With the Tecno Camon 17 Pro, Tecno is making it very clear how it is coming after the brand it has been trading top place with on the smartphone charts on the continent over the last few years. So, how does it compare to what Samsung offers in a package that features roughly a similar feature set and within about the same price in the same market segment?
|Tecno Camon 17 Pro||Samsung Galaxy A32|
|Dimensions and weight||168.89 x 76.98 x 8.95 mm||158.9 x 73.6 x 8.4 mm, 184g|
|Display||6.8-inch HD (2460 x 1080 pixels, 395ppi) 90Hz Dot-in||6.4-inch Infinity-V
(2400 x 1080 pixels, 411ppi) 90Hz Super AMOLED
|Camera||Back: 64MP + 8MP (wide-angle) + 2MP (bokeh) + 2MP (black and white)|
Front: 48MP with Dual Flash
|Main: 64MP + 8MP (123-degree wide-angle) + 5MP (macro) + 5MP (depth)
|Processor||MediaTek Helio G95||MediaTek Helio G80|
|Memory||8GB RAM, 256 GB onboard storage (expandable via microSD)||6 GB RAM, 128 GB internal storage|
|Operating System||Android 11 (XOS 7.6)||Android 11 (One UI 3.1)|
|Battery||5,000mAh with 25W Flash Charge||5,000mAh|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB Type-C||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), Bluetooth, USB Type-C, NFC|
|Colour options||California Dream Silver, Malibu Blue||Awesome Black, Awesome White, Awesome Blue, Awesome Violet|
|Others||Fingerprint sensor (side-mounted on the power button), dual speakers with surround sound||Fingerprint sensor (on the side of the device, on the power button)|
As you can see at a glance from the above specifications, the Tecno Camon 17 Pro is every bit the larger device. The Samsung Galaxy A32 matches it when it comes to the high refresh rate (90Hz) and, by virtue of having a smaller display, outshines it with a slightly higher pixel density. And, vibrant as the Camon 17 Pro is, we can’t overlook the Super AMOLED panel on Samsung’s budget offering.
On paper, the four cameras on the backs of the two devices start out the same but get some differences further down the road. For instance, Tecno goes with a monochrome and bokeh sensor while Samsung keeps a macro and depth sensor to achieve around the same results.
On the front, Samsung goes for a 20-megapixel selfie shooter while Tecno throws in a 48-megapixel lens. Does that mean anything? In a big way, it does. Check out our focus on the Camon 17 Pro’s camera(s) here.
We are sparing the Galaxy A32’s cameras for when we have a more in-depth look at them and share our experience. On paper, the Tecno has the higher numbers, especially on the front but is that also what you get in real-world performance? We can’t conclusively answer that at this point.
As already noted, Tecno is far too generous with the storage space on the Camon 17 Pro – a whopping 256 gigabytes – while Samsung is sticking with the 128GB it has been putting on such devices for a while now.
The performance is where Tecno seeks to set itself apart. The Camon 17 Pro not only has the far superior MediaTek Helio G80 chipset, but it is also backed by 8GB of memory. Compare that to the Galaxy A32’s 6GB which is still a lot by any standards but still falling short of the expectations of this day and age if the competition is able to offer something else at a lower price and without compromising on quality as such, an earlier concern we had.
A standard (by Samsung standards) 15W fast-charger obviously meant that the Galaxy A32 was on the outer slow lane while the Camon 17 Pro (and its bundled 25W) was on the fast lane.
Two nearly similar devices, different modes of approach. At least that is what you quickly conclude upon using both devices thanks to the dissimilar software choices. It’s still Android, at core, but with the visions of both companies very visibly at play.
The Samsung features a rather clean interface that relegates pretty much every add-on a user may want to its app store while the Tecno bundles as many features, necessary or unnecessary, depending on where you stand on these issues to the device, overwhelming it in the process and making decluttering a near-nightmare.
While Samsung’s software is a joy to use and makes a big case for the Galaxy A32, besides it, the only other reason to stick around would be, for the Samsung loyalists, the ready support for Samsung’s plethora of available accessories (Galaxy Buds earphones, Galaxy Watch smartwatches and the like). Here, the Tecno Camon 17 Pro can’t compete.
However, where Tecno lacks because of factors beyond this specific device’s control like a now-growing ecosystem of accessories that is still a few steps behind Samsung’s, it makes up for in the device’s impressive performance. Both devices deploy chipsets from Taiwanese semiconductor giant MediaTek with the silicon we find on the Camon 17 Pro easily coming on top.
This impressive performance thanks to the chipset, enhanced by the above-stated more memory than the Samsung Galaxy A32 offers, means that any misgivings we may have had over the heft of the software add-ons is easily taken care of and, while the experience can’t be erased (you still have to deal with the gazillion notifications), it doesn’t ground everything else to a halt, as it likely would on a device without the matching performance chops.
Double the storage, a larger display that matches the competition quality-wise, a better chipset and a super low-light camera experience in this market segment… That means that the Tecno Camon 17 Pro costs more than the Samsung Galaxy A32, right?
Wrong. The Tecno Camon 17 Pro costs just Kshs 22,800, if we are to go with the recommended retail pricing.
By contrast, the comparatively good software experience on the Samsung is packed in a device that costs about Kshs 5,000 more (to stand at about Kshs 27,000 – 28,000) at third-party retail outlets online and offline for the 6GB RAM variant. There’s an 8GB variant, whose availability in the local market I am unsure of and which, if its 6GB counterpart is anything to go by, should cost even more. Oh, and it’s still capped at 128GB internal storage so…