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Business News/ Technology / Gadgets/  Tecno Camon 30 Premier Review: Camera-focused smartphone that deserves your attention
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Tecno Camon 30 Premier Review: Camera-focused smartphone that deserves your attention

Tecno Camon 30 Premier may not be the most powerful smartphone going around, but it has carved a unique niche for itself thanks to the presence of a 50MP quad camera setup and unique design.

Tecno Camon 30 Premier runs on the MediaTek Dimensity 8200 Ultimate chipset. (Aman Gupta/ Mint)Premium
Tecno Camon 30 Premier runs on the MediaTek Dimensity 8200 Ultimate chipset. (Aman Gupta/ Mint)

Tecno's Camon 30 Premier is a breath of fresh air in the sub- 40,000 smartphone market, typically filled with 'flagship killer' devices focused on performance. However, the Camon 30 Premier diverges by challenging existing flagships in the camera department, boasting quadruple 50MP sensors and a dedicated Sony imaging chip.

But as history has taught us, megapixels and specifications don't always translate into great real-world performance. I've spent the last several weeks extensively testing out the Tecno Camon 30 Premier to see how it fares in day-to-day usage and find if it is truly the next camera champion to watch out for in the premium mid-range segment.

Unboxing and design:

Inside the box you get the Tecno Camon 30 Premier, some paperwork, a good quality plastic case, a Type A to Type C cable, a 70W adapter, a SIM ejector tool and a tempered glass. This is the best quality case I've ever seen come with a smartphone, and the addition of the tempered glass makes for a wholesome unboxing experience.

Tecno Camon 30 Premier box.
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Tecno Camon 30 Premier box. (Aman Gupta/ Mint)
Tecno Camon 30 Premier Cover.
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Tecno Camon 30 Premier Cover. (Aman Gupta/ Mint)

I received the Camon 30 Premier in the Lava Black colour variant, which I really liked since it has a minimalist feel to it. There is also a Snowy Silver option, which could be more appealing to a wide range of users.

The Camon 30 Premier stands out from the competition with its unique vegan leather and aluminium back design. While there is a familiar watch-like large camera module, the presence of a vertical camera flash and a red 'alert dot' gives the phone a more nuanced touch.

Tecno Camon 30 Premier
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Tecno Camon 30 Premier
Camon 30 Premier
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Camon 30 Premier (Aman Gupta/ Mint)
Tecno Camon 30 Premier.
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Tecno Camon 30 Premier. (Aman Gupta/ Mint)

The frame of the Camon 30 Premier is made of aluminium, giving the phone a very premium look. It comes with an IR blaster, a USB 2.0 port, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC, an in-display fingerprint scanner and an IP54 rating for dust and splash resistance, meaning it can withstand some dust and rain drops, but not full immersion in water.

Display and Performance:

The Camon 30 Premier has a 6.77-inch 1.5K LTPO AMOLED display with a refresh rate of up to 120Hz and a peak brightness of 1400 nits. It's protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and comes with a wet finger touchscreen function, which comes in handy when using the phone with damp fingers or when there's a little water on it.

The screen is flat, with minimal bezels and a punch hole-style notch at the top. It delivers vibrant colours and deep contrasts, making the smartphone ideal for long streaming sessions. However, I did notice an unusual problem where the brightness would sometimes change on its own, even though the adaptive brightness option was turned off. Hopefully, this can be fixed with a OTA update in the future.

Tecno Camon 30 Premier display
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Tecno Camon 30 Premier display

The Camon 30 Premier's dual stereo speakers are quite loud and do not distort the sound even at full volume. In fact, I rarely needed to use my headphones or the external speaker when watching media on the Camon 30 Premier, even when there was a lot of noise in the room.

In terms of performance, the Camon 30 Premier is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 8200 Ultimate processor, the same one we saw in the Infinix GT 20 Pro (review). While this isn't a near-flagship chipset like the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 on the OnePlus 12R (review) or the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 on the Poco F6 (review), the phone can still hold its own for everyday tasks and even casual gaming sessions. Suffice it to say, this isn't a gaming-centric smartphone, and it tends to get a little warm during extended gaming sessions.

 

Tecno Camon 30 Premier display.
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Tecno Camon 30 Premier display.
Camon 30 Premier display
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Camon 30 Premier display
Tecno Camon 30 Premier benchmarks
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Tecno Camon 30 Premier benchmarks

As for the benchmarks, the Camon 30 Premier had a score of 9,43,722 on Antutu. On Geekbench 6, it had a single core score of 1,090 and a multi-core score of 3,560. Meanwhile, the smartphone received the best loop score of 1,737 with a stability score of 98.5% on 3D Mark's Wild Life Extreme Stress Test.

Software and battery:

The Camon 30 Premier runs on the company's own HiOS 14 custom skin based on Android 14. Tecno has promised 2 years of Android updates and 3 years of security patches with this device. The smartphone comes with very few pre-installed apps and there were no ads to report during my testing period.

