TCL made Verizon a $400 5G tablet

Tablets with built-in 5G aren't exactly common yet, never mind affordable ones, which is something the TCL TAB Pro 5G seems determined to address while there's a gap in the market. Announced today, the 10.36-inch Android tablet plays nicely with Verizon's Sub-6 and mmWave flavors of 5G network.

The carrier is selling the TAB Pro 5G for $399.99, which is unexpectedly low considering an iPad mini 5G starts at $649 (and doesn't even get you mmWave support in the process). Of course, as you might expect, TCL trims some of the specs back to hit that price tag.

So, the display runs at 1200 x 2000 FHD+ resolution, with a 60Hz refresh rate, and uses an LCD panel rather than OLED. You do still get features like adaptive brightness, a reading mode, and an "eye comfort mode" which adjusts the screen settings accordion got ambient conditions to avoid eye strain, along with SDR-to-HDR upscaling for lower-quality source videos.

Inside, there's a Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G chipset, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage; up to 44GB of that is user-accessible. A microSD slot can handle up to 1TB cards.

Along with 5G, there's WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, and a USB-C port. No 3.5mm headphone jack, sadly, though TCL includes an adapter for the USB-C port.

A fingerprint sensor is on the side, alongside the volume and power buttons, and there's face unlock support in Android 11, too. A 13-megapixel autofocus camera is on the back, with support for up to 1080p 30fps video capture. The front camera is an 8-megapixel sensor with autofocus, and the same video capture options.

What might be most impressive, bar the price, is the battery. The TAB Pro 5G may only weigh just north of a pound, but TCL still managed to squeeze in an 8,000 mAh battery. It supports up to 17 hours of mixed use, the company claims, or up to 25 days of LTE standby. A full charge takes about 4 hours with the 18W fast charger.

While Android on tablets hasn't exactly been the complete success that Google – and its device partners – might have hoped it would be, one potential saving grace for the TCL TAB Pro 5G is its secondary use-case as a mobile hotspot. It can support sharing its 4G/5G connection with up to 10 devices via WiFi, with the beefy battery likely keeping that going for some time.

There's also wired reverse charging support, for using the tablet as a portable power pack for topping up other devices.