The Camon 17 is Tecno’s latest entry in their mid tier offering. It sits between the Spark series and the Phantom series and if you were not aware this one is a bit more biased towards photography. You can watch the video version of the review below
The whole body is plastic with a satin texture on the back and polished mirror like carvings with the Tecno Camon branding. This one has a triple camera setup with the main one being a 48MP unit. Power and volume buttons are to the right edge and a triple slot sim tray toward the left edge.
The bottom edge has the primary microphone, headphone jack, microUSB port for charging and data and a loudspeaker. Something that was missing on the Spark 7.
The display is an HD+ panel and has a punch hole for the 16 MP selfie. There is a dual selfie flash with one on either side of the earpiece. The display itself has a 90Hz refresh rate which makes animations on this phone just look smoother. It’s one of those sensations that give you a feeling of the phone being very responsive.
Software & UI
For the high refresh rate to be possible, the phone must come with a capable processor and that’s what the Camon 17 has. A Mediatek Helio G85 processor and it does feel more pleasant to use. The reaction to your commands is met with quite some urgency.
It’s also helped by the fact that it is running on 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for the particular one that I have which is plenty for Hios 7.6 on top of Android 11 to run quite smoothly.
HiOS does have a lot of apps that come with it preinstalled and these are always sending heaps of notifications such that it actually can get overwhelming.
You still get the same cool features like swiping down with 2 fingers to enable voice search and a swipe and ld from the left or right edge to launch some shortcuts to your favourite apps.
There is also a theme engine and wallpaper gallery which you can access within the app drawer by swiping down at the very top of the app list. This feature is only available when you have an internet connection because all the contents of this section are online.
Performace & Battery life
Battery life is also very good. It just gets you through 2 days of normal usage and in our endurance test it lost 36% of juice after an hour each of gaming, video streaming and video recording. It’s a bit more than the 28% that the Camon 16 Pro managed and if you missed that video, click on the pop up banner to the top right corner and make sure you are subscribed.
HiOS 7.6 UI
|CPU||Mediatek Helio G85
|Display||6.6″ 1600 x 720 pixels HD IPS LCD
|Main Camera||48MP triple setup
AI scene recognition
|Secondary Camera||16MP camera|
MicroSD up to 128GB
4G, 3G, 2G
36% battery drain after 3 hour endurance test
|Price||$190 (4GB RAM)
$210 (6GB RAM)
Let’s talk about the cameras shall we. The shutter sound has a bit of a delay between pressing the button and the sound playing but that’s pretty much the only issue I had with it.
The photos themselves are phenomenal. The colours are rich and detailed and the image itself looks very clean. There is little noise in the shadows and it’s only on very few occasions when the highlights are blown out.
Part of the reason why photos are good is that when you use the AI photo mode it detects the scene and tries to adjust colours to what you are taking so for example plants look greener and food has all the colours a bit more vibrant.
The big reason is the technology behind how the camera takes photos. It uses what’s called pixel binning where information from multiple pixels on the camera is combined to make 1 pixel. As a result all the photos taken using AI photo mode are 12MP which if my math is correct, 4 pixels are being combined into 1.
Even in low light conditions this trick also helps get better lighting in photos since the combined light captured by 4 pixels is used to extract more detail from the scene you are shooting. It doesn’t help much with colours though. They look a bit washed out in low light shots but the detail is still present.
The Camon 17 also can shoot videos in 2K or 1440p and what this means is the videos are sharper and more detailed than the ones taken at full HD. Whilst the videos have good enough detail, the colours are not as vibrant and sometimes the focus misses the mark. Overall it’s a pretty usable camera setup that’s on the Camon 17.
In a nutshell
Let’s recap on areas of improvement on the Camon 17
-it still uses a micro USB port in 2021 which i feel is now pretty outdated
-the built in apps can an overwhelming amount of notifications
-camera shutter has a bit of lag in it
And the areas where the camon 17 does very well include
+the camera. In decent lighting it takes great photos
+it has an easy 2 day battery life
+the super smooth 90Hz display can easily make scrolling addictive
+Pretty reasonable at $190 for the 4GB ram version and $210 for the 6GB ram version.
Who should buy this
It’s fair to also note that the unit I was given is a pre production unit meant for testing so some of the lags I was facing might be ironed out in the retail versions.
The Camon 17 as the name suggests is a photography biased smartphone and so for the individual that enjoys taking casual photos this is the right phone for them. The 90Hz display is amazing and casual gamers can also thank this high refresh rate display for bringing a reasonably powerful chipset to this phone.
It does the best at striking a balance between funtional specs, capable performance and a reasonable price. Your teenagers will not complain having this as their first smartphone.
Let me know what you think of the Camon 17. I also may have an unreleased Tecno smartphone that I’ll also be reviewing soon so make sure you are subscribed so you won’t miss that one.