TCL’s 20 series smartphones are an indication of the ability to pack great features into an affordable device without a crazy compromise in quality. After Dan’s look at the TCL 20 5G yesterday, I’m taking a look at my time with the more affordable 20 Series device in my TCL 20 SE review.

Everything about the TCL 20 SE is paired back from its series siblings, but only in the most incremental way, as you’d expect. However, the TCL 20 SE has the biggest screen of the three. A 6.82 inch “V Notch” display, which in TCL terms means the front-facing camera is not entirely surrounded by screen, instead the top of the phone blends into the camera – like we’ve seen on the majority of front-facing “notch” cameras, however on the TCL 20 L+ and 5G models it’s a “dotch” where the Camera is a holepunch in the display.

Around the back the design follows the cues set by the 5G model also, with a dualtone strip running vertically along the entire device overlapping the now vertical camera island. This very dark grey colour is the only option on the base model but it’s gloss finish gives it an utterly premium look.

There’s a small circle on the back in the centre up top where the fingerprint sensor sits. This placement also differs to the L+ and 5G models in the 20 Series lineup, but in many ways it’s a more convenient location so it hardly feels like a compromise.

And all of this is powered by a 5,000mAh battery, giving well more than a full day performance.

While there is no wireless charging in the TCL 20 series, the TCL 20 SE (and the rest of the range) is capable of 18W fast charging.

Like Dan’s experience with the 5G, I disabled the Google Assistant button on the side of the device, I just don’t see the need for Google Assistant in day to day use, so the button was triggering the response more often than I needed it.

While the TCL 20 SE clearly has the slowest processor of the three phones, with the Snapdragon 460, it doesn’t leave you wanting in normal tasks. Apps load fast, it all works great, and I wasn’t walking around frustrated with the performance at any stage.

What really matters to most people is the camera. I’m taking photos every day right? This camera has to be amazing!

But in reality, buying a smartphone for $1500 or $2400 with the best cameras on the market is like buying a Nikon SLR camera 15 years ago when all you needed was a compact point and shoot. You’re not using half of the features.

The quad-camera system here gives you the ability to achieve great photos. Take a look for yourself.

Any one of those photos posted to Instagram would get likes, there’s nothing wrong with them, in fact they’re as good as any I’ve taken with other devices.

For me it’s staggering to think all this is possible for $299.

The TCL 20 SE is on sale this week at Officeworks.