TCL introduces 40 series smartphones, other low-cost mobile devices

The TCL 40 series is accompanied by budget tablets and headphones at this year’s MWC in Barcelona

TCL 40 series X 5G
TCL 40 series X 5G

TCL had a lot to say about their TVs at CES 2023 last month, but they saved their smartphone news for MWC 2023 in Barcelona this week. Following their 30 series of phones from last year, the TCL 40 series of smartphones place a premium on value — lower specs than you see on flagships, but just powerful enough to be impressive considering the low asking price. On top of that, TCL has a few tablets and a set of earphones on hand at MWC 2023, all due out this year.

The TCL 40 series includes the TCL 40 XE 5G, the TCL 40 X 5G, and the TCL 40 XL, all three of which will be coming to the United States for less than $200. The most powerful (and pricey) of the trio will be the TCL 40 X 5G, which will emphasize camera and display quality. It’ll have a three-camera array headlined by a 50 MP sensor, with an 8 MP camera on the front and AI processing features for the rear camera array.

Aside from the better camera array, the TCL 40 X 5G is almost the same as the TCL 40 XE 5G. Both phones are powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G chipset and a 5,000 mAh battery, and both phones have 6.56-in HD+ displays featuring TCL’s NXTVISION processing software. That display will be bolstered by TCL’s new NXTURBO display enhancing software, which will give a boost to graphics and streaming performance while reducing power consumption demands. With that software and the relatively low hardware demands of these devices, we’re thinking battery life should be awfully impressive.

TCL 40 series XE 5G
The TCL 40 series XE 5G cuts down on camera quality to cut a little off the price

The TCL 40 XL will be the largest of the three options with a 6.75-in display, but as the name implies, will not have 5G connectivity, instead using the Helio G37 octa-core processor. But, you do get the same camera array as found on the more expensive TCL 40 X 5G, so that helps soften the blow a bit, especially if you don’t find yourself needing 5G speeds that badly.

TCL 40 series XL
The TCL 40 XL has a larger display than other 40 series phones, but lacks 5G connectivity

TCL also announced two tablets at the show, the TCL NXTPAPER 11 and the TCL TAB 11. The former is a showcase for TCL’s newly upgraded NXTPAPER 2.0 display tech. The NXTPAPER 11’s 11-in 2k display will now be brighter at up to 500 nits and will filter out blue light. The main upgrade in NXTPAPER 2.0 is automatic adjustment of color temperature based on time and light levels around the user, which should make the tablet a pretty comfortable reading companion.

The TCL NXTPAPER 11 has a display that’s easy on the eyes and an optional stylus

The NXTPAPER 11 is meant to be the more productivity-oriented of the two, as it can be purchased with an optional T-pen stylus for making handwritten notes. There’s also an 8 MP front camera for better quality videoconferencing, and battery life should be workday-grade thanks to an 8,000 mAh battery.

The TCL TAB 11 has the same 2k 11-in display, but trades productivity for entertainment, going thinner and more portable while adding a quad speaker array. Depending on whether or not you plan on traveling with it, TCL will have both LTE and non-LTE models available.

The TCL TAB 11 – not a bad low-cost entertainment machine!

To round out the set, TCL is also introducing the MOVEAUDIO Neo earphones. Largely what you’d expect from true wireless earphones these days, although TCL has added dual-mic noise cancellation for calls and active noise cancellation for when you’re listening to music or podcasts in noisy environments.

TCL MOVEAUDIO Neo earphones
The TCL MOVEAUDIO Neo earphones have dual-mic background noise cancellation and active noise cancellation

The TCL 40 series will all be coming to North America exclusively. The TCL 40 X 5G and 40 XE 5G will both be available in June for $199 and $169, respectively, while the TCL 40 XL will arrive in May for $149. The TCL NXTPAPER 11 will initially launch in Europe in May starting at $249, alongside the TCL TAB 11 for $179 without LTE and $209 with LTE. The TCL MOVEAUDIO Neo earphones are available now for $50.

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