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 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 that 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.
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.
|CPU||Mediatek Helio G85
|Display||6.67″ 2400×1080 pixels
60Hz refresh rate
|Rear Camera||64MP main camera
2K video recording
|Storage||8GB RAM+8GB MemoryFusion
2G, 3G, 4G
33W Fast Charge
34% power drain after 3 hour endurance test
|Price||US$235 – US$250|
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$235. 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 ranging from US$235 to US$250. Pretty fair considering the hardware and I am sure those of you that 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.