TCL’s cheap 5G phone for 2021 quietly launched in Italy last month

TCL 20 5G
(Image credit: TCL)

While we’re primed to see some of the year’s big phones teased at CES 2021, one quietly launched ahead of the big tech show: the TCL 20 5G was announced in Italy at the end of November and released on December 7 at TIM and Vodafone retail stores, according to a TCL Facebook page. It’s not yet available anywhere else in the world.

The TCL 20 5G was seemingly introduced to Italian media via press release at November’s end; the phone will pack a Snapdragon 690 5G chipset, 6GB of RAM, a 6.67-inch Full HD display that uses the brand’s new NXTVision tech with HDR10, according to Android World. The phone will pack three rear cameras: a 48MP main shooter, ultra-wide with 118-degree field-of-view, and a macro lens. 

Those specs are a bit below the TCL 10 5G that this phone is seemingly replacing, which had a Snapdragon 765G chipset and a quad rear camera with 64MP main shooter and ultra-wide, macro, and depth sensor. Yet its predecessor cost £399 (around $540 / AU$730); the new TCL 20 5G is priced cheaper at just under €300 (around £270 / $367 / $479) while still retaining 5G connectivity.

TCL 20 5G: first of a 2021 lineup?

We haven’t heard anything else about the TCL 20 5G, but Italian media noted it will be officially announced at CES 2021, where we expect TCL will show off other phones. TCL would not comment on the phone or its global release, pointing us instead toward Italian coverage.

Given the company introduced its first-ever branded handsets at CES 2020 – a trio of phones, which were eventually joined by four more for a seven-device lineup by the end of the year – we assume the TCL 20 5G will be accompanied by others at the big tech show. Likewise, TCL did not comment on other phones that may launch at CES 2021.

What other phones will come? TCL’s first slate of handsets hit multiple price points for consumers in different regions: in the US, for instance, the TCL 10L was the more affordable option with an IPS LCD display, while the TCL 10 Pro arrived with much the same layout but with an OLED screen – yet kept its price in the mid-range tier despite boasting nearly flagship specs. And, of course, the TCL 10 5G which was one of the first 5G phones to be revealed in 2020 with a mid-range pricetag.

Ergo, we expect a similar array of phones in TCL’s 2021 lineup, though how many are introduced at CES 2021 is impossible to say – at least until the show starts on January 11.

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.