Budget gaming phones seem to be slowly becoming a thing. Tecno who is kind of a frontrunner in this space has already made its mark in Africa and is now eyeing other emerging markets. As such, the affordably priced Tecno Pova 5 gaming phone has made its way to Nepal. So, the question now is does it meet the hype?
Before I answer that in my full review of the Tecno Pova 5, here are its brief specifications.
Tecno Pova 5 Specifications:
- Display: 6.78-inches FHD+ IPS LCD, 120Hz refresh rate
- Resolution: FHD+ (1080 x 2460 pixels)
- Chipset: MediaTek Helio G99 (6nm mobile platform)
- Memory: 8/128GB
- Software & UI: HiOS on top of Android 13
- Rear Camera: 50MP primary, AI camera
- Front Camera: 8MP with dual-flash
- Security: Fingerprint sensor (side-mounted)
- Audio: 3.5mm headphone jack
- Battery: 6000mAh with 45W charging
- WLAN: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
- Positioning: GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS
- NFC: Yes
- Radio: FM radio
- USB: USB Type-C 2.0
- Price: NPR 20,990
Tecno Pova 5 Review:
Design and Build
- Dimension: 168.6 mm*76.6mm*9mm
- Weight: 219.4 g
- Glass Front, Plastic Frame, Plastic Back
Regarding the design, I find it quite appealing. The tecno Pova 5 comes in a triangular-shaped box with a free-fire-themed design. The stylish design on the back reminiscence me of the Nothing phone, and its overall aesthetic evokes the kind of phone one might see in a Michael Mann film carried by a hitman. While design preferences can be subjective, I particularly appreciate the color choice.
The back panel and frame of the phone are constructed from sturdy hard plastic, imparting a sense of durability. Notably, the phone boasts a dual rear camera system and unexpectedly features DTS dual speakers, a pleasant surprise given its price range. despite the DTS dual speakers, it still struggles with music with bass. And by all means, the sound is not ‘perfect’ but still good to go
Additional features include a USB-C port and a 3.5mm audio jack, catering to various connectivity needs. However, it’s worth noting that the phone carries a weight of 219g, making it notably heavy during use. This weight could be attributed to the size of the device.
- Type: IPS LCD, 120Hz, 580 nits (typ)
- Size: 6.78 inches, 109.2 cm2 (~84.5% screen-to-body ratio)
- Resolution: 1080 x 2460 pixels (~396 ppi density)
The most notable aspect of this smartphone is its 120Hz refresh rate, which is quite impressive considering its affordable price range. The phone features a 6.78-inch display with an impressive 84.5% screen-to-body ratio. The IPS LCD provides vibrant colors indoors, although the brightness appears to be low during gameplay and high-quality video playback. In addition, the phone struggles to display content in outdoor settings, especially in direct sunlight, making it difficult to use under such conditions.
Despite the absence of HDR, the device performs well in video playback, delivering authentic colors and providing a pretty good experience for movie-watching. Personally, I encountered minimal issues with the device—there were very few ads, and noticeable stutters were practically nonexistent.
- OS Android 13, HIOS 13
- Chipset Mediatek Helio G99 (6nm)
- CPU Octa-core (2×2.2 GHz Cortex-A76 & 6×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55)
- GPU Mali-G52 MC2
Let’s now delve into the primary feature of the Tecno Pova 5: its designation as a ‘budget gaming smartphone.’ In my opinion, it effectively lives up to this tagline. Notably, the MediaTek Helio G99 (6nm), which is an excellent chip of its class, delivers outstanding gaming and multimedia performance. I tested the device with several demanding games that rely on a robust chipset and GPU, and it pretty much excelled at all of them except a few.
Games like Call of Duty run smoothly at 60 fps with slight fluctuations here and there on medium graphics settings, exhibiting no significant drops in frame rates, lags, or stuttering. Similarly, I also played the eFootball at the same 60 fps- Standard (medium) graphics, and the gaming experience went pretty smoothly as well.
Meanwhile, games like PUBG did pretty well at 30 fps. While I also tried high-fps games and had to conclude, the phone wasn’t that solidly optimized for it. For instance, Alto’s Odyssey maxed out at 60fps, while Mech Arena had a short run at 70fps thereabouts.
