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Review: TCL 10 Pro Reaches for Max Features and Affordability

If the TCL 10 Pro could speak, it would ask one question: “Is it possible to pile all of the most desired functions of a smartphone into a device costing less than $500?”

After trying this latest creation from the Chinese technology company, we would answer: “It depends what you consider the most desired functions.”

There is certainly room to undercut the flagship phones coming from TCL’s big-name competition. If a shopper wants the best iPhones or Android phones, such as the iPhone 11 Pro Max or the Samsung Galaxy S10+, he or she is looking at a price tag around $1,500. That’s three to four times the cost of some new laptops. Phone manufacturers would tell anyone who’d listen that such prices are justified because the buyer is going home with a fully functional, world-connected computer that fits in the hand.

For shoppers who want a smartphone under $500, you can still find a lot of fantastic budget Android phones or the new iPhone SE. So how does the TCL 10 Pro compare to other affordable smartphones? Overall, I was impressed with TCL’s newest mobile device, which offers a lot of attractive features.

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The TCL 10 Pro comes with a 6.47-inch display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor, and 6 GB of RAM. The phone packs up to 128 GB of internal memory, and the buyer can upgrade that number to 256 GB via a microSD card. Its 4500 mAh battery will get through the day without recharging even with steady use. An in-display fingerprint sensor and facial ID offer security and fast and secure access. Its interface will be familiar for any Android devotee, with a few extra flourishes coming directly from TCL.

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In addition to the hardware, the Pro 10’s manufacturer promises to stand by their phones with one major OS update during the life of the phone and SMR updates every two months for two years. The early adopter gets all of that for a very manageable price.

What We Liked About the TCL 10 Pro:

You can pick up the TCL 10 Pro, activate a SIM card and be up and running with a well-equipped Android smartphone for $450. That means no installment payments and no contract, depending on whom you choose as your service provider. That’s the single biggest selling point here, as TCL successfully offers most of the bells and whistles a phone buyer would look for in a top-shelf phone for a fraction of the price.

Most Unique Feature: The Camera

Simply flipping the TCL 10 Pro over reveals its most ambitious attraction. The quad rear cameras provide 64 MP resolution with hybrid autofocus and a dual LED flash. The rear unit can shoot low light video and focus between 16 MP for wide-angle photos and 5 MP macro for close-up shots. The front selfie camera offers 24 MP resolution for social media duty. While the camera struggles somewhat in low light (darker photos have some graininess), most of the camera features seem on par with top rivals.
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What We Didn’t Like About the TCL 10 Pro:

The curved, full-face, 2340 x 1080 pixel display looks dim in reasonable light conditions. That might be due to the designers’ choice to go with an AMOLED display. The term stands for “active-matrix organic light-emitting diode” and is a screen choice used in other Android phones. It doesn’t seem tuned quite right here, as many onscreen functions often look slightly under-lit and foggy.

The Verdict:

While the TCL 10 Pro can’t quite match the all-around excellence of $1,500 smartphones on the market from Apple, Samsung or other major established manufacturers, the phone provides enough strong features at such a bargain price that it can make a strong alternative for the budget buyer. If you’re looking for the best budget Android phones under $500, the TCL 10 Pro is a worthy choice.

Where To Buy the TCL 10 Pro:

If you’ve read our TCL 10 Pro review and are ready to order, you can find this phone for sale on Amazon and Best Buy. Inventory is already low at Amazon, so order while this smartphone is in stock.

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