TCL has been on a little bit of a phone run this year with the budget priced TCL 10L and then the competitively mid-ranged TCL 10 Pro coming out around the early summertime. Leading into the colder months we get a taste of 5G with the Verizon exclusive TCL 10 5G UW. How does TCL fare with 5G and become one of the more affordable 5G phones at the same time?
TCL has a knack for doing things with their glass backs and the TCL 10 5G UW is no different. TCL 10 takes cues from the 10L with it having a 3D glass backing. But on the 10 it shimmers and reflects more with the light allowing for interesting colors and diamond style patterns. It does feel slightly thicker coming in 210g but would think that is in part of the 5G hardware laying underneath.
Button layout has volume controls on the right side with a power button while on the bottom you are getting a Type C button with mono speaker next to it. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack on top but one omission I notice on this device is the Smart Key that was on its 10L & 10 Pro counterparts.
Hardware / Display
As in its name this smartphone is utilizing Verizon’s 5G UW network. Its equipped with a Snapdragon 765 5G chipset by Qualcomm with an Adreno 620. Also, it has 6GB RAM and 128GB storage with expandable microSD capabilities. There is a 4500mAh battery that supports quick charging and supports OTG charging for juicing up other devices. No wireless charging is available, but it also wasn’t on the other models either. No Wi-Fi 6 for data but it does have dual-band Wi-Fi which should serve plenty for you.
Like the 10L, there is a fingerprint sensor that should be sufficient for your security needs. It has worked for the most part besides some additional needed presses here and there.
Visual wise we are getting a 6.53” IPS FHD Display(1080×2340) which I feel mirrors the one on the 10L. It has 91% screen to body ratio which isn’t bad, but it does have some dark bezels around the sides that could be slightly distracting.
Out the box you are getting Android 10 which is using TCL’s UI skin. Their UI is basic with no real bells or whistles. So, if you are looking for simple it should work out for you. If anything, you can always download another launcher if necessary. Biggest thing going on with their software is NXTVISION. This is their visual enhancement for images and videos. I would notice it kick in when switching from portrait to landscape on YouTube or checking out some content on Netflix, especially something that supported HDR. I liked on the 10L/10 Pro how I had the Smart Key set as toggle for turning it on/off at will.
I did spend time playing games on it such as Call of Duty Mobile and Candy Crush Friends and it ran without any lag / issue. Speaking of apps and games, this phone is loaded full of bloatware so have fun removing/disabling them one by one.
With this being 5G UW it is a Verizon exclusive that only supports their network. That meaning you be utilizing Verizon’s 5G UW and 5G NA coverage. I found myself getting speeds topping around 200Mbps and uploads hitting the highest like 50Mbps. Some of which is in my apartment which I wasn’t getting before so that’s a plus. If you can find some of Verizon’s 5G UW areas, you can most likely hit higher speeds.
On the TCL 10 5G UW is a Triple Camera system consisting of 5MP(Macro), 8MP (Wide Angle), and AI-powered 48MP lens.
Image quality when just pointing and shooting isn’t bad with the right above of lighting. Some shots looking a bit more saturated than needed. In doors success will vary and may have to tinker around a bit to get the right shot. NXTVISION will enhance the look of those photos to look better but may want to toggle on and off to see how they actually look before sharing or sending out. I didn’t take many selfies but with the proper light came out clear.
It’s great to see TCL on a carrier especially a big one such as Verizon. It is a nice quality phone if you want something that does a little of everything. It has a large battery and holds it own in handling day to day activities. Being $399.99($16.66/24mths) makes it the cheapest 5G phone Verizon has and frankly one of the cheapest 5G phones around. Of course, you must be a Verizon customer or be interested in going over to them. If you aren’t interested in 5G, their TCL 10 Pro is a stellar device with a lower price point and works unlocked on Verizon 4G LTE (and other carriers).