TCL 10 5G REVIEW: GREAT SCREEN, STYLISH DESIGN | THE FINAL PART


Battery, Sound, and Conclusion!

It is the final chapter of this trilogy of the TCL 10 5G series. We surely came a long way no? Had my laptop break down multiple times, got to edit several images, and then finally, make a video review! This is my current phone and it holds up pretty well. That’s money well spent.

BATTERY:

TCL 10 5G charging via 18W USB-C

The TCL 10 5G has a 4500mAh battery with 18W fast charging. Nothing unusual or too special to see here. I shouldn’t be harsh on this but I will be since the phone was valued at Php17,990. I wish it had faster charging than that, maybe 33W kinda like its competitors? The 4500mAh battery is nothing to complain about because it is quite typical to see it on smartphones these days. Another thing, it’s only 500mAh away from the usual 5000, so it’s not too much of a difference in terms of battery power,

The battery lasted for around 11 hours and 12 minutes, which is typical for any smartphone with a 4000-5000mAh battery these days and longer than you in bed. I used PCMark to determine the battery endurance (special thanks to Sir Peter Jan Icogo of GizGuide for this discovery). It is another performance benchmark app but I only use it for the battery. The app will tell you to have your battery charged at least 80% and then when the test starts, it will drain the battery down to 20% using a variety of tasks, including AI testing, video play, reading charts and graphs, and others.

While 11 hours is not so terrible, I expected it to last a little longer. In theory, the battery could last for up to 400 hours on standby and around 34 hours with 4G calls, at least according to the official spec sheet on TCL’s website. So if the phone did drain from 100% down to 0 (the phone was fully charged before testing), then it could theoretically last up to 13 hours.

One thing to see here is that, despite all that torture testing, the temperature remained nearly constant, at around or slightly lower than 40┬░C. Pretty impressive since higher temperatures wear and damage the battery rapidly.

I charged the phone from empty to full using the given 18W charger. The phone charged really slow, about two hours so the “fast charging” the phone has is dismissible. You can’t charge far beyond this voltage because this is the only rating that’s allowed. To be frank, the spec sheet did also say it will charge around 2 hours as well.

SOUND

The default sound of the TCL 10 5G on YouTube

The TCL 10 5G has stereo speakers along with a 3.5mm jack on top. It is also Hi-Res sound certified. This is expected for a phone valued at Php17,990. During the time which I bought this phone, I can’t help but compare the sound quality to that of the Galaxy A52, another phone of similar price and class.

Compared to that phone, the TCL 10 5G speakers are lackluster. It has lower bass levels and the sound can get inconsistent. It’s pretty loud, but the quality feels like it came from a budget phone more than a higher midranger. This is one of the weaker characteristics of the phone. The treble is there, but it just lacks bass, making the sound less immersive and shallow.

There are apparently several Hi-Res Audio music players available on Google Play. The phone has an HRA chip so to fully put the audio to its potential, I downloaded a trial version of PowerAmp which I’m surprised, is still around and is the best audio player to use for testing HRA.

Of course, to use the Hi-Res feature, you do need to plug a set of headphones since the TCL 10 5G does not have a DAC (digital-to-analog converter) chip, unlike Sony or most LG flagships. The Quad DAC chip is one of the primary selling points of LG phones and why audiophiles love them.

Guess what? With the default Hi-Res settings on for PowerAmp, the audio improve quite significantly. The sound became much more immersive and the bass that I was looking for is now fully present. This is the fullest the phone will get for audio. While writing this part, I was actually listening to my tunes, in particular, A Ghost in the Trenches by Sabaton.

Well, because of how good the sound is, I decided to purchase the full version of PowerAmp. It isn’t too pricey, unlike USB Audio Player PRO. PowerAmp only costs about Php150 (~USD 3.00).

CONCLUSION:

Overall, the TCL 10 5G is quite a good contender for a phone that only costs Php11,990 (third-party retailers are now phasing it out and selling it for Php8,990, which is a really good deal). Originally valued at Php17,990, the phone has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chipset, stereo speakers with Hi-Res Audio, full glass back, and a Full HD IPS LCD screen with NXTVision enhancements that can emulate features that most AMOLED screens have. These features are very rare to see on a phone that’s now priced at sub-Php12K.

The clean and nearly bloat-free TCL UI should also not be forgotten about. A little bit of a disappointment for the phone is that I never received an update beyond the December 3 patch. It runs on Android 11 still. The smooth UI reminds me a lot of OxygenOS, down to the “About phone” page and that’s a pretty good compliment since it has little to no gimmicks and overall does not hamper the experience with using the phone.

It is a worthy phone to get but servicing it may be a challenge. When we bought the phone in SM North Edsa, we were asked to return it to a service center if it has any defects, and not through the kiosk which we bought it from. This is troublesome since the nearest service center is a little far from our house and the place where purchased the phone.

PROS:

  • Full HD IPS LCD screen with NXTVision enhancement that can emulate AMOLED colour reproduction
  • The back panel is made of glass. A type of material normally only available on flagships
  • Clean and nearly bloat-free Android skin. It is similar to OxygenOS. (Only third-party apps are Netflix and a few TCL apps like TCL+, Smart Manager, and File Share)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G on a sub-Php15K phone. A chipset normally only reserved for higher-end midrangers
  • Competitive and capable cameras with High Dynamic Range
  • Night Mode has spectacular performance, almost similar to older Google Pixel handsets like the Google Pixel 2 and 3
  • 4K video for both 30 and 60fps. It also comes with Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS)
  • The dedicated smart key has multiple functions, including Google Assistant and gestures
  • Hi-Res Audio and Stereo speakers are available. The 3.5mm jack also did not miss out
  • Hi-Res Audio, when used with the right headphones and apps, work to its highest potential, making sound very immersive
  • Rear fingerprint scanner is responsive and fast. Placement is also not too high nor low

CONS:

  • No high refresh rates. You are stuck with the usual 60Hz
  • Single Nano-SIM Slot. Not even hybrid
  • 4K videos are limited to 5 minutes
  • Lacking camera features in comparison to its competitors
  • Stereo Speakers lack clarity and bass
  • Rapid devaluation. Originally priced at Php17,990. For less than a year, it is now phasing out and its price dropped to Php8,990
  • Despite the fast charging rate, it charges ridiculously slow, at 2 hours

We hope you enjoyed our review of the underrated TCL 10 5G. Be sure to also check out our summarized video review, which you can watch down below. You may also check out our other reviews here.