Sunday, April 14, 2024
Smartphone news

A budget gaming smartphone that ticks all the right boxes

– Solid performance
– Unique design that tries to stand out
– 120Hz super responsive display
– 68W fast-charging
– Long battery life

– Display’s colours lack punch and can seem faded in direct sunlight
– AI camera doesn’t do a lot and should have been substituted for an ultrawide
– Glyph lights have limited customisation

The sub-Rs 15,000 price range for smartphones is perhaps the most fiercely contested segment in the Indian smartphone market with a wide range of smartphone manufacturers, all vying to stand out with their offerings, with some rather quirky features and offering the best bang for your buck.

Tecno, which has been quite active this year with its Spark series, Phantom V Fold, and Camon 20 series, has now thrown its hat into the ring with the new Pova 5 Pro. The new Tecno Pova 5 Pro is going up against the likes of Poco M6 Pro 5G and Realme 11x. But the big question is, does the Pova 5 Pro have what it takes to stand out in this crowded field? Well, we take a deep dive to find out what’s what.

Tecno Pova 5 Pro Review: Design
At first glance, the Tecno Pova 5 Pro might trick you into thinking it’s just another ordinary smartphone. However, look closely and you’ll see that it has a rather few neat design tricks up its sleeve.

The rear panel sports an intriguing 3D-textured pattern that truly sets it apart. However, the textured panel is covered by clear glass, so you really can’t feel the texture. What’s even more fascinating is that no two sections of the rear panel look the same, adding a touch of magic to the phone’s aesthetics. As for colours, you get to choose between Silver Fantasy and the Dark Illusion variants.

Image Credit: Firstpost | Mehul Reuben Das

Now, here’s the shining star of this smartphone – the RGB light strips on the back. When it comes to notifications, calls, and even music, I had the freedom to tinker with nine different colour options and pulsating patterns in the settings. The best part? I could sync it up with the music I was jamming to.

This phone gives you a range of cool backlight effects to choose from, like Soft, Racing, Dreamy, Breath, and Party. You can apply these effects to incoming calls and when the phone starts up. For notifications, you’ve got even more options, with variations like Sunrise, Starburst, Halo, Pure, and Lightning.

Now, let’s talk about the Arc Interface and whether it makes the phone look better. In short, yes, it does. It definitely adds to the phone’s visual appeal. However, it’s important to note that this design element is mainly about how the phone looks – it’s all about aesthetics. Unlike the Phone 2 and Phone 1 from Nothing, you can’t really customize the LED strip here. So, while it’s visually pleasing, you don’t have much room to make it your own.

Image Credit: Firstpost | Mehul Reuben Das

As captivating as these light effects are, there’s one tiny drawback – the rear panel is quite susceptible to smudges. It can slightly detract from the overall “cool” factor of the phone.

The rear camera module has an interesting trapezium shape, featuring two prominent circular bumps housing the dual camera lenses. And speaking of size, the phone boasts a massive 6.78-inch IPS LCD display panel.

The Tecno Pova 5 Pro doesn’t just nail the style game; it’s also quite robust. Its build quality is solid, ensuring it stays securely in your hand.

Up front, you’ve got a spacious display with slim bezels and a punch-hole camera cutout for selfies. The sides sport a sturdy metal frame, with the left side hosting the SIM card slot.

Over on the right, you’ll find the power button and volume rockers, while at the bottom, there’s a speaker grille, a Type-C port, an audio jack, and a microphone. Up top, you’ve got the secondary speaker.

Image Credit: Firstpost | Mehul Reuben Das

Now, here’s the thing: while the build is decent, thanks to that metal frame and flat design, the device does feel a bit hefty, weighing in at 214 grams. That being said, when you actually hold it in your hand, it doesn’t feel overwhelmingly bulky, but it wouldn’t hurt if they could shave off a bit of weight.

Tecno Pova 5 Pro Review: Display
Now, let’s talk about that display panel. You get a 6.78-inch IPS LCD panel, which has a resolution of 1080X2460. It also supports 120Hz refresh rate. The net result is that you get a fantastic viewing experience whether you’re scrolling through the user interface or catching up on YouTube videos.

The phone’s viewing angles are also good, but it’s worth noting that it doesn’t excel in direct sunlight. This panel doesn’t crank up the brightness to high levels, so outdoor visibility under the sun can be a bit challenging.

Image Credit: Firstpost | Mehul Reuben Das

Surprisingly, even without HDR support, you can still enjoy a decent viewing experience on Netflix and Prime Video. However, it’s worth mentioning that the colours might appear a bit too vibrant, even when you set the colour temperature to warm. The dynamic range, while not exceptional, falls into the average category. Considering the phone’s price point of under 15k, the display is passable and gets the job done.

