We’ve been reviewing many of TCL’s new mobile gear over the past few months, and we’ve had some good thoughts about it all. TCL is well known for its TV and home entertainment gear, and the mobile stuff is fairly new. This round, we have the TCL 10 5G UW for Verizon in house.
The TCL 10 5G UW is a very affordable Verizon 5G phone that borrows from its cousins, the TCL 10L and TCL 10 Pro. TCL is doing some pretty awesome things with mobile, and this mid-range phone is a solid and affordable 5G choice among the other choices in the Verizon stable. Read on for the full review of the TCL 10 5G UW.
The TCL 10 5G UW has the following features and specifications:
|Model||TCL 10 5G UW|
|Design||Size: 6.44” x 3.01” x .37” Weight:7.4 ozColor: Diamond Gray|
|Processor||Processor : Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 765 (SDM7250-3-AB)Speed & Type: 1 x Gold Prime 2.4 GHz, 1 x Gold 2.2 GHz, 6 x Silver 1.8 GHz|
|Display||Size: 6.53”Type: LTPS-IPS Resolution : FHD+ (1080 x 2340)Aspect Ratio: 19.5:9Screen to body ratio: 91%Glass Type: 2.5D (front), 3D (back)Touch Technology: In-cell|
|Rear Cameras||Megapixels: 48MP (high-res) + 8MP (super wide) + 5MP (macro) Flash Type: Dual LED Flash Focus: AF + FF + AF EIS: YesOIS: NoHDR: YesVideo capture: 480p @ 30fps, 720p @ 30fps, 720p @ 60fps, 1080p @ 30fps, 1080p @ 60fps, 4K @ 30fpsSlow motion video capture: 1080p @ 240fps; 720p @ 240fps|
|Front Camera||Megapixels: 16MP FFFlash: LCD FlashVideo Capture: 1080p/720p @ 30fps|
|Memory||ROM/RAM: 128GB ROM / 6GB RAMSD Support: microSD™ up to 256GBUser Available Memory: Up to 101GB|
|Battery & Performance||Size: 4500 mAhStandby Time: 21.9 days (5G); 21.9 days (4G); 24 days (3G)Talk Time: 34 hrs. (4G); 26 hrs. (3G)Video Streaming: 9.7 hrs.Audio Playback: 20 hrs. (loudspeaker); 121 hrs. (headset)Charging Time Until Full: Up to 2 hrs. Fast Charge: Yes- Quick Charge (9V2A)|
|Audio||HD Voice: YesNumber of Speakers: 1Microphone: Dual with noise cancellationDefault Music Player: YouTube MusicSupported Formats : AAC LC, AAC+, eAAC+, AAC ELD, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, FLAC, MIDI, MP3, Opus, WAV, Vorbis, ALAC, AIFF, APEHAC Rating: M3/T3Headset Jack Size: 3.5mm|
|Connectivity||GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHzUMTS: 2/4/5/8LTE: 2/4/5/12/13/46/48/66Roaming: 3/7/20/285G: n5/n2/n66/n260/n261VoLTE: YesMobile Hotspot: YesVoWiFi: YesWi-Fi Specs: 802.11 b/g/n/ac , Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi DisplayBluetooth: 5.0NFC: YesRadio: NoUSB Type : USB-C 3.1, USB OTGSIM Type: Nano-SIM 4FFCard Slot : 1 SIM + 1 SD Card|
|Sensors||Accelerometer (G sensor)GPS (A-GPS)ProximityLightE-CompassGyro|
|Authentication||Face Key, Rear-mounted Fingerprint Sensor|
|Other features||Flashlight, NFC, Google Assistant, Quick Reference Guide (QRG), 9V2A Fast Charger, USB-C Cable (3.1) , Product Safety Information, SIM Tool, SIM Card|
What’s In The Box
- TCL 10 5G UW
- USB Type-C to USB-A cable
- Charging adapter
- SIM/SD card tray ejector tool
- Manual and Documentation
In my TCL 10L review, I said that smartphones have settled into a familiar form factor and design aesthetic across the board. This rings true for the TCL 10 5G UW as well. As a matter of fact, this phone looks very similar to the TCL 10L.
While many other smartphones are glass in the front and back, the TCL 10 5G UW opts for a plastic back. The plastic looks like glass and is high-quality, and also has a very cool prism effect that throws off a rainbow of colors. The frame is still aluminum and feels good in the hand.
Editor’s Note: We mistook the back panel for plastic when in fact it is Gorilla Glass 5 and the frame is polycarbonate. We apologize for the error.
At the top of the of the 5G UW, you’ll find the 3.5mm headphone jack and one of the microphones. At the bottom of the smartphone, you’ll find the USB-Type C port and speaker. Along the right side is the power button and volume rocker, both of which have nice tactile feedback. Along the left side, you’ll find the SIM card tray.
You’ll encounter the triple camera array around the back of the 5G UW along with dual-LED flash. Like the 10L, there are two flashes situated on the camera array’s left and right and not set together. The fingerprint sensor is also on the back, along with the TCL branding.
Around the front is a nice IPS display with slim bezels at the top, right, and left with the bottom bezel being slightly thicker.
Overall, the design is almost identical to the 10L, but it’s a solid design that holds its own against the competition. The build quality is excellent for this price point, and it doesn’t feel like a cheap phone at all.
The 6.53″ IPS display on the TCL 10 5G UW is slightly better than the 10L and offers a great experience. My biggest beef with the 10L was its brightness or lack thereof. The 5G UW is much brighter and is more enjoyable to use in bright conditions.
