Reviews News Tecno Camon CX – Review By Noaman Rasheed Posted on October 28, 2017 0 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr Pakistan has seen various smartphone makers in recent years including Xiaomi which launched a few handsets in the country earlier this year. Besides the major players like Samsung and Huawei in Pakistan, there is OPPO which has also settled quite well in the country. But there also some brands like Infinix which came only a couple of years ago and has attracted consumers. A similar brand which has settled in other emerging markets, Tecno Mobile entered into Pakistan market only a few months ago with a little range of their devices. The brand continued to bring more models in the market including WX3 and WX4 Pro more recently. Among those models, there was a duo of camera centric lower mid-range smartphones – Camon CX and Camon CX Air. Both the siblings are pretty much similar in design with metal body but like the name suggests, Air is a lighter one. Not in the sense of weight but with regards to the specifications. Features The Camon CX costs PKR 20,999/- in Pakistan and comes with 3GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. It’s powered by MediaTek chipset, MT6750T with an octa-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz. The CX features a 5.5-inch large IPS display and serves with full HD resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. It’s makes the pixel density of around 400ppi which sure is good. The display also features a 2.5D curved glass. Running Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, Tecno Mobile brings its own skin on top – HiOS version 2.0 which seems to have notable features but over exaggerated as well. Having the focus on camera, the Camon CX features both the front and rear cameras with 16MP image sensor. On the back it’s phase detect autofocus (PDAF) – the Sony IMX298 with the support of four-LED flash. While on the front there’s fixed focus lens with dual-flash. But how does these flash perform, we’ll now later in the review below. The phone has a fingerprint sensor on the back and a 3200mAh battery which is not a fast charge but something they call it as “light speed” charge. Read the list of specifications below or if you want to compare with CX Air, you can go ahead check them out here. Camon CX – Specifications OS Android Nougat 7.0 / HiOS 2.0 Chipset MediaTek MT6750T Octa-Core 8 Cortex-A53 cores, 4x 1.5 GHz + 4x 1.0GHz GPU Mali-T860 MP2 520MHz Memory 3GB RAM + 16GB Internal Storage Dedicated MicroSD card slot (support up to 128 GB) Display 5.5” IPS LCD FHD 1920 x 1080, 2.5D Curved Glass Pixel Density: ~400ppi Screen to body ratio: ~72% Dimensions 152.8 x 75.8 x 5.6 mm Weight 166 grams Rear Camera 16 MP, Sony IMX298, PDAF, Ring-Flash (Quad-Flash), f/2.0 Front Camera 16 MP, fixed-focus f/2.0 Lens, dual-flash Connectivity 2G/3G/4G LTE Dual Micro SIM, USB 2.0, WiFi 802.11, Bluetooth, GPS/AGPS, FM Sensors Fingerprint, Proximity, Ambient, Accelerometer, E-Compass, Battery 3200 mAh non-removable. Colors Gray, Rose Golden, Golden, Blue Price PKR 20,999/- (USD ~$200) Here are the quick bullets you may have an idea what this review concludes. But why and how these elements may or may not help you, you must want to continue. PROS CONS Metal build Android 7.0 Nougat Fingerprint Scanner Good Camera HiOS 2.0 not so user friendly Micro-USB port No Fast Charging Unboxing and Retail Box Content Camon CX is shipped in a simple black color with more common pop-out style. The retail package brings along everything you’d normally have with most smartphones. A charger, a USB cable, earphones and user guides. In addition, inside the retail package, Tecno ships an add-on protective film and a smart flip cover which is quite good with a little curved Window on the side. It works with the software and allows you to see a big clock and a slider to turn on the flash light right from the closed cover. Tecno Camon CX – Retail Box Content The Device: Camon CX Standard 5V/2A microUSB cable for connectivity and charging Earphones with 3.5mm pin User Guide and Warranty Card Add-on 1: protective film Add-on 2: smart flip cover Camon CX Design, Build and Display With the first impressions, the Camon CX feels compact in hands. Its metal build is also nicely finished but it’s prone to slip as well. Handling was not quite secure – may be due to the slimmer profile and not so matte finish, even when it is. It weighs only 166 grams as well as feels much lighter in carrying. You can get Camon CX in four colors including grey, rose golden, golden, and blue. The one we have here for review, is the grey one, and it’s nice. Fully metal back side slightly curves into the flat sides and then chamfered edges to join the front glass. As usual there’s a plastic bezel between the body and the front glass. There simply two antenna stripes on top and bottom. The main camera cuts the top stripe and resides on a corner with a ring-flash containing four LED flash. Fingerprint scanner is also down there in pretty much in reach of your index finger. It’s always the best place for a fingerprint scanner that I prefer to have – more than the one on front-bottom. However the one on the Camon CX was rather less impressive. It’s almost flattened to the back panel with only a minor intrusion which didn’t attract me at all. The bottom portion of the back panel only prints some product labels while brand name “TECNO” is laser printed right below the fingerprint scanner. When talking about other components, standard 3.5mm audio jack is sported on the top side. The bottom of the phone hosts a microUSB port, a speaker and a mic. SIM slot is present on the left side which serves only for two micro SIM