up / down button and the lock button. They are a little up, but it has not bothered me when pressing them. On the left side, we have a programmable button that has a rough texture.

At the bottom we have the USB Type-C, the microphone and the speaker (only one speaker) and the dual-SIM slot that we can use with two cards or with a card or a microSD to expand the storage.

The thickness of the mobile 9.2 millimetres. It is not thin, but the truth is that in hand it seems much lighter than what you would expect for the huge screen due to a weight of only 177 grams and a height that does not reach 16 centimetres.

More good news: the infrared port and the 3.5mm headphone jack on the top. In hand, it is a mobile that feels very well thanks to those rounded shapes, to the touch of aluminium and the matte glass with texture on the back and to that unibody design in which the cuts between the glass (front and rear) and the aluminium of the sides do not dig into the palm of the hand.

Speaking of the back, our turquoise colour is really attractive and, beyond that premium feeling in hand thanks to the matte glass (no fingerprints remain, it does not slip and gives “taste”, like textured aluminium years ago), we have loved the camera module.

It does not protrude a millimetre from the body as it is integrated into that rear and is, as in the TCL 10L, in a horizontal format. It’s stylish with protective glass and two flash units, one on each side.

Something curious is that these flashes do protrude a little – it does not reach a millimetre -, which allows us to leave the mobile on a table with the assurance that the protective glass of the cameras is not going to scratch easily.

It is not only a tremendously beautiful mobile, something that is obvious, but it appears to be more premium than it has to be for hardware. In the end, there are companies that, as we say, understand by ‘Pro’ a spectacular camera or a higher level processor. TCL seems, at least with this unit, that it wants to differentiate the ‘L’ model from the ‘Pro’ by the design … and the screen.

Before going to the panel, the other obviously strong point of the phone, comments that the box includes a silicone case with reinforcement at the corners. It covers the screen well, the sides are not useless and it fulfils its function, but it is true that it is one of those mobiles with such a pleasant touch … that it is a shame to put a cover on them.

Very good AMOLED panel with house brand NXTVISION technology

The design is very top, but the strong point of the TCL terminals are the screens. The Chinese company is one of the world’s leading display manufacturers, and when they gave us a tour of their booth at the Mobile World Congress 2019, they showed us their advances in curved displays and flexible panels.

Part of that technology is on the TCL 10 Pro screen. We have a 6.47 “AMOLED panel. It is not the panel with the most diagonal on the market, but considering the dimensions of the mobile and its weight, we appreciate that size. It occupies 89, 5% of the front and the resolution is 2,340 x 1,080 pixels.

This yields 398 pixels per inch, which makes the individual pixels indistinguishable and, in addition, the design of the icons and the TCL interface makes what we see on the screen shine thanks to some very interesting shadows and animations in the icons of the apps.

The format is 19.5:9 and the 72.4 mm width allows you to grip the mobile with one hand very comfortably. How do you get that format without being wider than recent 20:9 mobiles? The answer is on the edges.

We have curved edges where we only have a millimetre of black edge and … good news. In mobiles with borders like this, we usually see in images with a white background (Twitter, Instagram, browser …) that the borders make a vertical shadow. This is something that, depending on the user, bothers more or less.

The TCL 10 Pro is not exempt from this, but it is a much less accentuated shadow than that of an OnePlus 8 Pro, for example, which has the same curvature and more marked shadows on the sides.

Viewing angles are good, and display customization options are generous too. We can calibrate the colours, hide the notch by painting a black bar in which notifications are shown (and that is very elegant, everything is said) and we have a dark mode that is well implemented and that helps reduce battery consumption by turning off the black pixels on the AMOLED panel.

The highlight is in the NXTVision tools. It is the software that we can configure to convert SDR content to HDR, but also to automatically improve the contrast, sharpness and saturation so that we see content with a richer palette.

In addition, it also has adaptive tone, an automatic brightness sensor that works really well, quickly adapting the brightness of the mobile depending on the ambient light, and a highlight mode that we can activate and deactivate to give a ‘punch’ of brightness outdoors.

It’s a screen that lives up to expectations for a brand that … well, that’s a panel specialist.

Four cameras that do not protrude and with a main one that leaves a good taste in the mouth

When we buy a 450$ phone, we expect the photographic performance to be up to par. We already saw in the analysis of the TCL 10L that the main camera gave good results that, unfortunately, the other sensors did not share. You can see here the originals as they come out of the mobile.

The Pro model has the same cameras as the 10L, but there are two changes. The first is that we have more megapixels and, in addition, the pixel size is maintained. The best thing is that the sensors are also bigger. The main sensor is 1 / 1.72 “, which means it is substantially larger than the 1 / 2.25” on the 10L.

Before we see how the cameras work, let’s take a look at the application. And it is that it is stable, but also one of those that bombard us with a lot of options, and if you come from a Samsung or a Xiaomi, for example, you are going to have to get used to it.

