Which member of the Tecno Camon 12 series is right for you?

Tecno has not one, not two but a whole three devices in its Camon 12 series this year.

It is not exactly a rare thing since we’ve already gotten used to the 2 devices it has been availing with its lineups in recent years and it’s actually a thing as one moves up the smartphone food chain.

What makes it interesting is the quest to have 3 devices that vary in pricing for as little as Kshs 2,000 and as much as Kshs 6,000.

Is there any wisdom in such an approach?

Furthermore, by going for one member of the Camon device series over the other, what is one missing?

Specifications

 Tecno Camon 12 AirTecno Camon 12Tecno Camon 12 Pro
Dimensions165.97 x 75.8 x 8.2 mm165.97 x 75.8 x 8.2 mm158.6 x 75.5 x 7.8 mm
Display6.55-inch HD+ (1600 x 720 pixels) Dot-In6.52-inch HD+(1600 x 720 pixels) Dot Notch6.4-inch AMOLED Dot Notch (1548 x 720 pixels)
CameraSelfie camera: 8MP
Main camera: 16MP + 2MP + 5MP triple rear camera with quad flash
Selfie camera: 16MP with dual flash
Main camera: 16MP + 2MP + 8MP triple rear camera with quad flash
Selfie: 32MP with dual flash
Main camera: 16MP + 2MP + 8MP triple rear camera with quad flash
ProcessorUnknown Quad-core SOCMediaTek Helio P35 chipset clocked at 1.5GHzUnknown Octa-core SOC
Memory3GB RAM, 32GB onboard storage4GB RAM, 64GB onboard storage6GB RAM, 64GB onboard storage
Operating SystemAndroid 9 Pie with Tecno HiOS UI 5.5SameSame
Battery4,000mAh4,000mAh3,500mAh
Network3G, 4G (supports JTL Faiba's network band)SameSame
ConnectivityBluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi, microUSBSameSame
ExtrasFingerprint scanner (at the back), dual micro-SIMSameUnder-display fingerprint scanner, dual micro-SIM, dedicated Google Assistant button, AR Graffiti

More

As one can tell from the above side-by-side specifications sheet, the Tecno Camon 12 Pro is the most superior while the Tecno Camon 12 Air is the most junior of the trio.

As can be expected, this is also reflected in the pricing of the three devices. The standard Tecno Camon 12 goes for Kshs 15,499. The Tecno Camon 12 Pro goes for Kshs 4,000 more i.e. Kshs 19,499. The Tecno Camon 12 Air goes for Kshs 2,000 less i.e. Kshs 13,499.

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The prices are just low enough to keep the senior-most Camon 12 within the reach of those being tempted by Kshs 20,000 smartphones while the junior-most stays just competitive enough to make those about to splash Kshs 15,000 on a device like the standard Camon 12 or other models from rival brands, stop in their tracks and re-evaluate their decisions.

There are some oddities that one encounters while poring through the specifications and feature lists of the 3 devices. Like the smaller battery unit on what is supposedly the senior-most device in the series range. And even the smaller display. Sure, it’s just 0.1 inches that have been shaved off but hey, that’s what we are here to shed light on.

Tecno Camon 12 Pro

While all the 3 devices pack HD panels that won’t be winning any points when pitted against the full HD panels that can be found on devices that go for more than they do (Kshs 20,000 onwards) like those from Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi, they are not made equal.

For instance, the Tecno Camon 12 Pro’s 720p panel boasts of AMOLED technology. Without going into another tech lesson that belongs in our knowledge base section, that in itself means that you’ll be able to see multimedia content that contains blacks in a much better way than you would on other panels where the backlighting has to be factored in. That is assuming everything checks out on the Camon 12 Pro as we are made to believe it does going by the specifications on paper (since we haven’t used it).

Tecno Camon 12 Air

While the Camon 12 Pro arrives with 6GB of memory, twice what the Camon 12 Air packs, given that it gets paired with the same amount of storage that one gets on the standard variant, a key question that anyone considering it would ask themselves is whether it is wise to forego it and save the extra Kshs 4,000 by going with the standard variant.

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That is assuming that one isn’t interested in features unique to the Pro model like the under-display fingerprint scanner (which we didn’t find to be that well-executed on the Phantom 9 we had) or the who-actually-needs-this-instead-of-a-dedicated-camera-button dedicated Google Assistant physical button on the device’s side.

It can be a tough balance.

Maybe it isn’t such a tough balance when one looks at the Camon series’ main feature: the cameras.

While the standard Camon 12 and the Pro variant share the same sensors on the back, on the front, things are a bit different. The Camon 12 Pro trades the standard variant’s 16-megapixel shooter for a 32-megapixel one.

We don’t know if this results in any better snaps (beyond the bit where one has more to work for their blowing up needs) since Tecno isn’t saying anything specific about any other unique capabilities. Or is it just another case of bamboozling customers with the tired and mostly misinformed “more megapixels are better” line? If it is, then the standard Camon 12 will have an upper hand in an area it shouldn’t be winning that easily. If it isn’t then it has the potential to be a deal-breaker.

However, just like with the RAM, one will have to ask themselves if they need all that.

Have something that you believe I need to have a look at? Hit me up: echenze [at] androidkenya.com