TCL Plex Review - WritenAreGiven

Table of contents

  • Key Features TCL Plex (Model T780H)
  • Appearance and usability
  • Screen
  • Camera
  • Telephone part and communications
  • Software and Multimedia
  • Performance
  • Heat
  • Play video
  • Battery life
  • Total

TCL, which has long owned the rights to the BlackBerry, Palm and Alcatel brands, also occupies one of the first places in the world in the production of television screens and, in principle, is a very large company manufacturing various equipment, finally began to produce smartphones under its own brand. Rumours about this have been around for a long time, but officially the first smartphone for the European market was presented only this fall during the consumer electronics exhibition in Berlin. The smartphone received the name TCL Plex, and today we will talk about it in detail.

 TCL Plex Review
 TCL Plex Review

Key Features TCL Plex (Model T780H)

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 SoC, 8 cores (2 × Kryo 460 Gold @ 2.0 GHz + 6 × Kryo 460 Silver @ 1.7 GHz)
  • GPU Adreno 612
  • Android 9 + TCL UI Operating System
  • IPS 6.53 ″ touchscreen display, 2340 × 1080, 19.5: 9, 395 ppi
  • Random access memory (RAM) 6 GB, internal memory 128 GB
  • MicroSD support up to 256 GB
  • Support Nano-SIM (2 pcs.)
  • GSM / WCDMA / WCDMA / TD-SCDMA Networks
  • FDD-LTE Networks: Band 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28
  • TDD-LTE Networks: Band 38, 40
  • GPS / A-GPS, Glonass, BDS, Galileo
  • Wi-Fi 802.11a / b / g / n / ac (2.4 and 5 GHz)
  • Bluetooth 5.0, A2DP, LE, aptX
  • Nfc
  • USB Type-C, USB OTG
  • 3.5mm audio output
  • Main camera 48 (f / 1.8) + 16 MP (f / 2.4) + 2 MP (f / 1.8), autofocus, video 4K @ 30 fps
  • Front camera 24 MP, f / 2.0
  • Proximity and lighting sensors, magnetic field, accelerometer, gyroscope
  • Fingerprint scanner (back)
  • 3820 mAh battery, 16 W fast charge
  • Dimensions 162 × 77 × 8 mm
  • Weight 192 g
Appearance and usability

The flagship TCL looks quite worthy, and in black even solid. The manufacturer claims that the back wall of the case is made of glass with various coatings. In the black version, called “Black Obsidian”, a certain OPVD coating with a holographic effect is applied to the glossy 3D glass. It really looks very unusual: the rays of light, refracting on the surface, are laid out over the entire spectrum from blue to red.

 TCL Plex Review

As for ergonomics, the large and heavy body suddenly turned out to be completely non-slippery and not so easily soiled. The side frame, apparently, is not made of metal, since there are no jumpers on it. But it is made under the guise of a metal - smooth and shiny, while not slipping in the hand. A high-quality oleophobic coating on glasses does not allow them to quickly become covered by fingerprints, and those that appear are easily erased.

 TCL Plex Review

The complete case frankly disappointed, it's just for show. This is a solid "frame" made of transparent plastic, which significantly thickens the already large cast, and it looks doubtful. Why they didn’t make a flexible polyurethane cover, like everyone else’s, is unclear, but it is even more important that a smartphone can be used in everyday life without a cover.

 TCL Plex Review

The cameras on the backside do not protrude beyond the surface, the smartphone lies steadily on the table, does not wiggle when you touch the screen. True, the cameras are for some reason located horizontally, and not vertically, so when shooting, they overlap with your finger.

 TCL Plex Review

With mechanical buttons, they went too far again: developers are drawn to embed an additional button to call the voice assistant. And this despite the fact that you can call it without any buttons, and the existing key is constantly pressed at the most inopportune moment since fingers rest on it. The situation is that the function of this button is reconfigured.

 TCL Plex Review

The main two hardware buttons are smooth, and they do not differ in surface texture. But the custom button has a rough texture. In general, in its place should be the power button, period.

 TCL Plex Review

In the upper left corner of the screen, a hole has been cut for the front camera, which at least takes up space on the display, and this is perhaps the most successful option to date. With it and with a thin frame, the display occupies about 90% of the entire front surface.

