Gaming and Performance tests!
Now that the first part is done (since like, the dawn of time) let’s now get to the performance section. We already discussed that the phone has surprisingly decent specs for sub Php15K because it uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G [aired with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. (Update: the phone is now listed among third-party stores as a sub 10K phone, which makes it even better but also is a sign of discontinuation). How does the phone fair in real life though?
With all the games I played, including the newly-released APEX Legends, I’m surprised it can handle all of them smoothly, with the exception of Genshin Impact but that’s understandable since most phones, including flagship ones, find it a challenge to run it anyway. We’ll start first with Benchmark results.
One downside of this phone is the lack of high refresh rates wherein other phones of similar prices, both in sub 15K and sub 10K have at least 90Hz. This was probably a small compensation for the NXTVision enhancement but we don’t see it that way. For a price of Php10,990, we expected at least 90Hz to enhance the gameplay and browsing experience.
However, throughout my four to five months of use, the phone remained smooth and comfortable to use, even on simple tasks like swiping left and right, browsing the internet, and basic photography tasks like photo processing. It also opens apps in a jiffy and without stuttering. This must come from the barebones UI which again, kinda reminds us of early OxygenOS.
Speaking of enhanced gameplay, the phone comes built-in with a game assistance app called “Game Box”. It has a variety of settings, including the increase of performance whenever the phone detects a game is being played (Game Turbo mode). It can also turn off notifications and optimize network usage by limiting background apps’ data usage. Also, it can pause background apps so the RAM is used to its fullest potential. What I like about this is the simple and non-invasive design. It is also accessible through the settings.
The app automatically detects games installed on your phone. If not, then you can manually add them.
The phone scored pretty nicely on Geekbench. And this is also without throttling. The single-core scored 605 points while the OpenCL benchmark scored 1288 points. The Vulkan score is 1335 points.
Back in 2015, getting a phone with over 300K is a mind-blowing thing but nowadays, most midrangers can attain that score quite easily. The TCL 10 5G is no exception. Heck, even I am surprised to see a 380K score, which fits the Snapdragon 765G perfectly and that’s also almost 400K.
With benchmarks now done and the phone has some competitive performance in theory, we will test its real-life performance by torturing it through some games. The games I used for this test include APEX Legends, Asphalt 9, Call of Duty Mobile, Genshin Impact, League of Legends: Wild Rift, Mobile Legends, Pokemon Unite, and PUBG New State.
All clips will be uploaded on our YouTube channel but we’ll only take the best records for this review.
APEX Legends (ULTRA HD):
APEX Legends was just recently released on Android and is available for download during its soft launch. Bugs and technical difficulties are expected. EA also has put a note on the APEX Legends website what are the minimum requirements to run the game for both Android and iOS
In case you’re wondering, here are the settings for APEX Legends that I used.
- Frame Rate: Ultra
- Image Quality: HD
- Graphics Style: Classic
- Adaptive Smoothing: Off
- Dynamic Shadows: On
- Character Halo: Off
- Anti-aliasing: On
My experience with APEX Legends is pretty good. I experienced little to no lagging, although there are times where frame drops are present (rarely at that) but this did not ruin my enjoyment with the game. This is in Ultra HD setting by the way, with everything else in their defaults. The game is actually smoother and less cluttered than Call of Duty Mobile, one of the game’s prime competitors. It needs getting some used to for its UI and gameplay but once you do it’s one hell of an experience. The phone did get warm after a few matches and the game did encourage you to lower down the settings if things get choppy. So far, I had no problems playing it.
Asphalt 9 (HIGH QUALITY)
Note: due to copyright issues, the game prevented me to record it with sound.
