The last time I looked at a TCL device, I decried its silicon and called for a phone that contained the Dimensity 700 chip used inside the Vivo Y52 5G.
TCL has delivered on that front with its 20R 5G, while also adding 5G connectivity. On the other hand, it has a slightly smaller 4,500mAh battery compared to the 20L+, has dropped the camera array down to a 13MP main with a 2MP macro and 2MP depth camera on the back and a 8MP camera on the front, and memory has been lowered to 4GB and storage is 64GB or 128GB expandable to 1TB thanks to its microSD card slot. The 6.5-inch display has much lower resolution of 720×1600.
At the time of writing, the cost of the two TCL phones is around the AU$350 mark. This means while on paper the lesser camera array looks to be quite a hit, it’s a result of trading off sub-6GHz 5G connectivity for something else, and the bigger cameras in the 20L+ were okay, but not great.
While the 20L+ was pitching itself as a consumer device, the 20R 5G is rather plain by comparison. The sparkly backing is replaced by something that is more serviceable than envy-inducing — this motif runs through the device.
For the 20L+, TCL wants you to like it, make an emotional connection to it, while for the 20R, it’s about price point and doing the job.
This is what makes it an ideal fleet phone for businesses. At AU$350, you are not going to get too emotional if you smash one up, and you can do it multiple times before you hit the price points of more premium devices.
When viewed in this light, the bad camera isn’t necessarily a hindrance. Instead of taking lovely family and holiday shots, it’s the sort of array you’d used to take a shot of work completed, or a job started.
The lower specs become less of an issue when they aren’t aimed at people playing games on commutes, and just need to make sure running productivity apps can occur without a hitch.
As part of the Android Enterprise Recommended program, the phone will also get security updates until August 2023. It’s not Apple-like levels of commitment to updates, but it is better than nothing, which is what happens sometimes in the Android world.
With a small reduction in cost, perhaps a bulk discount if purchasing a fleet of phones, the 20R 5G looks a little more attractive, and you definitely will not need to worry about workers wanting to snaffle them. Sometimes minimalism can be a virtue.