TCL 20 Pro 5G vs TCL 20 SE: Which phone should you buy?

TCL 20 Pro 5G vs TCL 20 SE: Which phone should you buy?

TCL expanded its portfolio in the US with the launch of three new smartphones in the TCL 20 series — the TCL 20 Pro 5G, the TCL 20S, and the TCL 20 SE. We’ve already compared the 20 Pro 5G with the 20S to see which of the two phones you should buy. In this article, we’ll pit the TCL 20 Pro 5G against the TCL 20 SE to check which of these two phones is the right choice for you.

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TCL 20 Pro 5G vs TCL 20 SE: Specifications

SpecificationsTCL 20 Pro 5GTCL 20 SE
Dimensions and Weight
  • 164.2 x 73.8 x 9.07mm
  • 190g
  • 172.08 x 77.14 x 9.1mm
  • 206g
Display
  • 6.67-inch AMOLED
  • Full HD+ (1080 x 2400 pixels) resolution
  • 60Hz refresh rate
  • 700nits peak brightness
  • 100% DCI-P3
  • PixelWorks i6 processor
  • 6.82-inch LCD
  • HD+ (720 x 1640 pixels) resolution
  • 20.5:9 aspect ratio
  • Waterdrop notch
  • 60Hz refresh rate
SoC
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G
    • 2x Kryo 570 (Cortex-A77) @ 2.2GHz
    • 6x Kryo 570 (Cortex-A55) @ 1.8GHz
  • Adreno 619 GPU
  • 8nm process
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 460
    • 4x Kryo 240 (Cortex-A73) @ 1.6GHz
    • 4x Kryo 240 (Cortex-A53) @ 1.8GHz
  • Adreno 610
  • 11nm process
RAM and Storage
  • 6GB RAM
  • 256GB storage
  • MicroSD card support
  • 4GB
  • 128GB flash storage UFS 2.1
  • MicroSD card slot
Rear Camera
  • Primary: 48MP Sony IMX582 primary, f/1.8, 0.8μm, OIS
  • Secondary: 16MP ultra-wide-angle, 123° FoV, f/2.4, 1.0μm
  • Tertiary: 5MP macro, f/2.2
  • Quaternary: 2MP depth, f/2.4
  • Video: Up to [email protected]
  • Primary: 48MP, f/2.0, 1/2″ sensor, 79° FoV
  • Secondary: 5MP, wide-angle, f/2.2, 115° FoV
  • Tertiary: 2MP, macro camera, f/2.4
  • Quarternary: 2MP, depth, f/2.4
Front Camera
Battery
  • 4,500 mAh battery
  • Up to 18W wired charging (inside the box)
  • Up to 15W wireless charging
  • 5,000mAh
Connectivity
  • Bands (North America):
    • 2G Bands: GSM 850/900/1800/1900
    • 3G Bands: UMTS B1/2/4/5/8
    • 4G LTE Bands: 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12(MFBI)/ 13/14/17/20/25/26/28/29/ 30/38/40/41/48/66/71
    • 5G Bands: n2/5/7/41/66/71/78
    • 4×4 MIMO(DL) B2/4/7/30/66
  • NFC
  • WiFi 802.11.b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz)
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • USB Type C
  • Bands (North America):
    • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
    • UMTS: 1/2/4/5/8
    • LTE: 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/28/66
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • USB Type C
Other features
  • In-display scanner
  • Rear-mounted fingerprint scanner
Software
  • Android 11 with TCL UI
  • Android 11 with TCL UI

Design and Display

TCL 20 Pro 5G display

TCL 20 Pro 5G

Both the TCL 20 Pro 5G and the 20 SE target a different set of consumers. While the TCL 20 Pro is made for the upper mid-range buyers, the 20 SE is meant for the lower mid-range or budget consumers. So their price tags reflect in their designs.

The 20 Pro 5G comes with a 3D glass on the front with a hole-punch cutout, whereas the 20 SE packs a 2.5D glass with a waterdrop-style notch. On the back, TCL has gone with a dual-tone design on the 20 Pro 5G with a stripe of glass on the left, covering the vertical camera setup, and a matte finish on the right. The 20 SE, on the other hand, features a glossy back with a vertical camera setup. The back panel of the 20 SE also shimmers as the light reflects off it.

You also get a 6.67-inch full-HD+ AMOLED screen on the TCL 20 Pro 5G and a 6.82-inch HD+ LCD screen on the TCL 20 SE.

