At the very end of 2020, the TCL 10 SE emerged as another option of intermediate smartphone for the Brazilian market. The model is the most advanced of a series of three cell phones that the brand brought to the country at the time. It is also the most expensive of the trio: its launch price is R $ 2,199, although it is possible to find it for around R $ 1,600.
We are talking about a cell phone with a 6.52-inch HD + screen, 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage and a triple camera at the rear, the main one with a 48 megapixel sensor. The processor is the not-well-known MediaTek Helio P22.
Based on this, the questions arise: with or without a discount, is the TCL 10 SE worth it? Is his processor good? Does the battery last long? Are the cameras decent? That’s what you’ll discover in the next few moments.
Video TCL 10 SE review
THE Tecnoblog it is an independent journalistic vehicle that helps people make their next purchase decision since 2005. Our analyzes are not intended for advertising, so they highlight the positive and negative points of each product. No company has paid, reviewed or had early access to this content.
TCL 10 SE was provided by TCL on loan and will be returned to the company after testing. For more information, visit tecnoblog.net/etica.
Design, finish and audio
The TCL 10 SE has a plastic body, but that does not mean that the finish leaves something to be desired. On the contrary. The frame, for example, is made of a very rigid plastic that, as such, guarantees some robustness for the model.
The rear has a matte surface that is pleasant to the touch and adheres relatively well to contact, a detail that prevents the device from escaping easily from the hand.
There we also find the fingerprint reader which, by the way, is quick to unlock and makes correct reading on the first attempt in the vast majority of times.
It would be interesting if the component was closer to the middle of the smartphone to facilitate the reach. In any case, it was positioned away from the camera module, so the risk of smudging them with fingerprints is reduced here.
The volume and on / off buttons have been positioned on the right. Again, it would be interesting if they were a little bit lower, but that’s okay.
Meanwhile, the top houses the connection for headphones and the left side gathers the chip drawer, with support for two SIM cards or a SIM card plus a microSD, and a physical button for Google Assistant that, unfortunately, cannot be reconfigured for other functions.
As usual, the bottom part concentrates the USB-C port and a speaker (and not two, as the openings there suggest). The component is ok: the maximum volume is not the highest and the sound is mono, but it distorts little when it is at the limit.
The screen of the 10 SE is a generous 6.52-inch LCD panel, 20: 9 format and 89% use of the front space. The edges of the component are very pronounced, especially at the bottom, even so, the screen can convince.
First, because viewing from different angles is satisfactory. Second, because the colors are vivid, but do not overdo the saturation. In part, this is due to a technology called NXTVision that adjusts contrast, saturation and sharpness automatically.
Interestingly, NXTVision also has a reading mode that leaves the screen in black and white and with a warm tone that reminds the component of a Kindle display. It is a feature that can really make reading texts a little more comfortable.
On the other hand, the level of brightness is not the most impressive. In the open on a clear day, you will be able to see the contents of the screen, but with some effort.
In addition, the panel is 1600 × 720 pixels. It is not a bad resolution. The point is that, although you can’t easily distinguish pixels here, a screen this size deserved to be full HD.
For some reason, I figured I would find a simple Android implementation here. I was wrong. The device’s interface, simply called TCL UI, has several features, mainly for customization.
It starts with the aforementioned NXTVision, which automatically adjusts parameters such as screen brightness and gives access to the reading mode.
The application organization also draws attention. By default, the interface adds each of them to a category, such as Communication, Media and Utilities. If you don’t like this style, that’s fine, just tap the button in the upper right corner and choose another arrangement method.
In Advanced Features, in the settings area, you can also choose the layout of the navigation buttons or even activate gesture navigation.
These are just examples. If I had to summarize the TCL 10 SE interface in one word, I would say “details”. You can not only organize numerous features easily, but also have access to various parameters there.
This can be done through the Smart Manager app, for example, which shows applications with automatic startup, allows you to enable or disable notifications for certain apps, shows the status of RAM memory and enables or disables energy saving mode.
The only caveat is for the operating system version: the TCL 10 SE leaves the factory with Android 10. The manufacturer had not given an update for Android 11 until the publication of this text.
In terms of photography, the TCL 10 SE did not make me very convinced. The model has three cameras horizontally aligned at the rear: the main one with 48 megapixel sensor, a 115 degree wide angle and 5 megapixel sensor, in addition to a 2 megapixel sensor for depth.
The main camera even passes the test, but the wide angle does not. The first is far from making impressive records, but it has a good level of detail and decent noise control. I missed a little more vividness in the colors, even so, this camera breaks a branch.
