TCL 30V 5G review: Another outstanding Android phone from TCL

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TCL has been steadily building its smartphone division for the past few years, and they did the smart thing. They went after the budget and mid-range market first and left the high-priced devices to Samsung and Apple. The TCL 30V 5G is the latest budget device entry from the company, and it is exclusive to Verizon only, which is a bummer.

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

The TCL 30V 5G is another outstanding Android phone from TCL, but it does have a few issues that make it a little frustrating, namely a rude amount of bloatware. Read on for the full review and check out our unboxing video below.

Specifications

The TCL 30V 5G has the following features and specifications:

TCL 30V 5G
DESIGN
Size6.53” x 2.99” x 0.36” 165.77 x 75.83 x 9.06 mm
Weight7.07oz
ColorMidnight Gray
Side KeysVolume Rocker, and Power Key
MEMORY
ROM/RAM128GB ROM / 4GB RAM
SD SupportmicroSD™ up to 1TB
End User SpaceUp to 98GB
FEATURES
Processor Qualcomm® Snapdragon 480 5G Chipset
Speed & TypeOcta-Core 2.0 GHz
Operating System and Version No. Android™ 11 
SensorsAccelerometer (G sensor)
Proximity
Light
E-Compass
Gyro Barometer
Fingerprint SensorYes (rear-mounted)
Facial RecognitionYes
SAR RatingMaximum 1.19 W/kg head; 1.07 W/kg body
DISPLAY
Size6.67″ display
TypeLCD
Resolution FHD+ (1080 x 2400)
Aspect Ratio20:9
Screen to body ratio91%
Glass TypeGorilla® Glass 3
Color Reproduction395 PPI, 16.7M colors, 450 nits brightness (typical)
Touch TechnologyCapacitive
CONNECTIVITY
Network/3G/4G/LTE/5GGSM: 850/900/1800/1900UMTS: B1/2/5/8LTE: B2/B4/B5/B12/B13/B46/B48/B665G: Sub6: n2/n5/n48/n66/n77 5G: mmWave: n261, n260
VoLTEYes
Mobile HotspotYes – up to 10 devices
VoWiFiYes
Wi-Fi Specs802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, WIFI 2.4GHz & 5GHz Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Display
Bluetooth5.1
USB Type Type-C, USB 3.0, USB OTG
SIM Type4FF Nano SIM 
Card Slot SIM + microSD Card
SIM CapacitySingle
BATTERY
Size4500mAh
Charging Technology9V2A 
Standby TimeUp to 9 days
Talk TimeUp to 30 hrs
Mixed Usage (DOU)Up to 24 hrs
Charging Time Until FullUnder 2 hrs.
Fast ChargeYes, 18W
REAR CAMERA
Megapixels50MP (main camera) + 5MP (super wide angle) + 2MP (macro)
Flash TypeLED Flash 
FocusAF + FF + FF
Zoom4x digital zoom
Lens (Wide angle/ FOV)74.4°+115°+88.8°
Sensor Pixel size0.64μm/1.12μm/1.75um
High Dynamic RangeYes
Video Capture 1080p @ 30fps
Video Playback1080p @ 30fps
FRONT CAMERA
Megapixels16MP
FlashLCD Flash
Video Capture1080p @ 30fps 
SOUND
# of SpeakersTwo
HD VoiceYes
MicrophoneDual with noise cancellation
Audio ChipsetWCD9370
Audio AmplifierAWINC AW88264
Music PlayerTCL Music, YT Music
Supported FormatsAAC LC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, FLAC, MP3, MIDI, Vorbis, PCM/WAVE
HAC RatingM4/T3
Headset JackYes, 3.5mm
IN BOX
In Box9V2A 18W charger, USB-C Cable, Quick Start Guide, Safety and Warranty information, SIM tool

What’s In The Box

  • TCL 30V 5G
  • Wall Charger
  • USB-C Cable
  • Quick Start Guide
  • SIM Tool

Design

The TCL 30V 5G doesn’t change much from the company’s other smartphones. The basic design has remained the same, as has the build quality. The TCL 30V 5G back is made of high-quality plastic and bears the TCL logo and the 5G logo.

