TCL Pro 10: Mid-ranger smartphone with flagship display

The TCL 10 Pro has above-average battery performance and a stunning display, writes Noel Campion
TCL Pro 10: Mid-ranger smartphone with flagship display
TCL 10 Pro features a useful ‘always on’ display

The TCL 10 Pro has above-average battery performance and a stunning display, writes Noel Campion

TCL isn’t a household name here in Ireland despite it being one of the world’s largest consumer electronics brands and the second-largest TV manufacturer globally. I’ve been testing the company’s first smartphone into the European market under its own brand name and it’s clear that their philosophy of bringing ‘Display Greatness’ to life is evident in the TCL Pro 10.

It sports a gorgeous 6.47-inch full HD+ curved AMOLED display (1080 x 2340px and 19.5:9 aspect ratio) with HDR10 support that’s Netflix certified. The TCL Pro 10 also has one of the nicest and useful always-on-display screens I’ve seen on a phone. You get lots of notification icons and colourful graphics to make the display stand out in the lock screen.

The display has a small punch-hole cutout for the selfie camera top and centre with small on top and bottom bezels. The side bezels are tiny with curved edges that make sliding from the side smooth and I didn’t have any issues with accidental touches either. There’s also an edge panel where you can store your favour shortcuts, contacts and there’s even a handy ruler.

The display is impressive, especially considering the €449 retail price. Colours are incredibly vibrant and it’s easy to see in bright sunlight thanks to excellent contrast and an additional setting that can automatically bump up the brightness in strong sunlight.

The TCL Pro 10 feels great in the hand and reminds me a lot of the Huawei P30 Pro. Around the back, you’ll find the row of four cameras that have an LED flash at either side and there’s no camera bump. On the top edge is a 3.5mm headphone jack, yes, a headphone jack and an IR Blaster. The latter comes with an app to allow you to control all sorts of things like TVs, projectors and DVD players.

On the bottom edge is a USB-C port, the SIM tray, which can hold either two-SIMs or a SIM and a microSD card. There’s also a bottom-firing mono speaker here, unfortunately, there’s no stereo sound to go with the stunning screen.

The quad-cameras feature a main 64MP wide lens, a 16MP ultra-wide lens, a 5MP macro lens, and a 2MP (ToF) depth lens. Seems strange that TCL would choose a 5MP macro lens over a 2x or even 3x telephoto lens.

There’s also no optical image stabilisation either instead, you get AI to compensate in other ways. The front selfie camera is 24MP and includes a portrait mode that can blur out the background.

It has a wide field of view for decent group selfies.

Looking at the specs I was expecting a lot from the camera setup and the main 64MP camera produced excellent results with sharp details. However, the ultra-wide lens had notably softer images when you zoom in to look closer. This isn’t a flagship-level camera setup but is perfectly fine for posting on social media.

I do enjoy macro photography and in good light, you can get good results from the macro lens. There is a dedicated Super Night mode, but the results were not great, but this could be improved in software updates. Portrait mode did a great job of cleanly isolating the background, but fine detail was a little lacking.

Video features include 960fps super slow-mo and up to 4K 30fps video recording with electronic image stabilisation. Video quality was a mixed bag ranging from decent to mushy in lower lighting.

Overall performance from the mid-range Snapdragon 675 processor is excellent. While navigating the UI and switching between apps everything ran smoothly. The TCL Pro 10 sports a decent amount of RAM at 6GB and you also get a respectable 128GB of internal storage, which is more than enough for the average user. Of course, you can expand the storage via the microSD card slot.

You also get a large 4,500 mAh battery, which will easily get you through a heavy day of use and well into two days with medium workloads. You also get an 18w Quick Charge 3.0 charger in the box which will get you to 50% in 30 minutes as well as OTG reverse charging. There’s a smart manager which helps to maintain the Pro 10 to run smoothly with app optimisations and memory management.

You get all the usual stuff like NFC for things like Google Pay (very important for contactless payments) and Bluetooth 5.0 which supports AptX/ AptX HD, LDAC and AAC and you can connect up to four Bluetooth speakers or headphones for multi-streaming. However, you don’t get wireless charging, waterproof and dust proofing.

The TCL 10 Pro features face unlock which worked well for me but the in-screen fingerprint sensor had trouble consistently unlocking with my fingerprints. Again, this may improve with software updates, but at least you have several methods to unlock the phone.

Overall, the TCL 10 Pro has a stunning flagship-level display, excellent performance for a mid-range phone and above-average battery performance at a price that’s hard to beat.

Available in Ireland in early July for €449

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