Check out the TCL LX (A502DL) review, a 5.34-inch Android phone with Quad-core processor and 8 MP camera. At $29.99, it’s one of the cheapest smartphones on the market.
Many would agree that there’s no decent phone, particularly a smartphone, that people can get at only 30 dollars. But TCL wants to tackle this perception.
Recently they released several budget phones at a jaw-dropping price. One of them is TCL LX. Priced at $29.99, this phone is one of the cheapest smartphones currently on the market.
Although comes with a low price tag, TCL LX offers a sizable 5.34 inch display with extra DragonTrail glass for protection. That alone makes the phone worth considering.
The chip lineup consists of a 1.1 GHz Quad-core processor and 2 GB of RAM. The camera is 8 GB on the back and 2 MP for the selfie camera. Let’s take an in-depth look at TCL LX A502DL review to see more features this phone offers.
TCL LX A502DL specifications:
|148.1 x 69.6 x 9.4mm
|480 x 960
|Quad-core (4×1.1 GHz Cortex-A53)
TCL LX (A502DL) has an overall appealing design. It doesn’t give that vibe you get on a cheap phone, although it’s neither gives a premium feel. The body mostly comprises of plastic with a 75% screen-to-body ratio.
Aside from the speaker and the front camera, there’s quite a lot of vacant area in the front where the display doesn’t take space. Everything looks simple enough for this phone to look nice and presentable.
The back cover is rugged, giving more friction so that the phone doesn’t easily slip from hand. The rounded bezel makes the phone comfortable to hold as it’s a bit bigger, compared to TCL LX sibling Alcatel TCL A1.
Alcatel’s decision on this particular design makes the phone very ergonomic. At this price, I would say comfort is the priority over presentations.
The rugged back means the phone handles grease and fingerprints with ease. However, it looks like it could catch dust easily. The camera and the flash are located at the top-middle. Other than the camera, the back cover also hosts TCL and Tracfone logo.
There is a micro USB port for charging and data transferring at the bottom part of the phone. Two speakers lie on the left and right of the USB port. I like the choice of design, which makes the bottom part looks symmetrical.
If you’re looking for the headphone jack, you will find it at the top part of the bezel alongside the microphone.
TCL LX is only available in black color. There’s no option for a more bold color. It’s not a big problem for me. Another thing to mention, Alcatel TCL LX has a unibody design.
It means the back cover is non-removable. Customers can find the slot for the SIM card and SD card on the left side. You will need a pin to eject it, which Alcatel includes in the box.
Read also: Alcatel TCL LX A502DL User Manual
In our opinion, this is one of the aspects where TCL LX shines. Getting a 5.34 inch with an 18:9 ratio display at such a low price is definitely a steal. The widescreen provides more comfort when scrolling through apps and using the touch keyboard.
Videos and images appear bigger. Texting or browsing a webpage doesn’t make you squint your eyes to see more clearly. A bigger screen means more convenience.
Now, aside from the size, let’s do an TCL LX review on display quality. TCL LX display has a resolution of 960 x 480 pixels. It’s a 480p screen therefore color depth is only 24-bit.
The screen is quite comfortable to look at, although when compared side by side to a phone with an HD screen, colors come out much less vivid. Pixelated edges on icons or texts appear pronounced on TCL LX. However, it is less noticeable with naked eyes.
The display’s enemy, as it turns out, is actually the sun. Brightness, although it works fine indoor, struggles on a bright sunny day. You’ll need to cover the screen to be able to see things on the screen.
Even with the brightness set at maximum, the display still looks dim. Viewing angle is another case; the display peaks its sharpness only when viewed from the front.
Putting everything into consideration, the quality of TCL LX is comparable to its price, or even I can say it is slightly above expectations size-wise.
With such price, I would expect a 5-inch or even a 4-inch screen, but here we got a 5.34 inch instead. Despite the display that’s less than perfect, the display quality of Alcatel TCL LX is still a value for money.
Moving into the camera, at first I would expect TCL LX comes with a 5 MP camera just like its siblings TCL A1. However, TCL LX gets an upgrade here.
We have an 8 MP camera instead. Alcatel also adds a dedicated light sensor to help the camera captures more light in a dark environment.
The more megapixels and the light sensor improve the picture quality a bit, compared to TCL A1 photo results. Pictures have more details and sharper, especially when zoomed in. However, several problems still occur, such as washed-out pictures in overexposure situations.
Unfortunately there isn’t any upgrade for the front camera. It stays at 2 MP just like on TCL A1. As expected, when compared to TCL A1, selfies just as grainy and comes out with noises, especially in lowlight environment.
But overall it’s a decent camera to suit the occasional selfie need and for video calling. For selfies, to enhance the result you can turn on the beauty mode and screen flash.
Camera hardware aside, camera interface compensate some of TCL LX weaknesses. First, it’s packed with features such as Panorama, Time Lapse, and Light Trace.
Secondly, the camera app is easy to use. Users can access most-used menus such as Flash and Timer by swiping left or right on the edge of the display.
Lastly, the camera app is quite fun. Filters and Instant Collage helps to get more creative results while Social feature lets you share photos on social media directly.
For video, TCL LX provides HD recording with options from 480p to 720p and 10180p. It is a nice feature, especially there’s also an Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) feature to make sure the result comes out less shaky.
