There is space for new brands in the mobile market? The answer is certainly not obvious, the dynamics of this market are particularly complex because they are linked to the strength of brands and the affection that users have towards them, even in Italy, the price factor is always a decisive factor. I have asked this question since the first day that I took with me the Plex, convinced that only time will be able to give a complete picture of the situation.

The Plex is the first smartphone ever weblog TCL; the chinese house controls, in fact the Alcatel brand, which, however, remains independent, and considers this step in the mobile as a move is inevitable, to enrich the ecosystem and the beautiful proposition of the TV as the C760 4K tried a few months ago. Beyond the merits, and the capacity there is however a thing not indifferent to consider: the Plex is the only insole in the line-up, if the brand is really going to succeed will inevitably have to expand soon and offer.

I enjoy the layout of the rear system on the horizontal axis, I’m not a fan of the so-called “traffic lights” that then end up off balance on the one hand, the smartphone, especially when you hold it, resting on a floor. The optics are nearly flush, the gap is virtually non-existent, and to the side are two LED Flash.

The back cover has been used a glass called Obsidian, finish glossy, a mirror effect that is reflected very different depending on your color you have, I prefer the dark one. Inside the package there is also a cover of the economic in hard plastic, in two weeks it is scratched in an important way, and now it seems old to a year.

TCL has focused so much on the display, a LCD 6,53″ in FHD+ with the hole moved to the left side, at the boundary with the edge. The panel is one of the elements most emphasized in effects according to our analysis performed with Calman 2019 has emphasized an excellent contrast for an IPS of nearly 1,300:1, Delta of gray-3.7, maximum brightness of 435 nits across the screen (highest peak) and cover RGB 99.6 percent. Values certainly not common for this price range to witness that, sometimes, a good LCD makes the difference compared to a lack of OLED.

The only limit remains the most obvious, and then theinability to be able to have the Always On Display, always handy to avoid so many awakenings and do a check of notifications and time.

Snapdragon 675 manages to accomplish all of the task to which I have subjected in these weeks of use, it is really difficult to notice significant differences compared to chip even more sought after as those of the series Snapdragon 7xx. Has the tuning software and TCL seems to have made it a duty, although it is their first smartphone and the interface is unprecedented.

Everything is still based on Android 9 Pie, and then the previous distribution on a UI custom that traces the broad lines of the dictates of the stock, although changes to the design of the icons and settings. Interface that you navigate easily and smoothly, with a few rare lag, with one swipe on the home from left to right, you enter then on the inside of a smart manager that provides information about the status of the device, memory, battery life and much more.

  • Display: 6.53-inch FHD+ Dotch display, 19.5:9 display FHD+ (1080 x 2340 pixels)
  • Battery: 3.820 mAh battery with support the quick charge QC 3.0
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 Octa-Core 2.0 GHz
  • Memory: 6 GB RAM
  • Storage: 128 GB UFS 2.1 (517 MB/s read and 193 MB/s write)
  • Rear cameras: 48MP IMX582, F1.8, 79 + 16MP S5K3P9, F2.4, 123 + 2MP OV02K, F1.8, 77
  • Cam front: 24 MP with f/2.0 aperture and the pixel from 0.9 ám / video 1080p @30fps
  • Video: 4K [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], super slow-motion [email protected]
  • Audio: mono with 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Features: Face unlock, reader fingerprint rear
  • Operating system: Android OS 9 Pie TCL UI
  • Dimensions and weight: 162.2 X 76.56 X ~7.99 mm, 192 grams Bluetooth 5.0 LE, NFC, dual nano SIM, USB Type-C 2.0
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz + 5 GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2×2 MIMO

The autonomy is one of the things that I was most pleased with: ’drive from 3.829 mAh manages to take me to the end of the day with a wide margin, sometimes equal to 30-35% charge. Therefore, a good management of the resources, content consumption and battery life I was pleasantly surprised. There is also the Quick Charge 3.0 that allows you to rapidly charge through the USB type-C 2.0.

