Tecno Camon X Review: A new Camon chapter

by | May 2, 2018

In its design, branding and marketing strategies, it is apparent that even though not a flagship, the Camon X is the beginning of a new Camon chapter.

After the unboxing and a 3-week long user-based review, I have seen most highs and lows of the Tecno Camon X.

Design

In its plastic matte blackness, gold rimmed camera lens and logo, the Camon X is unlike anything. Its sleek design is both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

The slim body also makes for a comfortably easy grip across both horizontal and vertical axis.
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But apart from its body, there are other new design updates to the Camon X and most of them are questionable in their practicality.

SIM tray

Most models of Tecno phones allowed you use 2 SIM cards without a memory card or one SIM card and a memory card. With an upgrade, the SIM tray on the Camon X comfortably accommodates 2 nano SIM cards and a memory card at once.

This is a first in SIM trays for Tecno phones in general and it is a good thing.

Headphone jack underneath

I tried plugging earphones into the Camon X and discovered the headphone jack is misplaced somewhere in the bottom area around the stereo speakers.

Not exactly sure why this is so as it doesn’t exactly scream functionality because I and everyone else mostly put our phones bottom first into pockets and bags.

With the headphone in the tail area now, I predict a lot of inconvenience and damaged earphones.

A case of ‘The Case’

As seen in the unboxing, a plastic casing comes straight out of the box with the Camon X. This case is a prayer answered for the soldiers that like shielding their smartphones at first contact, but some of us like experiencing a smartphone’s beauty without any friction.

The practicality of the plastic case ends in its potential protectiveness, every other of its attribute feel very wrong.  Surprisingly, as feathery as it looks and feels, the case weighs an amazing 25 grams and adds that bulk to the general weight of the phone.
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This bulk also acts as an unnecessary beef buffer that makes it inches harder for me to reach the fingerprint scanner.

tecno camon x 132 of 143

A side view of the Camon X with its case on

Still on hard reaching, swiping down notification bar is a lot harder with the front part of the casing covering an inch of the upper screen.

However, the case also serves as a leveler to the obvious camera bump that should not be there in the first instance.

But whatever, the case is a NO for me.

Display

Like a bad hairline, bezels on the Camon X have receded far into oblivion. They are still present, but impressively barely perceptible; Tecno obviously took a giant leap in the bezel-slashing tourney on this one.

Apart from space to fit camera, sensors, speakers, home keys and a slim allowance by the sides, no bezel space was conceded. I hope this is a trend Tecno intends to follow.

The screen itself is a responsive but slightly saturated display that whitens out everything when brightness is turned up.

This means having to sacrifice above average brightness for clarity or vice versa.

Camera

You don’t equip a smartphone with a 20-megapixel selfie camera unless it is a designated camera phone and that is exactly what the Camon X — and its predecessors — are designed to be.

With a 4-in-1” mode that uses 4 different small cells to balance colour, lighting and combines, Bokeh effect mode, Intelligent adjustable flashlight, “AI-powered” selfie beautification and 3-HDR mode for portrait and group selfies, the Camon X’s camera has a lot of improvements on paper.

But how do these pan out in real life?

The 24-megapixel selfie camera on here is a true beast and shines through in well lit environments. But if you look closely at the picture, there are hints of overexposure; too much light entering the camera.

Camon X Pictures 13

Selfie with Camon X camera

And sometimes if not well positioned, you get a nearly white-out selfie.

Camon X Pictures 9

Overexposed selfie with the Camon X

But of course,  pictures are generally good.

Its 16 MP primary camera seems to have a firmer grip on  excessive lighting as even in extremely lit environments, pictures were still balanced.

Camon X Pictures 10

Well lit picture with primary camera on the Camon X

Bokeh effect that focuses on a subject and blurs out the background is more developed on the Camon X.

Camon X Pictures 4

Bokeh shot of a camera with the primary camera on the Camon X

Fingerprint Scanner and Face ID

Apart from the aforementioned case of the case inhibiting fingerprint reach by inches, the fingerprint scanner is very responsive.

Face ID is responsive too and near instantaneous, except when it goes on a vacation.

There are standard cases when in a dark room, my face becomes unrecognizable to the camera and the phone refuses to unlock, then an option to turn on front flash illuminates the face.

But apart from these inevitable instances, I noticed that on more than one occasion, my Face ID option disappeared totally from the home screen.

Without any explanations or prompt, it just stops working and I had to momentarily rely on other backup lock mechanisms.

It required fresh set up to come back up on these occasions.

Sound

Audio on the Camon CX is as good as can be; nothing exceptional or below standard.

Call audio is good but not crispy clear.

The loud speaker grilles located under the phone are effective for any private jamming session, but not loud enough for a party.

Generally, audio output is on a thin manageable line

Storage and Performance

As on the Camon CX, the internal expandable memory is still 16GB.

Minus the fact that 3GB/16GB in a RAM to ROM ratio does not sound complimentary, I expected an improved camera phone will have enough space to save pictures. At its best quality, the Camon X shoots 4 to 5-megabyte sized pictures.

This sounds like a lot at first until you consider other media that share this space with pictures; videos and audio.

As usual with most Tecno phones, from the 3GB RAM, about half is already in use by the system. But the remaining is still enough for lag-free smooth runnings.

Battery

At 3750 mAh, I wonder why battery on the Camon X was not rounded up to 4,000. But it is still is a good power source.

On a full charge, the battery lasted from between 8 hours on heavy taxed usage to a full day on normal use.

Fast charge technology ensured the batteries fill up in under 3 hours.

One interesting thing I discovered was an abnormal battery burn rate on sleep mode. It does not happen on a massive scale, but when screen is locked and there is supposedly no activity, battery still manages to seep out at an above average rate.

Price

The Tecno Camon X is a ₦58,900 standards across online stores. Some sold higher, but I found a ₦58,500 low on Jumia.

Verdict

No matter how the specs look on paper, the Tecno Camon X manages to deliver on its primary value proposition; cameras.

In other aspects, the phone swung from very good to an outright “hmm”.

At a ₦58,900 price point, it is a good buy and –mostly for its cameras — I’ll totally make it a primary device even if not for a very long time.

Victor Ekwealor
Victor Ekwealor

tech. media. startups. africa. vc | Twitter: @victor_ekwealor

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