Tecno’s camera centred smartphone lineup, Camon, has been around for a while now. Long enough for us to have some expectations when it comes to what we are getting.
These are the kinds of expectations that were carried into my first interaction with the Camon 12, one of the 3 smartphones in the Camon lineup that Tecno has availed in the Kenyan market almost a year since it introduced its predecessors, the Camon 11 series.
For a 6.5-inch device, the Tecno Camon 12 doesn’t feel unwieldy, surprisingly. It just finds its place in my hands and never once have I been overwhelmed by it. This has everything to do with the compactness and little to do with accessories like the included plastic case.
Talking about the plastic case, there is something interesting about it. Sure, it does not have the good feel of the case I loved on the Phantom 9 but it adds some little things that I never put a lot of thought into when considering cases: flaps for covering both the 3.5mm headphone jack and the microUSB charging port.
Yeah, it sucks that Tecno is resisting any attempts to move the masses to the USB Type-C side of the world but given that this is no flagship-class device, I can let that slide with much fuss.
What I won’t let pass, though, is the persistent blinding notification light from one of the two LED flashes on the front. On any other good day, the dual flash would be a welcome addition as it comes in handy if needed for photography uses. However, that is not the case when you have a constant supply of friends chatting you up and the Gmail app serving up its daily email notification quotas courtesy of your fruitless efforts to achieve the mythical inbox zero.
My experience with the device’s battery life has been good. More than good, in fact. It goes on and on. Basically, nothing you won’t want from your next phone. Where it fails short, however, is the fact that it does not have any form of accelerated charging. So you can’t plug it at 1% in with the sole aim of having just enough juice to last you during a 2-hour commute. This is where you get to realize why it’s such a good device at such a reasonable price.
The usual misgivings about Tecno’s software overlay, HiOS, now in version 5.5, remain. Right out of the box, one is overwhelmed by the pre-installed
bloatware apps. Sure, a lot of them can be uninstalled right away and those that can’t can be disabled but… A good thing is that any uninstalled or disabled apps aren’t sneaked in after a reboot as it once used to be the case on past devices.
Noticeable omissions include the lack of an under-display fingerprint sensor, we have to make do with the tried and tested fingerprint sensor located in its usual place at the back.
In short, over the course of the last 3 weeks that I have been using the device, it has proved itself dependable with only the usual known issues that I have singled out before, most notably being the inconsistencies in the software experience, standing in the way of a full-blown impressive budget smartphone experience. It is just as fast, lasts long enough that battery anxiety won’t be your portion and there’s more. It is a Camon, after all, right? There’ll be more about the feature that gives it the name, the camera(s), later.
The Tecno Camon 12 is going for a recommended retail price of Kshs 15,499.