TCL 10L vs. Moto G Power: Which should you buy?

TCL 10L back
TCL 10L back (Image credit: Hayato Huseman / Android Central)

Moto G Power

Moto G Power

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With speedy performance and 2-3 days of battery life, the Moto G Power is the phone to beat at its price point. It features respectable cameras, useful software, and USB-C charging.

Moto G Power

Best total package

Outstanding battery life
Better cameras
Smoother performance
Moto Actions for quick shortcuts
No NFC
More expensive

TCL 10L

TCL 10L

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The TCL 10L has a huge screen and clean Android 10 software with a customizable shortcut key. It offers great bang-for-your-buck value, especially when it's on sale.

TCL 10L

Best value

Eye-catching gradient finish
NFC for mobile payments
More affordable
Customizable Smart Key
Slower performance
Poor camera quality

Who says good phones need to be expensive?

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CategoryTCL 10LMoto G Power
Operating SystemAndroid 10Android 10
Display6.53 inches, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 2340x1080 (395 ppi) resolution, IPS LCD6.4 inches, 19:9 aspect ratio, 2300x1080 (399 ppi) resolution, IPS LCD
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 665Qualcomm Snapdragon 665
GraphicsAdreno 610Adreno 610
Memory6GB4GB
Storage64GB/128GB64GB
Expandable StoragemicroSDmicroSD
Rear Camera48MP, ƒ/1.8 (wide)
8MP, ƒ/2.2 (ultra-wide)
2MP, ƒ/2.4 (macro)
2MP, ƒ/2.4 (depth)
16MP, ƒ/1.7 (wide)
8MP, ƒ/2.2 (ultra-wide)
2MP, ƒ/2.2 (macro)
Front Camera16MP, ƒ/2.216MP, ƒ/2.0
Securityfingerprint sensor (rear-mounted)fingerprint sensor (rear-mounted)
Headphone jackYesYes
Battery4000mAh5000mAh
Dimensions162.2 x 75.6 x 8.4mm159.9 x 75.8 x 9.6mm
Weight180g199g

You won't find an ultra-premium metal or glass design on either of these phones — and at this price range, that's perfectly fine. Both phones are still well-built with sturdy plastic bodies that come with the added bonus of being less fragile in case of drops and other damage.

Most consumers shopping in the sub-$300 range will be happy with either phone.

If nothing else, the TCL 10L is more eye-catching with its Mariana Blue gradient finish, which shines in a variety of colors depending on the angle you look at it from, but neither phone is going to win any design awards. You'll get a rear fingerprint sensor on each, along with a series of cameras — three in the Moto G Power, and four in the TCL 10L.

One perk of the 10L's hardware is the addition of a customizable Smart Key that you can set to launch various apps and shortcuts with a single, double, or long press. The Moto G Power has its own quick shortcuts built into the software by means of Moto Actions, which lets you chop your phone in mid-air to toggle the flashlight or twist it in your wrist to launch the camera.

The Moto G Power's biggest advantage over the 10L is right in its name. With a massive 5,000mAh battery, it has more than enough power to last you through a full day of regular usage and even well into the next day. The 10L doesn't trail too far behind with a 4,000mAh capacity, but it certainly won't outlast the Moto G Power. Thankfully, both phones can be recharged via USB-C when the time comes.

The 10L also features NFC, which can be used for mobile payments and quickly pairing to supported Bluetooth headsets. Despite being such a low-cost component, Motorola has long excluded NFC from its budget-friendly phones, which means you won't be able to use Google Pay on the Moto G Power for anything beyond simple money management.

When it comes to software, both TCL and Motorola tread lightly when it comes to tweaking the out-of-box Android experience — and that's a great thing. The Android 10 experience on both the Moto G Power and TCL 10L is incredibly clean, with few pre-installed apps or unnecessary services. I'm perfectly content with the software on both phones, though performance is a different story.

Moto G Power

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Despite sharing the same Snapdragon 665 processor, the Moto G Power exhibits considerably less lag. Neither is unusably slow, but the 10L noticeably struggles to keep up at times, particularly when you're running multiple apps in the background.

The Moto G Power's combination of great battery life, clean software, and good cameras is hard to beat.

The TCL 10L also lags behind in the camera department. You shouldn't expect miracles from either phone's cameras, but the Moto G Power takes surprisingly decent shots between its 16MP primary camera, 2MP macro camera, and 8MP ultra-wide, each exhibiting respectable levels of detail and mostly natural-looking colors.

By comparison, shots from the 10L's 48MP main sensor are much softer, with cartoon-y colors and difficulty when dealing with differing exposure levels in a shot. Things get significantly worse when you switch to the ultra-wide, whose photos are even softer, and neither the 2MP macro nor the 2MP depth sensor do much to help the 10L in the imaging department.

Bottom line

Most consumers shopping in the sub-$300 range will be happy with either phone. I think the Moto G Power offers the more complete overall package, with better battery life, performance, and cameras, but the TCL 10L has a lot going for it as well. The design is a bit more eye-catching, the inclusion of NFC means that you can tap your phone on payment terminals for contactless transactions with Google Pay, and — best of all — it's more affordable, thanks to recent sales.

Of course, sales don't generally last forever, and at the same base price of $250, I don't see much reason not to grab the Moto G Power. But for now, the TCL 10L is an unbeatable deal with both solid hardware and clean software. It's a no-brainer.