However, it’s important to note that more graphics-intensive games such as Genshin Impact can only be played at the lowest graphics settings—anything beyond that seems to strain the phone’s capabilities. In addition, the Tecno Pova 5 also outscores the ‘budget king’ Redmi Note 12 4G, while the Tecno Pova 5 comes at a cheaper price.
Now, turning to the issue of temperature, the device exhibits a relatively gradual heat buildup. Even during peak usage, the skin temperature peaked at 38.7°C while playing games like PUBG, efootball, and free fire, and the temperature was concentrated around the camera module where the battery is located. For the rest of the body, the temperature ranged between 32°C to 35°C. It typically takes a minute or two for the device to cool down to room temperature after intense usage. In addition,
Tecno Pova 5 also offers Game Space, a dedicated space for game storage, easy access, and gameplay enhancements. With Gaming Mode, users can enjoy an optimal gaming environment, and Game Space fosters community engagement. Combined with the Helio G99 octa-core CPU, Tecno Pova 5 is an impressive gaming device for daily use. Features of Game Space may vary by phone model and region.
The HiOS 13 operating system is decent, however, it does not offer any extraordinary features to boast about. While there are minimal ads present on the phone, there is a lot of bloatware preoccupying storage. Although you can always uninstall 90 percent of them. The operating system provides customization options which are not that unique on their own but considering the price range of the smartphone, it is definitely one of the best options available.
Battery and storage
The Tecno Pova 5 boasts a massive 6000mAh battery, which is an unparalleled spec for a phone in this range. With this battery, you won’t have to worry about charging the phone for at least a day of basic usage. The phone lasts for more than 14 hours of moderate continuous use. I remember charging the phone the other day and leaving it unused for a whole day. The phone had only dropped 2 percent in charge.
In terms of charging, the phone comes with a 45W fast charger. Tecno claims that it can charge up to 50% within the first 21 minutes. However, during my testing, it took around 27 minutes, which is still quite impressive. The phone can fully charge within 1 hour, which is a great feature to have.
The Tecno Pova 5 comes in two variations with different internal storage capacities – 128GB and 256GB. It also has 8GB of RAM which is expandable up to 16GB. This is an excellent feature for a phone that is relatively inexpensive. The storage and RAM capacity makes this phone suitable for gaming and other high-performance applications as well. However, despite having 8 GB of RAM, I also faced reloading problems every time I had to reopen certain apps.
Although the phone has many great features, the camera is its only major downside. That being said, it comes with a 50 MP primary camera does takes decent photos in daylight. While the colors may not be entirely accurate, the images still appear sharp and vibrant when taken under good lighting conditions.
The phone’s front camera only has an 8 MP resolution, so it is not capable of taking great selfies. The colors are accurate, but the pictures appear smoothed out like how pictures appear in a beauty app. Moreover, under low light conditions, it is very difficult to capture any detail at all.
The Tecno Pova 5 struggles to capture clear and sharp images, especially in low-light conditions. The pictures appear distorted and the night mode doesn’t make much of a difference, as the images still look filtered. To capture a decent picture, you need to be completely still. However, considering that this is a ‘budget gaming’ phone, you have to compromise on certain features. If you are not very particular about the camera quality, then this phone is one of the best options available in this price range.
Just like any other smartphone within this range, the Tecno Pova 5 also does a pretty average job recording moving images. Despite, having the ability to shoot up to 2K/30 fps, and being constrained with a stabilization mode, it can’t help improve either the quality or the shaky camera movements
Tecno Pova 5 Review: Conclusion
The sub 25K segment in Nepal is really competitive with attractive options like the Infinix Note 30, Tecno Camon 20, Samsung Galaxy A24 4G, and the Redmi Note 12 4G.
Although the Pova 5 from Tecno lives up to the hype in terms of raw performance, other aspects including the screen, camera, weight, and software still have room for improvement.
As such, I would personally choose the Redmi Note 12 (4G) over this device even if it might cost a little extra. The Redmi Note 12 4G (review) comes with an incredible AMOLED screen, better cameras, and a better software experience. Although the Pova has an edge on battery life, memory, and raw power, the difference isn’t as noticeable as an OLED screen or better cameras.
Tecno Pova 5 Review : Pros and Cons
- Powerful chipset & ample memory
- 120 Hz display
- 6000 mAh Battery
- Stereo Speakers
- Polarizing design and heft
- IPS LCD with low brightness
- Weak Cameras