Tecno Pova 5 Pro review: A mixed bag of a device

One of first things you would notice about the phone is the different looking back

Tecno Pova 5 Pro

We saw Infinix’s GT 10 Pro just a few weeks back, and we now have its sister company Tecno’s new Pova 5 pro 5G device. Starting at a price of Rs. 14,999, the phone tries to stand out with its quirky design and gaming performance. Let’s try and find out if this new 5G device is worth your attention.

Design: One of the first things you would notice about the device is its different looking back, which has multiple RGB LED strips on it that glow up under different tasks (more on that later). The company calls it ARC design. The back also houses the dual camera setup in a rather unique cutout that’s quite familiar for Tecno phones by now. On the front, with a thicker bezel at the bottom compared to other sides, you have a 6.78-inch display (20.5:9 aspect ratio) that has Panda glass on top for protection and comes with a punch-hole front camera in the middle near the top.

The right side locates the volume buttons and Power/lock key near the middle (both keys have very little travel); while the left side only has the dual SIM card + microSD card tray near the top corner. On the top, you get one outlet of loudspeakers; and the bottom has the 3.5mm audio jack, primary mic, second outlet of loudspeakers and USB type-C port. The corners of the phone are curved with its sides being flat. The phone is made up of polycarbonate and is a little thicker than most phones we see these days, weighing a little under 210 grams and measuring 9mm in thickness. The phone isn’t slippery at all, but some people may find it a little bulky. It is available in two colours – Dark Illusion (which I tried) and Silver Fantasy.

Display: The phone sports a 6.78-inch IPS LCD full HD+ (1080x2460) display with refresh rates supported up to 120Hz. It’s bright enough and usable under direct sunlight outdoors. You can expect decent colour reproduction and viewing angles here. Full HD videos and high-resolution images are handled just well enough with enough details. Backlight and refresh rates could have been handled better in terms of consistency and smooth transition, otherwise, this is not a bad display.

Camera: You get a dual camera system on the back – 50MP (f/1.6) main camera and a 0.8MP portrait camera. The main camera can take decent portrait shots at 124MP by default. Expect detailed but often over-sharpened shots even in daylight at times with too much smoothening of faces and struggling with dynamic range. 50MP mode gave better results in terms of colours and details but it does leave that AI retouch feel, too. The camera app is not very quick to open and take shots but it’s quite straightforward to get around different camera options and modes. On the front, you get a 16MP (f/2.0) camera, which can take well-focused shots and perform okay in terms of colours provided no beauty modes, even in the super light mode, it can give shots good enough for your social media use.

Performance and software experience: Pova 5 Pro is equipped with MediaTek’s Dimensity 6080 chipset (up to 2.4Ghz octa-core processor, Mali-G57 MC2 GPU), 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 128GB uMCP storage. It runs on HiOS 13.1 (no points for guessing what that name sounds a lot like) based on Android 13 with the June security patch. The software's look and feel are very much like XOS that we saw on the Infinix GT 10 Pro. It’s a customizable and feature-loaded skin where you can have dual apps, live translation with Ella, try new themes from the theme store, or play YouTube videos as audio in the background. There are many apps pre-installed on the phone, most of which can be uninstalled, but what was surprising to see is getting a little pop-up at the bottom asking if you would like to reinstall one of those pre-installed apps that were uninstalled. This seemed absolutely unnecessary. Swiping top down from the left gives you notifications; while from the right gives you shortcut tiles. There’s an added shortcut in the dropdown pane that allows you to quickly switch between 5G and 4G with one tap and comes in handy at times. I found the phone to be sufficiently responsive in terms of handling multiple apps and switching between one and another. It can drop frames every now and then. You can expect to play a game like BGMI with frames per second at about 40. The phone rarely heats up and even then nothing too much. I did notice the phone switched off randomly when sitting idle, once every 203 days, which was odd, but I couldn’t repeat it since there was no set pattern to it.

Battery life: Powered by a 5,000mAh battery unit, the phone comes with a 68watt fast charger in the box (you also get basic a transparent protective case), which is not common for this price range, so credit to Tecno for bundling it. The phone lasted a day 7 out of 10 times, and didn’t show any weird battery drops. You can expect to charge the phone from 1 per cent to full in about 70 minutes.

Other bits: As far as 5G connectivity goes, the phone does satisfactorily, latching on to 5G wherever available for most of the time. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS performance are also nothing to worry about. Top and bottom-facing loudspeakers are just about okay in terms of loudness for watching videos and playing games, but they don’t necessarily sound distorted at higher volumes. Call and voice quality with the in-ear speaker could have been a little louder but it’s just about okay for outdoors and noisy environments. You can customize the LED backlight for notifications, calls, gaming, startup, charging and even music playback

Verdict: The Tecno Pova 5 Pro clearly is a mixed bag of a device. It has some performance issues and some questionable software choices taken, while providing a good gaming experience and connectivity as a smartphone. For a budget of around Rs 15,000, you might be better off with the likes of the Realme 11x but If you’re somebody who might want a quirky-looking Android phone that you can play high-end games at medium settings, the Pova 5 Pro is a decent option to check out.

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