Buying a new device on a budget takes hard work. This TCL Signa review should help you with any queries. Save your effort with our review.
The TCL Signa smartphone was released in September 2020. These days, quality budget phones are hard to come by. A majority of them have attractive price points, but do they guarantee reliable performance?
Take a look at the TCL Signa smartphone, for example. The device has a modest-looking exterior reminiscent of most standard stock phones. It contains all the essentials for a primary phone to function.
The question is, does the phone live up to its specifications? Concerns may arise when thinking about purchasing this device or not.
But we believe that there are always good things to talk about. Let us help you provide the answers you require. Take a look at our TCL Signa review for more complete details.
TCL Signa specifications:
- Weight: 160g
- Dimensions: 146.3 x 71.1 x 9.4mm
- OS: Android 10
- Screen size: 5.5-inch
- Resolution: 1440 x 720
- CPU: 1.9GHz Quad-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon 429
- RAM: 2GB
- Storage: 16GB
- Battery: 3,000mAh, Non-removable
- Rear camera: 8MP
- Front camera: 5MP
The TCL Signa has a design that is reminiscent of smartphones made in the past few years. It’s not the most stunning-looking, but it is decent enough for a phone at this low price point. While the design does not live up to premium standards, it doesn’t look too cheap either. Unfortunately, the phone is only available in black color. Users who are looking for an assortment of colors might not be pleased by the monotonous tone.
The front side features the display screen cornered by bezels. The right and left bezels are not razor-sharp slim, but they are on the thinner side. However, the top and bottom bezels are thicker in size. The top bezel stores the front-facing camera and the earpiece.
The smartphone’s back cover features a rear camera, LED Flash, and backfiring speakers. The setup is located on the top left side of the phone. This camera position replicates popular smartphones that are following the same camera placement trend.
The rest of the sides are kept simple. There are buttons for volume controls, power, and Google Assistant. Most of the phone components are made entirely out of plastic, giving a fragile feel. A high level of durability is something users shouldn’t expect when purchasing this device.
The TCL Signa has a 5.5-inch display screen for users to enjoy. For a budget phone, the screen is slightly on the larger side. It has an 18:9 aspect ratio that stretches the visuals for a broader viewing experience. A nice touch that developers have included in the display screen is Adaptive Brightness. We can keep staring at the screen without straining our eyes due to excessive light.
Regarding the display’s screen quality, it comes with a resolution of 1440 x 720. The resolution maximizes the screen HD+ feature. High Definition Plus has garnered some positive attention for guaranteeing vibrant colors and richer tones. It’s an excellent combination to provide pleasurable phone usage.
The smartphone uses capacitive touch technology for its display screen. What this means is that the touchscreen-only responds to direct fingertip or skin contact. Capacitive touch technology usually uses glass to build the screen. Since it only works with finger touches, the display screen will not respond to unconventional styluses or fabrics.
Developers have chosen a Dragontrail glass to give the display screen a nice layer. The brand of protective glass is heated over the molten tin to provide it with girth and strength. The added particles make sure that the display screen can endure accidental scratches or drops.
Read also: TCL Signa User Manual
The TCL Signa has an 8MP rear camera and a 5MP front-facing camera. Both cameras have adequate megapixels that can still do some justice to our shots. However, they’re not the most impressive quality that we can have. The low megapixels can draw some negative responses since a smartphone’s central selling point is its cameras.
The smartphone’s 8MP rear camera comes with LED Flash. This feature comes in handy when taking shots under minimal light. There’s also an Auto-Focus tool that automatically focuses on one subject to another. For fans of High Definition Resolution, we can depend on the rear camera for that.
Meanwhile, the 5MP front-facing camera has LCD Flash. This flash extensively works well if we have to take selfies in dark rooms. Similar to the rear camera, the front-facing camera has a focus feature as well. Unfortunately, there are not many photography options to enhance our selfie game. We’ll have to settle for an average selfie shot.
As video-recording goes, the rear camera can record videos up to 1080p. As for the front-facing camera, it can record up to 720p. Surprisingly, the rear camera also has Pro mode, which lets us manually alter our photography modes. We can fine-tune shutter speeds and focus on getting the picture we want.
