It 2018 and everybody loves a new year greetings, and here comes new years greetings from Tecno, the launch of a brand new smartphone in the Camon series. I’m talking about the Tecno Camon CM (also known as Tecno Camon CMore or the Tecno Camon I in India). The Tecno CM is the first device from Tecno to pack a full screen display with 18:9 aspect ratio, with 720 x 1440 display resolutions.
Most Chinese OEMs already adopts the 18:9 aspect ratio, and it is nice seeing Tecno following suit. But more interesting is the fact that this is coming in the Tecno Camon series. While we would have loved to see a more frugal Camon variant with better specs and features, the Camon CM is a welcome either pending the arrival of the Tecno Camon C11 or the C12, that is if anything of such is to be hoped for.
The Specifications of CM is not bad, but considering the fact that Tecno Camon series have experienced consistent improvement since the first Camon C5, it a bit disappointing to see Tecno opting in for a weaker processor considering the more powerful MT6750 seen in CX. Tecno Camon CM full specs are checklisted below:
[tie_index]Tecno Camon CM Key Specs[/tie_index]
Tecno Camon CM Specss and Features
- Display: 5.7-inch (720 x 1440 pixels) 2.5D curved glass and 18:9 Full Vision Display
- Processor: 1.3GHz Quad-Core MediaTek MT6737H, Cortex-A53 64-bit processor with Mali T760 GPU
- Storage: 2/3GB RAM and 16/32GB internal memory, expandable memory up to 128GB with microSD
- OS: Android 7.0 (Nougat) based on HiOS
- SIM Options: Three-in-one Card slot (Dual Nano-SIM + microSD)
- Back Camera: 13MP rear camera with Quad (ring) LED flash, PDAF
- Front Camera: 13MP front-facing camera with LED flash
- Connectivity: 4G VoLTE, WiFi b/g/n Bluetooth 4.2, GPS
- Battery: 3000mAh built-in battery
- Other Features: Rear Facing Fingerprint sensor,
- Color Options: Phantom Black, Champagne Gold and Coral Blue
- Price: $129
Tecno Camon CM (CMore) Disadvantages
- The use of weaker MediaTek MT6737H processor
- Only 2GB/16GB variant is available in some market
- Use of nano-SIM slot all through
In order to endure that the review is not biased, I’ll be making reference at intervals to the Ulefone Mix 2 which has same specifications with the Camon CM, and also currently being reviewed. Also, I will not be talking about the box content in this review. If you want to know what is the box content of the Camon CM, please read my Unboxing Review and Antutu Benchmark of the Tecno Camon CM HERE.
[tie_index]Design and Built Quality[/tie_index]
Tecno Camon CM Review: Design and Built Quality
Camon CM Design
As mentioned in the Unboxing review, the design of the Camon CM is to some extent unique, but nothing out of the ordinary. The Camon CM combines the look and feels of Tecno Phantom 8 from the front, and the older Camon CX from the back. You should already know that one of the major SP of the devices is the Full Vision display, which Tecno code-named CMore. But that does not mean the phone is bezelless. There is still above 10-mm bezels above and below the screen, and about 2.4mm to the left and right hand side of the phone.
Above the 5.65-inch HD+ screen, there is a notification LED, the 13-megapixel front facing camera, a speaker grill, ambient light sensor and a single front facing LED flash, all arranged from left to right, while the traditional Android 3-key navigation keys are replaced with an on-screen soft keys.
The base of the devices host a microphone, a USB 2.0 port and the loud speaker dots. There is a power button and a volume rocker to the right, a 3.5mm audio jack overhead and the 3-in-1 card slots to the left hand side of the device, which can carry 2 nano-SIM and a 128GB SDcard at same time.
At the back, there is a protruded 13-megapixel main camera, alongside a powerful and beautifully designed ring flash hosting 4-LED flash. The rear fingerprint sensor, Tecno logo and the Camon branding occupies the rest of the back panel, with network reception straps travelling through the top and bottom of the rear panel.
Camon CMore Built Quality
To be sincere, I’m completely satisfied with the built quality of the Tecno Camon CM. The device is currently the lightest 5.7-inch smartphone I’ve seen, weighing just 134 grams. The measurable tiniest edge of the devices is kept just at 6.6mm, while the overall thickness of the CM is 7.8mm. This is a big improvement in design considering the fact that the phone is got a 3000mAh battery. The measurements are far lesser than what I saw on the Ulefone Mix 2 with almost 9.8mm and a whooping 195 grams, yet with almost similar specs and screen size.
In all, I am very satisfied with the design and built quality of the Tecno Camon CM/Camon CI. I even tried twisting the device to see if I could notice some breaks and cracks, but the devices still remained sturd. My only issue with the design is the protruding rear camera lens which would start taking scratches with long usage, and then, there’s an included TPU silicon case.
Tecno Camon CM Review: Display
As mention above, the display on the Camon CM is not bezelless, yet the inherent bezels can never be a deal breaker. The device is a 5.65-inch IPS HD+ (1440x720p) display with Corning Gorilla Glass. This translate into around 280 PPI. While 280 pixel per inch might not be as impressive as the 401 PPI on the older Camon CX, the screen is still very OK.
The device is bright enough for both indoor and outdoor usage, and color reproductions is done fairly well. I found the maximum brightness to be a bit over-powering during indoor use, and a somehow not enough in outdoor use. While direct sunlight use is generally possible, you might need to tilt the screen at intervals due to screen reflections.
