TCL announced its first product list in 2020, but has long been a leader in the budget telecommunications market: In addition to creating white label-enabled network devices worldwide, it also sells its products under the brand Alcatel, Blackberry, and Thomson. TCL 20 SE ($ 189.99) proves how well TCL is aware of its cost-effective consumer needs. It packs an incredible display, powerful performance, long battery life, and the current Android version, without blood is. Cameras work, and there is no NFC or fast charging, but these are minor issues compared to how much money you get.
TCL 20 SE Sublime Screen
The 20 SE measures 6.8 x 3.0 by 0.4 inches (HWD) and weighs 7.3 ounces. It’s a big phone, but its weight is well balanced.
A 6.82-inch LCD, 1,640-by-720-pixel controls the front of the phone. There’s a camera note with a thick bottom bezel. The screen is bright and bright, and you can adjust the color settings in the NXTVISION menu. All in all, the display is reminiscent of the OnePlus Nord N100’s, though it doesn’t have the fastest 90Hz update rate for its competition.
The TCL 20 SE plastic back cover feels small and attracts fingerprints and smudges.
Behind the fence, you will find a two-tone backplate, dark blue. Its glossy and metallic finish attracts fingerprints and smudges. It looks smooth, but the plastic is thin and gives a hollow filling when it is polished.
In the upper left corner, you’ll find a thin rectangular camera module that extends slightly from the backplate. The gray TCL logo is located at the bottom left. The fast and easily accessible fingerprint sensor sits in the middle of the top third of the phone.
The top 20 SE is home to the head; the USB-C charging port and speakerphone are located on the bottom edge. On the left, you will find a SIM / microSD slot and a Smart Key set up. The power button and rocker are on the right. Buttons offer satisfying clicks, but people with small hands can have difficulty accessing it.
A firmness of 20 SE is a standard phone budget. No IP rating; the accidental dunk in the lake is likely to end in disaster. The plastic chassis and backplate should handle small drops and needles properly, but reinforced glass displays are unlikely to survive a major impact.
Capable Speeds, Dismal Speakers
20 SE vessels open; currently operates on AT&T and T-Mobile’s LTE networks, and you can expect to see Verizon compatibility in the coming weeks. Band 71 support is not available, so T-Mobile customers in rural areas may want to consider the Nord N100 instead.
We tested the phone on T-Mobile’s 4G network in Chicago. The average speed is 58.4Mbps down and 39.1Mbps up. These speeds are slower than what we have seen on some Snapdragon X11 modem phones, but they are fast enough for streaming games and HD video streaming.
The quality of the calls is very good. Our test calls were clear and fun. Audio cancellation worked without a problem. An earphone with a large capacity of 84dB was ringing enough to hear on a busy train.
20 SE stereo speakers are working. With a high volume of 87dB, they are loud enough to fill the room, but the mids are colored, the bass is absent, and there is excessive sibilance at high frequencies. Fortunately, the phone has both Bluetooth 5.0 and an audio out jack if you want to connect certain headphones.
Dual-band Wi-Fi mounted. NFC mobile payments, included with the Nord N100, are not available at 20 SE.
Daily battery life with little you can save
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 mobile platform enables 20 SE. There’s 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, with about 110GB available out of the box. You can add 256GB of external storage with a MicroSD card.
Although the 20 SE, Nord N100, and Moto G Play (2021) have the same price and share the same chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 460, there is a big difference between them. The 20 SE and Nord N100 have the same amount of RAM, but the 20 SE has twice the amount of storage space in the valley. The 64GB / 3GB Moto G Play setup puts you at the bottom of the list.
Performance is very good at this price range. 20 SE handles basic functions like email and social media streaming without any problem. There is a slight flaw when you open apps or swipe between screens, but it is in line with what we found while testing the Nord N100.
Gambling at 20 SE bet or missed. We tested it with Genshin Impact, a game that requires significant resources – or rather, we tried. After many attempts to open the game only led to very long load times, we stopped. The resource-hungry Alto Alyssey was a complete joy at 20 SE, with the exception of a few skipped skirts.
In Geekbench 5, a benchmarking test that measures green computer power, 20 SE received 254 single-core (SC) and 1,283 multi-core (MC). The Nord N100 scored 278 SC and 1,294 MC in the same test. The difference between the two schools is small, and may be due to variables that can be controlled during the assessment process.
Like the Nord N100, the 20 SEs carry a heavy 5,000mAh battery. In our battery discharge test, which streams HD video over Wi-Fi in full brightness, 20 SEs worked 14 hours, 19 minutes before turning off. That’s too short for the 15 hours we’ve got on the Nord N100, but even if the phone will get you a day or more of heavy use.
There is no wireless charging option, which is common at this price point. Surprisingly, however, the absence of any quick charging process. Our finished battery took about 3.5 hours to charge. It’s a big miss for the TCL 20 SE, as the Nord N100, Moto G Play, and many other similar phones offer fast charging.
Beautiful Light = Beautiful Pictures
The rear camera module has a 48MP main lens, a 5MP wide lens, and a 2MP depth with macro sensors. There is also a 13MP selfie camera.
The 20 SE main lens is able to take good photos with good light. Our test rifle had excellent field depth and bright colors. There has been a loss of detail in many of our photos, but it’s hard to notice unless you’re checking the full-size image. Low-light images, on the other hand, were shallow, cut short by sound and noise.
Daytime running lights with wide-angle lenses were great. Most of our photos were shallow and soft. We also observed minor disruptions in a few cases of our testing.
In low light, things go downhill. Our shot shots were flat and muddy with noise everywhere.
The macro lens is awesome, like most smartphone macro lenses. Our shot shots were flat with visible fringing and front blur.
The front-facing camera works well in good light. Our test shots were fun with the natural blur in the background. When the light is wrong, the camera pulls hard. Many of our low-light images were muddy and noisy, an unusual blur that may be caused by excessive noise cancellation.
In terms of cameras, the 20 SE works as expected: well with enough light, without good. We can’t think of a price-effective phone that works best in those situations. Macro sensors on budget phones are often missed. If you are looking for a flexible smartphone camera, the most expensive option is $ 349 Google Pixel 4a.
Android 11 With Few Thinking Tweaks
20 SE ships with Android 11 and TCL UI. For the most part, TCL custom skins are lightweight and add a thoughtful touch to Android that enhances the overall user experience.
TCL UI allows you to customize 20 SE navigation bar, app icons, and Always-On Display. It also incorporates one of the most accurate privacy modes we’ve ever used: Just swipe the bottom of the screen with two fingers, confirm with your fingers or PIN, and your hidden apps and files will appear.
The 20 SE is suitable for single OS upgrades; after getting Android 12 a few months later, all bets are off. However, you will get two years of security development. At this price, we do not expect long-term updates, but we would like to see TCL offer years-long OS updates to all of its phones.
Budget Phone Bliss, Within Reason
The TCL 20 SE is an acceptable addition to the lower end of the telecommunications market. Thrifty buyers will appreciate its strong performance, clear display, and everyday battery life. Its mid-range cameras, limited band support, and lackluster durability are clearly missing, but almost every phone with the same price has the same problems.
If you intend to spend more, check out the $ 279.99 Samsung Galaxy A32 5G, which has won the Editors ’Choice award for budget phones. Improved cameras, improved durability, and many years of OS upgrades, and 5G connectivity make the A32 5G the best price we’ve ever seen. But if you can’t break the $ 200 barrier, 20 SE should be on your shortlist.
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