I wasn’t expecting Asphalt 9 to be less demanding than Asphalt 8, being the spiritual successor and also having more realistic graphics but nooo. The game ran smoother in my experience in comparison to Asphalt 8. If the game did have sound, then let me say the sound and music are consistent throughout the gameplay with no chopping or jumping between frames. The phone was able to process the adrenaline and can keep up with the fast-paced action that was going on throughout the race. I had no problems playing it and the processor is powerful enough to run Asphalt 9 on high graphics.
CALL OF DUTY MOBILE (HIGH GRAPHICS, MAX FRAME RATE)
When I checked the comments on my TCL 10 5G review video, running Call of Duty quickly became one of the most frequently asked questions. It’s also the reason why I’m putting my gameplay videos under public than unlisted, unlike my video tests. This isn’t a surprise since Call of Duty is very popular among mobile gamers and it is also heavily demanding. I checked the Play Store for reviews. Sure enough, I found several complaints about the game being unstable and lagging, or having inconsistent and jumpy sound.
I had two gameplay tests for it although, for this review, I’m going to use the most optimal settings I have. This is playing Call of Duty under HIGH Graphics with MAX frame rate, as the game recommended. Increasing the graphics caused the recording to fluctuate heavily. In one of the recordings, you can see me change the graphics settings back to HIGH from VERY HIGH midway through the match.
I only tested the game under MULTIPLAYER mode so the performance might differ if you play in Battle Royale or Zombies mode. After all, this is just to check the performance of the phone when playing an assortment of games.
With MAX Frame Rate and HIGH graphics, the game ran smoothly although the frame rate could get inconsistent especially during intense fights but I did not see this as an annoyance. As I said, the game will stutter if you use the highest possible graphics settings without changing any of the individual ones like Depth of Field and anti-aliasing.
Here are the settings I’ve used (multiplayer mode only)
- GRAPHICS QUALITY: High
- FRAME RATE: Max
- DEPTH OF FIELD: Disabled
- REAL-TIME SHADOWS: Enabled
- ANTI-ALIASING: Enabled
- BLOOM: Disabled
- RAGDOLL: Disabled
- REALISTIC SCOPE: Enabled
Genshin Impact (LOW settings)
Genshin Impact is that one game that certainly most phones, even flagship ones couldn’t handle. Being a midrange device, the graphics of the game is automatically set to low. Surprisingly, it can still s handle medium graphics and it’s usually the higher frame rate that causes it to die. The game runs on 30fps. If you do not change any setting apart from the FPS, say at 60, the performance load is set to “Overclocked”.
With my experience, the game ran smoothly on low graphics and only in low graphics. It manages to render close-distance objects well and the chipset manages to handle close-ended fights too. Although with a chaotic scene, the phone does start to heat up… RAPIDLY. To be fair, the game runs better on a PC because most PCs can handle graphics-intensive mobile games with ease. Certainly I can play Genshin on PC on High graphics on PC without too much trouble.
Motion Blur is off on Genshin and it’s one of the factors that affect the game’s overall performance. Turn it on and you might see frame drops. So as long your phone has at least 30% battery, frame drops won’t be as common, but they can still occur. I’d say, play Genshin on a PC.
So as long you don’t increase the frame rate, the game will work well even on Medium graphics.
League of Legends Wild Rift (CUSTOM)
League of Legends Wild Rift has better graphics than Mobile Legends and is more original. Though, the developer, Riot, has been bought out by Tencent, a Chinese company. The game has far fewer graphics options but on the other hand, you are freer to tune it. It is also optimized no matter which phone you play. What I like about it is the colour reproduction. It isn’t as vibrant as Arena of Valor or Mobile Legends, and the availability of the Fog of War makes it more challenging
Here are my graphics settings:
- FRAME RATE: 60fps
- GRAPHICS QUALITY: SUPER HIGH (highest available)
- EFFECTS QUALITY: HIGH •RESOLUTION: HIGH
- POST-PROCESSING: ON
- FLOATING TEXT: ON
- INTERFACE ANIMATIONS: ON
- CHARACTER INKING: OFF
- FOG OF WAR BRIGHTNESS: HIGH (~70%)
- MAP BRIGHTNESS: HIGH (~70%)
- CHAMPION OUTLINES: OFF
- HEALTHBAR NAME DISPLAY: ON
The gameplay is super smooth and comfortable even during teamfights. I never had any problems playing League on any device before, and that includes the TCL 10 5G with the SD765G processor. As a higher-midrange SoC, surely it should handle the game well. To be frank, the game is not that demanding and even lower-end or budget PCs can run the PC version of League just as fine.
