TCL releases a sub-$300 5G smartphone in Australia

Could this be the most affordable 5G yet?

This year companies like Motorola and TCL have been drawing new lines in the sand with affordable 5G smartphone releases featuring technologies that not too long ago would have been reserved for only the most premium phones.  

TCL’s progress in particular has been quite rapid in this department, the company having in just the space of four months released a sub-$800 5G handset and cheaper sub-$500 5G phone. Now the smartphone manufacturer has gone one better breaking the AU$350 mark with a third 5G handset, this time for only AU$349 (AU$299 on a post-paid plan from Vodafone).

The company’s new 20 R 5G handset teeters on the bridge between mid-range functionality and entry-level simplicity. On the more mid-range end of the scales are features like its MediaTek Dimensity 700 processor, 4500mAh battery capacity and 90Hz screen refresh rate. While on the other end of the scales, rest a modest 13-megapixel rear-facing tri-camera array, 8-megapixel front-facing camera, and only 64GB of storage.

Credit: TCL

Sitting square in the middle is the phone’s 6.52-inch HD+ (720x1600-pixel) V-notch display, whose resolution could have been beefed up a little, but then again does pack a 180Hz touch sampling rate that may attract gamers wanting a low-priced 5G gaming handset with a quick response.

Credit: TCL

But what it might lack in higher-end hardware, the TCL 20 R 5G appears to make up for in software technologies. They include the company’s NXTVISION that boosts the quality and contrast in image and video content but can also be conveniently turned off to preserve battery power. And also, a number of brightness and dimming modes such as low blue light protection and Reading and Eye Comfort modes to reduce strain on users' eyes.

According to TCL the 20 R 5G also comes verified by Google as an Android Enterprise Recommended device, meaning it will receive regular and timely Android security patches and updates. It also supports contactless transactions via NFC and Google Pay - useful features since the number of vendors that support these technologies is ever increasing.

The TCL 20 R 5G will be available in Granite Grey and Lazurite Blue from Harvey Norman, Officeworks, Mobileciti. The device will also be available at Vodafone, locked to the carrier's network on a post-paid plan.