TCL on Sunday revealed its full range of phones and tablets it’ll release this year and new foldable concepts that tease new kinds of devices we could see in the coming years.
After dropping the midrange TCL 30 V 5G and affordable TCL 30 XE 5G at CES, the company announced five other phones at Mobile World Congress. All have big screens and high-megapixel cameras at budget prices and will launch in Europe first before arriving in select regions later.
The TCL 30 5G is only one of the new phones to connect to 5G networks, and it’s the priciest of the bunch at €249 (around $279). But aside from that, they aren’t terribly different from one another, with one or two notable changes. For instance, the TCL 30 has 64GB of storage and a standard front-facing camera, while the TCL 30 Plus has 128GB of storage and a 13MP ultra-wide selfie camera.
The TCL 30, 30 Plus, and 30 5G each have a 6.7-inch AMOLED display. If you wanted a smaller phone, pick the nearly identical TCL 30 SE for its 6.52-inch screen. Most of the TCL 30-series phones have a triple rear camera with a 50MP main shooter, an ultra-wide and a macro. The most affordable of the bunch, the €139 (around $155) TCL 30E, has just two rear cameras, losing the ultra-wide.
Customers likely won’t be choosing between all these phones, though, as availability will vary by country. The already announced TCL 30 V 5G is exclusive to Verizon, for instance, while the only T-Mobile sells the TCL 30 XE 5G.
TCL three new tablets at MWC start with the TCL Nxtpaper Max 10. A successor to the original Nxtpaper it packs an updated screen with a paper-like texture and stylus support. The other two tablets are the TCL 10HD 4G with a 10-inch display and LTE connectivity, and the TCL Tab 10s 5G, an affordable 10.1-inch tablet that can connect to 5G networks. Like the phones, the tablets will be released in the coming weeks and months.
TCL also gave a peek at two possible device designs of the future with several foldable concepts. While neither are developed enough to function with an operating system, both foldable concepts TCL showed have working displays.
TCL teased the first of these concepts, the Fold n’ Roll, last year, and now we’re seeing the device’s complex and flexible screen in action. There are still issues plaguing the format before it can advance further, like keeping dirt and dust from getting tracked into the phone when the screen rolls up.
The other concept is a 360-degree design, which unfolds completely flat and goes even further until it closes with the inside on the outside. Stefan Streit, general manager of global marketing for TCL’s phone business, explained that the company prefers the 360 design since it’s a single display, which could be cheaper than having both inner and outer screens.
TCL shelved its first foldable, the clamshell Project Chicago, last year because it couldn’t make the device cheap enough to sell below $700, the make-or-break price TCL decided on. The Fold n’ Roll and TCL 360 could be more expensive, but Streit declined to state a price that either would need to hit for TCL to greenlight production.
Both concepts are likely far from being ready to turn into a mainstream product, but it’s encouraging to see TCL follow Samsung’s foldable concepts at CES 2022 in dreaming of what devices we could see next.