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[GIVEAWAY CLOSED] TCL 10 Pro review: A pretty decent premium looking mid-range smartphone

TCL 10 Pro Android smartphone

While missing some key features like wireless charging and IP-rating, the device still offers up great value for the specifications and features.

Techaeris Rated 9.2/10

If you’ve heard of TCL, it’s likely due to their growing presence in the TV market in the states. The company is also responsible for the Alcatel and BlackBerry phone brands. TCL has decided it’s time to release their own branded phones and is releasing three new models. Our TCL 10 Pro review takes a look at the flagship version which offers decent performance at a more affordable price point. Read on for our full review then check to see how you can enter to win a TCL 10 Pro of your very own!

*WINNERS FOR THE GIVEAWAY HAVE BEEN EMAILED AND WINNERS ANNOUNCED ON THE RAFFLECOPTER WIDGET BELOW. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED!

Specifications

The TCL 10 Pro smartphone has the following features and specifications:

ModelTCL 10 Pro T799B
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 675 Octa-core
GPUAdreno 611
Display6.47-inch LCD display (1080×2340), 398ppi, 16.7M colors, DCI-P3 99.8%, NTSC min 96%, 600 typ brightness, 19.5:9, 93% screen-to-body ratio
Memory6GB RAM
Storage128GB, MicroSD card support
Rear CameraQuad rear camera: 64MP + 16MP super wide + 5MP macro + 2MP depth
Front Camera24MP
Networks4G LTE/3G/2G
ConnectivityUSB Type-C, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 2.4/5GHz, NFC, 3.5mm audio jack
SensorsGPS Galileo, A-GPS, Accelerometer, Gyro, Proximity, RGB Light, face unlock, in-screen fingerprint sensor, NFC, IR sensor
Battery4500mAh
ChargingUSB Type-C, Quick Charge 3.0 (9V/2A), OTG reverse charging (5V/1.5A)
Splash, Water, Dust ResistantNo
Operating SystemAndroid 10 with TCL UI
ColorEmber Gray (Forest Mist Green available)
Dimensions158.5 x 72.4 x ~9.2mm
Weight177g

What’s in the box

  • TCL 10 Pro Android smartphone
  • USB Type-C to USB-A cable
  • Charging adapter
  • Clear smartphone case
  • SIM/SD card tray ejector tool
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Safety & Precautions leaflet
What's included with the TCL 10 Pro Android smartphone
What’s included with the TCL 10 Pro Android smartphone.

Design

If you looked at the TCL 10 Pro smartphone and thought it was a premium device based on looks alone, I wouldn’t blame you. While some budget and mid-range devices don’t look as flashy or slick as premium offerings, the 10 Pro definitely does not fall into that category.

The TCL 10 Pro has the latest “waterfall” design which features curved sides on the display. This design makes the phone seem thinner due to the curved edges. The corners are rounded as well and the phone is definitely comfortable and light with the right amount of heft when holding it. It definitely doesn’t feel like a budget or mid-range device, that’s for sure.

The back of the TCL 10 Pro Android smartphone
The back of the TCL 10 Pro Android smartphone.

The bottom of the phone is where you’ll find the SIM/microSD card slot, USB Type-C port, and a speaker grille. The right edge of the phone houses the power button and volume rocker while a Smart Key button sits on the left edge. The Smart Key can be configured to launch an action or app based on single, double, or long press. It really makes it quite handy for getting to your favourite apps or the Google Assistant. The top of the phone sports a 3.5mm audio jack for those who still use wired headphones with their smartphones.

The back of the device has a nice gradient finish, in the case of our review unit, the Ember Gray colourway. Silverish at the bottom, the colour blends into a darker grey near the top and looks quite nice. The TCL logo sits centered about a third of the way up. Just below the top of the device is the rear quad-camera array. Instead of a camera bump or square, TCL has opted for a camera strip and, in fact, I do prefer the look to the clumped camera array on other phones. The camera strip has two LED flashes on either side with (from left to right) a 64MP ultra high-res, 2.9MP super low-light video, 5MP macro, and 16MP super wide-angle camera. Below this strip is a laser auto-focus sensor for better night photos.

The front of the device is pretty non-descript as it is mostly screen. The front facing camera is centered near the top underneath a small slit for the phone call speaker.

As far as looks are concerned, as mentioned above, the TCL 10 Pro definitely looks and feels like a premium device.

Display

TCL’s motto is DISPLAY GREATNESS and they are definitely putting their best foot forward when it comes to the display on the TCL 10 Pro. The curved AMOLED display features NXTVISION technology offers up a richer multimedia experience. The 6.47-inch LCD display has a resolution of 1080×2340 for 398ppi. With 16.7M colours displayed, it also boasts 99.8% DCI-P3 coverage, minimum 96% NTSC coverage, 600 typical brightness, and a 93% screen-to-body ratio. Put all those together and you do have a pretty nice and rich screen. I did find the screen seemed to have a slight tint to it on the default setting. After a recent update, the screen does seem to be a bit better colour-wise. As well, the different colour options do make a difference.