Tecno Pova 5 Pro Review: Camera
The Tecno Pova 5 Pro 5G packs a dual camera setup on the back. This setup consists of a 50MP primary sensor and a secondary 0.8MP AI camera, complete with dual flash LED lights on the camera module. When you snap photos in daylight with the primary camera, you’ll get accurate colours and plenty of fine details.

However, like many phones in this price range, the Pova 5 Pro struggles when it comes to low-light conditions. You’ll notice a drop in image quality when the lighting isn’t ideal. Fortunately, there’s a saving grace – the ‘Super Night’ mode. It steps in to improve image quality a bit, making low-light shots more bearable.

Image Credit: Firstpost | Mehul Reuben Das

One thing to note is that the secondary lens is an AI camera, but it lacks ultrawide or depth sensors. You can use this camera to shoot videos at 30fps in 2K and 60fps in Full HD resolution, which is pretty decent considering the smartphone’s price point.

The default camera app on this handset offers a plethora of options to suit your photography preferences. If you prefer to keep it simple and just want great photos with decent dynamic range, you can use the ‘AI CAM,’ which does a pretty good job. There are also a ton of beauty filters to choose from, and the cool part is that you can tweak the intensity of these filters, giving you total control over your photos.

As for the 16MP front camera on the Tecno Pova 5 Pro, it’s capable of capturing detailed shots with accurate colours when there’s ample light. However, if you find yourself at a nighttime party, don’t be surprised if the photos turn out a bit grainy – that’s a common problem in smartphones at this price range.

Tecno Pova 5 Pro Review: Performance, Software experience and UI
Tecno Pova 5 Pro comes with the 6nm MediaTek Dimensity 6080 5G chipset that features two 2.4 GHz Cortex-A76 cores and six 2.0 GHz Cortex-A55 cores. The processor is assisted by Mali-G57 MC2 GPU.

In regular usage, I didn’t face any hiccups with the phone, and the animations while switching between the apps were mostly smooth too. I even tried gaming on the phone and despite playing for more than an hour at a stretch, the phone didn’t heat up too much, which should instil confidence in anyone who is planning to buy this phone for portable gaming. During my usage, I never felt like I was short on performance while using any app or playing any game. Its not the best-performing handset in this price range but it can definitely tackle any task that you throw at it without a hint of a struggle.

Image Credit: Firstpost | Mehul Reuben Das

The Tecno Pova 5 Pro runs on HIOS 13, which is based on Android 13. Out of the box, the phone comes with a bunch of pre-installed apps, which honestly, are actually quite useful, and can’t be realistically classified as bloatware in the general sense of the term.

However, there are some useful features that come with this UI. First up, there’s Game Space, which optimizes games for better performance. Then there’s MemFusion, a feature that lets you expand RAM by up to 8GB through internal storage. And if you’re a fan of uninterrupted video viewing, there’s Video Assistant, which keeps notifications from bothering you while you’re watching videos in select apps.

In the settings menu, you’ll also find a Micro Intelligence section, which gives you control over some handy quality-of-life features. This includes options like Lift to Wake and Flip Mute, among others. So, while you may not use all the pre-installed apps, there are some nifty features to enhance your overall experience with the phone.

Tecno Pova 5 Pro Review: Battery & Charging
The Tecno Pova 5 Pro 5G boasts a beefy 5000mAh battery under the hood, and in our testing, it proved to be a real workhorse. Even with a day filled with social media use, gaming, calling, content streaming, and more, we didn’t need to reach for the charger at all. It easily lasted the entire day.

Now, if you’re a heavy user and do need a quick top-up, the phone comes with a 68W adapter included in the box. With this adapter, you can charge the smartphone to 50 per cent in just 20 minutes, and it goes from 0 to 100 per cent in around 50 minutes.

Image Credit: Firstpost | Mehul Reuben Das

Tecno’s Battery Lab 3.0 has also introduced a nifty feature called bypass charging. This feature allows you to charge the phone while gaming, bypassing the phone battery to charge it directly. The best part is, that neither the battery nor the device heats up during this charging process. So, you get convenience without sacrificing safety.

Tecno Pova 5 Pro Review: Verdict
The Tecno Pova 5 Pro grabs your attention with its eye-catching LED strip design, but what really shines are its impressive 68W fast charging, 120Hz display, and reliable performance. It excels in many areas, but low-light photography could use some improvement. Overall, the POVA 5 Pro is an easy recommendation for most users.

Image Credit: Firstpost | Mehul Reuben Das

The brand has delivered a reliable chipset, a powerful battery, and a stylish design at a pretty reasonable price point. With its Dimensity 6080 chipset, 120Hz display, and excellent battery life, the Tecno Pova 5 Pro 5G checks many boxes. It’s worth noting that it lacks an AMOLED display and a camera setup with an ultrawide/macro lens. However, the primary sensor does a decent job, so if you can overlook these minor drawbacks, the Tecno Pova 5 Pro 5G could be a great choice, especially if you’re in the market for an affordable gaming smartphone.


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