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Hands On with the TCL 50 XE NXTPAPER 5G

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Jun 12, 2024, 10:41 AM   by Rich Brome

TCL has been showing off prototype phones with its "NXTPAPER" matte-display technology for a while now, but now one is actually going on sale in the US. The TCL 50 XE 5G comes in two flavors: with or without the NXTPAPER display. The display is the only difference, so this hands-on also applies to the TCL 50 XE 5G. The model with the regular display was just launched on Verizon Prepaid, while the NXTPAPER version is sold unlocked by TCL. So, what's the phone like in person? What's the NXTPAPER display like? Read on for our impressions.


The 50 XE seems like a fairly standard affordable 5G phone. The back looks and feels nice. It's a large phone, but feels solid. The side buttons a bit small and placed a little high on the phone for smaller hands, but they work well enough.


It has a 3.5mm headset jack and through this it supports FM radio. I appreciate that NFC (for tap payments) and a fingerprint reader are included.


TCL's version of Android 14 is mostly standard, but it has been tweaked a bit. As a purist, I get annoyed by the seemingly arbitrary way the notification shade does a little bounce when you swipe down from the top of the screen. But it all works well enough.



The NXTPAPER and regular versions of the 50 XE are identical save the display. Verizon is offering the standard version; I wish they were offering the NXTPAPER version.

I really like this matte display. I'm not 100% sold on all the special technology TCL claims goes into NXTPAPER beyond the matte texture. To me, it's just a regular display with a matte finish. But for me, that's enough.

You wouldn't mistake this display for paper as TCL claims. But the matte texture looks nice, feels nice, and somehow doesn't blur the image they way you might assume it would; details still look sharp.

I wish US carriers would get on board and start offering phones with matte displays. Too many phones all look the same today. You'd think carriers would be desperate for something different... anything; I know I am. But this isn't just different... it's better.

About the author, Rich Brome:

Editor in Chief Rich became fascinated with cell phones in 1999, creating mobile web sites for phones with tiny black-and-white displays and obsessing over new phone models. Realizing a need for better info about phones, he started Phone Scoop in 2001, and has been helming the site ever since. Rich has spent two decades researching and covering every detail of the phone industry, traveling the world to tour factories, interview CEOs, and get every last spec and photo Phone Scoop readers have come to expect. As an industry veteran, Rich is a respected voice on phone technology of the past, present, and future.


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