 TCL Plex Review

The fingerprint scanner, quite unexpectedly, turned out to be ordinary (back), and not sub-screen. There are no problems with this, but the premium level is slightly reduced: IPS screen, conventional fingerprint scanner, non-metallic frame, what's next?

 TCL Plex Review

Two Nano-SIM cards or a microSD memory card can be inserted into the side tray at the same time instead of one of the SIM cards. Hot-swapping supported.

 TCL Plex Review

At the bottom, there is a speaker, microphone, USB Type-C connector.

 TCL Plex Review

TCL Plex is available in two colours: black and white. The white version has a different coating of glass: it has a slight gradient from white to pink, cast with mother-of-pearl. The smartphone’s case does not have full protection against water.

 TCL Plex Review
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Screen

TCL Plex is equipped with an IPS-display with a diagonal of 6.53 inches and a resolution of 2340 × 1080 with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The physical dimensions of the screen are 69 × 151 mm. The aspect ratio is 19.5: 9, the dot density is 395 ppi. The width of the frame around the screen is 3 mm from the sides, 4 mm from the top, 7 mm from the bottom.

Developers focus on a dedicated processor for the screen, talking about NxtVision technology. It helps in real-time translate SDR content to HDR. Indeed, you can slightly increase the brightness and detail when viewing photos in the gallery. But when watching the video, we did not manage to notice much of a difference.

 TCL Plex Review

The front surface of the screen is made in the form of a glass plate with a mirror-smooth surface that is resistant to scratches. Judging by the reflection of objects, the anti-glare properties of the screen are better than those of the Google Nexus 7 (2013) screen (hereinafter simply Nexus 7). For clarity, we present a photo on which the white surface is reflected in the turned off screens (on the left - Nexus 7, on the right - TCL Plex, then they can be distinguished by size):

 TCL Plex Review

The screen of the TCL Plex is noticeably darker (brightness in photos 103 versus 119 for Nexus 7). The doubling of reflected objects in the TCL Plex screen is very weak, this indicates that there is no air gap between the layers of the screen (more specifically, between the outer glass and the surface of the LCD matrix) (OGS - One Glass Solution type screen). Due to the smaller number of boundaries (such as glass/air) with very different refractive indices, such screens look better under conditions of intense external illumination, but repairing them in the case of cracked external glass is much more expensive since the entire screen has to be changed. On the outer surface of the screen there is a special oleophobic (grease-repellent) coating, which is better in efficiency than Nexus 7, so fingerprints are removed much more easily, but appear at a lower speed.

With manual brightness control and when displaying a white field in full screen the maximum brightness value was about 450 cd / m², the minimum was 1.8 cd / m². The maximum brightness is high, therefore, given the excellent anti-glare properties, screen readability even on a sunny day outdoors should be at an acceptable level. In complete darkness, the brightness can be lowered to a comfortable value. In the presence of automatic brightness control by a light sensor (it is located at the upper edge of the front panel to the right of the front speaker grill). In automatic mode, when the ambient light conditions change, the screen brightness both increases and decreases

The operation of this function depends on the position of the brightness adjustment slider: the user may try to set the desired brightness level under the current conditions. If you don’t interfere, leaving everything by default, then in total darkness the auto-brightness function reduces the brightness to 3.5 cd / m² (dark), in an office lit by artificial light (approximately 550 lux) sets to 130-140 cd / m² (suitable), in a very bright environment (corresponds to clear lighting in the afternoon outdoors, but without direct sunlight - 20,000 lux or a little more) increases to 450 cd / m² (to the maximum, this is necessary). The brightness level of the backlight depends on the position of the slider in the dark and in average conditions, and in a very bright environment, the maximum is always set.

The default result did not completely satisfy us, so we moved the slider slightly to the right in complete darkness and for the three conditions mentioned above, we got 13, 170 and 450 cd / m² (an ideal combination for those who need to get brighter in the dark). It turns out that the auto-brightness function works adequately and allows the user to customize their work to individual requirements. Only at a very low level of brightness does a significant modulation of the backlight appear, but its frequency is high, on the order of 2.3 kHz, so even in this case there is no visible or detected screen flicker in any visual test.

