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(Pocket-lint) - For a long time, TCL was a brand that stayed behind the scenes in the smartphone market, producing phones for other brands. Most recently, that was Alcatel and BlackBerry, although, the latter is no longer part of TCL's portfolio

It wasn't until 2020 that the company properly launched smartphones with its own name on the back, in the TCL 10 series and, in 2021, the company is launching the sequel series. 

TCL's 20 series will eventually include more models, but the company is kicking off the family of phones with the affordable TCL 20 5G and the TCL 20 SE. 

TCLFirst two phones in the TCL 20 series unveiled: 20 5G and 20 SE photo 2

TCL 20 5G

  • 6.67-inch full HD+ display
  • Snapdragon 690 5G processor
  • 6GB RAM and 128GB/256GB storage
  • 4500mAh battery 
  • Triple camera

Of the two new phones, the TCL 20 5G - which has already soft-launched in Italy - is the more powerful, and is the only one to feature support for 5G, thanks to the Snapdragon 690 5G chipset inside. 

It has a pretty standard design - available in grey or blue - and has a single holepunch cutout for the front-facing selfie camera on the front. 

That display is a full HD+ (1080 x 2400) panel with HDR10 playback support, and it covers 91 per cent of the available front surface area, thanks to some relatively skinny bezels. 

The rectangular camera housing on the back features three cameras. The primary 48-megapixel camera is joined by an 8-megapixel ultrawide lens and a low resolution 2-megapixel macro camera for focussing up close. 

It runs Android 10 at launch, but will be upgradeable to Android 11 and features a 4,500mAh battery which should get anyone through a full day. With 18W PD charging, it'll top up relatively quick too. 

TCL 20 5G is rolling out to further markets in the near future with prices starting at €299, putting it right in the hotspot for competitively priced mid-range phones. (UK pricing hasn't been announced yet)

TCLFirst two phones in the TCL 20 series unveiled: 20 5G and 20 SE photo 3

TCL 20 SE

  • 6.82-inch 720p display
  • Quad camera system
  • Snapdragon 460 processor
  • 5000mAh battery

Most of the hardware elements in the 20 SE are a step down from the 20 5G which - given the pricepoint - is completely expected. 

The screen on the front is 720p (720 x 1640) resolution, and the processor inside is the Snapdragon 460, one of Qualcomm's more budget-friendly processors usually found in low tier phones. 

It's got a quad camera system made up of the usual primary and ultrawide cameras alongside two low resolution sensors: one macro and one depth. 

Its biggest appeal will likely be battery life. With a lower resolution screen and a 5,000mAh battery it should be one of the most long-lasting phones in the budget sector. 

Snapdragon Tech Summit, CES, and more - Pocket-lint Podcast 132

You get 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, plus the option to expand using a micro SD card up to 256GB extra. 

The SE is the most affordable TCL 20 series phone and will be available in January for €149 in Europe. We're still waiting to hear on UK pricing. 

Writing by Cam Bunton. Originally published on 11 January 2021.