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

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

TCL has released three new smartphones in the US as a part of the TCL 20 series. Two of the phones in the lineup — the TCL 20 Pro 5G and the TCL 20s — cater to the mid-range segment. If you’re in the market for a new smartphone and wondering which of the TCL’s two mid-range phones you should buy, we can help. In this article, we’ll pit the TCL 20 Pro against the TCL 20S to see which phone makes more sense for you.

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TCL 20 Pro 5G vs TCL 20S: Specifications

SpecificationsTCL 20 Pro 5GTCL 20S
Dimensions and Weight
  • 164.2 x 73.8 x 9.07mm
  • 190g
  • 166.2 x 76.9 x 9.1 mm
  • 199g
Display
  • 6.67-inch curved AMOLED
  • Full HD+ (2400 x 1080) resolution
  • 60Hz refresh rate
  • 700nits peak brightness
  • 100% DCI-P3
  • PixelWorks i6 processor
  • 6.67-inch LCD
  • Full HD+
  • 20:9 aspect ratio
  • Hole-punch display
  • 60Hz refresh rate
SoC
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G
    • 2x Kryo 570 (Cortex-A77) cores @ 2.2GHz
    • 6x Kryo 570 (Cortex-A55) cores @ 1.8GHz
  • Adreno 619 GPU
  • 8nm process
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 665:
    • 2x Kryo 260 (Cortex-A73) cores @ 2.0GHz
    • 4x Kryo 260 (Cortex-A53) cores @ 1.8GHz
  • Adreno 610 GPU
  • 11nm process
RAM and Storage
  • 6GB RAM
  • 256GB storage
  • MicroSD card support
  • 4GB RAM
  • 128GB flash storage
  • MicroSD card support
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: 64MP primary
  • Secondary: 8MP ultra-wide
  • Tertiary: 2MP macro
  • Quaternary: 2MP depth
Front Camera
  • 16MP fixed focus
Battery
  • 4,500 mAh battery
  • Up to 18W wired charging (inside the box)
  • Up to 15W wireless charging
  • 5,000mAh
  • Up to 18W fast charging
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/ 20/25/26/28/29/38/40/ 41/66/71
  • NFC
  • WiFi 802.11.b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz)
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • USB Type C
Other features
  • In-display scanner
  • Side-mounted fingerprint reader
Software
  • Android 11 with TCL UI
  • Android 11 with TCL UI

Design and Display

TCL 20 Pro 5G display

TCL 20 Pro 5G

As the TCL 20 Pro 5G is the company’s flagship phone for 2021, TCL seems to have put a lot of effort into its design. The phone has 3D glass as well as curved edges on both the front and back. However, the 3D glass doesn’t cover the entirety of the back panel, and instead the company has gone with a two-tone design. The glass with its glossy look is present on a small portion on the left, with the rest of the panel having a matte finish.

The TCL 20S ditches the 3D glass and two-tone design of the 20 Pro 5G for 2D glass on the front, and a complete matte panel on the back. The back panel also includes micron-sized prismatic crystals to give it some shine.

In terms of the display, both TCL phones carry full-HD panels. While the 20 Pro 5G has a 6.67-inch AMOLED screen, the 20S includes a 6.67-inch LCD screen. The two phones also feature centered hole-punch cutouts for the selfie camera.

As the AMOLED panels are more vibrant and provide better contrast, between the two TCL phones, the 20 Pro 5G is a better option.

SoC, RAM, and Storage

TCL 20S

TCL 20S

Being the more expensive smartphone of the two, the TCL 20 Pro 5G uses the more powerful and newer Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G SoC. The TCL 20S, on the other hand, is powered by the Snapdragon 665 SoC. Further, the 20 Pro 5G has 6GB of RAM and 256GB of onboard storage, whereas you’ll only get 4GB of RAM and 128GB of built-in storage in the 20S.