The fingerprint sensor is on the back, just above the center mass, the ideal place in our opinion—at least the perfect place for a back-mounted fingerprint sensor. The camera array is also on the back in the usual place, and there are three sensors plus a flash in the module.

The top edge of the TCL 30V 5G has a headphone jack and a microphone. The bottom edge houses the USB-C charging port and one of the stereo speakers. The left edge is where you will find the SIM card tray, and the right edge is where the power and volume rocker live.

TCL 30V 5G Verizon 1
Clean and simple design

The front is where the 6.67″ display resides, and the bezels are thin but not edge to edge. There is a camera punch-hole, and the earpiece is housed at the top along with the second stereo speaker.

The entire phone is glass and plastic, but it feels well built and pleasant in hand. The TCL 30V 5G retains that 20:9 aspect ratio that makes the phone long, which lends to its comfortable feel in hand. The power button placement is also spot on, and the volume rocker is easy to reach. All buttons have excellent tactile feedback and are easy to manipulate.

Overall, the TCL 30V 5G design sticks to the company’s familiar aesthetic, which isn’t a bad thing. Build quality is excellent for this price point, and I’d say that it feels like a more expensive phone than it is.

Display

Everything about budget and midrange smartphones has improved over the years. That includes displays. It wasn’t that long ago that budget smartphone displays were impossible to like. They suffered from poor performance in bright conditions to horrible touch responsiveness.

Thankfully, smartphones like the TCL 30V 5G have changed that. The 6.67″ LCD FHD+ display TCL uses does very well in bright conditions and has a peak brightness of 450 nits. It still lags slightly behind more expensive smartphone displays but not a lot. I had some issues using it in direct sunlight, depending on what I was looking at, but overall, it does pretty well in outdoor conditions.

TCL 30V 5G Verizon 1
Display looks nice outside too.

The resolution is 1080 x 2400, the same as we saw on the company’s 20 Pro 5G from last year. The touch responsiveness is also spot on. Every tap, swipe, pinch, and scroll registered without a problem.

While the display is an LCD panel, it still has a great color range. The company’s AMOLED displays are super vibrant, and you can get this LCD panel more dynamic by tweaking the NXTVision settings. Colors are more accurate if you don’t use the Vivid setting in NXTVision, but I like the slightly more saturated look in vivid.

Overall, the display technology on midrange and budget smartphones like the TCL 30V 5G has improved so much that they will make most users happy. This display was a pleasure to use, and it delivered everything we’ve come to expect from a device in this price range.

Software

The TCL 30V 5G is running Android 11 with no word on if it will get Android 12. Android 11 works well, and everything you’re used to from Android is here. The Android OS runs smoothly on the 30V with no issues that I can see.

While Android works perfectly here, I can’t say that I like that this phone is choking on bloatware. This is a Verizon exclusive phone, and Verizon will let you know that. There is a massive amount of Verizon junk, and you cannot delete it. You can disable it, but this is 2022, and this nonsense needs to stop. Most users are smart enough to know what they want and need on a smartphone; Verizon doesn’t need to push its apps on people.

Along with the mass Verizon bloat, you’ll find plenty of pre-installed games and social media apps. Users can delete most of the games and social media apps, but you’re wasting my time having to delete these TCL. I understand that these app developers pay to be on the phone like the TCL 30V 5G and that it helps to lower the cost of the device. But maybe users would rather pay an extra $20 for a device with no bloatware.

Overall, Android 11 works well; no complaints in that regard. Bloatware, though, there is entirely too much bloatware on the 30V 5G from Verizon and 3rd party apps. You can delete much of it and disable the other stuff, but why should you have to?

Performance

Performance used to be a significant issue for budget phones, but thankfully that is mostly not the case anymore. Most of these budget-minded phones use decent processors that can keep up with most people’s demands. The TCL 30V 5G uses the Snapdragon 480 5G chipset paired with 4GB of RAM.

