TCL 20 Professional 5G

MSRP $500.00

“TCL’s display experience shines by on the TCL 20 Professional 5G, however the remainder of the telephone — from the digital camera to the software program –doesn’t meet the identical requirements, and it falls behind the competitors.”


Very good display for video

Good gaming efficiency


Solely 60Hz refresh charge

Unreliable software program

No water resistance

The TCL 20 Professional 5G has been designed like a telephone that may have topped a producers’ vary a couple of years in the past, and doubtless price 4 figures on the time. Whereas the 20 Professional 5G additionally sits on the high of TCL’s rising smartphone line-up, it solely prices $500.

This alone made me need to try it out, and the extra suggestions we are able to make at this value, the higher. Nevertheless, my weeks with the TCL 20 Professional 5G turned out to be a rollercoaster journey with a shaky begin and continued ups and downs, nevertheless it did redeem itself sufficient for me to try it out. The query is, did it handle to take action absolutely? Right here’s what it’s like.


The TCL 20 Professional 5G is most undoubtedly a slice of smartphone nostalgia, in that we’ve seen telephones that appear to be this earlier than. It’s eight.8mm skinny and tapers all the way down to a comparatively sharp level on both aspect of the slim, 20:9 facet ratio display. A sophisticated part on the matte black glass rear panel provides it some character, repeating a design we’ve seen earlier than on the Huawei P30 Professional, however right here the digital camera lenses are flush with the physique.

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

It’s reminiscent not simply of Huawei’s telephone, but in addition older units just like the OnePlus 7 Professional, the Oppo Discover X2 Professional, and numerous Samsung Galaxy telephones together with the Galaxy S8. Whereas the design may be very fairly and the width makes it simple to carry and use with one hand, it comes with the identical points these telephones did a couple of years in the past — it’s delicate, it slides off completely the whole lot, and the perimeters make it uncomfortable to grip. At 190 grams, it’s lighter than many fashionable giant telephones although.

There’s a clear TPU case included within the field, and I did really feel the necessity to use it as a result of telephone’s sharp sides and slipperiness. A three.5mm headphone jack is a welcome addition, there’s a USB Sort-C charging port on the underside of the telephone, and a single speaker too. The ability and quantity buttons are skinny slivers of metallic, plus there’s a Good Key on the left-hand aspect of the telephone which will be custom-made to carry out actions like wake Google Assistant, activate the digital camera, take a screenshot, or be disabled completely. I used to be pressured to disable it, as I virtually at all times pressed the button by chance throughout regular use.

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

It’s arduous to not view the TCL 20 Professional 5G as “previous” if you put it alongside the Samsung Galaxy S21+, because it highlights how design has modified because the time when the 20 Professional 5G would have appeared contemporary. The Samsung telephone is across the similar measurement and weight however is vastly extra snug to carry, much less slippery, and arguably extra fashionable too. Is previous a nasty factor? No, the TCL 20 Professional 5G may be very fairly certainly, nevertheless it’s barely irritating that TCL didn’t handle to keep away from the pitfalls of comparable telephones when utilizing the design in 2021.

Software program

My preliminary expertise with the TCL 20 Professional 5G was in contrast to another telephone. I set all evaluate telephones up from scratch with my main SIM, however the first time I did so with the 20 Professional 5G it was a catastrophe. I had issues with the display recognizing faucets, the auto-brightness wouldn’t work, I obtained virtually no notifications, and had very poor battery life. It was so dangerous I reset the telephone and tried once more, however nothing modified so I finished utilizing it, and checked with TCL relating to any incoming software program updates.

I reset the telephone for a 3rd time after ready, however not listening to any information on any software program updates, and bizarrely the telephone has operated much better since then. I’ve not utilized any software program updates outdoors of the reset/setup course of. I take a look at quite a lot of telephones and have by no means come throughout this earlier than. I be aware it as a result of if you happen to purchase a TCL 20 Professional 5G and discover it doesn’t work correctly, a couple of resets might remedy it.

My preliminary expertise with the TCL 20 Professional 5G was in contrast to another telephone

The telephone has Android 11 with the TCL consumer interface excessive, which is comparatively fuss-free, and near the vanilla Android expertise you get on the Google Pixel collection. Nevertheless, the group of apps within the App Drawer is ready to Class by default, which I discover much less intuitive than alphabetical, and there are numerous pre-installed apps plus shortcut icons to providers like establishing the Good Key, locking the display, and accessing TCL’s help pages.

Notifications are extra dependable than after I first began, however the telephone does generally tend to easily cease exhibiting them on the lock display and solely beginning once more if you unlock the telephone. I’ve additionally skilled some odd app instability, with Outlook refusing to work with a mobile connection, however seemingly tremendous when related to Wi-Fi.

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

Edge detection is inferior to it needs to be. I nonetheless typically unintentionally flip from one app to a different when swipe typing, for instance. On the optimistic aspect, the system is quick, and I actually like the assorted always-on display designs, specifically the one with the time proven in crimson down the aspect of the show. It’s so clear and legible, even at a distance. Though the TCL 20 Professional 5G now works to the purpose the place I can use it each day, it nonetheless has its issues, which mixed with my early expertise doesn’t give me a lot confidence in it.

Display screen and efficiency

The TCL 20 Professional 5G has a 6.67-inch, Full HD decision AMOLED display with HDR10 certification, however solely a 60Hz refresh charge. Inside is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G processor with 6GB of RAM and 256GB of cupboard space. TCL is a display skilled, and we charge its televisions extremely, so I had equally lofty expectations for the one fitted to the 20 Professional 5G telephone.