cards, the micro SD card slot is dedicated on the right side. Power button and the volume rocker is on the right side as usual. Everything is just as standard as it usually is. The dedicated microSD card slot for memory expansion is of course a good deal one may prefer over a more common hybrid slot for dual-SIM or one-SIM + one microSD card. There is no glass protection on the front but it’s 2.5D curved on the edges. The bezels are traditionally large on top and bottom with much standard bezels on the sides. The top bezel is hosting a large camera module right in the middle below a wide earpiece. It’s a 16MP image sensor inside. Where the the main camera on back gets support of quad-LED flash, the front gets a dual-flash.The navigation is on-screen, hence the bottom bezel comes free of anything and looks large like many devices in this class. Camon CX Display and Front components Camon CX features a 5.5-inch display with full HD resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. It serves with the pixel density of around 400ppi which is more than enough for mid-range smartphone but still desired for sharper display. However the screen-to-body ratio is not that impressive with only around 72%, but it’s just around what you would get from such a lower mid-ranger. The display is claimed of producing 1500:1 contrast ratio and 500 nits of maximum brightness. Let them be the numbers, the actual display performance was pretty impressive in regular usage. Adaptive brightness wasn’t that consistent to give right level of brightness but in outdoors, the display was quite good with full brightness. Camon CX Software, UI/UX Camon CX comes with Android 7.0 right out of the box which today has gone old and doesn’t have an importance over the devices which are running 7.1.2 and already set to receive Android 8 Oreo. Though only a few among mid-rangers would get the Oreo flavor – namely HMD’s Nokia 3, 5 and 6. Tecno mobile has its own software layer on top to give its users feature-rich experience. Hi-OS (or HiOS) is the name which I just have had my first experience with. It’s actually among the software skins which are more feature-full than enough. But did it attract me? No. Even though the software has some key features which are indeed useful but the basic thing which must attract a user is to interact with it. Very first impression with its home screen was not that good as I had to struggle with the features it was presenting me with. That tells, it has some features which I didn’t see on most Android skins for which sometimes I had to look into the documents. They were not so user friendly, in fact they were not so useful to me at all. The home screen offers you to enable or disable the app-drawer. But I’d recommend you to keep it disabled as that’s where the confusion comes into place. I hardly could find a difference between the home screen views and the app-drawer view. Home screen with app-drawer and folders • Single launcher home screen without app-drawer. You arrange icons on the home screen, add folders and organize the apps with a few more options to customize the view according to your needs. The app-drawer on the other hand comes with pretty much similar options where you can arrange icons and then again add folders. Home screen, however offers to add widgets which is just a part of any Android software. So be better stay with it. Home screen customization with widgets and styles • Pull-down notifications and quick toggles/switches Pull-down status bar brings down the notifications with a top row of quick toggles. Swiping down again further pulls it and reveals more switches with a brightness controller on top. You can then edit the switches as per your need. Lock screen is also like others which allow to show full/partial or none of the notifications with a quick shortcut camera unlock from a corner. On the home screen you can perform a swipe-down gesture (not from the top edge) to initiate a system wide search feature. User interfaces are not that extra ordinarily different than the most. Settings interface also goes more like slide-in/out with white theme and colorful icons. Then there are some smart gestures and features like tap to wake, flip to mute etc. Will talk about RAM and storage in the performance section, whereas fingerprint management also comes with much standard steps. However the fingerprint sensor can be used to take photos when in camera app or you can accept an incoming call as well with a long-touch. Sure these functions do not need an authorized fingerprint, but can be performed with any finger. The software includes a phone manager, called “Hi Manager” that provides access to features such as cleaning apps, managing data traffic, auto-start management and application manager. There’s a harassment blocker as well. The software layer is good with its features but it’s little over did with options. Camon CX System and Battery Performance Well, that something which is the key factor in any smartphone and it has to be good whether you are having a low-end, a mid-ranger or a high-end smartphone. System performance, even sometimes on high-end devices, starts to decrease over time. When it’s some budget phone, a mid-range phone or a lower mid-ranger like this one, the system performance is something which plays a major role right out of the box. Camon CX is powered by a MediaTek chip MT6750T with eight-cores clocked at 1.5 GHz and comes with 3GB of RAM. For a $200 smartphone, this bundle is good to give competitive performance among its price-range. However the bad thing is that, it only has 16GB of internal storage. For a phone which is supposed to have a camera as its major, 16GB storage is a no go. Frankly, the system will already take around 1GB (or say 0.9GB) on the first start. 