Tecno Camon i Review: Inadequately prepared for the battle against Xiaomi Redmi Note 5
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Hong Kong-based Transsion Holdings, which sells its phones under two different brand names Itel and Tecno, is looking for a breakthrough in India. The latest smartphone, Camon i, under the Tecno brand, is available in India at Rs8,990 through retail stores. At that price point, it’s competing with the new Redmi Note 5 (starts at Rs9,999).
■ The unibody metal design, thin-bezel design, smooth rounded edges and compact form factor makes the Camon i as handy and smart as the Redmi Note 5. It weighs 172g, which is a tad less than the latter’s 180g.
■ The fingerprint sensor on the back panel not only unlocks the Tecno smartphone quickly, but also doubles up shortcut button to access the camera.
■ Unlike the Redmi Note 5, which offer a 6-inch screen with resolution of 2,160x1,080p, the Tecno smartphone offers a slightly smaller 5.6-inch screen with a resolution of 1,440x720p. While it looks immersive due to the 18:9 aspect ratio, it doesn’t look as bright or crisp as the Redmi Note 5’s larger and higher resolution screen. Its wide viewing angles are good, though.
■ When it comes to performance, the Camon i is a typical budget smartphone and can handle workload only to an extent. Its driven by a modest MediaTek MT6735 quad-core processor, clocking at 1.5GHz and clubbed with 3GB RAM. It is adequate for day-to-day use, but is not in the same league as the Redmi Note 5’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor which clocks at 2.0GHz paired with 3GB RAM and is a lot smoother with gaming and multi-tasking.
■ With Camon i, users get 32GB internal storage and up to 128GB of expandable storage. The good news is that there is a spate slot of microSD card unlike the Redmi Note 5, in which the microSD slot is built on one of the SIM trays, leaving dual SIM users with only 32GB of internal storage.
■ Like most Chinese phonemakers, Tecno has its own custom interface called Hi UI. It runs Android 7.1, but looks funky with its colourful wallpapers, themes and unique app icons. It offers an app drawer like plain Android smartphones. While it looks good, it is still a work in progress and doesn’t have as many features as the MIUI 9.
■ Camon i’s 3,000mAh battery can last a full day of modest use, but for more demanding users, the Redmi Note 5, with its 4,000mAh battery, is a slightly better bet.
■ For selfie enthusiasts, the Camon i’s 13-megapixel front camera with flash is a treat. It can capture crisp looking shots even in indoor conditions and offers features such as wide-angle selfie, beauty and timer. The primary camera is also a 13-megapixel affair but is not in the same league as the 12-megapixel camera of the Redmi Note 5 when it comes to detailing and clarity.
The Camon i could have made bigger impact at a slightly lower price point. It has a few good points such as the selfie camera and design, but they are not enough to make a case for it, at least at this price, ahead of the likes of the Redmi Note 5.