TCL LX allows users to add up to 32 GB of external storage. This is good news since TCL LX comes with minimal internal storage capacity.
At only 16 GB, I doubt the phone storage will hold long enough until the notification for full storage starts popping up. Moreover, 16 GB is not the real capacity, as some of the Gigabytes are reserved for System and pre-installed apps.
As mentioned earlier, since this phone has a non-removable back, accessing the slot requires users to pinch a hole on the left side of the phone with a dedicated pin.
Sometimes I found this a hassle, especially when I’m traveling and forget to bring the pin. Another drawback is the allowed capacity that’s only a 32 GB. I found this number is very small even for a cheap phone.
TCL LX runs on 1.1 GHz Mediatek MT6739 processor with 2 GB of RAM. The setup is similar to TCL A1 specification. Therefore, both models work identically performance-wise.
TCL LX also runs without a dedicated graphics processor. It means I have to swallow my dream to play 3D games smoothly on this model. The minimal performance limits gaming experience into light games only.
Mediatek processor mostly powers entry-level phones. Its purpose is limited to day-to-day activities rather than anything heavy-duty. The processor is capable to run essential tasks such as calls, emails, and light apps browsing.
Social media is also handled quite well, although some lags are apparent in “heavier” situations such as when Facebook loads video content.
For multimedia and entertainment, TCL LX performance is acceptable enough. It’s a well-working device for every day’s entertainment. Watching videos such as YouTube and streaming music encounter no significant problems.
Multitasking is where performance starts to suffer. Many apps opening at once could overburden the processor and RAM. Therefore it’s not a surprise when a lag occurs.
The phone gets less responsive when doing plenty of tasks simultaneously. I also feel at some moments, apps take a bit longer to load.
TCL LX multitasking performance is also affected by the fact that from its 2 GB of RAM, only around 1 GB is available for the user. This is because the System has reserved 1 GB of RAM by default.
With 1 GB or actual RAM capacity, it’s no wonder apps, especially the heavy ones, have little room on the RAM to run their tasks properly.
Things get a bit better when looking at TCL LX software. Released with Android 8.1 Oreo, Alcatel TCL LX has one of the latest Android versions available.
The software also comes in its stock version without much alteration from Alcatel, therefore ensuring no-bloatware that could affect the phone’s performance in a bad way.
Android Oreo user interface is lightweight and easy to master. It comes with pre-installed apps such as Gmail and Calendar that lets users do tasks straight away after setting up the phone for the first time.
As for sensors, thankfully, Alcatel didn’t do any cut back in this department. Ambient Light Sensor is available, so users won’t need to adjust my brightness manually.
Meanwhile, the proximity sensor prevents accidental touch input when a call is in progress. The phone also comes with blinking lights for notifications.
One thing TCL LX does well is when it comes to networks. TCL emphasizes this phone as a communication device more than anything (e.g., entertainment or camera phone for photography).
Calls quality is impeccable. The sound comes out clear and loud. When being put on speakerphone, calls don’t lose its quality.
TCL LX supports 4G LTE band and 3G. 2G is still supported too. TCL LX is a GSM phone and only provides a single SIM, which is understandable considering the price.
This phone also supports Wi-Fi connections and can serve as a wireless Mobile Hotspot. Setting it up is as easy as pulling down the notification menu then turn the feature on.
Bluetooth is ready on TCL LX. The version for the Bluetooth is 4.1, it’s not the latest but what’s important here is, it works well. GPS is also on point. Searching location is accurate; however, it’s better to close any other apps before using Google Maps (sometimes Maps goes laggy when too many apps are open).
A 2,460 mAh battery powers TCL LX. Not much, but it’s enough to power a 1.1 GHz processor with an equally minimal 2 GB RAM for a day or two.
Taking consideration of the big display, I wish the battery could be bigger. The bigger screen requires more power; hence, the battery drains fast, especially during outdoor use when the phone needs the maximum brightness.
Alcatel claims that a single full charge can support up to 15 hours of talk time. On standby, the battery could stretch its life up to 290 hours.
For your information, the TCL LX battery is a built-in one. For me personally, I would not mind a non-removable battery since it’s practically the standard nowadays. However, some people might want a phone with removable back for some reason, such as so they can change into a spare battery. It’s another thing to consider.
Is the TCL LX A502DL a good phone?
Taking every point into consideration, my final verdict about TCL LX A502DL review is: It’s definitely worth the 30 dollars.
It’s certainly not the best phone in the market, but if your budget is small and needs a phone that just works, TCL LX fits the requirements. At $29.99, you’ll get a sizable display at 5.34 inch, a decent combo of processor and RAM, and a camera with flash.
Within the same price range, I’d also recommend TCL LX more than other Alcatel products such as TCL A1 ($24.99). Although cheaper, TCL A1 has a smaller screen and a 5 MP-only back camera.
The price difference is not much, just spend $5 more and you’ll get upgraded features. Around this price, there’s also Alcatel MyFlip at $19.99. But MyFlip is a feature phone. I’d say the $10 addition is worth it to get an Android phone.
Pros: good call quality, HD video recording, affordable price
Cons: minimal performance, small expandable storage, small RAM