Deciding to leverage its expertise in display technology, TCL will enter the mobile phone business with its first phone, the high-featured but low-priced PLEX. The phone is due to go on sale in Asia and Europe in October for just €329, and according to a TCL spokesperson, the PLEX will appear in the U.S. sometime during the first half of next year.
PLEX’s relatively low price belies its feature set. Powered by a Snapdragon 675 engine running Android Pie and TCL’s own overlay UI, PLEX features a 6.53-inch FHD LCD display, a 24MP selfie camera and a rear f1.8 48MP Sony sensor tri-lens camera bracketed by twin flashes. PLEX’s camera array includes a second f2.4 16MP wide 123-degree sensor, along with Super Night Mode enabled by large 2.9µm pixels to provide enhanced detail in as little as 1 lux low light, and can capture 960 frame per second slow motion.
“We didn’t want to do just another cell phone,” noted Stefan Strait, GM of marketing for TCL mobile. Strait noted the need for a display-first phone from a TV maker considering that 79 percent of mobile data traffic will be used for watching videos by 2022, according to the company.
PLEX’s display will be enhanced by the company’s NXTVISION technology, a mix of hardware, software and AI to enhance the image. These screen enhancements include what Strait called 6-axis color and 2D edge enhancement, along with Adaptive Tone to adjust color and brightness automatically to the viewing environment. Perhaps PLEX’s most impressive advancement is its ability to transform SDR video into higher-contrast HDR.
Under PLEX’s hood is 6GB of RAM and 128GB for personal storage expandable via a microSD slot, a 3,820 mAh battery that supports 18W fast charging, and Bluetooth 5.0 able to pair up to four devices at one time. For A/V, the phone includes TCL’s T-Cast app to control the company’s TVs, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack. PLEX will be available in either Obsidian Black or Opal White.