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Review: Tecno POVA smartphone

Tecno, known for its hallmark budget phones is now back once again with its Tecno POVA offering. Tecno POVA is out to take advantage of the growing segment of gamers this time around. We got the opportunity to try out this new smartphone and play with it to understand the functioning of the device.

The box comes with a Tecno POVA smartphone, a transparent silicone clear case, a tempered glass, a 18W flash charger that compliments with a micro-USB charging cable and headphones.

With an intent to lure the gamers the phone sports a large 6.8” dot-in display also sports an 8MP front camera with Dual Flash. To the left side you will find a textured dedicated Google Assistant button, a tray to hold dual nano sims and SD card. The right side has the volume toggle buttons and the power button. The back case made of plastic and houses the quad camera setup along with a finger print sensor. The bottom consists of a mic, 3.5 mm audio jack and surprisingly a micro-USB charging port. On the whole, though the phone has a compact form factor, looks simple sans trendy and style factors.

The phone comes with 128GB + 6GB RAM and is powered by Helio G80 Octa-Core processor. This combination really sets the device on fire. Graphics laden games such as the Call of Duty, PUBG, Garena FreeFire renders glitch free and the gaming experience is further enhanced due the large 6.8” display, that comes with 720*1640 resolution. The viewing angles of the screen offers no compromise and the screen brightness is good even in a brightly lit place / outdoors during the day. The processor is fast and enables switching between multiple applications and tabs as smooth as butter. For the pricing this phone comes with the power and performance on par with most of the gaming phones that are doing the rounds in the market.

The gaming experience is furthered with a large battery capacity of 6000mAh. The device offers enough battery for gamers to last a day even if they get immersed in marathon gaming sessions. If you are not an avid gamer this device leaves you with enough power to last for more than a couple of days. The 18-Watt Flash charger pumps 50% adrenaline into the gadget in little more than half an hour and reaches its full capacity by 90 minutes max.

To add fuel to all these exciting features, Tecno POVA also comes with its first-ever dedicated Game Space. This feature lists the games that are installed in the device and boosts the CPU / GPU/ memory performance that games require and also turns on the anti-disturb settings so as to offer gamers with an immersive gaming experience.

The only glitch as far the gaming / video streaming experience in Tecno POVA is the audio. There is no separate loudspeaker grille!! The earpiece doubles as the speaker. The performance is not on par and the sound crackles when kept at high volume. This sub-par audio can be seen as a major let down factor for both the gamers and ardent music lovers. The audio performance during normal calls is good otherwise. The sound quality of the earphones that come along with the device too fails to impress.

Moving on to the Camera, Tecno POVA comes with a Quad cam set up which consists of a 13MP Quad rear camera with quad flash, 2MP macro, 2MP depth and an AI camera. The 13MP primary rear camera generates images of decent quality in the presence of ample light source, but even these are not crisp if you try zooming it a little. On top, I also found that the images turn out to be a tad dull in colour.  The portrait mode also suffers from the same issues. The macro shots lacked both clarity and depth. The quality turned out to be ordinary.

Another major drawback in the camera was the lack of a Night Mode, the AI camera pretty much performs all the required adjustments to dole out a photo in a low light scenario. The images captured are very ordinary, sometimes of forgettable quality.

The 8MP selfie camera too requires some serious upgrades. The images that are taken in a bright environment turn out to be better than those taken in lowlight but you would find the images to be grainy / pixeled in certain parts and often the lens lets in too much of light that results in an image that looks bleached. On the whole, the camera, which in general is another important factor to garner the interest of this social media savvy Gen Z, is a letdown. Tecno needs to find a way to overcome these issues.

Tecno POVA runs on HiOS 7.0 on top of Android 10. The custom skins for the OS are heavy. I liked many graphic notifications that comes along. But the drawback is that it comes with a lot of preinstalled bloatware. Many of the preinstalled bloatware cannot be uninstalled except for the preloaded games. This another issue that Tecno urgently needs to look into!!

Both the biometric features, Facial recognition and fingerprint sensor works well every time. The Bluetooth connections are robust. The phone offers a good network coverage and a seamless Wi-Fi connectivity.

Final Verdict
Tecno POVA has some very strong cons such as the power, speed and the performance of the Helio G80 Octa-Core processor coupled with a massive battery size of 6000 mAh,6.8” screen and a dedicated Game space. All these are the critical features that the gamming and social media enthusiasts look for. All these for the budget of AED709!!

The flip side being forgettable camera, less impressive audio, loads of bloatware and owing to the size of the mobile, holding it while taking a selfie seems bit tricky.

In short, Tecno POVA is indeed a lion all powered up and rearing to go yet chained due to some serious shortcomings in camera.

Tecno POVA is available in the UAE in three colour variants Magic Blue, Speed Purple and Dazzle Black.

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