The TCL 40 X series was introduced at MWC 2023 with an accent on cost-saving while providing important features like a big battery and 5G (limited to some devices). We are in Barcelona and got a hold of three of the new phones - TCL 40 X, TCL 40 XE, and TCL 40 XL, which are all meant for the US market.
The first two have 5G connectivity, but in order to keep the price low, TCL kept the RAM and storage down to 4/64 GB. The third lacks 5G but compensates with a bigger screen and more storage. Here’s what impressed us in each device.
This is the most intriguing of the three, with a Dimensity 700 and 50 MP main shooter. The camera is well-equipped - it produces impressive photos for a $200 device.
The back panel imitates metal with its design but is actually plastic that also wraps around the sides. The 40 X is easy to handle, and the fingerprint scanner on the side surely helps for a better ergonomic input of biometric data.
The front panel is HD+ with a 90 Hz refresh rate. In our short time handling the device, we found the screen to perform well under direct sunlight, but we have an issue with the huge bezels from all sides that look even thicker in real life.
TCL brings the 40 X with Android 13, and we are quite impressed, even with the fact the maker tried to place some of its UI on top. Many smartphones in this price range are still launching with the older Android, so this device is already one step above the competition.
The plastic design and the thick bezels are expected when a phone has such an affordable price tag. It is indeed easy to handle and operate and brings a 5,000 mAh battery with 18W charging - all features that make the TCL 40 X worthy of love.
The 40 XE is quite similar to the 40 X - to the point of confusing which device we were handling during the hands-on. TCL made only gray units (actually called Cosmic Black), so we were able to tell apart the XE by the “13 MP” writing on the camera island. In fact, this is the only difference between both phones.
The TCL 40 XE is also plastic with a plastic frame and a fancy design on the back made to imitate metal. The power key, doubling as a fingerprint scanner, is in the middle of the right-hand side, and while we found it ergonomic and easy to use, it is fairly subjective and entirely depends on the hands of people handling the phone.
We love the fact these phones have 3.5 mm audio jacks which are important for users who prefer long calls and music without thinking about Bluetooth audio latency and battery drain.
Here we also have basic TCL UI, which implements some carrier-related bloatware but nothing intrusive that hinders the performance.
The TCL 40 XE costs about $170, and we are impressed with what we have in front of us. It is officially the cheapest TCL phone with 5G, but don’t let its price undermine the device - it is pretty capable of offering everything you need from an entry-level smartphone.
The TCL 40 XL skips on the 5G and brings a bigger screen, hence the “L” in the name. The 6.75” screen remains HD+, but its slightly increased diagonal makes the thick bezels more bearable. The phone is the same color as its two other siblings, while TCL skipped on the scratched surface, and now it is called Dark Gray.
The phone is advertised with dual speakers, and the stereo effect is achieved with the earpiece acting as a second speaker. This, combined with the bigger screen, might make the 40 XL a better choice for people who prefer multimedia experience on the cheap.
The 40 XL might be bigger, but someone forgot to tell TCL to put a bigger battery in there - it is the same 5,000 mAh cell with 18W charging; at least it has USB-C next to the 3.5 mm audio jack.
The increase to 128 GB storage is great, and users wanting even more room for their photos and data can use up to 512 GB through the micro SD card slot placed on the upper left side - a lovely addition to this $150 smartphone.
TCL 40 XL might be the cheapest of the three but it is still a phone that offers a lot for what it costs, and we believe it is definitely worth its affordable price.
i bet that this one wont get any updates like mine 20 pro 5g for last 1.5yean no single update
In the Netherlands TCL announced today the 403, 405 and 408 and two tablets, for the second period in 2023. (https://www.droidapp.nl/nieuws/tcl-presenteert-tcl-40-tablets/)