TCL 30 SE - The best BUDGET phone of 2022 (you can do EVERYTHING with it)

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We are so focused on the latest top-of-the-range model released in the smartphone market, on the latest technology adopted, at charging speeds that would allow us to reach the Moon with the blink of an eye that too often we miss the beauty of simple things, the naturalness of '' use of devices that in their genuineness offer performances and technical data able to amaze. So here I am talking to you about TCL 30 SE which will undoubtedly intrigue you because of the selling price.

Before leaving I want to spend a few words on what is offered to us in the unboxing phase, as inside the sales package, the company gives us everything necessary to start using the smartphone without paying additional money. in addition to the silicone cover to protect the phone and the pre-applied plastic film on the display, a pair of earphones to allow listening to music in the "old way" is also honored.

Let's start then from the design and materials with which TCL 30 SE faces the tech public, undoubtedly evoking many memories due to a completely plastic feature but above all for the presence of the fingerprint sensor positioned on the back of the body accompanied by the bump camera. .

It has been a while since I have seen the biometric sensor in that position but I must admit that it was a pleasure to reuse it as I did some time ago, due to the ease with which the finger reaches the sensor, although I have to admit that the one of the TCL 30 SE is not among the fastest I've tried while remaining quite reliable. The plastic materials with which the device is made do not hide the economic nature of the same, but it brings some advantages, precisely in the grip offered by the side frame which at times seems almost hard rubber.

In this regard, the dimensions of TCL 30 SE are equal to 165,2 x 75,5 x 8,9 mm for a weight of 190 grams, thus also facilitating use with one hand. While not standing out in modern design, the smartphone offers a charging input with a Type-C connector while from the past, a welcome presence is that of the 3,5 mm jack for wired earphones. Speaking of speakers, we find only one therefore with mono sound that reproduces the range of the sound spectrum, unbalancing itself very much towards medium-high tones and with a sufficiently high volume.

In terms of connectivity, the TCL 30 SE allows you to surf exclusively in 4G by means of a Cat. 4 modem, so no 4G + but I must admit that the speeds reached with my operator were quite decent, in addition to the excellent reception that it gave me. allowed to converse with my interlocutor always in a clear and crystalline way.

In any case, there is no lack of the possibility of exploiting two SIMs at the same time without giving up on expanding the integrated memory by means of micro SD. It goes without saying that there are no certifications against water and dust but there are instead a Bluetooth 5.0 module, a Dual WiFi (WIFI DIRECT, VOLTE, VOWIFI), GPS with connection of Galileo satellites and above all NFC for mobile payments, but strangely it is absent the FM radio.

In short, retro look but super modern soul, in fact also at the software level we find the latest Android ™ 12 release customized by the TCL UI 4.0 user interface, which is clean just without giving up many features made available by the manufacturer, all very useful , such as the Edge Bar, through which to recall some apps and tools by means of shortcuts, use it as a ruler but we also find the game mode to optimize performance in this phase of use or the possibility of cloning the installed apps .

I mentioned the performances, which on the TCL 30 SE are expressed by means of the MediaTek Helio G25 processor, octa-core clocked at 2.0 GHz (4 x Cortex-A53 at 2,0 GHz + 4 x Cortex-A53 at 1,5 GHz ) which is flanked by the IMG GE8320 @ 650MHz GPU, as well as 4 GB of LPDDR4X RAM (the only available cut) and 64/128 of EMMC type storage expandable with micro SD up to 512 GB. You understand very well that with such hardware we cannot expect miracles, but TCL 30 SE performs all the tasks that you ask it to perform without particular hesitation. Social, messaging, multimedia and much more are operations that you take home without any problem and even wanting fun through “simple” games. For sure, those who turn to this device do not have the need for extreme play and if it were the opposite, well they probably don't have all the wheels in place.

Also because the graphic details of certain games must be expressed visually by a defined display, which we do not find on TCL 30 SE considering that the resolution is only HD + (720 x 1600 pixels). The panel has an IPS nature with a 6,52-inch diagonal characterized by huge frames and a drop notch, always in a retro theme.

269 ​​PPI and 400 nits of brightness as well as fixed refresh rate at 60 Hz complete the technical sheet of the screen in 20: 9 format of the TCL 30 SE but, looking beyond the trivial technical data, we find the NXTVISION technology supplied with the software, a sort of artificial intelligence that adapts the vividness and sharpness of colors based on the screen content. All this to say that we can still benefit from multimedia contents with a decent quality and with chromatic reproduction sufficiently faithful to reality, even in direct sunlight.

With this equipment under the body, the TCL 30 SE is one of those smartphones to focus on if we are looking for excellent autonomy, even for several days. In fact, thanks to the integrated 5000 mAh battery, which supports "fast" charging at 15W (but the company provides us with a 10W charger), you can push the use of the device up to 2 days full without having to use the battery charger.

We have come to the chapter that most amazed me about this TCL 30 SE, that is the photographic and video yield: on the rear we find 3 lenses that are made up with a 50 MP primary sensor, f / 1.85 with PDAF while the remaining two lenses have resolution 2 MP, f / 2.4 which perform Macro and depth of field function.

On the latter two I do not express opinions, in short, they seem to be thrown there for marketing only, even if I must admit that the bokeh effect is very natural and therefore of quality.

However, it is the 50 MP camera with sensor offered by Samsung that amazes, returning natural, defined and bright shots. Even in low light conditions, while not enjoying a special mode, the smartphone takes home more than satisfactory shots. I admit that in this shooting condition, you often notice a sort of "out of focus" due to the absence of any sort of stabilization, but believe me (and I'm not going crazy) even if digital noise and other smudges are a dominant of the shots night, these are better results than some recently tested mid-range.

Unfortunately the videos, which can only be recorded at 1080p 30fps, are a disappointment due to the lack of stabilization but the focusing speed is good. In short, with a gimbal a poco price, you could take home a video memory that should not be underestimated. I also liked the work of HDR a lot, albeit poco natural, in some conditions it saved the photo from a total burn. Finally, the selfie camera, from 8 MP, f / 2.0 is rather in line with the judgment expressed so far.


Surely TCL 30 SE is aimed at all those who do not have big claims or who have the claims against a secondary smartphone, which is not at the top in certain areas, but which is at the top in terms of reliability in use. daily. Here the TCL 30 SE does not miss a beat, no jamming, no system errors and then the introductory price is very attractive. Perhaps the only drawback is that at the moment the TCL 30 SE could collide with some older but equally valid smartphones, on the same price range, such as OnePlus Nord N100 which also offers a 90 Hz refresh rate. The decision is yours ...

8 Total score

TCL 30 SE is an inexpensive smartphone that in its own way puts us in front of few sacrifices. Android 12, NFC, excellent photos and record autonomy. Arm yourself only with patience for some operations but for the rest, with him you will be ultra modern BOOMERS.

  • PHOTO QUALITY (basic level)
  • 4G ONLY
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Emanuele Iafulla

Emanuele Iafulla

Nerd, Geek, Netizen, terms that do not belong to me. Simply myself, technology lover and provocative as Xiaomi does with his products. High quality at fair prices, a real provocation for the other most famous brands.


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