Tecno Camon 20. It’s a sin to hide its beauty in a pouch.

Edwin Chabuka Avatar

I have to hand it to Tecno, they have been on a mission to make their smartphones stand out with great design. A departure from the plain and boring glass sandwich slabs we are now used to. They really don’t want you to put a case on this smartphone and if you really must I am very sure they will include a transparent one with the Tecno Camon 20.

Remember the Camon 19 Pro Mondrian edition with its color changing back? The Camon 20 has a more geometric design. It’s called the Camon Puzzle Deconstructionist design. It’s a stunning pattern finished with frosted glass that does a good job with fingerprints. Oh, and it stands up straight on a flat surface which makes it a lot easier to film.

Hardware looks good. The headphone jack still lives!

The hardware is decent, a FHD+ OLED display up front, a 32MP selfie camera, a bright quad-LED ring flash on the rear with a 64MP primary camera, and a 2MP Depth sensor. It’s also got stereo speakers and a selfie flash and one very hard-to-find feature in today’s smartphones. A headphone jack!

Hardware aside they did put in some work in their software and UI. Like they always do. So here is a list of some very exciting features with some flirting along the line of being a gimmick but I will let you decide.

Software and features galore

Quick toggle widgets on the lock screen

Right on the lock screen is a collection of shortcut widgets that you can access by swiping in from the left edge of the screen. You get access to music playback toggles, FM radio toggles, a countdown timer, a voice recorder, notes, and a calculator. As far as I can tell I cannot find a way of customizing this but some of these widgets are indeed ones you would frequently use.

Theft alert

Theft alert is a setting in the phone made for people who charge their devices in public areas. It will sound an alarm if the phone is removed from the charger and can only be deactivated by unlocking the phone via a lock screen pattern, password, or fingerprint. Plugging the phone back on the charger won’t stop the alarm if you were wondering.

Suite of Emergency services

Emergency is a feature that sends a message to a user-selected contact in the event that your battery is low or if the power key SOS is triggered. In both instances, you are able to customize what this message says as well as add your current location to the message which can do a lot of help if you find yourself in an unfamiliar area and in distress. For those that are not aware, rapidly pressing the power button 5 times or more on Android devices is how you trigger Emergency SOS. It will automatically dial an emergency service number.

Extra dim for the night riders

There is also extra dim which lowers the brightness of the display to an even lower luminance than what the brightness slider can give you. It can be useful for those of you who use their phone in pitch-black darkness.

360-degree flashlight anyone?

Tecno is the only smartphone maker I know that has a dedicated LED flash for the selfie camera. Everyone else just uses the smartphone’s display as the fill light or flash for the selfie.

So to take advantage of this piece of hardware, they have introduced a 360-degree flashlight. In this mode, both the front and rear cameras will be activated. You can still only turn on the rear flash or the front flash independently depending on your needs.

Video Assistant

If you hate notifications disrupting your video-binging experience, Tecno also has a Video Assistant mode that blocks any notifications from distracting you as you watch your favorite shows. You can choose which video playback apps you want to have this feature enabled.

Social Turbo, a powerful WhatsApp companion

Social Turbo is quite an exciting WhatsApp assistant. Some of the features are gimmicky though like the voice changer and video filters for WhatsApp voice and video calls. However, there are some really useful ones like the sticker maker for custom WhatsApp stickers, peek mode that allows you to read messages without activating the double blue ticks and also viewing deleted messages, and my personal favorite, a voice recorder that records WhatsApp voice calls.

SMS messaging even on WiFi

Tecno also crammed a heap of stuff in their SMS app. You can send messages over the internet in the SMS app similar to iMessage on Apple devices. They are calling it Hi Message and it takes advantage of RCS which is an enhanced SMS service that is looking to bring instant messaging and multimedia sharing to SMS. Of course, if it fails to send your message due to a poor internet connection, it will switch to traditional SMS.

