TCL 30 5G phone review

TCL 30 5G phone review: a sight for sore eyes


Curbing blue light without impacting on image quality, the TCL 30 5G smartphone is designed to be easy on the eyes.

These days, it’s tough to stand out in the mid-range Android crowd, whether you’re talking smartphones or tablets. TCL has staked its reputation on its NXT screen technology, designed to ease eye strain while still delivering decent picture quality.

Unfortunately, the results on the TCL NXTPAPER 10s tablet are underwhelming – everything looks a bit murky and washed out. Thankfully, TCL has taken a different approach with the TCL 30 5G smartphone, with its NXTVISION AMOLED display striking a much better balance between caring for your eyes and caring about image quality.

Review: TCL 30 5G smartphone

Australian websiteTCL
Price$599 RRP
Warranty2 years
Other  More GadgetGuy TCL news and reviews

First impressions

Out of the box, the TCL 30 5G sits comfortably in the hand and is not too tall, thick or heavy to be unwieldy, despite that generous 6.7-inch display.

The surprise is the low positioning of the volume and power buttons on the right-hand side of the phone. The power button, which doubles as the fingerprint reader, is located right in the middle of the handset – making it very awkward to reach with your thumb if you’re right-handed. It feels like the power button should be much higher, above the volume buttons.

Wriggling the phone up in your hand to reach the power button leaves the handset teetering rather top-heavy in your grip. Thankfully, the fingerprint reader can scan the bottom half of your thumbprint, and it’s very fast to unlock the phone.

To be fair, the button placement works much better if you’re left-handed. Southpaws will find that their middle finger rests naturally on the power button, with the volume buttons falling under their index finger. 

The polycarbonate back and metal band give the handset a reasonably elegant look for a mid-range phone, not showing up fingerprints, even if it falls short of some premium phones.

With the screen unlocked, you’re presented with a 6.7-inch 1080×2400 pixel display. At first glance, it looks just as crisp and vibrant as any AMOLED smartphone display, which is a relief if you’ve spent time with TCL NXTPAPER tablets and feared that the TCL 30 5G’s NXTVISION display might have made similar compromises.

It’s only a 60 Hz display, which won’t bother some people but falls short of the 120 Hz displays available in some cheaper handsets.

At the top, the 13 MP ultrawide front camera relies on a small notch, rather than simply being a hole in the screen like on some smartphones. Around the back, you’ll find a triple camera array consisting of a 50 MP primary shooter, 2 MP depth and 2 MP macro.

At the other end, you’ll find a USB-C charge port, along with an old-school 3.5 mm headphone jack – which will be a welcome sight for some music lovers.

TCL also throws in the TCL MOVEAUDIO S600 True Wireless Headphones, which tip the scales at only 184 grams and are easy to keep in your pocket.

TCL 30 5G promo image 2
While it’s an elegant design, some people will struggle with the location of the power button.

TCL 30 5G smartphone specs

Display size6.7 inches, 20:9 aspect ratio
Display resolution1080×2400 pixels
Display technologyAMOLED, 60Hz refresh rate, 100% DCI-P3
Bands4G LTE, 5G sub-6
ChipsetMediaTek Dimensity 700
CPU2x A76 @2.2GHz, 6x A55 @2.0GHz
Rear cameras50 MP: PDAF, sensor size 1/2.76”, pixel size 0.64μm, aperture F1.85, field of view 74.4°, 5P lens
2MP depth camera: FF, sensor size 1/5”, pixel size 1.75μm, aperture F2.4, field of view 85°, 3P lens
2MP macro camera: FF, sensor size 1/5’’, pixel size 1.75μm, aperture F2.4, field of view 88.8°, 3P lens
Front camera13 MP ultrawide: FF, sensor size 1/3’’, pixel size 1.12μm, aperture F2.3, field of view 96°, 5P lens
Onboard storage64/128 GB
microSD slotup to 1TB
ChargingUSB-C 2.0 Fast charging: 9V2A, Type-C USB 2.0 
Battery5010 mAh
Wi-FiWi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz & 5GHz)Wi-Fi DirectMobile Hotspot, VoLTE, VoWiFi
Operating systemAndroid 12
SecurityFingerprint reader, Face Unlock
DimensionsH 164.54 mm, W 75.24 mm, D 7.74 mm
Weight184 gm
ColoursTech Black and Dreamy Blue


The NXTVISION display is the TCL 30 5G smartphone’s main claim to fame, and you can tweak it to your liking during the introductory setup.