SoC, RAM, and Storage

TCL 20 SE in hand home

TCL 20 SE

The price difference between the 20 Pro 5G and the 20 SE is also visible in the SoC choices made by TCL. The more expensive 20 Pro 5G uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 750G SoC, whereas the 20 SE comes with a Snapdragon 460. If you don’t know about these chips, the Snapdragon 750G is a much faster and capable processor than the Snapdragon 460.

Additionally, you’ll get just 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage on the 20 SE. The 20 Pro 5G, on the other hand, comes with 6GB of RAM and 256GB of onboard storage. The two phones also pack microSD card slots for further storage expansion.

TCL 20 Pro 5G vs TCL 20 SE: Cameras

TCL 20 Pro 5G back

TCL 20 Pro 5G

On the imaging front, TCL has included quad rear cameras on both phones. The 20 Pro 5G has a 48MP main shooter with optical image stabilization (OIS), 16MP wide-angle camera, 5MP macro shooter, and a 2MP depth sensor. With the 20 SE, you’ll also get a 48MP main camera but without OIS. Additionally, there’s a 5MP wide-angle shooter, 2MP macro camera, and a 2MP depth sensor on the phone.

In our review of the 20 Pro 5G, we found the cameras on the back of the phone to be pretty average. While the main shooter does take some nice shots in bright, natural lighting, its performance in indoor and low-lighting scenarios is underwhelming.

The 20 SE, on the other hand, occasionally struggles even in bright lighting, with photos lacking detail and sometimes having washed-out colors. Having said that, if you put in a little bit of work, you can get fairly nice landscape shots out of the 20 SE, at least.

For your selfie needs, TCL has added a 32MP front camera on the 20 Pro 5G, and a 13MP shooter on the 20 SE.

Battery and Connectivity

TCL 20 SE back design

TCL 20 SE

Battery is one department where the inexpensive TCL 20 SE scores one over the 20 Pro 5G. The phone packs a 5,000mAh battery, which in our review easily provided 8.5 – 9 hours of screen time on a single charge. The TCL 20 Pro 5G, on the other hand, comes with a 4,500mAh battery, which in our review offered just over 5 hours of screen time on a single charge.

While the TCL 20 Pro 5G supports 18W fast wired charging and wireless charging, both of which are absent from the 20 SE, the longer battery life of the latter will be appreciated by everyone.

The TCL 20 SE might be able to outshine the 20 Pro 5G on the battery front, but the story is completely different on the connectivity side. The 20 Pro 5G not only includes 5G support but also comes with faster Wi-Fi, a newer Bluetooth version, and NFC.

OS and Android Updates

TCL 20 SE bottom chin

TCL 20 SE

Both the TCL 20 Pro 5G and the TCL 20 SE run on Android 11 with TCL UI out of the box. But as per the TCL Canada website, the 20 Pro 5G is supposed to get two major Android updates, whereas the future of Android updates for the 20 SE is unclear right now. The 20 Pro 5G is also set to get security updates till April 2024. But the 20 SE will only receive the security patches till January 2023.

TCL 20 Pro 5G vs TCL 20 SE: Pricing and Color Options

TCL 20 Pro 5G back design

TCL 20 Pro 5G

The company is selling one storage variant and two color options each for the 20 Pro 5G and the 20 SE. The 20 Pro 5G is priced at $500, and offered in Marine Blue and Moondust Gray colors, whereas you can buy the 20 SE at just $190 in Aurora Green and Nuit Black colors. This wide gap between the prices of the two phones really puts their specifications into perspective.

Conclusion

While the TCL 20 Pro 5G is obviously a better phone with its AMOLED screen, full-HD+ resolution, a faster processor, 5G support, and a number of other things, the 20 SE can make sense for you if you’re tight with your budget but need a decent phone. If you don’t do much on your phone apart from calling, chatting, or using some apps, the 20 SE with its excellent battery can help you save over $200. But if you’re into gaming, prefer everything snappy, and really want 5G, the 20 Pro 5G is a better choice.

    TCL 20 Pro 5G
    The TCL 20 Pro 5G is the top-of-the-line phone in the company's 20 series. It packs a Snapdragon 750G SoC, and runs on Android 11.
    TCL 20 SE
    The TCL 20 SE is the company’s newest budget phone. It runs on Android 11, and packs a Snapdragon 460 SoC and a large 5,000mAh battery.

If you’ve purchased the phones, do check out our recommendations on accessories, cases, screen protectors, and more:

About author

Gaurav Shukla
Gaurav Shukla

Gaurav has been covering technology for over a decade now. He has done everything from blogging about Android to reporting the latest from the world of Internet giants. When he is not writing about the tech companies, he can be found binge-watching new TV series on the web.