The software experience is one of the highlights of this device, thanks to new AI features and other neat functionalities added by Tecno. For example, the built-in dialer app has its own WhatsApp icon, allowing users to send direct messages on WhatsApp without having to save the other person's phone number.

Another feature that caught my eye was the social assistant that pops up when you make a WhatsApp call. This menu allows users to record a WhatsApp call, switch voices from a number of presets, fill your video with light, change the video background, open dual camera mode and even add emojis. While almost all smartphone manufacturers are rushing to add generative AI features to their devices, Tecno's implementation here is pretty unique and I hope it catches on.

 

AI features on Tecno Camon 30 Premier
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AI features on Tecno Camon 30 Premier (Aman Gupta/ Mint)

The phone also comes with the Ella GPT AI assistant pre-installed, which is designed to replace Google Assistant as the default chatbot on your Tecno phone. However, Ella GPT isn't yet up to the level of the new-age AI assistants; it didn't seem to be able to handle nuanced instructions or even carry on long conversations. So if you really want to replace the Google Assistant on your phone, I would recommend opting for Gemini or ChatGPT instead.

Furthermore, I feel that HiOS still needs some routine changes before I would feel comfortable relying on it for everyday use. Apart from the aforementioned problem with the automatic brightness, I also encountered a few unexpected app closures and occasional problems with the processing of notification texts on the Camon 30 Premier.

The smartphone is equipped with a 5,000 mAh battery that supports 70W fast charging. It takes around 50-60 minutes to get the Camon 30 Premier from 0 to 100 percent. The battery performance here may not match that of the OnePlus 12R or the iQOO Neo Pro, but I still managed to get through the day on a single charge, with a screen-on time of around 6 to 6.5 hours.

Camera:

Cameras are the star of the show here, with Tecno packing 4 50MP shooters into the Camon 30 Premier. These include a 50MP Sony IMX890 sensor with OIS, a 50MP ultra-wide angle lens, a 50MP 3x periscope telephoto camera and a 50MP selfie shooter. The rear and front cameras are both capable of shooting 4K video at 60fps, but a more stable output is only available at 1080p 30fps.

I like that the camera app on the Camon 30 Premier allows you to take pictures in 3 different modes: Standard, Bright and Camon, which differ slightly in the way the image is processed. There is also a new option called AIGC Portrait, which uses AI to add the user's face to a preset template. The results aren't the most impressive yet, but this seems like a feature that could be fleshed out in the future.

In daylight, the 50MP primary camera captures detailed, sharp images with vibrant colours and excellent dynamic range. Even in low light, the Camon 30 Premier largely holds its own, although it does have a tendency to over-emphasise colours in some shots.

Camon 30 Premier camera samples
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Camon 30 Premier camera samples (Aman Gupta/ Mint)
Camon 30 Premier camera samples
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Camon 30 Premier camera samples
Camon 30 Premier camera samples
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Camon 30 Premier camera samples (Aman Gupta/ Mint)
Camon 30 Premier camera samples
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Camon 30 Premier camera samples
Tecno Camon 30 Premier camera samples
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Tecno Camon 30 Premier camera samples

When switching to the ultra-wide angle lens, there is very little colour shift and almost no noticeable loss of detail, a feat that very few smartphones in this price range can boast. Meanwhile, the 50MP telephoto lens also takes decent shots, capturing images with near-natural skin tones. Although Tecno offers up to 60x digital zoom, I don't think images beyond 10x zoom will be of much use.

The selfie camera also does a decent job, taking clear pictures with near-natural skin tones. As usual, to help readers make up their own minds, I have included a Google Drive link with all the raw images from the Camon 30 Premier.

Verdict: Should you buy the Tecno Camon 30 Premier?

The Tecno Camon 30 Premier has a lot going for it: a unique back design, a 6.77-inch LTPO AMOLED display, a 50MP quad camera setup, interesting AI features and good battery performance. However, the presence of the Dimensity 8200 Ultimate chipset makes it one of the less powerful smartphones in the sub- 40,000 smartphone bracket. The lack of UFS 4.0 storage, only an IP52 rating (compared to IP64 or IP68 on its competitors) and only two years of OS support doesn't help its case either.

So should you buy the Camon 30 Premier at a price of 39,999? Well, it depends. Performance enthusiasts will probably gravitate towards more powerful options such as the Oneplus 12R, iQOO Neo 9 Pro and Realme GT 6. Meanwhile, more camera-focused users will find it hard to look past the Camon 30 Premier.

In conclusion, the Tecno Camon 30 Premier may not be about to dethrone the iPhone 15 or the Galaxy S24 any time soon, but it is still a very compelling device overall, especially in a segment dominated by performance-oriented smartphones.

 

 

 

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Published: 09 Jul 2024, 04:13 AM IST
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