As a differentiator in the budget end of the market, Tecno is making moves for sure. First with the Camon Premier and now with the Pova 5 Pro 5G. With the recent Jio announcement of covering its minimum obligation for a 5G rollout in 22 areas, it is fast becoming a reality. Empowering a larger chunk of the mobile phone user community with 5G-enabled handsets will only expedite this process even further to more areas. But Tecno hasn’t just relied on having the necessary 5G bands in the Pova 5 Pro, but instead the party trick here is the Arc Interface.
Tecno Pova 5 Pro review
Taking a page from Tron
Aiming for a Tron-inspired mech look, the Pova 5 Pro makes a big deal about its Arc Interface which includes four LED strips on the back panel, customizable to sync with music, ringtones, gaming, notifications, start-up, low-battery and charging. It may look derived from Nothing’s playbook but the Tecno look is more of an embellishment rather than functional. It does change colours but is mostly visible only indoors since they aren’t the brightest even at the max setting.
There is an exposed coil along with the LEDs, but the Pova 5 Pro doesn’t support reverse charging and the transparent look is limited. Elsewhere, Tecno’s obsession with angular shapes and patterns continues. The twin 50MP cameras are housed in a raised black housing while the branding is subtly etched in a textured panel lower down. It’s a handsome looking back that will garner second looks for sure and it’s only enhanced by chrome-finished flat sides. But the front is as staid as they come, complete with a visible chin too. The “hand feel” isn’t the most comfortable due to its width and chunky sides too. The display though is a respectable Full HD 6.7in with 120Hz refresh rate that performs well for gaming and everyday use. There’s even a headphone jack that supports Hi-Res audio, in case you’re looking for a music player over and above your primary device.
Building on Android 13, the HiOS adds considerable bloatware over standard Android. There is a “Tecno” version of everything from an app store, game store, theme store, social media app, voice assistant and some that I couldn’t honestly figure out the use for without allowing too many unnecessary permissions to the camera and photo gallery than I’m comfortable with. At the same time, there are some interesting features like Freeze mode that allows you to temporarily suspend apps that you aren’t using so as to make the Pova 5 Pro more battery and power-efficient. You could argue that one could just kill the apps that aren’t being used, but hey, everyone has a different use-case scenario so let’s give Tecno the benefit of the doubt.
Social Turbo is another suite of features that could turbocharge your Whatsapp usage by allowing you to change your voice, record a Whatsapp audio call, retouch your skin in real-time during a Whatsapp video call and even read messages without triggering a read receipt. Sneakily enough, it’s called Peek mode!
Managing its thermals quite well, even during gaming or after a few minutes of video recording, the Pova 5 Pro makes good of its Dimensity 6080 SoC. You can assign more RAM if needed, thereby doubling it to 16GB during maxed-out editing or gaming sessions. In fact, the Bypass charge feature allows you to continue charging the phone’s motherboard to keep it powered, without engaging the battery and thus, keeping it cool.
Cameras are pretty average, relying heavily on AI and in the process, boosting both exposure and colour saturation. In most indoor pictures, there is visible noise the moment you start zooming into an image, but outdoor shots fare much better, especially at the full 50MP resolution. Low light detail is impressive in the Super Night mode and can reveal elements not visible to the naked eye and works for social media creativity. There isn’t any ultrawide lens on offer and it won’t do macro shots either. Video is limited to HD 1080/60fps and while it comes with built-in Reels making software, the quality leaves much to be desired. Its 16MP selfie camera is similar to most low-cost far-eastern phones, which is to say some skin smoothening and a generous amount of light fill is added. If you want to go really OTT, there’s also a dedicated Beauty mode that can make you look like a younger and perhaps not-so-wiser version of yourself.
Battery life is great and the 5000mAh capacity is only helped by the 68W fast charging speeds. With a generous blend of gaming, photography, social media scrolling and surfing, we had no issues of making it last beyond a full day of use.
If standing out from the crowd while browsing the Jio 5G network at 600mbps is your goal, the Tecno Pova 5 Pro will do it effortlessly. For everyday use and apps, it should serve budget-conscious buyers well. But if you want a quality software experience and cameras, you might be left wanting for more refinement, which by the way can be achieved with just a few thousand more.
If you’re on a strict budget and absolutely must have 5G speeds and a bit of pizzazz, the Pova 5 Pro could be tempting.
|Processor:||Mediatek Dimensity 6080|
|Memory:||8GB (expandable on demand)|
|Cameras:||50MP dual rear cam + 16MP front|