The TCL Signa comes with an internal user memory of up to 16GB. Unfortunately, only 8.5GB is accessible by users. The decrease of internal storage space is a common issue with most smartphones. The reason for this is because smartphones are pre-installed with bloatware. With the operating system taking up space, we’ll need to find another solution.
To our luck, the phone allows users to expand the phone’s memory with a microSD card. We’ll need to purchase it separately as microSD cards are not included with the phone. The smartphone accommodates expandable memory of up to 256GB, which is extraordinary.
The TCL Signa uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 429 to operate the phone’s performance. Regarding its hardware, it’s not the most impressive chipset that we could find. The average performance doesn’t come surprisingly, considering the phone’s low price point. Still, the processor manages to deliver adequate performance. Just don’t expect hyper-smooth visuals and interactions.
The Quad-core chipset runs on a CPU Clock speed of 1.9GHz and guarantees efficient battery usage. The phone promises not to lose battery capacity at a fast rate and maintains advanced computing. There might not be any significant features that sweep us off our feet. However, it gives the smartphone enough drive to function as a budget device.
Our TCL Signa review takes into account the smartphone’s 2GB RAM. Short for Random Access Memory, RAM is an integral part of a device. It stores temporary data when we are using apps on our phones. The more RAM we have on our phones, the more room the device has to breathe.
As mentioned before, the TCL Signa has a RAM of 2GB. This generation of modern smartphones requires at least 2.5GB of RAM to operate freely. Having 2GB is simply the bare minimum. The phone can still function smoothly, but do expect some crashes when opening multiple apps simultaneously.
Developers have installed the TCL Signa with an Android 10 Operating System (OS). The OS boasts a couple of trademark features that enrich our phone experience. There is a Google Assistant button that can provide immediate help for our daily needs. To make sure that we don’t use our phone too much, we have a Digital Wellbeing Dashboard.
However, some of these features don’t get updated promptly. Sometimes we have to wait for specific long periods until an update becomes available. Users who have depended on gestures might encounter some troubles with this OS. Some gestures do not sync well with certain phone features.
The TCL Signa has multiple sensors included in the device. A proximity sensor, located near the front-facing camera, prevents accidental touches on the screen. Meanwhile, the accelerometer keeps track of the user’s steps and speed. It’s also the sensor that turns the phone from vertical to horizontal mode.
There are other sensors installed, such as the GPS, E-Compass, and Light sensors. However, one sensor we can optimize is the face unlock sensor. The feature lets us open the phone without the trouble of typing in our pins. However, considering the OS flaw with its gesture feature, face unlock will require extra configuration.
The TCL Signa can retrieve network coverage up to 4G LTE. Users should be able to attain signals for other networks. Whether it’s 4G, 3G, or UMTS, the network range is pretty decent. There’s also a Direct Wi-Fi option for those who wish to save up on data connection. It’ll be hard to miss out on free Wi-Fi networks around the area.
On the other hand, our friends might have to rely on our data connection to browse the Internet. We can turn the phone into a functional Mobile Hotspot to share our data connection with others. Meanwhile, to listen to our music wirelessly, we can turn on the phone’s Bluetooth version 4.2.
The TCL Signa has a huge battery capacity of up to 3,000mAh. The battery has enough juice for the phone to be left on standby for 14 days. In other words, the phone lasts up to 29 hours if we use it for calls, browsing, and watching videos.
It’s more than enough juice for our daily needs. But if we ever need to stay cautious of low battery levels, no worries. We have Battery Save mode to make sure the battery doesn’t run out quickly. Unfortunately, the phone doesn’t come included with Fast Charge. It will require up to 2.2 hours for a full charge.
Is the TCL Signa a good phone?
The TCL Signa is something users would expect from a budget phone. It has all the necessary technology that makes it a smartphone. However, there’s not much to be desired. There are a few details that we appreciate after concluding our TCL Signa review. Some recognition should be given to its LCD Flash and Battery Saver mode.
Selling at a retail price of $80, users get what they pay for. The phone is within the low-range area, so again, there are no significant impressions. It’s advisable to splurge a bit more for something with more character. But if you just need a functional phone to get through your day, this device is it.
TCL Signa Pros
- HD+ display screen
- Huge expandable memory
- Long-lasting battery
TCL Signa Cons
- Low camera megapixels
- Small internal storage
- Lackluster performance