Cleanest SMS inbox

It can also filter messages based on type. There is a section that’s pinned at the top for notification messages where messages you cannot reply to are grouped together. These can be your Banking or mobile money wallet messages, marketing messages from ISPs, public awareness messages from departments like the Ministry of Health or civil protection unit, and OTP codes from your online accounts or apps. All these are grouped into their own inbox that is separate from the inbox with your SMS conversations.

Cheapest Camon gets the AMOLED touch

Oh and since the display is an OLED panel, you also get an always-on display with a surprisingly vast selection of AOD animations. And a good number of them can also be customized to your liking.

Good performance but old processor

Cool, so let’s talk performance. The Camon 20 is running decent hardware even though the CPU is now a bit dated. The one I have here has 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of internal storage, and is running a Mediatek Helio G85 which is now 3 years old. In fact, Tecno introduced this processor in the Camon 17p back in 2021.

OSAndroid 13
HiOS 13
CPUMediatek Helio G85
Octa Core
GPUMali-G52 MC2
Display6.67″ 2400×1080 pixels
60Hz refresh rate
Rear Camera64MP main camera
2K video recording
Front Camera32MP
Storage8GB RAM+8GB MemoryFusion
256GB Internal
ConnectivityDual Sim
2G, 3G, 4G
Bluetooth 5.0
Ambient light
Step counter
33W Fast Charge
34% power drain after 3 hour endurance test

For general use, your messaging, calls and very light gaming it’s flawless. Animations are smooth, apps open relatively quickly and it can keep up. When you then start pushing it, it has moments, very brief moments when it stutters a little bit with the app opening animation or window transition animations. It does not affect how quickly the app opens though.

If you manage to burn through the 8GB of RAM there is a RAM expansion feature that can borrow up to 8GB of your internal storage and use it as RAM. There are 3 options for RAM expansion. 3GB, 5GB, and 8GB with 5GB being the default selection.

Oh, and this one comes with a headphone jack as well as DTS audio enhancement for a richer and fuller sound experience. When you have headphones or earphones plugged in you also get access to the equalizer to further customize your audio experience to suit your ears and your set of cans.

Battery performance is amazing

Battery performance is very good. The 5000mAh battery lost 34% when we ran the 3-hour endurance test making this an easy 2-day battery smartphone. It is just 10% behind the all-time endurance champ, the Pova 2 which required a 7000mAh battery to snatch the top spot. 2000mAh more than Camon 20. Charging tops out at 33W however the box will ship with an 18W charger so if you prefer much faster battery top-ups you will need to buy the 33W fast charger separately.

Capable camera in good lighting

The cameras are very good. It’s got a 64MP main camera and a 32MP selfie camera. I was very pleased with the results. There is good detail in the images thanks to binning. The camera is combining the detail from 4 adjacent pixels into 1 effectively producing 16MP images from the 64MP sensor. Dynamic range is also quite good, some of the more challenging images with the sun in the background are very well exposed with reasonable detail in the shadows and darker areas of images.

What I did notice is that it cranks up the saturation in images. The blues, greens, and reds are deeper and richer than in real life. It produces images that are quite pleasing to look at but might give off slightly inaccurate colors. Something to think about if you are taking photos for color reference. But that aside, the Camon 20 takes really good photos. At night the quad LED flash will do a decent job of illuminating what you are taking a photo of but the sensor struggles a bit with low-light environments.

Starting at US$219. Not bad

As an overall package, it’s a solid smartphone. The display is very good looking, the cameras do an excellent job in well-lit conditions, the battery life can take you comfortably past 2 days of moderate use and it’s one of the most unique and beautiful looking smartphones you can buy right now. The pricing is still typical of this version of Camon going for US$219. Pretty fair considering the hardware and I am sure those of you who see it in person will appreciate that its looks alone make it feel more expensive than it actually is. You can also purchase Tecno devices on Pindula on credit for your convenience and if you buy one with cash they will deliver to your doorstep. Click here to shop for a Camon 20 or any other Tecno or Itel of your choice.

