TCL 20 SE Review; A Stunner

Staff ni Anjie

TCL, a brand known for its televisions, entered the smartphone business in 2019 with its first self-branded Android phone -- the TCL Plex. While the brand still has to establish a strong foothold in the local market for its smartphone department, TCL continues to innovate to bring various offerings for different kinds of users. The TCL 20 SE is among its latest devices released here in the Philippines, particularly catering to the entry-level segment. Does this device mirror TCL’s expertise in small screens? Read on to find out.

TCL 20 SE Review; A Stunner
TCL 20 SE Review; A Stunner

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The good things about the overall build and design of the TCL 20 SE outweigh what it lacks. We like how this smartphone exudes a premium feel with its "aurora" design with a color gradient that highlights its branding at the rear part. There's also a round fingerprint scanner at the back next to the vertically-placed quad cameras. In addition, this smartphone has glass both in the front and back, while its middle part, where all the buttons and ports are located, is made from plastic.

TCL 20 SE Aurora Green
Aurora Green

Its right cheek houses the volume rocker and the power button, while on the left is where you'll find the hybrid tray for two nano-SIM cards and a microSD card and the Smart Key. The Smart Key is a textured button with functions that can be tweaked. For example, you can open an app or access a feature of the TCL 20 SE with this button either through a single press, double press, or a long press. This can be customized in the 'Advanced Features' tab of the TCL 20 SE's settings.

At the top part of the device is a 3.5mm headphone jack -- something that we prefer placed at the bottom -- and the secondary microphone. At the base of the smartphone are the primary microphone, USB-C port, and loudspeakers.

The TCL 20 SE has dimensions of 182.08 x 77.14 x 9.1 mm and weighs 206 grams. It's tall and narrow, and it might take a lot of getting used to before you could feel comfortable with its grip. As mentioned earlier, its back panel is made of glass, which translates to the device being a fingerprint and smudge magnet, so it's better to use a smartphone case.

TCL 20 SE Retail Package
Retail Package

This smartphone’s package comes with basic inclusions, including a SIM ejector tool, a free screen protector and clear case, USB Type-C cable, power adapter, a pair of in-ear wired earphones, and paperwork.

See Also: TCL 10 5G with Snapdragon 765G Chip and 64MP Quad Camera Launches in PH for Only Php17,990


Since TCL is known for its knack for displays, given that it’s one of the most well-known television brands, it’s understandable if one would expect its smartphones to flaunt outstanding screens. Despite the TCL 20 SE being a budget device, it delivers a display performance that’s fairly impressive in its own league. On paper, the smartphone comes with a mediocre set of display specs, including a 6.82-inch IPS LCD display in 720 x 1640 resolution with 263 pixels per inch. What makes these better is TCL's NXTVISION technology that enhances images and videos to delight those who like to spend time binge-watching and streaming. There's an app for NXTVISION where users will be able to modify settings according to their liking.

TCL 20 SE 6.82-inch IPS LCD Display
6.82-inch IPS LCD Display

The viewing angles of the TCL 20 SE and screen visibility under direct sunlight are its strong points thanks to its IPS LCD display.


The internals of the TCL 20 SE are tell-tale signs that it is indeed a budget device. Under the hood, this smartphone runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 processor with a default 4GB RAM and 64GB onboard storage.

With these, you can already expect that the smartphone won't help but deliver some lags along the way. This is evident in switching among different apps as some load slowly, and some even crash repeatedly. One way to avoid this is to install only the apps that you know will be useful to you daily and expand the storage of the device through the microSD slot for some breather.

The TCL 20 SE is more of a daily buddy for casual smartphone users, so if you're thinking of buying this for gaming, you might want to look elsewhere. We tried playing Call of Duty Mobile and Mobile Legends on the phone, and the frame stutters are very apparent.

The TCL UI based on Android 11 the TCL 20 SE has brought an intuitive experience on the bright side. It’s clean and straightforward and even comes with features for privacy. For example, the Sensitive Behavior Reminder notifies users when irregular activities take place on apps that you use. It also has Face Recognition, an option you can make use of if you don't like utilizing the fingerprint sensor to access the device all the time.

Here are the benchmark scores of the TCL 20 SE:
  • Antutu - 149,204
  • Geekbench Single-Core - 240
  • Geekbench Multi-Core - 1,058
  • Geekbench Compute - 246
  • PC Mark Work Performance 3.0 - 5,841
  • PC Mark Work Storage 2.0 - 8,680
  • 3D Mark Wild Life - 244
  • 3D Mark Wild Life Stress Test - 244
  • 3D Mark Wild Life Extreme - 67
  • 3D Mark Wild Life Extreme Stress Test - 68
  • 3D Mark Sling Shot - 1,187
  • 3D Mark Sling Shot Extreme - 744

Also Read: TCL TAB 10s with T-Pen Stylus and 8000mAh Battery Coming to PH


A quad rear camera setup is now becoming more common in the entry-level smartphone segment. While this is undeniably pleasing to the eyes since it makes a device look like a high-end smartphone with many cameras, sometimes, this also gives way for a lackluster performance.

