Technically, there are three phones in the TCL 2021 line of smartphones: the TCL 20 Pro 5G ($ 500), the TCL 20S ($ 250), and the TCL 20 SE ($ 190). We omit the last two here because any of the other phones under $ 300 or $ 200 above are better options. But there are good reasons to opt for the TCL 20 Pro 5G.
It has the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G chip as the Galaxy A52 5G, but its performance is a bit smoother. It’s powerful, and it’s easy more beautiful and also the most luxurious device. It has an aluminum and glass frame on both sides, though that makes it more fragile. It is also the only Android phone here with wireless charging support.
The 6.67-inch AMOLED display is colorful and bright enough to be seen outdoors. The 4,500 mAh battery cell comfortably lasts more than a full day of use and has the usual features such as NFC, a headphone jack and a MicroSD card slot. The only reason it’s not our best choice is that TCL only promises two operating system updates and two years of security updates, so previous Google and Samsung phones will be compatible for longer. It also supports 5G, but not AT&T (4G LTE still works) and no IP rating for water resistance. It has a pretty good camera system, but it’s not how good as the competitors mentioned.
TCL announced its 30 Series successors at CES 2022, so expect newer models to arrive in March or April. If you’re in no hurry to upgrade your phone, it’s worth the wait.
Works with the top three US carriers (5G doesn’t work with AT&T)
This Motorola phone is rare. Unlike its similarly priced Moto G siblings, it actually has an NFC chip so you can make contactless payments using Google Pay, handy when you forget your wallet at home. It has a battery life of two days, sub-6 5G connectivity and a pretty solid performance. Don’t expect too much from the cameras, but if you don’t care too much about software updates, you’re sure to be pleased. It is often sold for $ 300.
Phones we tested recently
We’ve tested Motorola’s new Moto G Power 2022 and Moto G Pure, but we don’t recommend them here because the Moto G Power 2021 outperforms them in every way. i it costs almost the same (if not less). It’s a similar story to HMD’s Nokia G50. It is a ok phone, but it lacks many features you’ll find on other $ 300 phones, including the Galaxy A32 5G.
Yes and no. If you’re looking at devices like TCL, iPhone SE, and Samsung, and you’re in no hurry to upgrade, it’s worth waiting until March or April. These are all great smartphones, but that’s when we expect new models to arrive on store shelves. However, our best selection, the Pixel 5A, won’t see a successor until the end of this summer, so do it.
Think of last year’s flagship phones
If none of these phones have the features you want or are not as powerful as you’d like, your best bet is to look for last year’s flagship smartphones, which could be heavily discounted. Sometimes they are easy to find, but some manufacturers stop selling them altogether (the Samsung Galaxy S21 of 2021 will be gone soon). Please note that you will lose one year of software support.
Check network compatibility
If you buy an unlocked phone from this list and try to take it to one of your mobile carrier’s retail stores, they might tell you that it’s not network compatible. It probably is. Just use a paper clip or SIM eject tool to remove the SIM card from your current phone, and then slide that SIM into your new phone. If it doesn’t work at first, restart your phone or wait a couple of hours.
If you need a new SIM, try ordering an online one from your carrier, or try to get a SIM provided when you activate a line in the store (if you’re starting coverage). Tell them you have a phone. Many times, reps will want to sell you a phone; this is one of the possible reasons why they may bother you to buy a different device in the store.