The 30V 5G had no problem keeping up with scrolling, pinching to zoom, opening apps, or any other functional process I performed. The 30V 5G also did well with light gaming; I don’t game a whole lot on mobile, so I can’t speak to how it will perform on something like PUBG or Fortnite. But racing games and shooters seemed to work just fine without an issue, as do simple puzzle games and the like.

While the TCL 30V 5G doesn’t have a flagship processor, it holds its own, and it works very well for this price. Overall, the users looking to purchase a phone in this price range will not be disappointed with the performance. Although, I will add that deleting and disabling bloatware will boost the performance, so be sure to do that first.

Speakers/Sound

TCL 30V 5G Verizon 1
Decent speakers for this price point, stereo as well.

The TCL 30V 5G packs stereo speakers, which is excellent for a phone in this price range. Voice calls are clear and loud, and media sounds good as well. That’s not to say this is a theater or surround sound experience. You will get much better results from headphones or a good Bluetooth speaker.

That being said, stereo speakers that sound this good in a budget phone is a win-win for everyone. Overall, excellent speakers for this price point and stereo to boot.

Camera

Budget and mid-range smartphone cameras have come a long way. They’re still not flagship level, but the photos they produce are far more acceptable than they ever have been.

The TCL 30V 5G takes good quality photos and does very well in good to excellent lighting. That’s the case for most of these cameras. It does reasonably well in lower lighting but struggles in shallow lighting. Honestly, even flagship smartphones struggle in shallow lighting. Even with software to compensate for the low light, the photos still come out grainy and sometimes unnatural.

I don’t see many people taking photos in an area that is nearly void of light. The TCL 30V 5G can produce decent images in reasonably lit places. The 30V 5G should perform just fine in a club or restaurant setting. Your photos may not look like you’re in daylight, but sometimes you want to have the environment you’re in be part of the photo, including the lighting. The results aren’t as vibrant and colorful as flagship cameras, but they are acceptable for this price point. You can see some camera samples in the gallery below.

Overall, the TCL 30V 5G is a decent camera for being a budget device. It should make those looking at phones at this price point very happy.

Reception/Call Quality

Not much to report here. Most phones, even budget ones, are pretty much in line with the reception and call quality. Everything works as expected and works well in this category.

Battery Life

Battery life on the TCL 30V 5G was excellent for me. I could get through a whole day with 30% or more left in the tank. How I use my phone will differ from how others use theirs, so this is very subjective. I’m also the type of person that charges overnight, so I don’t worry too much about needing my devices to last for more than a day.

My typical usage is email, YouTube, browsing, light gaming, social media, phone calls, and texting. Like most other phones, the battery will take a hit when using gaming and multimedia apps for an extended period. I don’t do this much, so my devices usually last all day.

There is no wireless charging, which is a bummer because I think phones priced at US$299 and up should have wireless charging. But it’s not a deal-breaker.

Overall, I believe the 4,500mAh battery is good enough for most and should get most people through the day. If you’re a heavy gamer or multimedia user, you should expect about the same performance as you would from most phones in that case.

Price/Value

The TCL 30V 5G is a Verizon exclusive priced at US$299.99, but you can get deals through Verizon, which may change from one week to another. The 30V 5G provides plenty of value for this price point and more value if you get a deal on Verizon.

Wrap Up

The TCL 30V 5G is an all-around excellent budget-minded smartphone with plenty of features and performance packed in. Its biggest fault is the bloatware, but you can disable or delete much of it. The other issue is that it is only available on Verizon. But if you’re a Verizon customer, you can probably get a good deal on a plan.

Last Updated on April 20, 2022.

TCL 30V 5G

US$299.99

Design

9.5/10

Display

9.0/10

Software

7.5/10

Performance

9.0/10

Speakers/Sound

9.0/10

Camera

9.0/10

Reception/Call Quality

9.5/10

Battery Life

9.0/10

Price/Value

9.5/10

Nailed it

  • Excellent price point
  • Great build quality
  • Excellent display for price point
  • Good performance
  • Decent stereo speakers
  • Good enough camera for the price
  • Excellent call quality and reception
  • Acceptable battery life

Needs work

  • Bloatware like games and Verizon apps have to go
  • Verizon only phone
  • No wireless charging
TCL 30V 5G FI
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