Biggest iPhone 12 mini threat? A truly cheap phone with 5G

TCL 10 5G
(Image credit: TechRadar)

The TCL 10 5G is finally coming to US shores, bringing more affordable 5G phone at a $399 price tag that undercuts nearly all other phones with next-gen connectivity in the US market. 

The TCL 10 5G will be especially attractive to Verizon customers, who have often had to pay more for specialized versions of new phones that can connect to the carrier’s mmWave 5G network, but TCL’s phone is compatible at the $399 price point.

The TCL 10 5G looks much like the phonemaker’s budget TCL 10L released earlier in the year, though the new handset has markedly better specs. It packs a Snapdragon 765G chipset – the same as in the new Pixel 5 – along with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, which is a pretty standard array for 2020 mid-range phones.

Combined with a 6.5-inch Full HD Plus LCD display, a 4,500mAh battery, a triple rear camera (main, ultra-wide, and macro), and a 3.5mm headphone jack, the TCL 10 5G has respectable perks for a phone at its price point at the more affordable end of mid-range. 

TCL 10 5G

(Image credit: TechRadar)

TCL 10 5G: another contender in a crowded mid-range market

The TCL 10 5G is an iteration on the TCL 10L with its improved specs and, yes, 5G connectivity. But it’s entering a US market that has seen a bunch of powerful mid-range and budget phones this year.

The 4G-only selection of 2020 phones is strong, with the Google Pixel 4a priced at $349 and the iPhone SE 2020 at $399. 5G phones at this price point include the Moto G 5G at $445 and the Pixel 4a 5G at $499 – both of which pack the same Snapdragon 765G chipset as the TCL 10 5G.

Whatever you’re looking for, whether one of the best cheap phones or the best smartphones period, there’s a 2020 phone at the price tier you’re eyeing. This means the TCL 10 5G has a tougher shot at standing out, but it does have an advantage or two over other some of its competition – even if that’s just a headphone jack.

David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.