REVIEW | Tecno Pova budget gaming phone

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China-based smartphone manufacturer Tecno Mobile recently unveiled a new smartphone offering that is not part of its any pre-existing series. As the first of its kind in Tecno’s portfolio, the new Tecno Pova model is zeroing in on two aspects to introduce in the budget-level segment: battery and processing power.

Tecno Pova review Philippines

This P6,999 phone is bringing in several premium specs usually found on midrange and flagships. To get a basic idea on the Pova’s real-world performance, check out our quick unboxing and first impressions below.

Pros

  • Large 6.8” screen
  • Beefy 6000mAh battery
  • Helio G80 processor
  • Decent cameras
  • Good value for price

Cons

  • Body material and design
  • Low-res screen
  • Outdated UI
  • Inaccurate fingerprint sensor

Design and Ergonomics

Tecno Pova review Philippines

 The Tecno Pova sports a 6.8” bezel-less display with a punch-hole design for its front camera. It has an aspect ratio of 20.5:9 and a screen-to-body ratio at around 90.4%. With a 720p screen, the device is only able to put up an average 263 pixels-per-inch. This is understandable since the screen real estate is large, and given the price, a 720p resolution makes sense.

The display works well on social media apps and regular Web browsing. Although it performs at par with its competition when it comes to high-resolution content viewing and gaming, the Pova offers the largest screen by a large margin for its own price point.

On the center of the back panel is a round fingerprint sensor. A fingerprint sensor in the entry-level segment is only seen on a few brands, that is why it is a great addition for this device. And while the recognition speed of the Pova’s fingerprint sensor is definitely an advantage, it has a slightly large recognition error rate at around 10-15%. 

The plastic build of the back panel is a glaring issue. Tecno wants its users to show-off the glittering paint job on the device but the material is a fingerprint magnet. Without the silicone case included in the package, the Pova model turns into smudge city.

Still, the device feels solid in the hand and the rounded corners make it manageable for one-handed usage. The camera bump is barely noticeable, which is a shame since the phone could have been well-suited to be used without a case and show off the glitter effect.

Performance and User Interface 

Tecno Pova review Philippines

For this review, we used the 6GB RAM + 64GB ROM Magic Blue variant. The Tecno Pova is also equipped with a MediaTek Helio G80 chip paired with a Mali-G52 MC2 GPU.

The local arrival of the Pouvoir 4 series was to contend with the low-spec devices on the entry level segment. In the case of the Pova model, Tecno aims to match the specs of mid-level gaming offerings that are almost twice its price.

The chipset is also seen on the pricier Realme 6i, and the Pova offers double the RAM at P1,000 less. On both phones however, the Helio G80 is the perfect SoC to make the models pass as a proper gaming phone. This is the only upside to the 720p resolution display.

The built-in Game Mode on the Pova works well in optimizing gaming performance. It also comes with a nifty feature where users can check their gaming data such as playtime duration per title and data usage statistics, and is compatible with the barrage notification functionality on Messenger and WhatsApp.  

Even with all the new bells and whistles in the system, the HiOS skin is still the Pova’s weakest link. The interface looks and feels so outdated that it is actually surprising to see the newer features that are seen on more mainstream brands.

The icon designs are bordering on legacy aesthetics, and the amount of bloatware gives off a gimmicky and cheap vibe from the device.  

Camera and Optics

The Pova sports a quad-rear camera setup that consists of a 13MP main lens, a 2MP depth sensor, a 2MP macro camera, and a dedicated AI lens. The four sensors come with a quad flash feature which can be handy since photographs taken in lowlight drastically dip in quality. However, in well-lit environments, the Pova produces well detailed and color accurate images.

Here are some photos taken on the device:

Tecno Pova review Philippines

Battery and Charging

Tecno Pova review Philippines

One of the main selling points for this device is the large-capacity 6000mAh battery. Unlike the Pouvoir 4, the Pova uses a quick charge functionality called 18W Dual IC Flash Charge. The brand claims that Dual IC fast charge is 20% faster than regular 18W fast chargers.

In real world application, this barely is the case. The phone still takes 1 ½ hours of charging from 0-100% and that is the usual speed for an 18W charging capacity. But given the massive battery size compared to 18W charging devices, the Pova takes the cake. 

Light to average users who browse the Web and use their phones for social media can enjoy the phone for more than a full day of usage. With heavy multitasking or online gaming, the battery life is still able to last a full day’s worth.

Conclusion

The Tecno brand is stepping up its game when it comes to competitive pricing. After casting its shadow on the sub-P5,000 segment with the Pouvoir 4, the new Pova is also baring its fangs on the budget gaming segment. For P6,999, the device enters the fray with a 6000mAh battery, a 6.8” punch-hole screen, a very capable Helio G80 chip, and 6GB of RAM. Although the HiOS skin needs a much-needed rework when compared to other brands for the entry-level segment, when taking into account the comparatively low price, there isn’t much to complain with the new Tecno Pova.

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