The curved waterfall display on the TCL 10 Pro Android smartphone
The curved waterfall display on the TCL 10 Pro Android smartphone.

NXTVISION can easily be toggled on and off. When enabled, the device automatically adjusts contrast, sharpness, and saturation when watching videos or looking at images. NXTVISION also offers up automatic SDR to HDR upscaling for video content. In addition, the phone is compatible with Netflix HDR10 content.

Other display features include Adaptive Tone that adapts brightness and colour temperature based on the ambient lighting, Reading Mode offers a “paper-like” reading experience, and Eye Comfort Mode removes two-thirds of blue light to help reduce eye strain.

Even though it is an FHD+ display, as we’ve mentioned before, for a screen this size, it’s more than acceptable. Text is still crisp and easy to read, and font size and display size can be adjusted in the settings to suit your needs. The screen does have a notch that can be disabled on a per-app basis. Personally, I’ve gotten used to the small center notches and it doesn’t bother me at all.

Overall, the display on the TCL 10 Pro is more than acceptable, and offers many adjustments to suit your taste.

Software

The TCL 10 Pro Android smartphone runs on Android 10 with the TCL UI skin on top. If you’ve used other Android devices you’ll be able to find your way around this device easily as the TCL UI offers minor icon adjustments but nothing major. In addition to the hardware Smart Key, the device also has a software Edge Bar which can be activated from the right edge (by default) with shortcuts to your favourite apps.

The Smart Key on the left edge of the TCL 10 Pro Android smartphone
The Smart Key on the left edge of the TCL 10 Pro Android smartphone.

The smartphone also comes with some preinstalled apps, mostly variations of their own versions of Google apps. These include Gallery, Music, Video, File Share, Notes, and Radio. Other TCL specific apps include Smart Key, NXTVISION, and an IR remote. While some are redundant with Google Apps, the TCL specific ones are useful — and nice — additions.

Software and security updates are an important consideration these days and TCL is committed to bringing both to the TCL 10 series. As it ships with Android 10, the device will get Android 11, as well as six security updates a year according to TCL.

“We can confirm both the TCL 10 Pro and TCL 10L will, at minimum, receive one major OS update as well as SMR updates every two months for 2 years.”

TCL spokesperson

On that note, our review unit just received an update with the May 2020 Android security updates, an improved user experience, enhanced system stability, and improved camera performance. In fact, the update fixed a few of the initial issues I encountered including accidental touches on the screen.

Performance

While the TCL 10 Pro doesn’t feature the latest Snapdragon 800-series processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 Octa-core with 6GB of RAM is more than ample for what most users need these days. Apps launch quickly and switching between open apps is pretty seamless as well. When compared to a smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, the TCL 10 Pro was a fraction of a second slower when launching or switching apps. It’s definitely not something you’re going to notice when using the device at all. More intensive games like Call of Duty: Mobile to less intensive ones like Project Cloud streaming ran just fine with no lag or performance hiccups.

The smartphone also features both face and fingerprint unlocking. Both worked decent enough with the face unlock being nice and quick. However, the fingerprint unlock, while it worked, seemed a bit slow and I had to re-register my thumbprint a couple of times over the course of our review period.

Sound Quality

The TCL Pro 10 has a single speaker on the bottom of the phone. It is rather loud and clear with no distortion at full volume. As with most smartphones, there isn’t a lot of bass output but it is good enough for watching short video clips. Being a single speaker, however, depending on how you hold your phone, it is easy to cover and muffle the sound accidentally.

The USB Type-C port and bottom-firing speaker on the TCL 10 Pro Android smartphone with the included case
The USB Type-C port and bottom-firing speaker on the TCL 10 Pro Android smartphone with the included case.

Camera

As mentioned above, the TCL Pro 10 features a quad rear camera and a single front-facing camera. To refresh, the rear camera strip has two LED flashes on either side with (from left to right) a 64MP ultra high-res, 2.9MP super low-light video, 5MP macro, and 16MP super wide-angle camera. Below this strip is a laser auto-focus sensor for better night photos.

The quad camera strip on the back of the TCL 10 Pro Android smartphone
The quad camera strip on the back of the TCL 10 Pro Android smartphone.