This smartphone uses an IPS type matrix. Microphotographs show a typical IPS subpixel structure:


For comparison, you can see the gallery of microphotographs of screens used in mobile technology.

The screen has good viewing angles without significant colour shift even with large deviations of the gaze from the perpendicular to the screen and without inverting colours. For comparison, we present photographs on which the same images are displayed on the TCL Plex and Nexus 7 screens, while the brightness of the screens was initially set to about 200 cd / m², and the colour balance on the camera was forcedly switched to 6500 K.

Perpendicular to the screens, a white field:

 TCL Plex Review

We note a good uniformity of brightness and colour tone of the white field.

And the test picture:

 TCL Plex Review

The colours on the TCL Plex screen are slightly oversaturated, and the colour balance of the screens varies.

Now at an angle of about 45 degrees to the plane and to the side of the screen:

 TCL Plex Review

It can be seen that the colours did not change much in both screens, but the contrast in TCL Plex decreased to a greater extent due to the greater lightening of black.

And the white field:

 TCL Plex Review

The brightness at an angle of the screens decreased (about 5 times, based on the difference in shutter speed) and decreased approximately the same. When deviated diagonally, the black field is highlighted strongly and acquires a light reddish hue. The photos below demonstrate this (the brightness of the white areas in the direction perpendicular to the plane of the screens is the same!):

With a perpendicular view, the uniformity of the black field is average, in some places closer to the edge the screen is slightly highlighted:

Contrast (approximately in the centre of the screen) is high - about 1060: 1. The response time for the black-white-black transition is 21 ms (11 ms on + 10 ms off). The transition between grey tones of 25% and 75% (according to the numerical value of the colour) and vice versa in total takes 34 ms. Constructed at 32 points with an equal interval in the numerical value of the shade of grey, the gamma curve did not reveal a blockage in either highlights or shadows. The exponent of the approximating power function is 2.26, which is slightly higher than the standard value of 2.20. In this case, the real gamma curve almost does not deviate from the power dependence:

 TCL Plex Review

The presence of dynamic adjustment of the brightness of the backlight in accordance with the nature of the displayed image, we did not reveal, which is very good.

The colour gamut for red and green is slightly wider than sRGB:

 TCL Plex Review

The spectra of the components are fairly well separated, which determines a slightly broadened colour gamut. In this case, the increase in colour saturation is small, and even this can be fixed by selecting the Standard profile in the screen settings. In this case, the coverage is compressed to the sRGB boundaries.

 TCL Plex Review
 TCL Plex Review

By default (the Bright profile is selected ), the balance of shades on the scale is compromised, since the colour temperature is significantly higher than the standard 6500 K, but the deviation from the spectrum of the black body (ΔE) is below 3, which is considered an excellent indicator for a consumer device. In this case, the colour temperature and ΔE vary little from shade to shade - this has a positive effect on the visual assessment of the colour balance. (The darkest areas of the grayscale can be ignored, since there the colour balance does not matter much, and the error in measuring colour characteristics at low brightness is large.)

This device has the ability to adjust the colour balance by adjusting the hue, but this setting is only available when you select the Bright profile, in which the colours are slightly oversaturated. There is also a feature Adaptive tone, which, if enabled, should adjust the colour balance to environmental conditions. Note that now the prevailing standard is the calibration of display devices to a white point of 6500 K, but in principle, correction for the colour temperature of external light can be useful if you want to achieve a better match of the image on the screen to what is visible on paper (or on any media where colours are formed by reflecting incident light) under current conditions. However, in the case of a consumer device, the need for this function is zero, so we did not test it.

In the graphs above, the Bright curves correspond to the results without any intervention (the Bright profile without correction), and the Standard curves correspond to the data obtained after selecting the Standard profile. In the second case, the colour temperature approached the standard value, and ΔE did not increase significantly and remained below 10 units, which is acceptable.

There is a fashionable setting that allows you to reduce the intensity of the blue component ( Night mode ). In addition, there is a Reading mode, when turned on, the colour saturation decreases almost to black and white.

