I currently have a Samsung Note 9, which was released in 2018 (it is relevant to this review, I promise), but I’m not happy with the direction Samsung is going with their newer higher end phones (taking away expandable storage, taking away some sensors, etc) so I was looking to get a feel for a new phone company.
We currently have two TCL TV’s that we love so I decided to give TCL a try. I am testing a new unlocked TCL 30XL (2022) outside on a sunny day right next to my Note 9. Right off the bat, it’s very hard to see the screen on the 30XL when I’m standing in the sun and have the screen at 100% brightness. If this was the only issue, I could possibly deal with it by adjusting how I use the phone, but it’s not the only issue.
The biggest problem I have with this phone is my connection speed. I have made sure to adjust every setting the same that I can on the 30XL and Note 9. I even migrated all of my settings from that phone. I’m on Verizon network with what is a very good connection on the Note 9. I’ve tested my speed a dozen times in 6 different positions while connected to only mobile data and I’m averaging about 48 Mbps on the Note 9 and 0.02 Mbps on the 30XL! It’s almost a non-existent connection. I’m swapping the sim card each time and checking the speed with the other phone as soon as I get the sim swapped while holding them in the exact same position. Both phones are 4G and say that in the bar. It has nothing to do with the sim and nothing to do with Verizon. All controllable parameters being equal, it’s hard to believe that a phone 4 model years newer would run a data connection so much slower. It makes me believe there might be something wrong with this particular 30XL.
The fingerprint reader is hit and miss on this phone. The speed of the phone switching from app to app is noticeably slower than the Note 9. Even typing on the phone feels a bit glitchy, like when I want to delete a couple sentences and hold down backspace/delete on my keyboard, it doesn’t delete the letters and words smoothly, it doesn’t feel like it can keep up and then all of a sudden it’s deleted a bunch of words into the next sentence. I use the same keyboard on my Samsung, and this does not happen. I know this isn’t a perfect comparison, it’s what I have to work with. The perceived feel of a phone while it’s processing is an important part of the overall experience.
Maybe if I was able to splurge on one of TCL’s higher end phones this wouldn’t be an issue? I just didn’t feel like I could get their higher end phone at the moment, and wanted to test out the company before potentially switching to them full time. I don’t know if this phone is a lemon in more ways than just the mobile data speed?
The phone does feel good in the hand, the screen size is good, and battery seems to last better than the Note 9 (which does still have it’s original battery). If it wasn’t for the phone feeling like it lags while processing, I’d consider getting the same replacement phone to see if the unusable mobile speeds are just a bad unit. As it is, I don’t think I can try another 30XL, even for the great price.
My significant other is wanting to switch from Samsung also. I was hoping I could recommend TCL, but right now I couldn’t. I will have to return this phone. I’m not sure what direction to go from here, but we use our phones for so much online stuff nowadays that there’s no way to keep a phone that doesn’t do online stuff well, not to mention one that doesn’t switch from app to app without a lag since everything is done using apps now.
This article originally appeared on https://www.amazon.com/TCL-Unlocked-Display-Smartphone-Quad-Camera/product-reviews/B0B11L6YNN