Users should know by now that more megapixels does not necessarily mean better pictures. While the TCL 10 Pro takes decent enough pictures with its four different cameras, it is hit and miss and really depends on the lighting conditions. While most pictures come out decent, sometimes the colour is a bit washed out or oversaturated. When looking at resized images, they look o.k. but once you start viewing at 100% or zoomed in, some of the details do tend to blend in together and portions of the image can be a bit muddy as well, even in outdoor bright sunlight images.

The Super Night mode wasn’t that great out of the box but has improved slightly since the recent update which made some improvements to the camera performance. Hopefully, future updates will continue to improve the camera over time. That said, it’s far from the worst smartphone camera out there and the average user should be fine with it. As with all our reviews, the images below were taken with the default auto settings which includes auto-HDR.

As with many smartphones these days, the TCL 10 Pro comes with a number of camera features. These include auto-zoom, Google Lens, HDR, in-recording snapshots, light trace mode, panorama mode, portrait mode, pro mode, photo filters, scene detection, slow-mo video, stop-motion video, super macro mde, super night mode, super wide-angle mode, and face beautification (front camera). As you can see, there are plenty of features on board to have some decent fun with the camera.

Reception

I had no issues with reception on an LTE network up here in Canada. The phone connected to LTE and Wi-Fi networks as expected and I didn’t have any problems with connecting Bluetooth devices either.

Call Quality

Call quality on the TCL 10 Pro is decent as well. During the few calls I made with it, the other party didn’t complain about not being able to hear me. I did find I had to turn the call volume way up though in order to clearly hear the person on the other end.

Battery Life

With a 4500mAh battery, you’d expect the TCL 10 Pro to last through the day, and last it does. With regular daily usage, I ended up with around 30% battery life and about 5 hours of screen on time, including gaming.

Another feature the smartphone has is the ability to charge your other devices through the USB Type-C port. Of course, if you do, you’ll be draining your phone battery but if a friend needs a quick top up or your earbuds need recharging, you do have that option from the phone.

Accessories

The TCL 10 Pro features the usual adapter and SIM card removal tool but it also comes with a clear flexible plastic case. As one would expect from an included case, it fits nice and snug around the device. While it fits nice, I wouldn’t want to be dropping the smartphone from any great height but it should protect your phone from the usual daily bumps and scratches. Being clear, it also lets the gradient back colour shine through and be on display.

TCL did add an interesting branding element to the case. “Etched” is the DISPLAY GREATNESS slogan with the squares where the L is in DISPLAY nicely frames the TCL logo on the back of the phone. Personally, I could do without the extra branding but it doesn’t look terribly bad when on the phone although it is kind of in your face.

Price/Value

Because TCL has its fingers in many different manufacturing processes, including panels, they are able to manufacture some of the more expensive mobile parts in house. As they don’t have to outsource many of these components, they are able to keep the price down. As a result, the TCL 10 Pro will only set you back US$449. While that is a pretty decent deal for the value you get, it’s currently on Amazon for only $381.65 which is a fantastic deal.

Wrap-up

We’ve enjoyed TCL’s smartphone efforts with the BlackBerry and Alcatel brand lines in the past for various reasons. As a result of their past ventures, the TCL-branded smartphone line up is off to a good start if the TCL 10 Pro is any indication. While missing some key features like wireless charging and IP-rating, the device still offers up great value for the specifications and features. At Techaeris, we’ve long opined that most people don’t need the $1000+ flagship smartphones and for most people, devices like the TCL 10 Pro will do them just fine.

TCL 10 Pro Giveaway

We’ve teamed up with TCL to giveaway not one, but FIVE TCL 10 Pro Android smartphones to five of our lucky U.S. readers (sorry, unfortunately, this is a U.S.-only giveaway). The ONLY way to win is to follow these instructions and enter BY USING the Rafflecopter Widget. The first step on the Rafflecopter Widget is MANDATORY, all the other steps are just bonus entries. Please only comment ONCE and again, if you do not use the Rafflcopter Widget to record your entry with your comment below, you will not be entered!

The giveaway will close on 7/1/20 at 12am CST at which time the winners will be drawn. GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*We use revenue-generating affiliate links and may earn a commission for purchases made using them. Read more on our disclaimer page.

TCL 10 Pro

US$449

Design

9.5/10

Display

9.0/10

Software

9.0/10

Performance

9.0/10

Sound Quality

8.5/10

Camera

8.5/10

Reception

10.0/10

Call Quality

9.0/10

Battery Life

9.5/10

Price/Value

9.5/10

Nailed it

  • Slick design with right amount of heft
  • Excellent display once tweaked
  • Decent performance
  • Decent camera in the right conditions with plenty of features
  • Programmable Smart Key button
  • Headphone jack
  • OTG reverse charging
  • NFC support
  • Affordably priced

Needs work

  • No wireless charging
  • No IP rating
  • Fingerprint unlock a bit finicky

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