Mobile

TCL debuts the cheapest Verizon high-speed 5G phone yet

The TCL 30 V 5G will be able to access Verizon's new C-band 5G network.

The TCL 30 V 5G smartphone.
TCL

TCL's next 5G smartphone is now available for $300, a price that makes it the cheapest device that can access the new C-band spectrum of Verizon's high-speed 5G network.

The TCL 30 V 5G was first revealed at CES 2022, but more details make it clear how much of a value this phone might be, with the device packing midrange specs and features at a budget price. Sold only by Verizon in its stores and on its website, the phone can access the carrier's Ultra Wideband 5G network, getting millimeter wave speeds potentially reaching over 1Gbps, and more coverage from the newly launched C-band 5G spectrum.

On paper, the TCL 30 V 5G has a lot to offer for the price, with a 6.67-inch Full HD Plus LCD display. Assuming the display is as sharp and clear as screens on the brand's other phones and TVs, I expect it to give the gadget an edge over other budget phones, though there's plenty of competition among the best phones for $300 or less.

The 30 V 5G's specs look boilerplate for a 5G phone, with a Snapdragon 480 5G chipset, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, which is expandable to up to 1TB via Micro SD card. The 4,500mAh battery is large enough to likely last through a full day of use, though its 18W maximum charging is lackluster (TCL says it'll take less than two hours to fully recharge the phone). It can reverse charge other devices, too, though you'll need to link both by a proprietary cable.

The device ships with last year's Android 11 in the box, and will get upgraded to the latest Android 12 operating system version later in 2022. TCL also confirmed that it will only get this one upgrade, so don't expect your TCL 30 V 5G to get Android 13 – and while it's common for phonemakers to only give budget devices a single OS upgrade, it's still disappointing.

The phone packs a respectable rear camera array, with a 50-megapixel main shooter paired with a 5-megapixel super wide camera, as well as a 2-megapixel macro lens for up-close shots. It also has a 16-megapixel front-facing camera nestled in a hole-punch in the middle of the display, which is a premium touch for the affordable phone. 

The TCL 30 V 5G is one of eight phones in the TCL 30-series of handsets, but aside from the lower-spec'd TCL 30 XE 5G phone also unveiled at CES 2022, the company hasn't revealed the rest of the lineup. It's possible we'll see more debut at Mobile World Congress 2022 next month, which is typically when phone makers start showing off their handsets.