The TCL TAB 10S 2022 Wants to Do More, I Can Feel It

The TCL TAB 10S 2022 Wants to Do More, I Can Feel It
Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Tablets are a weird market. Though there are plenty of expensive and capable tablets out there from Apple and Samsung, the market is mostly made up of cheaper, less powerful devices from smaller companies. While these products have less features, they fill the role of “What if phone screen but big” quite well – because that’s all they need to do. Beyond this, tablets tend to be more expensive to justify more expensive applications (like for graphic design and high definition streaming).

The TCL TAB 10S 2022, TCL’s first tablet in Australia, is very much a cheap, less powerful tablet, perfect for pulling off the bigger screen capabilities that a basics-only tablet would need to. Anything beyond that and you’re out of its scope.

This tablet is not made for art or productivity, it’s made to be your phone but big. That’s not a bad thing, but I reckon TCL can start thinking bigger, considering their reputation for making powerful cheap devices. Here’s our review of the TCL TAB 10S 2022.

TCL TAB 10S 2022

WHAT IS IT?

The first TCL tablet in Australia

PRICE

$399

LIKE

Big screen, nice visuals, low price

NO LIKE

Doesn’t do anything beyond basic stuff well

TCL’s tablet is good, but it’s rough

I love TCL’s phones – they’re cheap and do above and beyond what you’d expect a phone at their price point to do, but I can’t really say the same about this tablet. TCL’s impressive NXTVISION screen technology is present in this tablet, making for a pretty good viewing experience, providing a 1200×1920 resolution with a 60hz refresh rate and a 224 pixel density on an IPS LCD display.

My time with the TCL TAB 10S 2022 was mostly spent doing the good stuff. Watching Netflix and Disney+ on this device made for a great viewing experience. Although its speakers aren’t the best, it had no problem with my bluetooth headphones.

The 8MP camera on the back is also nice for the price, as is the selfie camera, which I used for a few video calls. It also comes with 64GB storage, a PowerVR GE8320 GPU and a Mediatek MT8768 processor. Battery performance was also satisfying, lasting me days on end on standby with 8,000mAh capacity.

TCL TAB 10S 2022
Photo taken with the tablet’s rear camera. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

On the software side, though there’s some bloatware included, the tablet handles downloads, app transitioning and app performance fairly well. Like with other cheap TCL products, it only starts to slow down once you put pressure on it, such as if you’ve got apps or downloads running in the background.

Unfortunately, this is where the compliments end in our TCL TAB 10S 2022 review. Although it handles the basics well, it’ll disappoint if you start asking more from it, often freezing up when more than a few apps are open. Multitasking is a concept absent from the TCL TAB 10S 2022, as it’s just not powerful enough for it.

The TCL TAB 10S 2022 sells itself a bit forward

There’s a really good way that I can describe this device’s shortcomings through a simple feature and for that, I need to talk about the stylus pen that this thing comes with. Time to hyper-fixate.

Usually, when a tablet offers stylus integration or comes with a smart pen, it’s because the tablet supports smart pen integration with a range of inputs depending on angle or pressure. A simple stylus is usually included to compensate for when the screen is too small for the user (like with the Nintendo DS), but it’s largely unnecessary on a tablet.

The TCL TAB 10S 2022 doesn’t offer any worthwhile integration, instead offering only a dinky little stylus (aesthetically looking deceivingly like a smart pen) that’s just unnecessary to use. I tried this thing out with writing some lists and drawing some stuff, but it’s genuinely a non-feature.

I don’t know why they included this pen. It simply doesn’t work effectively enough to justify using, with the screen often not registering its inputs. I almost see it as misleading that TCL would include a pen, when Samsung’s A-series tablets are widely known for not only excluding smart pens but also not including smart pen integration.

I think this speaks to the rest of the device quite well – TCL knows very well what the market demands from a tablet; a big screen for when a phone screen won’t cut it. Instead of simply being that, the TCL TAB 10S 2022 lets on that it’s more powerful than it actually is, by including this stylus and its signature NXTVISION screen tech (which although is impressive, it’s let down by underwhelming internal specs).

While we’re on gripes – the back of this tablet, for some reason, is a really coarse and unpleasant texture, almost like a vinyl chalkboard. My theory is that this is to incentivise keeping the device in the provided case, which functions like an iPad magic case, allowing for a standing feature when folded on its back.

TCL Tab 10S 2022
Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

This thing can be more powerful, I can feel it

I know TCL will release more powerful tablets than the TCL TAB 10S 2022 in the future, but for now this review is, unfortunately, a disappointing experience. The impression I have of TCL is that they like to make a cheap device powerful and that’s unfortunately not the case here.

TCL’s more than capable of manufacturing a tablet that delivers on the features you’d want from it, although for now, this tablet simply fits into a niche of being one of the cheapest available in Australia.

The price is a good reason to buy this tablet, if for some reason you want a cheap one, although considering the applications of a tablet, I’m not sure why you’d want to veer on the cheaper side of things. When a new iPad is $499 for the same functionality and more (at just a $100 markup) I don’t know why you’d get this instead.

Despite all of this, I’m looking forward to what TCL will offer in the future.

This article has been updated since it was originally published. Originally I wrote the price as $249, but it’s actually $399.