TCL 20 SE 16MP Quad Camera
16MP Quad Camera

The TCL 20 SE comes with four main shooters consisting of a 16MP f/1.8 camera, 5MP f/2.2 ultra-wide sensor, 2MP f/2.4 macro camera, and a 2MP f/2.4 depth-sensing shooter. However, the camera performance of the TCL 20 SE is kind of tricky, and the reason behind this is the NXTVISION feature of its display.

The photos we took using the cameras of the TCL 20 SE appeared underwhelming in terms of detail sharpness and color accuracy. However, the shots looked okay when viewed using the smartphone but transferring them to other devices will reveal this sad truth.

The photos can appear decent enough for posting on social media when you apply some touches to it using photo editing apps like adjusting the saturation levels to make the colors pop.

The macro camera and the ultra-wide lens of the smartphone aren't consistent with the results it gave us. Some photos turned out alright, and some appeared dull and blurred. There's an AI function on the cameras of the TCL 20 SE, plus other modes like Professional, Panorama, Super Macro, Slo-mo, and Light Trace.

The front camera of the TCL 20 SE also has a hit-or-miss performance. Some selfies turned out decent with natural-looking portraits, while in some photos, the colors looked harsh.

Videos taken by the TCL 20 SE are acceptable given the smartphone's pricing. However, note that it can only record up to 1080p at 30fps both on its rear cameras and on its selfie camera.

Here are some camera samples for you to judge:

TCL 20 SE Camera Sample - Day, Mini Bridge
Day, Mini Bridge
TCL 20 SE Camera Sample - Day, Buildings
Day, Buildings
TCL 20 SE Camera Sample - Day, Pool
Day, Pool
TCL 20 SE Camera Sample - Night, Pool
Night, Pool
TCL 20 SE Camera Sample - Night, Playground
Night, Playground
TCL 20 SE Camera Sample - Night, Playground (Ultrawide)
Night, Playground (Ultrawide)
TCL 20 SE Camera Sample - Macro, Flower
Macro, Flower
TCL 20 SE Camera Sample - Selfie
TCL 20 SE Camera Sample - Portrait Selfie
Portrait Selfie
TCL 20 SE Camera Sample - Night Selfie
Night Selfie


Ending this review on a positive note, we have the battery capacity of the TCL 20 SE at a staggering 5,000mAh. This is enough to power you through a whole day of moderate usage with remaining juices to spare for the next day. Furthermore, this smartphone, albeit under the budget segment, has a USB-C port and supports 18W fast charging. With these at play, it requires two hours for the smartphone to be fully recharged based on our experience. One might think that this is too long of a time to wait, but with the huge battery capacity of the TCL 20 SE, this is somehow acceptable.


TCL 20 SE Philippines

So, should you buy the TCL 20 SE? This is a good choice of a device if you’re looking for a stunner smartphone, but you’re not exactly the power-user type. This is also a decent buy if you’d want a smartphone you’ll only use for streaming on Netflix, YouTube, and other video platforms as its display work well with the NXTVISION feature. The TCL 20 SE retails for P8,990 in the Philippines.

How much is the TCL 20 SE price in the Philippines?

When will be the TCL 20 SE available in the Philippines?

  • The TCL 20 SE is now available in the Philippines.

TCL 20 SE Specs Philippines:

  • Dual SIM, dual standby, supports LTE connectivity.
  • 6.82-inch IPS HD+ (1640 x 720) capacitive touchscreen display
  • Dimensions: 172.1mm x 77.1mm x 9.1 mm
  • Weight: 206 grams
  • TCL UI based on Android 11
  • Octa-core (4x1.8GHz Kryo 240 + 4x1.6GHz Kryo 240), Adreno 610 GPU, Qualcomm SM4250 Snapdragon 460 chipset
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB internal storage, expandable up to 512GB via MicroSD card, uses SIM 2 slot
  • 16MP PDAF f/1.8 main + 5MP f/2.2 ultrawide + 2MP f/2.4 macro + 2MP f/2.4 depth quad rear cameras with LED flash, 1080p video recording at 30fps
  • 8MP f/2.0 front camera, 1080p video recording at 30fps
  • Multimedia player
  • FM Radio
  • Hi-Res Audio
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth v5.0
  • USB 2.0 Type-C with OTG function
  • Sensors: fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, light, proximity
  • Battery: 5,000mAh lithium-ion polymer, non-removable, 18W fast charging
  • Colors: Aurora Green, Nuit Black
  • Price: Php8,990

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