TCL 20 Pro 5G vs Samsung Galaxy S21 5G: Which phone should you buy?
TCL introduced its new TCL 20 series in the US in June. This lineup is headlined by the company’s TCL 20 Pro 5G, a capable smartphone with mid-range specifications. If you’re in the market for a new Android phone and wondering whether it makes sense to buy the 20 Pro 5G and save some money, or get the Samsung Galaxy S21 for top-of-the-line performance, we can help.
In this article, we’ll compare the TCL flagship with the Galaxy S21 5G to see which of the two phones is a better buy for you.
Navigate this guide:
- Design and Display
- SoC, RAM, and Storage
- Battery and Connectivity
- OS and Android Updates
- Pricing and Color Options
TCL 20 Pro 5G vs Samsung Galaxy S21 5G: Specifications
|Specifications||TCL 20 Pro 5G||Samsung Galaxy S21 5G|
|Dimensions and Weight|
|RAM and Storage|
Design and Display
The Samsung Galaxy S21 5G and the TCL 20 Pro 5G have quite a few design similarities. Both phones carry a centered hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera, a matte finish on the back, and a vertical rear camera layout. Notably, the matte finish on the back of the TCL 20 Pro 5G doesn’t extend to the complete back panel as the phone has a slim stripe of glass for a two-tone look. The TCL phone also features a 3D glass cover on the front, whereas the Galaxy S21 5G comes with a flat front.
While the 20 Pro 5G features a 6.67-inch full-HD+ AMOLED display with 60Hz refresh rate and HDR10 support, the Galaxy S21 5G comes with a 6.2-inch full-HD+ AMOLED screen with 120Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ support. Both smartphones also pack in-display fingerprint sensors.
Although neither phone’s design has any particular drawback, Samsung scores on the display front with a faster refresh rate. The display on the TCL phone also isn’t shabby by any stretch and would be more than enough for most consumers.
SoC, RAM, and Storage
Things become slightly one-sided in this department as Samsung has opted for the flagship Snapdragon 888 (S888) SoC in its Galaxy 21 5G phone. 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB onboard storage join the S888 chip in the Samsung phone.
In the TCL 20 Pro 5G, the mid-range Snapdragon 750G (S750G) SoC is present, joined by just 6GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. The phone also includes a microSD card slot for further storage expansion.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 5G is clearly a more powerful phone and will easily take on anything thrown at it. The TCL 20 Pro 5G may not be as powerful as the Galaxy S21, but its S750G SoC is reasonably capable, so unless you’re planning to play graphically intensive games at top settings, it’ll be sufficient.
TCL 20 Pro 5G vs Samsung Galaxy S21 5G: Cameras
In terms of raw camera specifications, there’s a quad rear camera setup on the TCL 20 Pro 5G, which includes a 48MP primary camera, 16MP ultra-wide-angle shooter, 5MP macro camera, and a 2MP depth sensor. You also get optical image stabilization (OIS) support on the primary camera and a 32MP selfie shooter. The Samsung Galaxy S21 5G packs only three cameras on the back — a 12MP wide-angle primary shooter, 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera, and a 64MP telephoto camera. OIS support is present on both primary and telephoto shooters, and you also get a 10MP selfie camera.
As we know, the raw specifications don’t reveal the full camera capabilities of any phone. So even though the Galaxy S21 5G features a lower-resolution primary camera, its performance is comparably better than the TCL phone. In our review, the 20 Pro 5G primary shooter wasn’t particularly impressive. Some people will also appreciate the telephoto shooter in the S21 5G, which is missing from the 20 Pro 5G.
Battery and Connectivity
TCL has packed a 4,500mAh battery with support for 18W wired fast charging and 15W wireless charging in the 20 Pro 5G, whereas the Galaxy S21 5G comes with a 4,000mAh battery that supports 25W fast wired charging and 10W+ wireless charging.
Although there is a 500mAh difference in the battery size of the two phones, both will be able to last you an entire day of moderate usage on a single charge.
Regarding connectivity, the Galaxy S21 5G and the 20 Pro 5G have a pretty similar set of options, barring support for mmWave 5G in the Samsung phone. Additionally, the Galaxy S21 5G supports all 5G networks in the US. In contrast, the TCL phone only works with T-Mobile 5G right now, with Verizon certification coming in the future.
OS and Android Updates
The TCL 20 Pro 5G and Galaxy S21 5G run on the Android 11 operating system with their manufacturer skins. But Samsung has promised to provide three years of Android updates and four years of security updates for the Galaxy S21 5G. As per the TCL Canada website, however, the TCL 20 Pro 5G phone will only get two major Android updates and security updates till April 2023.
So if software support is one of your primary concerns, the Galaxy S21 5G makes more sense than the TCL phone.
TCL 20 Pro 5G vs Samsung Galaxy S21 5G: Pricing and Color Options
TCL offers a single storage variant of the 20 Pro 5G that’s priced at $499.99. It’s available in Marine Blue and Moondust Gray colors. The Samsung phone is sold in two storage variants — 128GB and 256GB — priced at $699.99 and $749.99, respectively. You can purchase it in Phantom Violet, Phantom Gray, Phantom White, and Phantom Pink colors.
Even though the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G is $200 expensive than the TCL flagship, it packs several improvements that make the price tag worth it.
It’s clear by now that the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G is a superior phone to the TCL 20 Pro 5G. It’ll provide top-notch performance, great cameras, and extended software support. But if you don’t need everything top-of-the-line, you can save $200 and get the TCL phone for a decent performance. The Galaxy S21 5G also makes more sense if you want to use 5G on any other network than T-Mobile right now.
If you’ve purchased the phones, do check out our recommendations on accessories, cases, screen protectors, and more: