TCL 50 SE and 50 5G hands-on review

by TexasDigitalMagazine.com

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TCL decided to bring its new entry-level TCL 50 SE and 50 5G to MWC 2024 and offer a bit more detail on the two devices. Both of these phones have an MSRP of € 149, so adjust your expectations accordingly.

TCL 50 SE and 50 5G hands-on review

We spent some time with both models, but since their design and build are so similar, most of our early hands-on impressions will apply to both. You can distinguish between the two devices by color. The TCL 50 SE unit we were allotted is in gray, while its TCL 50 5G sibling is blue.

TCL 50 SE and 50 5G hands-on review

Let’s start with the TCL 50 SE. It is technically the “higher-end” of the two phones, depending on how you slice it since its MediaTek Helio G88 chipset lacks 5G connectivity, which means there is more left over in the manufacturing budget for other hardware aspects. For instance, the 6.78-inch IPS LCD panel has an FHD+ resolution and refreshes at 90Hz. It looks decent enough in person, especially compared to its sibling, but more on that in a bit.

TCL 50 SE and 50 5G hands-on review

We appreciate the addition of expandable storage, though the 256GB in the base version is already generous, given the price. The same goes for the 6GB of RAM.

The TCL 50 SE is unsurprisingly made entirely from plastic, but as we’ve said in the past, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We found both it and the TCL 50 5G to be pretty well put together and rigid. The only immediately obvious downside is the fingerprint and dirt accumulation. That might be more due to the glossy surface finish, though.

TCL 50 SE and 50 5G hands-on review

Just to quick-fire a few more specs here, the TCL 50 SE has a 50MP f/1.8, 1/2.76″ main and an 8MP selfie. It sports a 5,010 mAh battery with 33W fast charging. The OS is based on Android 14, with an eventual upgrade planned to Android 15. Unfortunately, the TCL 50 SE seems to only come with the promise of a single OS update.

Moving on to the TCL 50 5G. Its main appeal is right in the name – 5G on a budget. That comes courtesy of a MediaTek MT6835 SoC with the same memory configurations as the 50 SE. In order to keep overall costs down and hit the same MSRP, the display has been downgraded to a 6.6-inch HD+ panel. Still with a 90Hz refresh rate, though.

TCL 50 SE and 50 5G hands-on review

We found this particular display quite underwhelming in person. It looks very blue and cold. Not to mention pretty dim.

TCL 50 SE and 50 5G hands-on review

On a more positive note, we really like how vivid and playful the blue color is. It pops. Again, it is unfortunate that it is also a fingerprint magnet.

TCL 50 SE and 50 5G hands-on review

The TCL 50 5G has the same 50MP main camera as the 50 SE, and the selfie cam is identical as well. The same goes for the 5,010 mAh battery capacity. You only get 18W hast charging with the 5G model, though.


TCL 50 5G - TCL 50 SE and 50 5G hands-on review
TCL 50 5G - TCL 50 SE and 50 5G hands-on review


TCL 50 5G - TCL 50 SE and 50 5G hands-on review
TCL 50 5G - TCL 50 SE and 50 5G hands-on review

TCL 50 5G

On a more positive note, unlike its 4G sibling, the 50 5G promises two OS upgrades, which means it will eventually end up on Android 16 from its current Android 14 OS.

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