More RAM and a better processor will help the TCL 20 Pro 5G provide superior performance than the 20S. Both phones also come with the microSD card slots, so the internal storage isn’t as much of an issue, and you can always expand it if you want.

TCL 20 Pro 5G vs TCL 20S: Cameras

TCL 20 Pro 5G back

TCL 20 Pro 5G back

On the camera front, TCL has used a 48MP main shooter on the 20 Pro 5G that supports optical image stabilization. You’ll also get a 16MP wide-angle shooter, 5MP macro camera, and a 2MP depth sensor as a part of the quad rear camera setup. A 32MP selfie shooter is present as well. As we mentioned in our TCL 20 Pro 5G review, the cameras on the back of the phone are 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 TCL 20S packs a 64MP main shooter, an 8MP wide-angle camera, 2MP macro camera, and a 2MP depth sensor. There’s a 16MP selfie shooter onboard as well. Like the 20 Pro 5G camera performance, the TCL 20S cameras also provide mixed results. You’ll get decent phones from the main camera in good lighting, but the low-light photos are noisy and low on detail.

Overall, on the camera front, you’re likely going to get similar camera performance on both smartphones.

Battery and Connectivity

TCL 20S back

TCL 20S

Things get interesting in the battery and connectivity departments. Although the TCL 20 Pro 5G comes with a 4,500mAh battery, the phone barely lasted a day on a single charge in our review, with around 5 – 5.5 hours of screen time. The 5,000mAh battery of the TCL 20S however, despite being just 500mAh bigger than the 20 Pro 5G, provided almost double the screen time on a single charge at 9 hours. On average use, the phone will be able to deliver well over a day of uptime with charging. Both phones also support 18W fast charging and come with compatible fast chargers in the box. Moreover, the TCL 20 Pro 5G supports wireless charging.

While the TCL 20S wins on the battery front, the presence of 5G support tips things in favor of the TCL 20 Pro 5G in the connectivity department. The 20 Pro 5G, however, only supports T-Mobile 5G at the moment, with Verizon certification coming soon for both 4G and 5G support. On the other hand, the 20S supports 4G LTE on all three major carriers.

Additionally, you get Wi-Fi 802.11ac, NFC, and USB Type-C on both smartphones. The TCL 20 Pro 5G also includes Bluetooth 5.1, whereas you’ll get Bluetooth 5.0 on the 20S.

TCL 20 Pro 5G vs TCL 20S: OS and Android Updates

Coming to the software, both the TCL 20 Pro 5G and the 20S run on Android 11 with TCL UI out-of-the-box. As per the TCL Canada website, the 20 Pro 5G will get two major Android updates, along-with security updates till April 2024. The 20S, on the other hand, will only get one major Android update, and security updates till April 2024.

So clearly, the TCL 20 Pro 5G scores on the software front with its two major Android updates promise.

Pricing and Colors

TCL 20S camera array

TCL 20S

The price tags of the two phones show a wide gap between them. While the TCL 20 Pro 5G retails at $500, the TCL 20S can be purchased at just $250. There are obviously sacrifices you’ll have to make for those $150 savings, but for some people that lower price tag will be more enticing than getting 5G or a better processor.

In terms of colors, the TCL 20 Pro 5G comes in Marine Blue and Moondust Gray, and the 20S sells in Milky Way Gray and North Star Blue.

Conclusion

It comes down to your priorities when choosing between the TCL 20 Pro 5G and the TCL 20S. While the TCL 20 Pro 5G gets a better screen, better processor, more Android updates, and 5G support, it costs $150 more than the 20S. With the TCL 20S, you get a better battery, comparable cameras, decent screen, and decent performance. 5G is still not such a big deal in the US, given that the carriers will take at least a couple of years more to take 5G network availability to the level of 4G.

    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 20S
    The TCL 20S features a 6.67 inch full-HD+ display, Snapdragon 665 SoC, and Android 11.

Which of the two are you planning to buy? Let us know in the comments section.

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.