TCL just announced 5 budget-friendly phones at MWC 2024 — what you need to know

tcl 50 series smartphone in black
(Image credit: TCL)

If you’re going to be looking for a cheap phone at some point in the near future, then TCL has a bunch of low-cost phones on the way. While the company may not have the same brand recognition as the rest of our best cheap phones list, they have released phones that are more than adequate.

TCL has just launched a bunch of its new ‘50 series’ smartphones at MWC 2024. 5 of those phones will be coming to the U.S. and every single one of them costs less than $250. Which is perfect if you’re tired of the ever-increasing prices of the best Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and Google Pixel 8 Pro.

Those prices do come with some sacrifices, so don’t expect the latest and best mobile technology or generative AI in any of these handsets. But TCL told me that they’re currently interested in two things: bringing low-cost 5G to the masses, and offering a more eye-friendly experience with its NXTPAPER technology.

The first phone to arrive will be the TCL 50 XL 5G, which will be released in Q2 2024 at Metro by T-Mobile for the low price of $159. This phone has a 6.78-inch display rocking FHD resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate, alongside a triple-lens camera system consisting of a 50MP main lens, 5MP ultrawide and 2MP depth lens — plus an 8MP selfie camera. Inside is 128GB of storage, 6GB of RAM, microSD card support up to 2TB and a 5,010 mAh battery that supports 18W charging speeds.

That phone will also be joined by the TCL 50 XL NXTPAPER 5G, which is the same phone rocking TCL’s NXTPAPER 3.0 display — something that hasn’t arrived in North America just yet. TCL’s goal with NXTPAPER is to offer a screen that blends refresh rate and performance with eye-comfort. That means you get a matte display that doesn’t reflect light, and offers a reading experience akin to what you’d find on an e-reader — albeit not made with e-ink. The TCL 50 XL NXTPAPER 5G arrives in Q3 2024 at TCL.com, priced at $229.

Also coming in Q3 are the TCL 50 XE 5G and the TCL 50 XE NXTPAPER 5G, which will cost $149 and $199 respectively. Both phones come with a 6.6-inch HD display, a 90Hz refresh rate, an 8MP selfie camera and a dual-lens camera featuring 50MP main lens and 5MP ultra-wide. Inside is 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, a Dimensity 6100 chipset and a 5,010 mAH battery — plus 18W charging. 

Finally comes the ultra-cheap option in the form of the TCL 50 LE. This phone will be priced around $99, and will be arriving at an unspecified point later this year. Further details on that phone haven’t been announced yet, though considering the price tag we will likely see a phone with very bare-bones specs.

There’s plenty more going on at MWC 2024, and be sure to check out our ongoing coverage for all the best news and announcements from the show.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.