According to TCL, NXTVISION helps “improve your multimedia (Game, Photo, Video) experience which makes your screen image brighter, richer and clearer”. Thankfully, TCL lets you decide for yourself, with the granular option to enable or disable it for images, videos and games.

After setup, you can revisit these settings via the NXTVISION app. Here you can also enable reading mode, which leaves you with a high-contrast greyscale image that looks similar to an eBook reader. It’s the kind of mode you might use if you tend to read a lot of long-form online articles or read books in apps like Kindle.

There’s also an eye comfort mode that filters out blue light, along with a sunlight mode that increases readability under sunlight. Finally, you can change the colour mode and temperature between Vivid, Natural, Standard and Advanced – the latter of which lets you dive into the AMOLED Wide Gamut, sRGB and Display P3 realms.

While that sounds like a lot of messing around, once you find settings you’re happy with you’re unlikely to need to change them very often. The great thing is that, regardless of the options you choose, the picture is still sharp and clear, avoiding the washed-out look that you can get with TCL NXTPAPER tablets. It’s a shame there isn’t a second speaker to deliver stereo sound while watching videos.

Screen technology aside, the handset features a MediaTek chipset and 4 GB of RAM, which is enough for day-to-day tasks but could be a little short on grunt for some users.

A generous 5010 mAh battery ensures that, if you don’t push it too hard, you should easily be able to go a day or two before recharging – perhaps a welcome trade-off for the less powerful processor and 60 Hz display. When it runs low, support for 9V 2A fast charging – with an 18W charger supplied – ensures you can top up quickly, but there’s no wireless charging. 

As the name suggests, it’s a 5G chipset, ensuring you can take advantage of Australia’s fastest mobile broadband networks – although, like most, it only supports sub-6 GHz 5G networks and not millimetre wave.

The lack of a specific IP rating might be of concern if you’re looking for a handset that can survive a little misadventure.

TCL 30 5G promo photo
The rear triple-camera array offers a macro lens but not ultrawide or telephoto.


The GeekBench 5 results are a little on the low side considering the price tag, scoring 537 on the CPU single-core test and 1693 on the multi-core. You’ll find more affordable handsets packing mid-range Qualcomm powerplants that deliver a little more bang for your buck.

When it comes to photography, that 50 MP camera figure sounds impressive but, by now, we all know that megapixels aren’t everything – especially with a mid-range price tag. Photos are good, but not fantastic. Outside during the day, photos look vivid but a little harsh and over-processed. In low-light conditions, you’re left with a little noise in the shadows and it struggles to reveal the finest details.

Including a macro lens will please some photographers, but most people would probably get more use from an ultrawide or telephoto lens.

GadgetGuy’s take

There’s a lot to like about the TCL 30 5G, if you’re primarily concerned about screen picture quality and eye strain then it’s a serious mid-range contender – assuming you’re not bothered by the fact it’s only 60 Hz.

The phone’s value proposition starts to break down if your priorities lie elsewhere. For the same money, or even a little less, you’ll find more grunt and/or better picture quality elsewhere. That said, the inclusion of wireless earbuds helps sweeten the deal. If you were planning to buy earbuds separately, then the TCL 30 5G looks a bit more attractive.

Would I buy the TCL 30 5G smartphone?

Maybe, if my primary buying consideration was eye strain.

TCL 30 5G phone review: a sight for sore eyes
With a large, crisp screen designed to combat eye strain, the TCL 30 5G offers good value in some areas, while it lacks in others.
Value for money
Ease of use
Helps with eye strain
Long battery life
An affordable 5G phone
Mediocre grunt
Mediocre photos