Has TCL finally made an impressive smartphone?

(Image credit: TCL)

You might know TCL for its TVs, speakers, or audio products, but it makes smartphones too. In Europe, handsets bearing the Alcatel and BlackBerry brands are actually made by TCL, but in Asia it puts its own brand name on a range of smartphones.

For the first time, TCL has announced (at IFA 2019 in Berlin, Germany) that it's bringing its phone range to Europe, with the TCL Plex leading the charge. And it actually looks pretty good.

The TCL Plex has a triple-lens rear camera array consisting of a 48MP main snapper, joined by a 16MP and 2MP sensor (presumably ultra-wide angle and depth sensing respsectively), and a 24MP camera on the front.

There's a Snapdragon 675 chipset powering the phone, which is a pretty decent mid-range processor, and an above-average 3,820mAh battery. You're also getting 6GB RAM and 128GB storage, which is good for an affordable device.

The TCL Plex design is good-looking, with a glossy white or black finish and an S-shaped pattern going up the rear. It almost feels like TCL is taking a leaf out of Huawei's playbook with the patterned back.

On the front of the handset, the display is 6.53 inches, which is fairly large, and it's only broken by a small 'punch-hole' camera in the top left corner.

All in all, the TCL Plex looks like an impressive smartphone, especially given it's set to launch at €329 (roughly $360, £295, AU$530) when it launches in Europe in late 2019. We don't know anything about release dates elsewhere, or what it'll cost when it does launch in other regions, but we'll keep you updated.

With Alcatel devices usually feeling a little uninspired, it's no wonder TCL has used its own name for the Plex, and we're intrigued to see what new handsets come next.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.