6 or 7 GB will be vanished in blink of an eye while you setup your phone with some regular apps. If you do not install games, you would be able to get around 3 GB for the photos or videos. Or if you also prefer to have some games, then good luck. The battery on the other hand is 3200 mAh which is support some kind of fast charging but only with the bundled charger. Zero to full charge could take up to 3 hours easily which is better than most non-fast charging packages in this price range. Battery serving timing is also not that bad which also comes with ultra power saving option in case you want some urgent time with more basic phone functions. Performance wise, Camon CX was good mostly, apps were quick and snappy as well as the games we tried on it were also fine to play – be it Subway Surfer, NFS No Limit, Extreme Asphalt, Modern Combat or Mortal Kombat. These are the titles I usually try on the phones during review. For your reference, checkout the benchmark scores of Camon CX below. Camon CX Benchmark Scores: Geekbench 4 – Single-Core: 618, Multi-Core: 2582 • AnTuTu 6: 43286 Basemark OS II / Basemark X Gaming Camon CX Benchmark Scores: Basemark OS II: 908 • Basemark X: 14042 Vellamo Camon CX Benchmark Scores: Vellamo Chrome Browser: 2387 • Vellamo Metal: 1054 • Vellamo Multi-core: 1709 We’ll update the benchmark scores with compared devices asap. Camon CX Camera Camera is what this smartphone focuses on – just as apparent with the name. The Camon CX, as noted above, features 16 megapixel camera on the back as well as a same resolution camera on the front. There is prominent differences though both in hardware and the software features. The 16MP camera on the back equips with an f/2.0 aperture lens outside and a Sony IMX298 image sensor inside which is an old image sensor but has been bundled with various mid-range to high-end smartphones including Huawei Mate 8, LG V20 OPPO R9, OnePlus 3 and 3T. This camera has worked great in those smartphones. Lens is also another part that needs to be good enough for a sensor to produce better images. This is what mostly the smartphones differ at. Smartphone makers hardly bother to mention the lens maker name, unless they had partnered with some well known optics – such as most recent Leica with Huawei and a long relationship of ZEISS and Nokia. While we don’t know about details of the lens used with the camera in Camon CX else than that “blue glass is used as IR cut filter lens to effectively remove flare and ghost images”, yet it produces good images compared to other smartphones in this price range. The camera has support of a quad-flash unit designed in way (called ring-flash) to illuminate wider area. Camera User Interface Camera interface is interesting with straight forward settings – all in one page. The camera starts with a viewfinder where a shutter button is down there along side gallery shortcut and the filter switch. The top row serves with some quick switches as well including flash, HDR and front/back camera switch. There’s quick aspect ratio changer as well, while you can swipe left and right to switch to video, photo, beauty and panorama mode. Some additional modes can be enabled via the switch in top row – Night mode, Slo-mo, and watermark mode. That’s it, there is no pro-photo or pro-video mode even with the minimal options of ISO or white balance. Camera Quality Camon CX produces good images overall but when noticing key elements, highlight clipping often a problem. Dynamic range is not that good as well as the HDR function didn’t bring a shot closer to some natural looking. Noise is not present in most cases, but image detail is also sacrificed which can be easily noticed on distant trees with messed up leaves with. Color reproduction is more towards natural tones with no over saturation as well as focus locking is quite good. Noise is handled well in low-light shots as well. Accurate focus is the second impressive factor of this camera. The missing part is of course the image detail. Outdoor Samples Low-light Samples Front Camera Front camera takes sharp selfies in good like as well but not so good in low-light conditions, exactly like the main camera. Panorama Shot Samples Panorama is limited to 180-degree but stitching is nicely done and image detail is also like the one in normal shots. Video Sample Camon CX Conclusion & Verdict Tecno smartphones were launched recently in Pakistan as we noted other likely brands above including Infinix. Although Infinix has setup their retail outlets in only a few major cities, most of their sale is via online-retail. In addition the smartphones under the Infinix brand do not cross its boundary of lower-mid price range. However Tecno has some broad range of price categories, the latest launch from the company was the upper mid-range flagship Phantom 8. The brand is also more focused on physical retail outlets than the online-sale. The phone we are talking about here costs only Rs. 21,000/- It’s really a contender among the its price range. Camon CX is good with this price specially with the combo of a not-bad processor and a 3GB RAM. But I’d only recommend this phone if you the 16GB internal storage does not bother you, which is very unlikely in today’s date. Other features of the phone aren’t that much different from other brand’s offerings. 16MP camera on the front is also worth noticing but it only produces large pictures with almost same quality as usually we see. My opinion to the brand is that, when there’s a variant available with a 32GB storage, you must bring in. A thousand or two in the price won’t make a difference when the phone has something to support consumer’s need.