the TCL 30 Z

TCL 30 Z brings Android 12 to a sub-$100 phone

At $90, the TCL 30 Z will be one of the cheapest Android 12 phones out there, and in the US it’s coming to AT&T and Cricket.

While the phone is certainly in the budget phone price range, it sports a 6.1-inch 720-pixel display, an 8-megapixel main camera, a 5-megapixel selfie camera, and an included headphone jack. However, it has a 3,000mAh battery, which is smaller than the 5,000mAh we see on rivals that costs a little more, and it uses an antiquated micro-USB connector. TCL says the battery should last 24 hours on a charge. But that latter micro-USB port is a bit odd considering most Android phones and wireless headphones, even budget ones, now use USB-C for charging.

The price is the highlight here, though, and the phone can be had for significantly less than the $90 retail price, depending on which cellular plan you choose. Cricket, AT&T’s prepaid wireless arm, is offering the phone at no additional cost to new and existing customers who bring their own number and activate a $60-per-month plan. For customers upgrading their phone or needing a new number, the phone costs $30 (although fees may be included) with a minimum plan of $30 per month.

the TCL 30 Z

The 30 Z is TCL’s first branded smartphone at AT&T and Cricket.


The TCL 30 Z is also equipped with a MediaTek Helio A22 chipset, a quad-core processor and 3GB of RAM.

The phone also packs 32GB of storage, which is small but expandable up to 512GB with a microSD card.

TCL’s 30 Z comes about a month after the company’s debut under $300 Stylus 5G, which, as the name suggests, includes both a stylus and 5G capabilities, starting at $258. We don’t yet have a software and security update schedule for the 30 Z, but the Stylus 5G came with a commitment to a software update and two years of security updates.

That’s on the short side compared to Samsung and Motorola, but it might be a compromise some people want in exchange for cheaper hardware.

See also: Best phone under $200 for 2022: Cheaper picks for the essentials

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