With 5G said to become more mainstream this year, smartphone manufacturers have already begun showing off their upcoming 5G supported smartphones. And while top-tier brands like Samsung charge upwards of $900 for a 5G smartphone, there aren't many affordable options available yet. But all that could change this year as tier II brands such as Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and TCL join the 5G bandwagon.
Speaking of which, not many would know that TCL also makes smartphones. The Chinese multinational electronics company is best known for its televisions and other consumer electronics.
However, the company could perhaps be the first of the not-so-big names in the smartphone industry to join the 5G race very soon. It showed off its upcoming smartphones at the on-going CES 2020, and one of them could just be the most affordable 5G handsets that you'll be able to buy this year.
TCL will launch a 5G smartphone under $500
TCL Corporation which owns the license for Alcatel and BlackBerry brands announced its brand new TCL 10 series smartphones at CES 2020, which includes a 5G-ready handset that'll cost just under $500 (roughly S$675). Dubbed TCL 10 5G the smartphone is set to debut later in the year.
TCL showcased a total of three new handsets as part of the 10 series, with the other two being the TCL 10 Pro and TCL 10L. The full specs of the phones are still under wraps and we'll hear more about them when they will be officially launched during Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February.
Although the TCL 10 Pro seems to be the more advanced of the three, featuring a slightly curved AMOLED display and a quad-camera setup, only the TCL 10 5G will offer support for the next generation of wireless cellular connectivity.
TCL says that it aims to bring the handset to the US and Canada sometime between April and June this year. However, the company hasn't revealed the launch timeline for other markets yet, or if the company even has any plans to offer the series in other markets.
TCL's 5G smartphone will be powered by Snapdragon 765 5G chipset
The complete specifications of the phone are still not known, but from the few details we've been told, the TCL 10 5G looks like it will be powered by a Qualcomm 7-series chipset, most probably the Snapdragon 765 5G that was announced at the end of last year. Since the chipset is only a mid-range chipset, the handset won't be as powerful as other top-end handsets that will use the flagship 5G SoC, the Snapdragon 865.
However, we shouldn't be complaining as the phone will cost significantly less than the other 5G flagships that are expected to launch this year. The screen size remains a mystery but it looks like it will be a 6.3-inch to 6.5-inch panel. The cameras too are still unspecified. But we'll get to know them at MWC next month.
TCL's foldable concept smartphone at CES 2020
Meanwhile, TCL is also showing off a new and improved version of its concept folding phone which it had displayed at last year's CES. The new foldable from TCL doesn't look that much different than last year's, but TCL claims the hinge mechanism has been improved and since it's a concept, it will be improved further before the company decides to out its first-ever foldable smartphone.