In principle, bright light can disrupt the daily (circadian) rhythm (see the article on the iPad Pro with a 9.7-inch display ), but everything is decided by adjusting the brightness to a comfortable level, and there is absolutely no distortion of the colour balance, reducing the contribution of blue meaning. There is also little sense in reducing saturation; as a result, we have a set of useless functions that only litter the settings menu.

To summarize: the screen has a high maximum brightness (450 cd / m²) and has excellent anti-glare properties, so the device can be used outdoors without any problems even on a summer sunny day. In complete darkness, brightness can be lowered to a comfortable level (up to 1.8 cd / m²). It is acceptable to use the mode with automatic brightness adjustment, which works adequately. Also, the advantages of the screen include effective oleophobic coating, the absence of an air gap in the layers of the screen and flicker, high contrast (1060: 1), sRGB colour gamut and good colour balance (when choosing the right profile). The disadvantages are the low stability of black to a deviation of gaze from the perpendicular to the plane of the screen. Given the importance of the characteristics of this particular class of devices, screen quality can be considered high.

Camera

The TCL Plex front camera has a sensor with a resolution of 24 megapixels (OV24B, 1 / 2.8 ″, 0.9 μm) and a lens with an aperture of f / 2.0. It shoots at a resolution of 6 megapixels, that is, Quad Bayer technology is used, combining several pixels into one, but the resulting image still has drawbacks. The dynamic range does not allow to work out the quality of light and shadow, everywhere overexposures and dips in black. Detailing and sharpness are average. The background in portrait mode blurred softly and pleasantly to the eye, but the algorithms have not yet learned how to adequately cut the central object. Colour rendition a bit overflows in warm colours. Focus is fixed.

The rear camera consists of three modules. The main feature here is the 48-megapixel Sony IMX582 module (1 / 2.0 ″ sensor size, 0.8 μm pixel size) with a six-lens lens with a viewing angle of 79 ° and an f / 1.8 aperture. It has phase and contrast autofocus, as well as a very unusual flash. Two spaced LEDs are installed here, and to light the second one, you need to hold the flashlight on button longer. Of course, the flash begins to shine brighter, but this can only be noticed with macro photography in almost complete darkness, but in general, the difference is insignificant, and it was not worthwhile to fence the garden.

By default, the main module removes at a resolution of 12 megapixels, and to switch to 48 megapixels you need to go into the settings. In the 48 megapixel mode, the zoom and switch buttons to the wide-angle disappear from the screen, which is inconvenient. If we talk about the difference in quality, then in the case of today's 48-megapixel matrices there are two typical situations: from a detailed but noisy picture of 48 megapixels, all the noise along with details are etched, the result is filtered by the contour sharpening filter, the photo is reduced to 12 megapixels and represents a scorched field with phantoms that imitate a sharply detailed picture - in this case, it is better to shoot in 48 megapixels and process the pictures yourself.

The second option is when a “sluggish" noisy picture is carefully cleaned and reduced, using a reserve of resolution - in this case, the use of a 12-megapixel shooting mode is preferable. In the case of TCL Plex, we have a third option: the picture is simply reduced to 12 megapixels without any signs of processing. There is no difference between 48- and 12-megapixel snapshots (after bringing them to the same scale), they only “weigh” 48-megapixel snapshots more than twice as much.

 TCL Plex Review
12 MP
 TCL Plex Review
48 MP
In general, the quality of shooting on the main camera is high, almost flagship. In good lighting, there is no claim to detail, nor to sharpness, nor to noise, nor to colours. The camera allows you to get great macro shots with natural background blur. Perhaps the only complaint in this mode is a narrow dynamic range, sometimes you can catch overexposures to the sun or dips in the shadows. With the deterioration of lighting, the shooting quality drops quite sharply, autofocus starts to miss a lot. In the dark, the situation is aggravated by the lack of a dedicated night mode, so the shots have to be re-shot many times, fighting with “shake” and defocus. And only if the stars converge successfully, you can count on a good night frame - but still not at the level that the flagships and Google Camera offer.