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  1. wokenman

    I like me some ultrawide. For $230 and above I must have my ultrawide. So its gonna have to be Redmi and Samsung still. It’s high time they step up their update game as well. The truth is in terms for spec-for-cash these guys are no better or worse than Redmi or Samsung anymore. They only win on value coz of the accessories and the locally usable warranty – but they REALLY need to catch up with those OS updates.

    1. LG Wing Shaped Hole in My Heart

      Unfortunately, keeping those quality of things off the drafting table is probably what keeps them ahead on price. Maybe they’ll crack the code eventually and achieve the double whammy of parity of support/features at a lower cost

  2. The Empress

    Itel is absolute rub…. Wait wrong brand my bad.
    Everything about it sounds great. But why no 90hz display? Still not sure about the OS updates. But the price isn’t too bad either. I like it.

    1. JJ

      Nice one 😂 lol

  3. The Empress

    Redmi, Realme, POCO, OPPO these companies all make phones that can go toe to toe with Tecno in the mid range level but do you know what their main problem is? They all seem to either ignore the African market or treat it as an after thought. And when they focus on the African market, they seem to believe that only people in South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt are worth marketing to! So most of these brands phones in Zimbabwe come direct from Dubai.
    Infinix, Tecno and itel(🤮) see the whole continent as a potential market nd we get their products as soon as they are released. For some reason I really like that.🤷🏿‍♀️
    Samsung is overpriced in the mid range they lose on specs and price but name recognition and almost bulletproof reliability is why can still compete.

    1. LG Wing Shaped Hole in My Heart

      POCO, how nostalgic! Back in the day, I wanted the F1 so bad I was willing to go on raw soy chunks and water diet to get it😂 I still have a thing for unicorn brands or devices with good support, so even if a Transsion phone is technically the better buy in the moment, I’d probably consider something else first.

    2. Mhoph Tee

      So wrong ndichingoenda pa online zve phone hazvina basa kuti yakaita sei chero ichifona chete ne Internet ndozvikuru zvimwe zvinozotera kumashure

      1. The Empress

        Asi you use an itel?

        1. Mhoph Tee

          No im use Tecno Pop

    3. Anonymous

      They apply what is called a standardised approach to marketing

  4. Chisa nyama

    Yah sure they neglect the african market for those brands like oppo.used to have one my self when the lcd was damaged i could not replace it coz those phones are not visible in this part of the world

  5. V60

    The LG V60 thinq 5G ,8gig ram 256gig storage is going for $165 renewed on AliExpress (like new with 100% battery health)you pay $36 duty bringing the total to 201 ,you can get the optional dual case from #ebay for $45 for a total of $250 , transforming this into a foldable-ish dual screen phone .this phone has a 6.8 inch AMOLED screen 60hz (×2 if u get the case) Snapdragon 860 , stereo speakers,under display fingerprint,quad dec headphone jack,5000mah battery ,sd card support up to 1tb ,currently upgraded to android 13, wireless charging and a capable camera setup with great video recording app, the blue and gold colour version of the phone is also stunning ,now at $250(including shipping and duty and with the dual screen case) the LG looks like a way better deal than that Tecno which only has the 120hz screen over the LG V60

    1. The Empress

      You are so right. It’s a flagship grade phone for the same price. You get a much more powerful better specced phone than anything currently midrange from Tecno right now. But…
      But it’s secondhand.
      Ordering online on AliExpress requires you to jump through a lot of hoops to get it into your hands. How many days did you sit sweating wondering if you had been scammed before the phone finally arrived? Most people are not willing to go through all that nonsense for a phone.
      That Tecno might possibly get further OS updates but for the LG? Android 13 is definitely the end of the road.
      Getting that bad boy repaired if it gets damaged is going to be expensive! I personally have an Samsung S8 with non responsive screen US$200 to replace the screen! That LG V60 is going to be even harder to repair considering LG is no longer in the phone business anymore so parts are harder to get.
      Instead of repairing the S8 I bought a brand new realme 8i instead
      Aside from a few adjustments due to getting used to different OS I’m not too upset.
      But I definitely would have gone secondhand flagship route if my budget allowed it.

