Hands-on with the new TCL 20 Pro 5G


After unveiling its 2021 lineup a few months back, TCL is officially bringing the TCL 20 Pro 5G, TCL 20 S and TCL 20 SE to the US market. The company has an established user base in the US with its Alcatel brand, but it’s hoping to capture a bit more attention in the mid-range segment with these new devices.

The TCL 20 Pro 5G isn’t a device you’d choose over a Samsung Galaxy S series or a OnePlus 9, but it’s a solid mid-range device. Priced at $499, the TCL 20 Pro is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 750 with 6GB of RAM and a 4,500mAh battery crammed inside a daily sleep body. It’s a bit hard to miss at first, but the phone doesn’t feature a camera bump for the three cameras it sports on the back – something we rarely see these days. The phone also comes with 256GB of storage, a microSD card slot, 3.5mm headphone jack and an IR blaster for those who want to use the 20 Pro as a remote for their TV as well.

The  6.67-inch FHD+ AMOLED display is definitely one of the highlights of this phone if you’re into curved displays. With TCL’s new NXTVISION 2.0 display technology, the phone delivers SDH to HDR content conversion while also dramatically reducing the amount of blue light emitted by the display. 

The overall design of the phone is reminiscent of what we’ve seen from Samsung and OnePlus over the past few years with a metal frame, sandwiched between curved glass panels on the front and back. TCL has flattened out the top and bottom edges, allowing the phone to stand on its own when placed on a flat surface (something we don’t recommend doing). To add a bit of flair and make the phone stand out a bit from the pack, the glass panel n the back of the 20 Pro is highlighted by a glossy strip along the left edge while the rest of the back panel has a matte finish that helps reduce fingerprint smudges.

We still need to spend some quality time with the device before passing any judgment on its performance, but the software experience looks to be the same as what we got last year on TCL’s devices. You’ll find a selection of pre-installed apps like  Facebook, Netflix, Booking.com, and Modern Combat Rebel Guns, but the number of bloatware apps isn’t quite as bad as what we’ve seen on other devices this year. They’ve also built in a lot of customization features into the launcher, allowing users to select a variety of different themes, hide the Google Feed, customize the icon grid, or choose from six different sorting options within the app drawer.

For its cameras, the TCL 20 Pro 5G is equipped with a 48MP main sensor from Sony with OIS, a 16MP ultra-wide camera, 5MP macro and 2MP depth sensor. The front-facing camera is equipped with a 32MP sensor and is capable of recording 4K video at 30fps, matching the resolution and frame rate from the main sensor on the back of the phone.

The TCL 20 Pro 5G appears to be a pretty well-balanced mid-range smartphone, matching many of the featured offered by the Pixel 4a 5G. The difference is that TCL’s new device offers a more appealing design and more premium build materials. It’s definitely nice to see more competition in the mid-range segment, giving buyers more compelling options if they don’t want to spend all their cash on a $900 smartphone.



Nick Gray
I'm a life-long tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC. After writing about tech for more than a decade, I jumped at the opportunity to take on the role of Editor in Chief at Phandroid. Please contact me at [email protected].

TCL brings the 20 Pro 5G, 20S, and TCL 20 SE to the US

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