 TCL Plex Review

The second module is wide-angle (123 °), has an S5K3P9 sensor with a 16 megapixel (1 / 3.1 ″) sensor and 1.0 μm pixels, as well as a lens with an f / 2.4 aperture. It, as usual, provides the worst quality of shooting (sharpness falls dramatically at the edges of the image, plus geometric distortions are added), but it gets into the frame more than the surrounding space, and in some situations, there is simply no alternative to “width”.

 TCL Plex Review
Normal Angle

 TCL Plex Review
Wide Angle
The third OV02K module has a low sensor resolution of 2 megapixels (1 / 2.8 ″), but a large pixel size of 2.9 microns, as well as a lens with a decent aperture of f / 1.8. This module is designed specifically for shooting video in low light conditions. It remains a mystery why to take anything at all when there is no light, but the developers are led by marketers, so now like that.

 TCL Plex Review

Zoom is only digital, there is no optical stabilization. The maximum digital zoom is 10 ×.

 TCL Plex Review

Video can be shot in 4K @ 30 fps, there are no options with 60 fps at all. I did not like the fact that there is no way to quickly switch the resolution and frame rate of the video directly on the screen, these settings are buried deeply, as, for example, for iPhones.

The quality of detailing is not bad during the day, but low at night: light spots blur into shapeless blots, there is more noise than details. In evening lighting, the detail remains decent, but the colours are clearly oversaturated, caustic. The stabilization here is only electronic; during dynamic shooting, jelly-like distortions are visible. Sound is also recorded with distortion in the form of an echo.

Telephone part and communications

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 SoC has an integrated X12 LTE modem, thanks to which the smartphone theoretically should support LTE Cat.12 / 13 networks with data transfer rates up to 600/150 Mbps. But in the official specifications of the smartphone it is indicated: LTE Cat.6 at speeds up to 400/75 Mbps. Among the supported frequencies are all the most popular in Russia. In practice, within the city limits of the Moscow region, the device demonstrates confident operation in wireless networks, does not lose connection, quickly restores communication after a forced break. There is also Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5 GHz, with support for 802.11ac), Bluetooth version 5.0 and even an NFC chip.

The navigation module works with GPS (with A-GPS), with domestic Glonass, with Chinese Beidou and with European Galileo. The first satellites, even with a cold start, are detected quickly, within the first seconds, the positioning accuracy does not cause complaints. A magnetic compass required for navigation programs is available.

The phone application supports Smart Dial, that is, while dialling a phone number, a search is made by the first letters in the contacts. The ways to sort and display contacts are standard for the Android interface. The voice of the interlocutor in the dynamics is legible, the sound is clear and loud, the powerful vibration alert also feels very good. In addition, the duration (but not the intensity!) Of the vibration call can be adjusted manually, which is rather unusual.

Software and Multimedia

As the software platform, Android OS 9 is used with the ability to update by air (OTA). The smartphone has a proprietary TCL UI shell: the interface as a whole is similar to numerous Chinese shells, it’s not easy to spot the differences right away. But, of course, there is integration with our own “ecosystem”, since TCL does not forget that it is a large manufacturer of TVs. Accordingly, there is an application for controlling TCL televisions and online broadcasts on them.

The additional key function can be configured at the user's discretion, there is gesture control, the ability to work with one hand, duplication of social network clients, convenient video capture of the image from the screen. In general, the shell is solid and functional, there are no complaints about it.

Sounds TCL Plex modestly. The only 1 W loudspeaker with the NXP TFA9890 amplifier produces a very loud, bright, but flat sound without drawing mediums and with no low frequencies. In headphones, the situation is not much better: the sound is flat and faded, there is neither volume nor pronounced bass. Apt-X codec is supported for working with wireless Bluetooth headsets. There is a very sensitive voice recorder capable of recording lectures. There is also an FM radio.

 TCL Plex Review

Performance

TCL Plex runs on a single-chip Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 system manufactured using the 11-nanometer process technology. The configuration of this SoC includes 2 Kryo 460 Gold cores and 6 Kryo 460 Silver cores operating at a frequency of 2.0 / 1.7 GHz. The role of the GPU is performed by Adreno 612. The smartphone’s RAM is 6 GB (of which about 3 GB is available after loading), the storage is 128 GB (110 GB of which are free). You can install a microSD memory card up to 256 GB. Supports connecting external devices to the USB Type-C port in USB OTG mode.