The display’s brightness is only one aspect, and the 5G UW does a good job covering the other parameters. These include colors, blacks, whites, and clarity.
The colors are good here and not washed out like some IPS displays tend to be. The colors aren’t as vibrant as an AMOLED display, but they are punchy enough to deliver a pleasant viewing experience. Blacks are not muddy or gray, and whites are clean making text crisp and easy to read.
TCL uses what they call NXTVISION, which basically does its best to tune the display to give you the best viewing experience it can. I think it does a fairly good job, and most users will enjoy the display.
Overall, the display’s on TCL devices all seem to be great for each of their price points. I like this particular display better than the cheaper 10L because of the brightness.
The TCL 10 5G UW is running Android 10 with TCL UI. I didn’t find TCL UI to be too bad of a skin. It’s very subtle and easy to navigate, it’s really not far off from stock Android, and the icons are even pretty attractive.
I had no issues with any of the apps installed nor did I have any issues with the system not working. Everything worked perfectly fine and exactly how you would expect Android to work.
I will say, this is a Verizon phone, and there is Verizon bloatware onboard. On top of Verizon bloatware, there are also many preinstalled apps, from games to news apps. Apps such as Candy Crush Saga, Harry Potter Puzzles, and Newsbreak. There are more apps other than Verizon apps installed, most of them can be uninstalled or disabled, but it is annoying to have these installed.
Overall, aside from the bloatware from Verizon and the pointless games installed, Android 10 works great.
The TCL 10 5G UW runs the Snapdragon 765G and Adreno 620, giving it a leg up over the TCL 10L. Honestly, most of these lower-end Snapdragon and Adreno chips are still pretty damn good and can handle a lot.
Pretty much everything I use on a smartphone was handled just fine by the 5G UW. This includes heavy email use, heavy social media use, occasional light gaming, web browsing, media playback, and photo/video capture.
Scrolling, pinch-to-zoom, and gestures all worked without any issues. Seriously, the performance of mid-tier phones is getting so good, the only good reason to get a flagship is for the better camera.
The 5G UW does a better job of handling more intensive games than the 10L but isn’t far off in performance. Really though, if you’re buying this phone and expecting the same level of performance as a flagship, then that’s on you. This isn’t a flagship, and it’s spec’ed appropriately for the price.
As for 5G speeds, I did not receive 5G in my area and could not test Verizon’s 5G network here. I have tested it in Des Moines, in the sparse areas available, and it worked well there.
The last thing we’ll cover is the fingerprint sensor. This one is located on the back and not in-display like the TCL 10 Pro. Still, this is a good sensor and works fast and flawlessly.
Overall, no real issues with performance on the TCL 10 5G UW. For US$399.99, it performs well and handles all daily work just fine.
TCL 10 5G UW Device Gallery
A mid-range phone means a budget speaker, and that’s what you’re getting here. The mono speaker really isn’t meant to make your music or movies sound immersive. It’s good for phone calls, and that’s about it. If you want better sound, then use headphones; this does have a headphone jack.
Overall, the speaker is fine for phone calls, video calls, and spoken word content but not really intended for immersive sound.
So, the camera on the TCL 10 5G UW really surprised me. Now, before we continue, this isn’t a flagship phone with flagship sensors, so there is no way we can compare this camera to high-end phones. But for a mid-range device, these cameras are impressive.
The TCL 10 5G UW is fantastic in great lighting, and I was super surprised at how it did in low-lighting. This does have a night mode, and it works really well for a mid-range phone.
Like many other phones, even flagship phones, photos in super low-light are grainy and not great. But if you’re outdoors with ambient lightings like Christmas trees and street lights, the photos are pretty great considering the price tag.
Portrait photos and selfies come out really nice as well. Again, lighting is your friend, so the more light, the better. Still, I couldn’t help but be impressed with the low-light capability on this phone.
This phone also has a 10x zoom, it works, it’s not the best, but it works. I really don’t like digital zooms on phones, so it’s really going to be used at your own risk feature; don’t expect too much from it.
Overall, the cameras here are really awesome for such an affordable price. I think most users will be delighted with these cameras.
Reception and call quality are both good here. This should just be an automatic done right part of any smartphone.
Battery life is so subjective, and it really depends on how much you’re doing and what apps you’re running. Screen brightness, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, all of these add to the battery drain. Intensive games, Maps, and other apps will also affect the battery.
For my normal use, very little gaming, lots of social media, lots of emails, photos, and video, I was able to get through the day with about 20-30% left in the tank. I think this is acceptable as I plug my phone in before bed each night.
Overall, battery life is acceptable in our view.
The TCL 10 5G UW is priced at US$399.99, which is on the low end of the mid-range spectrum. There are competitors to consider that perform just as well or even better and are priced about the same or sometimes lower. That being said, the TCL 10 5G UW still holds value, especially if 5G is something you want and is worth the asking price.
The TCL 10 5G UW falls in between the TCL 10L and TCL 10 Pro and is a solid mid-range smartphone. If you want 5G connectivity, then this is a solid and affordable choice. Even if you’re not looking for 5G, this is a solid mid-range phone in general. The biggest ding I would give to this device is the bloatware included. Most of that can be attributed to Verizon.
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TCL 10 5G UWUS$399.99
- Decent design, the pattern on the back is cool
- Decent display
- Android 10 is a plus
- Decent performance for this price
- Great battery life
- Excellent price for a 5G phone
- Speakers aren't great
- Camera is average
- Verizon bloatware and games