Tecno has been rapidly making its way into the Indian market. Its latest budget handset, the Tecno Camon 20 Premier 5G is the brand’s attempt to cater to a wider audience, and it presents an interesting proposition.
Tecno Camon 20 Premier 5G review
Solid, not spectacular
The Tecno Camon 20 Premier 5G is an attractive phone overall. It features a screen with minimal bezels on the front and a robust, squared-off chassis with flat rails. The back has an angular and modern design, although it may be a bit excessive for some. Tecno refers to the design on the back as "Puzzle Deconstructionist Design". No, seriously! The phone is available in two colours – black and a pale purple-blue combination. The faux leather texture on the back adds the requisite premium news and while it doesn't quite come closer to a Vertu, it has the advantage of not attracting fingerprints.
While the squared-off rails are reminiscent of the iPhone, they are made of a plastic-like material. However, as a mid-range handset, compromises are expected. There is one area where Tecno didn't skimp and that is the all-important display.
The Camon 20 Premier 5G boasts a big, bright, and almost bezel-less screen, giving it an expensive feel. The 120Hz refresh rate and high pixel density (1080 x 2400 pixels) further enhance the visual experience. The high refresh rate makes a noticeable difference in smoothness, especially if you're accustomed to the more established brands and their premium offerings.
While the screen's brightness reaches about 500 nits normally and 700 nits outdoors, viewing under direct sunlight remains a challenge. The OLED display ensures deep blacks and great contrast. It offers colour modes for accurate DCI-P3 colour reproduction. It's important to note that even though the device can decode HDR10 content, it doesn't fully support High Dynamic Range (HDR) playback.
In terms of performance, the Tecno Camon 20 Premier 5G is equipped with the MediaTek Dimensity 8050, a new mid-range chipset. Overall, it delivers good performance for using everyday apps and blazing through your photo gallery. However, when it comes to gaming, there are some surprises. While casual and less graphically intensive games like Candy Crush it will run smoothly but when the smartphone is pushed a bit further with games like Asphalt 9 at high gameplay settings, the phone experiences stutters. Closing other suspended apps helps improve the performance but it doesn't completely eliminate the issue. The chip also appears to have a decent impact on battery life making it last just a bit longer than you’d expect.
The chip keeps the phone nice and cool during fast burst photography by efficiently processing rapid image captures. For video editing, it handles tasks smoothly, with gradual heat buildup during extended use, becoming warmer around the 7-minute mark. However, after approximately 20 minutes of editing or filming, a notable temperature increase is observed, indicating potential heating concerns during prolonged usage.
Speaking of battery life, the Camon 20 Premier 5G is equipped with a standard 5000mAh battery, which is typical for phones nowadays. However, the actual battery life depends on the power draw of the processor and the phone's optimization. In our real-world testing, the Camon 20 Premier 5G displayed good battery life. During standby, it drained at a similar rate to the OnePlus 11 and Oppo flagships.
The inclusion of a 45W charger further was a plus. Though the charging speed of the Camon 20 Premier isn't particularly fast. In our tests, it went from zero to 30% in about 15 minutes, reaching 52% in 30 minutes. A complete charge took around 1 hour and 22 minutes. The device also features "AI Smart Charge," akin to QNOVO technology, gradually charging the battery overnight and delivering a full charge just before awakening. This approach enhances battery lifespan and is a well-regarded attribute. However, the same level of praise cannot be given to the camera performance.
The Camon 20 Premier 5G features a standard 50MP lens and a 108MP ultrawide lens on the back. While these specifications may sound impressive and the camera comes wrapped in a rather over-the-top housing, the actual camera performance is a mixed bag. Camera processing plays a crucial role in smartphone acclaim these days, and Tecno has done a decent job, considering its position as a smaller player in the market. However, there are some issues. In daylight shots, the camera tends to bump up brightness and lend an unnatural colour to the images, making it appear overexposed. The processing interferes too much, resulting in a somewhat artificial look. Nighttime photography is better, with the camera capturing crisp shots with sufficient exposure to retain definition and colour detail. However, results can be inconsistent and blurry, so there is a bit of a hit-or-miss situation. Overall, the camera is adequate but not exceptional. It's not as up to the mark as compared to more established players in the same price range, such as the OnePlus Nord 2T.
When it comes to selfies, the 32MP front camera captures moments with reasonable clarity, though the lack of autofocus might necessitate some patience for achieving the perfect shot. For those inclined towards videography, the 4K video recording option on the primary camera is a standout feature. The smoothness of the frame rate and the vibrant colours contribute to a captivating viewing experience.
Despite these commendable strengths, it's worth noting that the absence of RAW mode and advanced manual controls might leave some photography enthusiasts desiring more creative control.
The software experience of the Camon 20 Premier is a blend of familiarity and subtle improvements. Running on Android 13 with HiOS 13, the user interface remains consistent with previous iterations, boasting a refined skin that strikes a balance between convenience and minimalism. Notably, Tecno's effort to streamline the user experience is evident, as pre-installed bloatware and intrusive ads are minimal.
While the HiOS ecosystem includes proprietary apps for gallery, video playback, and an app store, it's apparent that the company seeks to enhance essential functions. Biometric security is well-implemented in terms of face recognition and animations for the fingerprint reader under the display. However, the fingerprint sensor can be a bit finicky, requiring multiple attempts to read the fingerprint accurately at times. The always-on display complements the vibrant OLED screen, while lock screen shortcuts for the camera and flashlight provide added convenience. Tecno has even packed on their own voice assistant named Ella which is a nice touch to the UI.
In conclusion, while the software doesn't undergo revolutionary changes, the Camon 20 Premier 5G delivers a polished and user-friendly experience. The lack of bloatware and the incorporation of practical features contribute to an overall positive software impression, catering to both simplicity enthusiasts and those seeking advanced capabilities.
Overall, the Tecno Camon 20 Premier 5G is a solid mid-range phone without any standout features that would make it truly exceptional. It's a reliable tool for everyday life but lacks that certain something to make it truly captivating. The design is attractive, the display is great, and the performance is generally good, except for some gaming issues with certain titles. The battery life is impressive, and the cameras perform adequately, although there are some inconsistencies and processing quirks. The software experience is decent but not outstanding, and the fingerprint sensor can be a bit problematic. Ultimately, it's a good phone that serves its purpose well, but it may not elicit strong feelings of excitement or love.
Decent mid-range phone with attractive design, good display, and reliable performance, but lacking any stand-out features.
|Display:||120Hz 6.67-inch AMOLED (1080 x 2400)|
|Chipset:||MediaTek Dimensity 8050|
|Battery:||Li-Po 5000 mAh|