The Snapdragon 675 is a fairly powerful mid-range mobile platform that bypasses such solutions as the Snapdragon 660 and the Snapdragon 670 by the total score in benchmarks. However, the processor part provides the advantage of the SoC Snapdragon 675, but its Adreno 612 graphics accelerator, of course, will not overtake Adreno 616, which is just clearly reflected in the comparative tables with the results of graphics tests.

In any case, the platform is not top-end, but it is a confident middle class that is quite capable of coping with any task and even demanding game. All tested games, including Modern Combat 3, Injustice 2 and PUBG, confidently go without braking.

The performance margin of TCL Plex is not redundant, and since it is currently the oldest model of the manufacturer, I would like to see the use of some flagship platform.

 TCL Plex Review

Testing in complex tests AnTuTu and GeekBench:
TCL Plex
(Qualcomm Snapdragon 675)
Realme XT
(Qualcomm Snapdragon 712)
Honor 9X
(HiSilicon Kirin 710)
Redmi Note 7
(Qualcomm Snapdragon 660)
Samsung Galaxy A50
(Samsung Exynos 9610)
AnTuTu (v7.x)
(more is better)
176508142298143400
AnTuTu (v8.x)
(more is better)
208954220422175974
GeekBench 5
(more is better)
488/933328/1515322/1291
 TCL Plex Review

Graphics subsystem testing in 3DMark and GFXBenchmark game tests:

TCL Plex
(Qualcomm Snapdragon 675)
Realme XT
(Qualcomm Snapdragon 712)
Honour 9X
(HiSilicon Kirin 710)
Redmi Note 7
(Qualcomm Snapdragon 660)
Samsung Galaxy A50
(Samsung Exynos 9610)
3DMark Ice Storm Sling Shot ES 3.1
(more is better)
934210987113321260
3DMark Sling Shot Ex Vulkan
(more is better)
1049200793712711374
GFX Benchmark Manhattan ES 3.1
(Onscreen, fps)
fourteen23131313
GFX Benchmark Manhattan ES 3.1
(1080p Offscreen, fps)
fifteen27fourteenfifteenfourteen
GFX Benchmark T-Rex
(Onscreen, fps)
3858354637
GFX Benchmark T-Rex
(1080p Offscreen, fps)
417639fifty41
Testing in cross-platform browser tests:
TCL Plex
(Qualcomm Snapdragon 675)
Realme XT
(Qualcomm Snapdragon 712)
Honour 9X
(HiSilicon Kirin 710)
Redmi Note 7
(Qualcomm Snapdragon 660)
Samsung Galaxy A50
(Samsung Exynos 9610)
Mozilla Kraken
(ms, less is better)
30604091458439243945
Google Octane 2
(more is better)
14914984291951033110491
JetStream
(bigger is better)
4429th3129th29th
SunSpider
(less is better)
496632
 TCL Plex Review
 TCL Plex Review

AndroBench memory speed test results:

 TCL Plex Review

Heat

Below is a photograph of the back surface obtained after 15 minutes of a gorilla fight in Injustice 2 (this test is also used to determine autonomy in 3D games):

 TCL Plex Review

The heating is higher in the upper right part of the device, which, apparently, corresponds to the location of the SoC chip. According to the heating chamber, the maximum heating was 48 degrees (at an ambient temperature of 24 degrees), this is very strong heating for this test in comparison with other modern smartphones.

Play video

This unit, apparently, does not support DisplayPort Alt Mode for USB Type-C - outputting image and sound to an external device when connected to a USB port - which was found out using the Aten UH3234 docking station. ( Report of the program usbview.exe .)