We have several modes (super night, portrait, auto, video and pro) accessible in a horizontal bar, but if we want to use the macro, make effects with photos and video or use the high-resolution mode at 64 Mpx we have to go to “more “.

To use the wide-angle, we have the “panoramic” icon in automatic mode, but be careful because in “more” we also have that icon … which is not used with the wide-angle, but to take several photos and compose a panorama.

We can make an x2 by software thanks to a button … and we have an icon with three little circles that, basically, is a mode that lets us see an image with the main sensor, another with the wide-angle and a video simultaneously of such that, by clicking on one of them, we access that mode.

For the rest, we have image ratio options (4: 3, 16: 9, 1: 1 or stretched) to create different compositions and bring out our artistic vein, colour filters and an artificial intelligence mode that we must activate or deactivate from the setup menu.

The ones that we leave you next have been taken with automatic HDR and in different situations. They correspond to the main sensor as can be seen in all of them, the processing is not the best due to excessive saturation of the colours.

This is due to the incidence of artificial intelligence correction, but if it is disabled … the results are not much better.

The 2x digital fights back, but it’s funny how the colour representation changes. This should not happen because, actually, the sensor that takes the picture is the same and all it does is a crop.

Now we go with the wide-angle. The problem with this sensor, as happened in the TCL 10L, is that it is very poorly defined, which results in images that can be used on social networks, but little else. We like that it does not distort the lines excessively and there are no strange elements such as loss of textures (it happened in the TCL 10L), but it is a wide-angle to use on rare occasions.

And if we go to the macro sensor, things are not much better. These sensors are often there for marketing … and this is one of those cases. The 2 megapixels do not give much and the images are not sharp. The focus is close, yes, but there is a lot of noise in the image and the colours are very poor, with a very cold tone.

Snapdragon 675 and 6 GB of RAM enough for almost all users

Right after talking about the screen and cameras, we usually talk about the hardware. And, we believe that, in the end, the screen is essential as it is the element with which you will be interacting for each action of the phone, but the hardware has to feed content to that screen. They are elements that are very interconnected.

In this analysis of the TCL 10 Pro I have preferred to speak before the camera as it is a small novelty compared to the TCL 10L. And it is that, the hardware of this terminal is very similar to the one we have in its younger brother. This translates to a mid-range processor that we know well, the Snapdragon 675.

It is a SoC made up of the Adreno 612 GPU and an eight-core CPU with two at 2.2 GHz and another six at 1.7 GHz. It is built in an 11-nanometer lithography and accompanied by 6 GB of RAM.

As we say, we knew what we were going to find because the screen is obviously better than the TCL 10L, but the resolution is the same, as well as the UFS 2.1 standard of the ROM memory and we have done a lot of tests with this SoC throughout. of the last few months.

In the end, that the memory is as fast as possible is what helps to have that feeling of agility in the terminal … and it also gives us a cable if we work copying files to the phone, such as photos from a camera that we edit in programs like Photoshop Express.

Having seen the data, we go with the sensations. If we compare the processors of the 10L and 10 Pro, we have an 8-core Snapdragon 665 with 4 at 2.0 GHz and another 4 at 1.8 GHz compared to an 8-core Snapdragon 675 with 2 at 2.0 GHz and 6 to 1,7 GHz.

4,500 mAh that provides for a day of intensive use, but that you have to charge at night

If we go to the battery section, we find a typical battery in these ranges. It is a 4,500 mAh battery that should give a good performance on a day-to-day basis, allowing us to reach the end of the day with intensive use without a problem.

And no, it does not disappoint, although it is noticeable that image technology “eats” resources when one day we are watching a lot of videos or playing video games. It is not crazy, but we have about 7 hours of the screen in conventional use with social networks, web browsing and mail, as well as applications that consume background resources, such as Spotify.

When it comes to charging, we have an 18 W charger included in the box. For the price, we would have liked to see a 30 W charger, but hey, in the end it is the fast charger that we see in other mid-range terminals.

According to TCL, this offers a 50% charge in 35 minutes. We have had other measurements. Charging with the same charger, on one occasion we obtained 50% at 34 minutes from 3% battery and 100% at two hours and 14 minutes. On another occasion, from 1% battery, 50 minutes 50% and two hours 21 minutes 100%. We do not understand, in the second measurement, what happened between 1% and 50%, but on a day-to-day basis, we have seen that the load was quite irregular.

It’s far from the fastest charge we’ve seen in these months. Significantly cheaper mobiles have better fast charging. What we do not understand is why there is such disparate data both in measurements second by second and in day to day, where I have also noticed that sometimes it charges up to 50% earlier than others.

Our conclusion

The screen is indisputably one of the strengths of the mobile, although only if we have the NXTVision mode activated, and the main camera offers good results. Not everyone needs the best cameras in a smartphone and if you want a terminal with a good design, premium materials and light, as well as a quality screen on which to view content, the TCL 10 Pro is a very, very interesting phone. So if you want a mid-range price on a 70% pro device you can go and buy it.

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