The entry-level smartphone market in India is one of the most popular category and going through intense competition, with each brand trying to capture some portion of the market share. Tecno is one of the new brands trying to leave a footprint with Tecno Camon i entry-level smartphone priced at Rs. 8,999. The Tecno brand is owned by Transsion Holdings which also manages brands such as Itel, Infinix and Spice names. The company is also offering a "1 Time Screen replacement" with the device which is unheard of, for entry-level devices. We have used Tecno Camon i review unit for more than two weeks and this review is based on our experience during that period.
Tecno Camon i specifications
- Display: 5.65-inch HD+ (1440 x 720 pixels) 18:9 2.5D curved glass display
- CPU: 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737 processor with Mali-T720 GPU
- RAM: 3GB
- Storage: 32GB, expandable up to 128GB with microSD (dedicated slot)
- Misc: Dual SIM, FM Radio, Fingerprint sensor
- OS: Android 7.0 (Nougat) with HiOS
- Main Camera: 13MP with quad-LED Flash, f/2.0 aperture, 5P lens
- Front Camera: 13MP with LED flash, f/2.0 aperture, 80-degree wide-angle lens
- Dimensions: 152.2 x 71.7 x 7.75 mm
- Weight: 134g
- Connectivity: 4G VoLTE, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS
- Battery: 3050mAh
Design and Build Quality
In terms of design and build quality, the phone does look premium with black metallic colour giving a feel of metal, though it is actually made of plastic. If you follow smartphones, then just by looking at the back you will know that it looks exactly like Vivo V5s (except the fingerprint sensor placement and QUAD LED placement). The phone is lightweight and easy to hold
The Antenna line are at top & bottom while the fingerprint sensor is placed at a convenient location followed by the "Tecno" branding below. The main rear camera with Quad LED flash is placed at the top left corner. The 3.5 mm audio jack is at the top while the microphone, micro USB port and speaker grills are at the bottom. On the front, there is no Home button or any other physical navigation button thanks to 18:9 display. Volume rocker buttons and power buttons are on the same side while the SIM card tray with a dedicated MicroSD card slot is on the other side. On the top, the front camera with LED flash and speaker is present.
Display, Performance and Benchmarks
Tecno Camon i features a 5.65-inch HD+ 18:9 2.5D curved glass display having a resolution of (1440 x 720 pixels)with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. There is a small confusion about glass protection as it seems that initial batches of the device were shipped with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 but later batches use Nippon Electric Glass. So we aren't sure if our review unit came with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 or Nippon Electric Glass.
The display looks good with maximum brightness indoors, but with full sunlight outdoors it performs average. Yet the viewing angles are good and automatic brightness features work good enough even in sunlight. Thanks to 18:9 display, you get more screen area for apps yet for most apps the virtual navigation buttons block some space.
The phone is powered by 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737 processor along with 3GB of RAM and 32GB internal storage. The phone runs on Android 7.0 (Nougat) based operating system with HiOS on top. Refer to operating system section below to know our view about the HiOS.
In terms of performance, you won't notice much of lag during day-to-day usage but thanks to an entry-level MediaTek MT6737 processor, the apps take a lot of time while starting. IT performs well with casual gaming with apps like temple run, but if you try playing graphics intensive games such as Asphalt 8, you can clearly see the enormous lag during the startup of the game followed by random frame drops during the play. Once the game is started, it does perform better during the run.There is a slight heating issue while playing graphics intensive games such as Asphalt 8.
The phone scores a decent Antutu Benchmark score of ~40,000 which matches with many entry-level devices from other brands. The low score on Antutu is clearly visible while using the device to run heavy games such as Asphalt 8 or doing multitasking.
Tecno Camon i features a 13MP main rear camera with quad-LED Flash, f/2.0 aperture, 5P lens and another 13MP front shooter with LED flash, f/2.0 aperture, 80-degree wide-angle lens. The company is emphasising on camera and claims to offer a good camera performance in the entry-level segment. We tested the camera in various lighting environment and we can say that the main rear camera performance is just above average with some decent shots with good colour reproduction but overexposed shots during normal lighting conditions or daytime. It does produce some good macro shots though. The moment you start shooting in low light, the noise creeps in with not good shots. The front shooter produces good enough selfies for sharing on the web and the front flash does help a bit if you are taking a selfie in dark surroundings.
Check out some of the camera Samples of the Tecno Camon i front and rear camera.
Tecno Camon i is backed by a battery of 3050 mAh capacity (with no fast charging support) which is a decent size for most of the smartphones in the entry-level category though brands such as Xiaomi offer 4,000 mAh battery in their popular entry-level devices such as Redmi 4, Redmi Note 4 etc. In terms of battery performance, it lasts easily for the day with average to moderate usage which includes few calls, Twitter app, Facebook etc with a small amount of casual gaming. If you are a heavy gamer, then you need to charge it much earlier, but for average users that won't be an issue.
Operating System and UI
The phone runs on Android 7.0 (Nougat) based operating system with HiOS on top. Even though we at Androidpure prefer the stock Android operating system, yet most devices prefer to run their own custom UI. HiOS is one such custom UI which even though offers some additional features such as Micro intelligence with gestures, power saving management etc., which is great yet lacks in some basic user experience. The colour combinations used by the HiOS often hides out the notification area icons with apps such as the Twitter native client. It should have been tested more with different apps to bug out those colour issues. In terms of additional apps, the HiOS comes with some minimal apps installed which is great but the pre-installed browser "Phoenix" is set up more as a spammer than as a browser. Unless the pre-installed browser "Phoenix" is disabled (cannot be uninstalled), it keeps showing spammy notifications and even adds when you open the browser every time.
Tecno Camon i overall is a decent package with 18:9 Display with decent camera & battery performance under Rs. 9,000, yet the competition in the entry-level segment offers some great devices such as Redmi Note 5, Redmi Y1, Infocus Invision 3, Honor 7X and few more. Tecno still needs to work on the device to make it face the stiff competition to make it out.