      1. V60

        I have been using the V60 since last year ,i gat it for 205 at the time ,but now it’s actual very cheap at 165, i have purchased more than 20 items on AliExpress and never been scammed once,electronic stuff ships way faster than i even expected,mine reached my nearest post office in 24 days ,as for repairs i can get every part of that phone from said AliExpress and have it to my door step in less than a month for a price less the fraction of what it would cost here in zim, ,i would take LGs polished android 13 over tecnos blotted android 15 ,thats if they even update it which is highly unlikely ,my phone looked like new and performed like new in every way,and that Snapdragon 865 beats that dimensity any day ,and the cameras blow that tecno outa water, that s8 lcd you will get it for less that $50 brand new and around $10 for a scared second hand ,yes AMOLED (download aliexpress and see for your self), in the end it’s up to you ,wait for a month and get a phone that is twice as better and half as expensive or go with the tecno

        1. The Empress

          It was just that I needed a phone sooner than later. But if I had time/money I would definitely go flagship route
          You just get a better user experience hands down. Facts is facts

        2. Anonymous

          Lg is was very underated typing this from an lg v50 i can tell you i dont even see the reason to replace this beast like the v series phones from lg were designed to be future proof and the audio from this man pair it with a couple of iem headphones and the experience os priceless

  6. Nissyfargo

    Google pixel or a Sony Xperia second hand is a better buy . Second hand iPhone is a better buy

  7. Poor Gamer

    You guys shock the f out of me , you’d say this 8gb ram phone is for “light” gaming 😂😂hahahahahahahaha , I have 2gb ram and 1.6ghz octa core which is pretty old but i game hard yo this device is more than capable for HARDCORE TO THE DEATH GAMING 😂😂 what else would you use 8gb ram on a phone for , calling your chomies?

    1. Hardcore Plants vs Zombies Player

      Yes, you can game ‘hardcore’ on it but there are levels to this gaming thing when it comes to specs. Taking them at face value can disappoint when the Pixel 7a guys with similar sounding specs or the competitive gamer bros bring out the benchmarks 😅

      It’s got lots of ram, but what type is it?
      Plenty of storage too, but is it ufs 3?
      Nice display, but is it at least 90hz?
      8 cores on that cpu, but how many of those are high performance? How high do they clock? Actually, how many nanometers is it built to?
      The UI doesn’t sweat the gpu, but how about COD with the settings cranked?

  8. Poor Gamer

    8gb RAM for light gaming? 😂You guys shock the f out of mee , I use 2gb ram , 1,6 gzh octacore which is really old but I game the f_ck out , I don know what y’all talking about , what else would you do with 8gb RAM? Use it to call your chomies?

  9. DoogeeHater

    I dont get why companies like Tecno, Itel etc insist on making their own flavours of OS (HiOS et al). Just slap stock android into it and save more money. Their OSes don’t feel finished and put a strain on the already weak processors in the phones. Why they insist on coming up with their own thing is beyond me.

    1. USP Bro

      Differentiation. It’s one of the few things that make manufacturers unique, for better or worse. It’s also a good chance to embed services, ads and extract data outside of the typical Google framework.

  10. Anonymous PQR

    My problem with these brands is being bugy. They are just not so refined. With samsung yes it may be expensive but hell their phones in my experience are well polished. No bugyness, no issues with 3rd party Launchers you name it, they are flawless.

  11. Annu

    Thanks for the sharing informative article.

  12. Ashu

    Thanks for the sharing informative article.

  13. Shanaz

    The Tecno CAMON 20 PRO is quite a beauty. I am really enjoying the experience and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this brand to anyone. This for me is an upgrade from a 3 year old SPARK 5 PRO so I can safely say TECNO is now my brand of choice.

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