TCL 505 Review – A Budget Phone That Packs a Punch (and a Few Surprises!)

TCL 505

7.5

7.5/10

When it comes to budget smartphones, expectations are often modest. However, the TCL 505 aims to defy those low expectations with a package that offers a bit more than you might anticipate. In this detailed review, we’ll dissect its design, performance, camera capabilities, battery life, and more to see if it truly stands out in the crowded budget smartphone market.

Design and Build Quality: Sleek Simplicity

The TCL 505 doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel with its design, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s sleek, straightforward, and feels good in the hand. The plastic back and frame are typical for this price range, but they don’t feel cheap. The matte finish helps resist fingerprints and offers a bit of grip.

At 186 grams, it’s neither too heavy nor too light, striking a good balance for daily use. The buttons are well-placed and tactile, adding to the overall solid build quality. While it might not turn heads, the TCL 505’s design is practical and user-friendly, which is what you want in a budget device.

Display: Pleasantly Surprising

One of the standout features of the TCL 505 is its display. The 6.22-inch HD+ screen is vibrant and crisp, offering more than adequate clarity for its price. TCL’s NXTVISION technology enhances colours and contrasts, making media consumption a surprisingly enjoyable experience.

The resolution of 720 x 1520 pixels might not be the sharpest, but for everyday tasks like browsing, social media, and streaming, it’s more than sufficient. Brightness levels are decent, though direct sunlight visibility can be a challenge. Overall, the display punches above its weight in this price bracket.

Performance: Efficient and Reliable

Powered by a quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, the TCL 505 isn’t a powerhouse, but it handles basic tasks with ease. Navigating the UI, browsing the web, and running light apps are generally smooth experiences. However, don’t expect to play graphic-intensive games or run multiple heavy apps simultaneously without some lag.

The phone runs on Android 11 Go Edition, which is optimized for budget devices. This streamlined version of Android ensures better performance and efficiency, making the most of the hardware constraints. It’s a sensible choice that enhances the overall user experience.

TCL 505 Review - A Budget Phone That Packs a Punch (and a Few Surprises!)

Camera: Decent for the Price

The TCL 505 comes with a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP front camera. In good lighting conditions, the rear camera can capture decent photos with acceptable detail and colour accuracy. It struggles in low light, which is expected at this price point, but overall, it’s capable of taking social media-worthy shots.

The front camera is adequate for selfies and video calls, though it tends to produce softer images. Camera features are basic but functional, including HDR, panorama, and AI scene detection, which help elevate the photography experience slightly.

Battery Life: Reliable Endurance

One of the strong suits of the TCL 505 is its battery life. The 4000mAh battery is more than enough to get you through a full day of moderate use. Whether you’re streaming videos, browsing the web, or making calls, the TCL 505 won’t leave you scrambling for a charger before the day is out.

Charging, however, is a bit slow, as it lacks fast charging capabilities. It takes a couple of hours to go from empty to full, so it’s best to charge it overnight. But given its impressive endurance, this is a minor inconvenience.

Software and Features: Simple and Intuitive

The TCL 505’s Android 11 Go Edition offers a clean and intuitive interface. It comes with fewer pre-installed apps, which means more storage space and a less cluttered experience. The Go Edition apps are optimized for performance and take up less space, ensuring that the phone runs smoothly even with its modest specs.

TCL has included some useful features, such as face unlock, which works reliably and adds a layer of convenience. There’s no fingerprint sensor, but at this price, that’s an understandable omission.

Connectivity and Audio: Basic but Functional

In terms of connectivity, the TCL 505 covers the basics with 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, and GPS. Call quality is good, with clear audio and stable connections. The single speaker at the bottom is loud enough for calls and casual media consumption but lacks depth and richness for music lovers.

There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is always a welcome feature in budget smartphones. It provides decent audio quality for wired headphones, making it a practical choice for those who prefer this traditional option.

Value for Money: Impressive Bang for Your Buck

At its price point, the TCL 505 offers a lot of value. It’s not without its limitations, but it provides a solid smartphone experience without breaking the bank. The display, battery life, and overall build quality are highlights that make it stand out among budget competitors.

For those who need a reliable, straightforward smartphone for everyday use, the TCL 505 is a compelling option. It strikes a good balance between performance, features, and price, making it an attractive choice for budget-conscious consumers.

Final Verdict: A Budget Phone That Delivers

The TCL 505 isn’t trying to be something it’s not. It’s a budget smartphone that delivers on the essentials while offering a few pleasant surprises along the way. Its solid design, decent display, reliable battery life, and user-friendly software make it a strong contender in its category.

Score: 7.5/10

The TCL 505 earns a respectable 7.5 out of 10. It’s a dependable budget phone that offers good value for money, with enough features to keep most users satisfied. While it has its limitations, it performs admirably within its constraints, making it a smart choice for those looking for an affordable and reliable smartphone.

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