Regarding the wide angle, as it has a very limited sensor for current standards, the photos come out with a low level of sharpness, especially in the areas close to the edges of the image. To make matters worse, with it, shadow areas tend to come out darker than they really are.
Perhaps it was the case of making the 10 SE have only the main camera and the depth camera, which, in fact, fulfills its role well of helping the first to record photos with blurred background quickly, despite the fact that the focus is not precise at the edges.
In night scenes, don’t count on any of the cameras. With low lighting, both have problems with definition and excessive noise.
A curious detail: the rear has two LEDs for flash. When the flashlight mode is activated, both light up. It is a pity that this detail does little to help the quality of the photos.
The situation improves slightly with the front camera and its 8 megapixels. In the foreground of the photo, the definition and intensity of the colors please. The photos with portrait mode can be strange, however: in addition to lack of focus, you can notice in them a kind of contour about the person. Bizarre.
Hardware and battery
The MediaTek Helio P22 that equips the TCL 10 SE is a chip with eight Cortex-A53 cores, all of medium performance, so to speak. It comes with 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB for data storage, as you already know.
With this configuration, the smartphone took care of all the tested tasks, but without doing miracles. Just to give you an example, sometimes you may notice choking on apps with a lot of screen scrolling, like Chrome and Twitter.
Switching between open apps can also take a while from time to time, the same goes for the response time to certain commands.
Not that these limitations affect the use of the device. But you must keep in mind that the Helio P22 is a chip aimed at basic tasks. Games and heavy apps will run, but you may notice some bottleneck in their execution.
That’s what happens to Asphalt 9: Legends, which gives a few cheats even with graphics at the standard level. Already Breakneck it ran well, although it was possible to notice a slight drop in the frame rate in certain scenes.
The battery, with its 4,000 mAh battery, does not disappoint. I tested the component with a two-hour video on Netflix with maximum screen brightness, half an hour on YouTube, 15 minutes on Asphalt 9: Legends, 15 minutes Breakneck, an hour of Spotify via speakerphone, an hour and a half of Kindle and social media, plus a 10-minute call.
I started the tests in the morning, with 100% battery. At around 22:00, the TCL 10 SE still registered around 40% load. It is a very good autonomy.
The recharge time from 20% to 100% using the 10 W charger that came with the cell phone was two hours. It’s not a bad time, but the device supports 15 W chargers. Well, it could have come with one.
Is TCL 10 SE worth it?
TCL 10 SE can serve those looking for a basic intermediary well. It has no notable features, but the generous screen, despite being only HD +, scores points, as does the battery with good autonomy, 128 GB of storage and connectivity features, including NFC.
The cameras are not impressive and the Helio P22 chip may lose some breath under certain circumstances, yet these items manage to do their duty. However, the price must be consistent with the technical limitations of the model.
At the time of publication of this review, it was already possible to find the 10 SE with prices ranging between R $ 1,500 and R $ 1,700. If we take into account the current dollar scenario at the time, these values are not so unrealistic.
Only, in the same price range, you can find smartphones with better hardware, such as the Samsung Galaxy M31 and Motorola One Fusion.
Therefore, the TCL 10 SE will only be worthwhile under one condition: that you can find it at an even lower price than the current range, something that does not exceed R $ 1,200, preferably.
TCL 10 SE
- Two LEDs for flash at the rear
- Interesting screen for the category
- Reading mode is cool
- Decent battery life
- Performance is just ok
- Wide angle camera has low sharpness
- The assistant button cannot be reconfigured
- Screen: LCD, 6.52 inches, 20: 9 format, V notch, 1600 × 720 pixel resolution (HD +), 268 PPI
- Processor: 2 GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P22 with GPU PowerVR GE8320
- RAM: 4 GB
- Storage: 128 GB expandable with microSD up to 128 GB
- Main: 48 megapixels
- Wide angle: 5 megapixel, 115 degree angle
- Depth: 2 megapixels
- Frontal camera: 8 megapixels
- Drums: 4,000 mAh with 10 W charger
- Connectivity: 802.11n Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, 3G, 4G, USB-C port, dual SIM, GPS, Galileo, headphone connection, FM radio
- Sensors: accelerometer, compass, lighting, proximity, fingerprint reader
- Operational system: Android 10 with TCL UI interface
- Dimensions and weight: 164.9 x 74.7 x 8.39 mm, 166 g
- Others: dark blue (tested version) and silver colors, physical button for Google Assistant, double LED flash on the rear