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Here is the review of the TCL 30 SE, comes in a 4GB RAM and 64GB or 128GB storage space for this review its the 4GB/128GB version (The phone has a size of 165.2×75.5×8.9mm with a weight of 190 grams), ie quite thin and light given its large screen, while with one hand we can handle it relatively comfortably, available from Amazon, Argos, AO.com and JDW from £139.99.

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On the back you will find the fingerprint reader centred on the top, a small TCL logo on the bottom left and the triple camera on the top left in a small, slightly protruding rectangle.

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The smooth back is made of plastic, like the frame of the phone, while the two colours (grey and blue) in which the phone is available “play” a little with the light without looking bad or too much. Its design is very simple, austere and functional, as we would expect from a budget smartphone. Unfortunately for those who do not use a case, the glossy back easily collects fingers but we are used to this phenomenon now.

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The left side of the phone has a slot for SIM and microSD cards, with the right side accommodating the power key and volume control key. Above you will find a 3.5mm headphone port and a microphone jack, while below the USB-C port between two speakers – which are practically not two, but one, and the second speaker position is there.

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We pass the front, the screen size 6.52 “, IPS technology with a resolution of 720×1600, density 269ppi and maximum brightness at 400nits. TCL states that it incorporates NXTVision technology, which practically increases the contrast and intensity of the colours by choosing the appropriate adjustment from the many it offers, the refresh rate does not exceed 60Hz.

However, using the mobile phone, we did not feel that it was a premium experience. The brightness is good outdoors, but the colours are a bit more faded than I would have liked. The resolution is satisfactory, if not a little lower than we would like for such a large screen. Bearing in mind that this is a budget smartphone, these are not necessarily bad considering the price, but in the same price range, we have seen better screens.
The margins around the screen are also less discreet, especially at the bottom, and also adopt a “teardrop” notch instead of a punch-hole camera that contributes to the size of the margins.

Performance – Battery

Let’s go to the technical features of the mobile, which is offered with 4GB RAM and 64GB or 128GB storage space, while also accepting microSD cards up to 512GB for expansion. Comes with the octa-core SoC Helio G25 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz) which carries the GE8320 GPU PowerVR. It is also equipped with Wi-Fi (2.4GHz), Bluetooth 5.0 and NFC – the latter not so common in mobile phones of this category.

Respectively in games, I tried Call of Duty Mobile, PUBG, Pokemon Go and Asphalt 9. In any case, the graphics were at Low and the performance was stable mainly but with instant crashes, while also the loading was slow. It is not for games, but at a very basic level, something succeeds.

Then comes the battery and charging. The box includes a 10W charger although the phone supports up to 15W, with the battery reaching 5000mAh. On the plus side, the autonomy is very good and comfortably lasted more than a day with plenty of use, but charging was desperately slow. It takes three hours to fully charge the battery, while in about half an hour it charges from 0% -to 20%.

The device comes with Android 12 in combination with TCL UI 4.0, which does not “burden” the operating system with unnecessary things, but on the contrary, offers nice functions. Of course, a key is Dark Mode, while something that many may appreciate is a shortcut at the top right of the screen where, by dragging it inwards, the user finds various applications he has selected.

Camera

The phone comes with a triple camera, a basic wide 50MP (f / 1.85), a macro 2MP (f / 2.4) and a 2MP depth sensor (f / 2.4). In addition, the front camera has a resolution of 8MP (f / 2.0). We notice that there is no ultra-wide sensor, which although it has somewhat limited use for our preferences, I often use for landscape photography or something similar.

The main camera captures mediocre to good photos in sunny environments, without much attention to detail while the colours are a bit hazy at times – although some prefer them more intense than other cameras. Indoors with moderate lighting, the noise is very easily seen in the photos, which come out quite dark. In night conditions, the noise is multiplied while the light sources come out very brightly, without retaining any detail around them – but automatically, the sensor adjusts and significantly improves the image.

Samples

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Video

The macro sensor works just as moderately well, depending on the conditions and always in proportion to the “good”. It has a very limited application, it wants very ideal conditions to capture something clearly, while it is not so fast in focus. However, if all the conditions are met, then the result is good for a budget mobile.

The videos are recorded by the main camera in Full HD resolution but without any kind of stabilization. So, if the hand is very steady, the result is again something that does not stand out for any reason, just satisfactory in case you need a video suddenly, on the road, in a meeting or something similar. As you will see from the following sample, the noise is not missing, with the zoom being what is expected for the category and the sound not impressing.

Finally, the front camera has something interesting. The beautification is divided into two functions, giving the user the choice to influence the appearance of the skin or the lighting of the photo and in fact, the degree to which the changes will be applied, through an adjustment bar. In performance, as expected, it wants good lighting to give a good image, while it does not have a portrait mode with blurred background. Otherwise, for a video call or something simple, it is satisfactory without distinguishing negative or positive about something.

Conclusion

For

  • The main camera, macro and night mode are satisfactory
  • The software helps in practice with useful functions
  • Autonomy is very good, reliably lasts at least one day or more

Against

  • Charging is unreasonably slow (minimum should be 25w)
  • It does not have an ultra-wide camera sensor

TNC Score

3.9/5.0

The TCL 30 SE doesn’t do that much wrong, but it is difficult to suggest something beyond the basics that we are sure potential buyers already know. The screen does not stand out at any level, there is no ultra-wide sensor, and charging is very slow. On the other hand, the software tries to help and succeeds, the main camera and the macro are good, the autonomy is quite good and for simple daily use, it is reliable if the user can come to terms with the small delays.

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