Mobile Legends (ULTRA)
Mobile Legends is one of the first things I downloaded since I know it’s a pretty popular game here in Southeast Asia and a competitive one at that. Sure, for international users, it’s merely a copy of League but nonetheless, it’s quite an entertaining game.
The game has options for both Ultra and High Frame Rate so obviously I would run the game using those settings. Combined with the in-house game booster’s optimizations and the powerful chipset, the game ran quite smoothly and vibrant. Unlike with 720p displays, there is no visible pixelation and I feel like playing on an AMOLED screen. This is all thanks to the NXTVision enhancement which offers AMOLED-like control, including colour temperature changes and vibrancy. Despite having no enhancement towards the gameplay whatsoever, the phone is responsive, and even during clashes, there are no stuttering or frame drops.
Keep in mind that, while playing any game, the phone tends to get warm. The more graphics-intensive a game is, the more it will become warm.
Pokemon Unite (Highest/High)
Another MOBA title from Tencent that has been criticised for being pay-to-win. It certainly has that feeling to it hence the reason I do not play it as often. It’s not just skins either. There are various power-ups, upgrades, and boosters that can be purchased with premium currency which in turn is purchased with real money, putting free players at an unfair disadvantage.
Anywho, back at the money vending machine disguised as a game, I used the highest graphics option possible which is listed below.
- GRAPHICS QUALITY: Highest
- FRAME RATE: High
- VIBRATE FUNCTION: On
- DISPLAY TEXT CHAT: On
- COLOUR BLIND SUPPORT: Off
These are the only available graphics settings. As you can see, all of them are toggles and there are currently no advanced options to further test the performance of the game in its highest load. It’s pretty much simplified.
PUBG: New State
The spin-off for the popular title PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. This takes place in the future of 2050 retaining the same battle royale gameplay and adding new ones. This game is also much more graphically demanding than the latter game and I actually had some trouble running it smoothly, much more than COD Mobile and Genshin Impact.
You have to tinker with the settings so that you can get the desired graphics settings. Thankfully, I managed to get the “just right” graphics settings optimized for the TCL 10 5G.
I managed to play the game under MEDIUM settings since the game can give you a seizure playing it on HIGH or VERY HIGH. The first time I recorded it, there were yellow and purple flashing colours that are quite annoying. I had to lower the graphics and frame rate, as well as turn on anti-aliasing. These settings fixed my problem. The game did tell you to lower the frame rate if things did fluctuate. I also used “Vulkan” as my graphics API. Take note Vulkan is more demanding than OpenGL but in return, gives you higher quality graphics.
Here are the graphics settings I used:
- FRAME RATE: High
- GRAPHICS QUALITY: Medium
- ANTI-ALIASING: On
- BRIGHTNESS: 100
- SCREEN FILTER: Standard
- GRAPHICS API: Vulkan
- FIRST-PERSON PERSPECTIVE CAMERA: Standard
- THIRD-PERSON PERSPECTIVE CAMERA: Standard
I haven’t tried running the game in high settings, but for all it’s worth, I recommend staying with medium for an optimal experience. You may also try going for all high if you use OpenGL, but for me, the settings above are my preferences.
These are all the games I played. Certainly a lot of titles ranging from Shooter to Racing and RPG, and everything in between. Stay tuned for the final season of this review as we’ll tackle the battery, sound, and finally, wrap them all up with the conclusion!