On the Plex, we find an old acquaintance, that is, the image sensor Sony IMX582 that is relative close one of the most well-known IMX586 mounted virtually any where; in fact they are two twins separated at birth, the only difference is that the former does not allows you to record videos that go over the 4K at 30fps. Nothing dramatic and then, the rest of the specifications are unchanged, and then take a 48MP and expand then the boundaries with a second camera from the wide-angle lens.

To take a 48MP however, you must enable the dedicated mode “Pixels High” which is located in the other category within the camera App, well hidden and difficult to activate in a few moments. The truth is that in most cases you end up to take advantage of the “Auto” mode to 12MP that it allows you to exchange the camera and go on the wide-angle in a click. App in review, it appears a bit messy and little intuitive, to find the same settings go to “More” and then click on the dedicated icon. Too cumbersome.

The main one is that good of a day, a further demonstration of where they got the mid-range and often don’t have to spend more to point to an expensive, “Top”, but it is also true that the nodes are to comb in low-light conditions. The Plex has a night mode dedicated, particularly emphasized by TCL and capable of giving the shots a pleasant, if well used.

Do not miss the mode “Super Night” that is able to ensure more shots bright, pleasant, for it is impossible to demand miracles and the differences with a top you can see how as soon as you go to investigate the detail. Below are a couple of examples, in the first I show you what the difference is between auto and night.

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Needless to say the differences with a top of the range you can see all in low-light, it would be strange the opposite, and we see it in the amount of background noise present in the shots of the evening of the Plex comparison with the iPhone 11 Pro Max (which costs about 5 times as much). Clash learn, I know, but need to figure out what are the real differences that sometimes escape even us.

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The wide-angle image sensor, 16MP is well balanced in colour reproduction, in line with the main and capable of capturing a decent level of detail. Excellent management of the HDR photos and never burnt, even in conditions of strong brightness, this wide-angle I liked very much, judge for yourself from the pictures:

Finally, there is the front camera 24MP that plays discreetly in their work comes, however, in a crisis when it comes to handling strong lights hitting one of two fundamental elements: the subject or the background. The same happens in the video, take a look at min 5:26 of the review.

The videos are generally good day, well stabilized electronically and no frame loss even in 4K at 30fps, while at night they show certain limitations as compensation of camera shake, and in the management of the strong light and autofocus. Let’s say that TCL is a bit too enthusiastic in this respect, the results are however in line with those obtained with any other mid-range, see min 5:47

Good quality the output audio from the single speaker, located at the bottom of the right door Type-C, a few bass and decibels checked: never goes into distortion and it is focusing on medium and high. The Capsule headset works well, wedged between the panel and frame, the sound is limpid and clear. At the top, a pleasant surprise as always, the 3.5 mm audio jack.

The carriage is on the left and can accommodate simultaneously two nanoSIM, I’ve used it in this configuration both in Italy and abroad, in roaming, never encounter any problem, nor in consumption. I used the location services like Maps and Waze, all smooth with Android Auto.

I didn’t know what I would have expected with this Plex being the first, and the truth is that it is almost difficult to find now of the terminals that are not able to pass the sufficiency and aspire to even a few more. Thing that happens on this smartphone due to all of the points that I said in the course of the review, from the excellent battery life photos and video satisfactory, a software that is already optimized and a full equipment, which does not put the particular trade-offs and provides a lot of memory.

Not to be underestimated, then the display, one of the strongest pieces on which TCL could not be wrong in view of the nature of their business. The hole remains one of the best solutions, in my opinion, less bulky, but the chinese is capable of much more, not surprisingly they have provided the Oppo of the first panel with the camera hidden under the pixels.

The game is played then on the price point, also because the range of membership is already manned profusely from brands like Xiaomi, Huawei, and Samsung. To get off TCL will work, and press on communication, to expand the family and show follow the life of a smartphone as it is already well with the TV. We’ll see when it comes to example, Android 10 with the latest Android news, I expect news on the mobile front also at CES 2020 for the next month or, at the latest, at the MWC 2020 the end of February.



VOTE 7,5

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299€ See offer
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TCL Plex is available online from Amazon at 295 euros. The price quality ratio is decent. There are 33 templates best. To see the other 6 available click here.

(update of December 20, 2019, at 20:30)