TCL, based in China and once responsible for selling mobile devices under both the BlackBerry and Alcatel brand names, has been trying to become a major player in the US handset market for some time now. Although that has yet to happen, with Motorola has the most to gain from LG’s shocking exit last year the fourth largest smartphone seller in North America is far from ready to throw in the towel.
Instead, TCL is basically trying to beat the country’s aforementioned bronze medalist at its own game… while also making it a little harder for Samsung to challenge Apple’s regional supremacy.
Enter the appropriate name TCL Stylus 5G
, a budget-friendly 6.81-inch device with… a stylus and 5G support. Of course, that means this thing is designed to compete directly with the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022), which just happens to have a similar, self-explanatory name, while undercutting the ultra-high end Galaxy S22 Ultra with many hundreds of dollars.
The TCL Stylus 5G is also slightly cheaper than the T-Mobile 2022 version of the Moto G Stylus 5G, for example, with a “regular” price of $258 to its name at the same leading “Un-carrier”. Incredibly, Magenta is already offering the pen-wielding TCL giant for free to anyone who wants to open a new line of service (regardless of plan) and accept the $258 savings in the form of monthly bill credits applied over a two-year period.
At $0, this is clearly an undeniable and unbeatable bunch, with the same fairly powerful MediaTek Dimensity 700 processor as Samsung’s. Galaxy A13 5G and A22 5G in combination with 4 gigabytes of RAM and no less than 128 gigabytes of (expandable) storage.
The 4000 mAh battery is unfortunately no match for the 5000 mAh cell in the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022), but the screen resolution is identical, at 2460 x 1080 pixels, and the camera specs are pretty great (at least on paper), with a 50 MP main shooter accompanied by two different 2 MP sensors and a 5 MP super wide-angle lens on the back of the TCL Stylus 5G, while the “dotch” on the front (also called hole punch) houses a single 13 MP selfie snapper.
At the end of the day, of course, it’s the built-in pen that sets this bad boy apart from (almost) all other contenders for the title of best affordable phone out there, and TCL claims to make the most of that feature with free access to AI-powered handwriting recognition service Nebo and another potentially very useful app called MyScript Calculator 2.