When you find each other face to face the TCL 30V 5G, chances are you’re at a Verizon store or on Verizon’s website contemplating the prospect of a “free” phone. Free is beautiful! But charge may even be too steep for the 30V 5G.
The full retail price of the 30V 5G, which few will pay upfront, is $299. That gets you a nice, big Full HD display, a whopping 128GB of storage, 4GB of RAM, and a 4,500mAh battery that easily lasts for over a day. Those specs are decent – even good for a budget phone, where lower-resolution 720p screens and a paltry 64GB of storage aren’t uncommon.
But I have one major gripe with the 30V 5G: lagging performance in almost every aspect of using this phone, from scrolling through menu screens to streaming videos. On paper the phone has the components to work well enough, but everyday use tells a different story. Life doesn’t have to be like this even if the phone is free.
One of TCL’s key selling points for the 30V 5G is its screen and the NXTVISION image processing behind it. According to TCL, this AI-driven feature improves color and contrast in the media you’re viewing on your phone and can convert standard-definition content to “HDR quality.” In reality, the difference in image quality can be difficult to see with NXTVISION on or off. stream Chernobyl In the HBO Max app, I was far too distracted by the frequent frame-rate drops to care if what I was seeing was SDR or HDR.
The screen itself is fine; It’s a 6.6-inch 1080p LCD that gets bright enough to use comfortably in sunny weather. It’s a large display with enough resolution to keep things looking sharp, which is great for a $300 phone. But even in this price range, other manufacturers add features like higher refresh rates or high-contrast OLEDs instead of LCD panels. These are not strictly a must, but they are more compelling than NXTVISION.
The Snapdragon 480 5G used by the 30V 5G is paired with 4GB of RAM. This certainly isn’t the worst processor/memory combination in the budget class, but for whatever reason, it makes for noticeably sluggish performance in this device. Apps close in the background often enough to annoy me, and there’s noticeable stuttering when scrolling through app screens, pulling down the notification shade, and even playing videos.
The battery life is a bright spot on the testimony of the TCL 30 V 5G. I managed to get through two days of light to moderate use on a single charge. With more consistent moderate or heavy use, that kind of longevity would be a challenge, but it would probably withstand a full day of even heavy use. It also comes with a wall charger, which is becoming increasingly rare these days. There’s no wireless charging, which isn’t too common in the budget category though not unheard of.
The fingerprint sensor on the back of the TCL 30 V 5G is fast and reliable, and face recognition works well too. I am less satisfied with the weak feel. I often hear the phone buzzing without really feeling it vibrating in my pocket. There is also no way to adjust the strength of the vibrations.
On the plus side, you get all variants of Verizon 5G, including C-band, which is significantly faster than 4G with a long-range signal. You also get millimeter waves (mmWave), which are very fast but rare. Verizon is lumping these two faster variants of 5G together and calling it Ultra Wideband, and you’re going to want that Check if your phone plan includes this – Some only offer access to the C-bandless Nationwide 5G, which is not really faster than 4G. If your plan doesn’t include Ultra Wideband and you’d rather not upgrade to one that does, then you might be fine with a 4G-only phone for now.
One of my least favorite things about this phone really isn’t TCL’s fault — it’s Verizon’s. Being a carrier-locked phone, Verizon took the opportunity to load it with all manner of proprietary cloud storage and call filter apps in addition to a range of pre-downloaded games such as: Game of Thrones slot machines casino (why?). Some of them like word journey and crossword can be uninstalled, which means setting up the phone is a bit more time-consuming, but the Verizon apps can’t be uninstalled, and that’s a real pain.
None of this is surprising or unusual on a carrier-specific device, but Verizon goes so far as to set its own Message Plus as the default SMS app. Google Messages doesn’t even come preinstalled on the phone, Apple Music does That’s because Verizon wants you to sign up for a six-month free trial through your phone plan, and then keep paying for the service if you forget about it afterwards. Apple Music! On this Android phone!
Another software note: the 30V 5G comes pre-installed with Android 11. No update to Android 12 is currently available, and TCL hasn’t confirmed if it will even get one. The company also hasn’t confirmed how long it will support this device with security updates, but two years has been the standard for the company in recent history.
I’ve also noticed a strange quirk with Google Maps: when navigating with the screen off and the phone locked, the GPS signal is cut off. Most sane people probably use Google Maps with the screen on and their phone in a mount, or with their car’s touchscreen. I like to play it fast and loose – key in my destination, start navigating, lock my phone and leave it in the seat next to me, with nothing but good vibes and my virtual co-pilot’s voice to guide me. This is the first phone I’ve come across that doesn’t work like this, and it’s a little odd. Strava does Maintaining a GPS signal when the phone is locked, so this appears to be a Google Maps issue.
The 30V 5G has three rear cameras: a 50-megapixel f/1.9 wide-angle camera, a 5-megapixel f/2.2 ultrawide camera and a 2-megapixel macro camera. There is a 16-megapixel selfie camera on the front. Photos in good light from all of these cameras look good, if a bit over-sharpened.
The main camera is a bit odd (that’s the technical term) when it comes to exposure selection. Often, I would only move the camera slightly between shots and end up with a noticeably darker or lighter image, even though the subject hadn’t changed much. I generally like the exposure and color choices the phone makes, but sometimes it takes a few shots to get the right answer.
The 30V 5G struggles in low light, but no more than any other budget phone. It’s not really suitable for photographing moving subjects in low light. Shutter speeds are often too slow, causing subjects to appear blurry and smoothed out by noise reduction, which doesn’t look good. In very poor conditions, a night mode is activated, which does a good job with subjects that are not moving.
Video resolution is capped at 1080/30p, so there’s no 4K, which is becoming increasingly common on phones of all price points. Video quality is decent, but the lack of any electronic image stabilization is very noticeable, and there’s a lot of annoying camera shake in my video clips.
The TCL 30 V 5G is not a Poorly Phone. It does pretty much everything I need it to do: make calls, run apps, take photos and wake me up in the morning. It just isn’t very good, and there are enough better options at this price point that it’s very hard to recommend it to anyone. TCL is known for its quality TVs at affordable prices. Perhaps the company is still figuring out what that phone price/performance equation looks like.
As it stands now, things don’t add up. The screen is good, but it’s hard to enjoy when hampered by choppy performance. It supports the major 5G bands, but your phone plan might not even include them. The UI is crammed with pre-downloads and Verizon services, and NXTVISION is underwhelming.
So the TCL 30 V 5G really only makes sense for someone who doesn’t want a Samsung phone but wants all the flavors of Verizon 5G, a healthy amount of onboard storage, and a large, high-resolution display. and they don’t want to pay for it out of their own pocket either.
Otherwise, at the time of writing this, Verizon also offers the Samsung Galaxy A42 5G free and I think this is a better choice. And at least for now, this offer is good for a new line any Unlimited plan, not “selected” (read: more expensive) unlimited plans required to get the TCL promotion. The A42 5G’s performance and camera quality are slightly better, and its Android 12 update is already available. Buy unlocked Galaxy A32 5G for $279 is another good option. The screen isn’t that pretty and you’ll have to expand the 64GB storage with a microSD card, but the camera system is better, C-band Ultra Wideband is supported and it’s currently being updated to Android 12.
And let’s be clear, there is no free phone. There’s great value in securing your business for the next 36 months—Verizon knows that. If that’s the currency you spend, I think you should use it on another device.
Photography by Allison Johnson / The Verand
https://www.theverge.com/23037446/tcl-30-v-5g-review-specs-screen-battery-camera-price TCL 30 V 5G review: Verizon 5G and not much else