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

The telephone’s display doesn’t disappoint. TCL’s NXTVISION show engine enhances colours and distinction very successfully. I put it alongside the Samsung Galaxy S21+, a telephone that prices twice as a lot with a show I feel appears unbelievable, and the TCL 20 Professional 5G improves on it. Watching Carfection’s take a look at the Singer Porsche 911 DLS, the colours are richer and extra vibrant, and the shadows darkish but nonetheless detail-filled. It’s actually stunning and compares very favorably with the iPhone 12 Professional’s splendidly pure palette too.

That’s fairly a feat for a $500 smartphone, so it’s an actual disgrace TCL hasn’t chosen a display with a 90Hz or greater refresh charge. This can be a characteristic we’re seeing on even the most affordable telephones accessible for the time being and can be discovered on the TCL 20 Professional’s principal rival, the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G. I missed the beautiful clean scrolling when utilizing Twitter or Chrome 90Hz refresh charge provides. The display’s efficiency can be let down by the one speaker, which is definitely lined by your hand, and unsurprisingly lacks depth and bass.

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

I’ve had no complaints in regards to the pace offered by the Snapdragon 750G and have loved gaming on the TCL 20 Professional 5G. I performed each Asphalt 9: Legends and Genshin Influence and located the telephone very snug to carry in panorama orientation. It additionally didn’t get scorching, and video games performed easily. The display’s beautiful distinction and colours assist make gaming one of many telephone’s strengths.

The four,500mAh battery will present two days of average use, nevertheless it doesn’t prefer it if you push the telephone even just a bit tougher, particularly if you wish to make the most of the display. The battery can be all the way down to 20% by the tip of day one after regular use plus an hour of gameplay, some YouTube, and a video name. Charging is with a equipped 18W charger, taking a gradual two hours to totally cost the telephone.

The telephone’s display doesn’t disappoint

It has a Sub-6 5G connection that may work with T-Cellular, however compatibility with AT&T will probably be restricted to 4G LTE as a result of bands the telephone helps. The Wi-Fi connection has a shorter vary than different telephones however name high quality has been good.


There are 4 cameras on the again of the TCL 20 Professional 5G. The primary 48-megapixel digital camera has an f/1.eight aperture and optical picture stabilization, and it’s backed up by a 16MP wide-angle digital camera, a 2MP depth digital camera, and a 5MP macro digital camera if you happen to purchase the telephone within the U.S. Elsewhere, the macro digital camera has 2 megapixels. You’ll be able to shoot 4K video at 30 frames per second and take selfies with the 32MP hole-punch digital camera on the high of the display.

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

For normal, on a regular basis use, the digital camera is appropriate, however don’t anticipate it to rival the Google Pixel 4a or the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, or to be particularly impressed by it. What’s clear is that if you wish to take a good, shareable picture, you need to keep on with utilizing the first digital camera for stills. The issue is an inconsistency between the primary and wide-angle digital camera, with the primary staying impartial on colours and publicity, whereas the wide-angle digital camera over-saturates particularly in less-than-ideal lighting circumstances.

Low gentle photographs indoors utilizing the digital camera’s night time mode are common and don’t expose a lot element, the macro digital camera (the 2MP model right here) is awkward to make use of as a result of it doesn’t have autofocus, and even if you get the space excellent the images are uninspiring. The 2x zoom setting within the digital camera app accesses a digital zoom, and movies look washed out in regular out of doors lighting.

Worth and availability

You’ll pay $500 for the TCL 20 Professional 5G, and it may be bought by Amazon. Within the U.Okay. it prices 499 British kilos and is obtainable by retailers together with Argos. There are two shade choices, Marine Blue or Moondust Gray (seen in our images), however just one storage choice of 256GB is obtainable.

Our take

This isn’t TCL’s first smartphone, but it nonetheless appears like TCL hasn’t fairly hit its stride but. The display is one of the best a part of the telephone, which is the corporate’s space of experience, however the remainder splits between positives and negatives. It will get the design and value of the software program proper, however bugs and inconsistency all through kill my confidence in it. The primary digital camera takes good images, however the wide-angle and video efficiency are far behind the competitors.

The battery is okay with gentle use, however effectivity suffers if you use the telephone extra closely, indicating it wants refinement. Whereas I just like the design of the telephone general, many will dislike the curved display and its inaccurate contact recognition, and the sharp sides. This makes the TCL 20 Professional 5G arduous to advocate, particularly since there’s sturdy competitors round it at each greater and decrease costs.

Is there a greater different?

Sure. We advocate the $500 Samsung Galaxy A52 5G which has a 90Hz display, a fairly design that’s extra sturdy attributable to an IP water resistance ranking, the identical processor, a pretty display, and longer software program help. The $500 Google Pixel 4a 5G is an alternative choice with even higher software program and help, and a greater digital camera.

If 5G isn’t a necessity you’ll be able to spend much less and nonetheless get an excellent telephone. The $350 Google Pixel 4a remains to be a stable purchase even whether it is getting slightly previous, as is the far newer $420/299 kilos OnePlus Nord CE if you happen to dwell outdoors the U.S., and if you need an Apple telephone the $400 iPhone SE must also be a high consideration.

How lengthy will it final?

TCL intends to ship two Android model updates and two years of safety updates to the 20 Professional 5G. That is enough, however behind what Samsung provides on the Galaxy A52 5G, and behind Apple’s help for the iPhone collection. The telephone is product of glass and doesn’t have an IP water resistance ranking, so that you’ll should watch out with it. The software program replace schedule and lack of sturdiness imply after two years you’ll in all probability be able to improve.

Must you purchase one?

No. Whereas the TCL 20 Professional 5G’s display impresses, the battery life isn’t very lengthy, the charging is gradual, it’s much less sturdy than a few of its rivals, and I’ve considerations over the reliability of the software program.

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