To test the output of the image of video files on the screen of the device itself, we used a set of test files with an arrow and a rectangle moving one division per frame (see “ Methodology for testing video playback and display devices. Version 1 (for mobile devices) ”). Screenshots with a shutter speed of 1 s helped determine the nature of the output of frames of video files with various parameters: the resolution (1280 by 720 (720p), 1920 by 1080 (1080p) and 3840 by 2160 (4K) pixels) and the frame rate (24, 25, 30, 50 and 60 fps). In tests, we used the MX Player video player in the "Hardware" mode. The test results are summarized in the table:

FileUniformityPasses
4K / 60p (H.265)not playable
4K / 50p (H.265)OKfew
4K / 30p (H.265)fineno
4K / 25p (H.265)OKno
4K / 24p (H.265)OKno
4K / 30pfineno
4K / 25pOKno
4K / 24pOKno
1080 / 60pfineno
1080 / 50pfineno
1080 / 30pfineno
1080 / 25pfineno
1080 / 24pfineno
720 / 60pfineno
720 / 50pfineno
720 / 30pfineno
720 / 25pfineno
720 / 24pfineno
Note: If evenness and omissions are set to green in both columns, this means that, most likely, when watching movies of artefacts caused by uneven rotation and skipping frames, you’ll either not see them at all, or their number and visibility will not affect comfort viewing. Red marks indicate possible problems associated with the playback of the corresponding files.

According to the criterion for outputting frames, the playback quality of video files on the screen of the smartphone itself is good, since in most cases frames (or groups of frames) can (but are not required to) be displayed with the more or less uniform rotation of intervals and without frame drops. When playing video files with a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels (1080p) on the smartphone screen, the image of the video file itself is displayed exactly at the height of the screen (in landscape orientation), one to one in pixels, that is, in the original resolution.

The brightness range displayed on the screen corresponds to the standard range 16–235: all shades of gradation are displayed in shadows and in highlights, which is required for the correct reproduction of typical video files. Note that this smartphone supports hardware decoding of H.265 files with a colour depth of 10 bits per colour, at the same time, gradients are displayed on the screen with better quality than in the case of 8-bit files (however, this is not proof of true 10-bit output). It also supports displaying HDR files, but the colours are faded. However, in the settings you can manually enable the SDR mode in HDR, then the brightness of the colours in the HDR files becomes normal (as much as possible for this screen).

Battery life

The TCL Plex has an integrated 3820 mAh battery. The volume is not the largest, but still very decent, and obviously not the battery is the reason that the smartphone demonstrates more modest results in all autonomy tests than its classmates. So the high heat we noticed under load is not an accidental artefact. In real life, the smartphone is just as demanding: it may not reach the evening charge.

Testing was traditionally carried out at the usual level of energy consumption without using the energy-saving functions, although there are those in the device.
Battery capacityReading modeVideo mode3D game mode
TCL Plex3820 mAh5 p.m.12 h. 00 m.4 h. 00 m.
Galaxy A704500 mAh24 h.19 h.6 h.
Realme XT4000 mAh21 h.5 p.m.6 h. 20 m.
Honour 9X4000 mAh19 h.2 p.m.5 h. 20 m.
Redmi note 74000 mAh21 h.15 hours 005 hours 00
Continuous reading in the FBReader program (with a standard, light theme) at a minimum comfortable brightness level (brightness was set to 100 cd / m²) lasted until the battery was fully discharged for 17 hours, and when continuously watching high-quality video (720p) with the same level brightness through the home Wi-Fi network, the device operates up to 12 hours. In the 3D-games mode, the smartphone can work up to 4 hours, depending on the specific game.

From a complete network adapter, the smartphone is fully charged in 2 hours in the consumption model of 9 V 1.8 A (16 W). In the first hour, the battery is filled up to 80%, the remaining volume is slowly reached in the second hour.

Total

The price of TCL Plex for the Russian market is set at 20 thousand rubles. The price is far from flagship, but the smartphone is absolutely not flagship, even though it is the oldest in its family. This quite ordinary middling will struggle in its price niche with the same little-known, but no less high-quality newcomers to the market, like Realme XT, as well as new products from much more famous brands, such as Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro or Honor 9X. In general, with its good hardware platform and solid screen, taking into account the presence of NFC and very good cameras, TCL Plex has something to hook the user with. Perhaps the only complaint that has arisen in us to solve this class is a rather weak autonomy. Well, real smartphone sales of a brand new to the Russian market, as always, will depend on the marketing steps that the company will take.

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