TCL Plex review: Features | Pricing | Specs

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The TCL Plex impresses with good industrial design and interesting camera inclusions, although its battery life could be better.

6.53 inches

Display size

1080 x 2340px

128GB

Internal storage

48MP + 16MP + 2MP

Rear camera

3,820 mAh

Battery size

Finder rated as Good vs similar phones

Details

Display

Camera

Physical dimensions

Connectivity

Power, storage and battery

Device features

Display size 6.53 inches
Resolution 1080 x 2340
Pixels per inch (PPI) 395
Rear camera megapixels 48MP + 16MP + 2MP
Rear camera aperture size f/1.8 + f/2.4 + f/1.8
Video recording 4K
Front camera megapixels 24MP
Front camera aperture size f/2.0
Dimensions 162.2mm x 76.56mm x 7.99mm
Weight 192g
NFC Yes
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Network category speed Category 6
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 675
RAM 6GB
Operating system Android 9
Internal storage

128GB

External storage support Up to 256GB
Battery capacity 3,820mAh
Headphone jack Yes
Fingerprint sensor Yes
Water resistance N/A
Wireless charging No
Launch price (RRP)$499
Launch date2019-12
TCL Plex

The good

  • Triple lens with video rather than depth-sensing
  • NXTVision gives screen calibration options
  • Good looking design
  • Unobtrusive Android UI
  • Configurable smart key

The bad

  • Battery life is mid-range
  • Only Android 9
  • Plastic back scratches easily

TCL as a brand is far better known in Australia for its range of highly affordable TVs, but it's not actually a newcomer to the mobile phone space. Under its Alcatel brand, it's been selling affordable budget handsets to Australians for many years now, and it's also the company behind the most recent BlackBerry and Palm devices sold locally too.

The TCL Plex is something a little different again. It's TCL's play for a "flagship" in the mid-range space, and that's a field that's hotly contested by phones from manufacturers such as Samsung, Google, Huawei, realme and Oppo.

First attempts are often somewhat awkward affairs, but TCL has actually managed to produce a phone that can mostly hold its head up high against its competition, offering some interesting features for a lower-end mid-range price.

Design

  • 6.53-inch display with punch hole camera
  • NXTVision app gives limited calibration choices
  • Configurable smart key
  • Plastic back looks good but can get scratched easily
TCL Plex

Camera

  • Triple cameras, but not the way you'd think
  • Super slow-motion is an interesting lens inclusion
TCL Plex

Performance

  • Snapdragon 675 with 6GB of RAM performs a tad under expectations
  • Minimal, slightly garish overlay
  • Only Android 9
TCL Plex

Battery life

  • 3,820mAh battery performs slightly under expectations
  • Fast wired charging
TCL Plex


Should you buy the TCL Plex?

  • An interesting mid-range contender
TCL Plex

Given TCL's background in super-cheap phones, my expectations around the TCL Plex weren't spectacularly high. While there are some aspects of the TCL Plex experience that could be a little sharper, especially around battery life, it's a generally good mid-range phone for the money, albeit one with plenty of competition at that price point. If the prospect of super-slow motion and fair low-light performance appeal, it's well worth considering.


Pricing and availability

The TCL Plex is available in Australia on an outright basis only for $499 through JB Hi-Fi.


Alternatives

At that $499 price point, you've got a lot of flexibility when it comes to phone choices. If camera quality is a key concern – and if you can stretch your budget out just a little, or score a bargain – consider the exceptional Google Pixel 3A, which also benefits from guaranteed Android updates.

At the same price point, if you want a phone with a really good camera, there's the realme XT, or the realme 5 Pro if you wanted to save a little money.

You could also opt for Motorola's Moto One Vision at this price point, or indeed its Moto G8 Plus.


Specifications

Display

Camera

Physical dimensions

Connectivity

Power, storage and battery

Device features

Display size 6.53 inches
Resolution 1080 x 2340
Pixels per inch (PPI) 395
Rear camera megapixels 48MP + 16MP + 2MP
Rear camera aperture size f/1.8 + f/2.4 + f/1.8
Video recording 4K
Front camera megapixels 24MP
Front camera aperture size f/2.0
Dimensions 162.2mm x 76.56mm x 7.99mm
Weight 192g
NFC Yes
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Network category speed Category 6
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 675
RAM 6GB
Operating system Android 9
Internal storage

128GB

External storage support Up to 256GB
Battery capacity 3,820mAh
Headphone jack Yes
Fingerprint sensor Yes
Water resistance N/A
Wireless charging No

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