The viewing angles are okay, but don’t expect anything more than that. I noticed that tilting the device during a movie will generally retain the color and brightness, but there’ll be a notable increase in contrast from the opposite direction.
While I have no much issue with the display quality on the Camon CM, I will still mention one very saddening issue. And that is the fact that the Tecno Camon CM touch panel support only 3 fingers at a time, instead of the standard 5 finger-touch panel recommended for Android devices.
That won’t affect most average users, because I’m sure only few uses app demanding multiple screen touch per time. But if you are a heavy gamer, this might limit you from installing some games on the Camon CM, and Tecno really need to come up with a better touch panel next time
[tie_index]Camera and Multimedia[/tie_index]
Tecno Camon CM Review: Camera and Multimedia
Now here we are! For those who don’t know, the Camon series is Tecno’s Camera centric smartphone. That does not really mean it the smartphone series with the best camera from Tecno. But the truth remains that when a Tecno Camon smartphone is mentioned, especially among geeks, the next thought that will come to mind is camera. So what is the Camera performance on the Camon CM?
Tecno Camon CM (CMore) Camera Specs and Features
The Camera is a 13-megapixel shooter with support for Phase Detection Auto-focus (PDAF). It has 3.5mm focal length and f/2.0 aperture. The image size is 3120 x 4160 resulting to between 4-6MB for a single image. The LED light is a single-toned, ring (quad) flash. The front camera also retains same settings except for the single front facing LED flash.
I put the 13-megapixel rear sensor through both indoor and outdoor test, and while some outcome was very impressive, few others turned out a bit disappointing. One major area I was disappointed with the CMore rear camera, is in the colour reproduction. Outdoor images captured on the Camon CMore lack enough colours. Images are generally bright and sharp, but the lesser colour tend to make it look too whitish.
Another area the phone failed to impress me is when shooting an object in front of a larger light source. Even when I tried to manually focus the object, the CM will still not allow in more light enough to make the point of focus brighter. This result in a bit darker image output, giving an upper hand to Ulefoone Mix 2, thanks to it dual rear camera.
Where the Camon CM shines is during night or low light shots, as well as indoor shots. This is where you’ll notice the importance of the rear Ring flash. The front facing camera is also very Okay, producing clean picture in full day light, but the noise level is too high at night. For the ladies, you also get about 8 level of facial beautification (did not try it).
Tecno Camon CMore More Main Camera Samples
In summary, the Camon CM rear camera did very well in both my photo shooting and video recording. However one important thing to note is, when recording video, the Tecno Camon CM can only record at 720p resolution
Tecno Camon CMore Front-facing Camera samples:
The screen is also very pleasant enough for watching movies. And yes, the loud speaker on this device does it job pretty well. The speaker is really loud and crisp, with notable highs and mids. Even at the highest volume, the output is still very clear keeping sound distortions to the barest minimum. Although I would have loved to see more of lows.
The story becomes entirely different when you plug-in the pair of the follow-come earbuds. The earbud is still the traditional cheap earbud that accompanies both Tecno and Infinix smartphones. But for some good reasons, I could still enjoy some great sounds after playing with the EQs. Plug in a more premium earbuds like my Xiaomi Mi Piston Pro HD (Piston V4), and you are in a different world of sound quality entirely.
In all, multimedia consumer will totally have no issue with this device. One thing I still don’t like with the CM at this point is the fact that the pre-loaded Boom Player is still a bit slow for my liking, and when on data, the player keeps sending useless music notification which can be easily turned off from the player settings. But if you don’t like the boom player like myself, Google music app is also pre-loaded.
[tie_index]Processor, Storage and OS[/tie_index]
Tecno Camon CM Review: Processor, Storage and OS
So I am saying it again, the processor is a 1.3Ghz quad-core Mediatek MT6737H, assisted by a Mali-T720 GPU alongside 2GB of RAM. I put the device through Antutu Benchmark, and got some numbers below 36,000. I also tested Basemark OS v2, and the result was not that bad either, standing almost close to Xiaomi Redmi 4 with Snapdragon chip and Adreno GPU.
All the app I threw at it loaded pretty well, but not pretty fast. The OS is Android 7.0 underneath a heavily customize HiOS 3.2.0. Despite being heavily customize with separate launcher, you still get all google apps in place including Chrome, Google Map, Duo, YouTube etc.
The customized UI is also well optimized. Although there are some lags and hangs here and there, but throughout my use, I did not notice any app force close. At a point, I fell in love with the HiOS pop notifications. Instead of putting pop-ups at the middle of the phone, Tecno brought all pop-ups to the base of the phone which is very helpful for folks with shorter fingers.
The HiOS also support some finger gestures on the Home screen. Swiping three fingers down the screen will take screen shot. But when you swipe with just a finger in same direction, you’ll get the Notification drawer. The notification drawer contains useful toggles and shortcut which are mostly useful by default, and you can also edit and rearrange the toggles as you wish.
Tecno Camon CM Fingerprint Sensor
The rear fingerprint scanner also does it job fairly well. When properly set up, a single touch will unlock the device right from standby. Aside unlocking the device, you could also take pictures and answer your calls with the fingerprint scanner. Just remember that when the phone is unlocked, it doesn’t matter whose finger touches the senor anymore, it will perform the other two functions.
HiOS 3.2.0 and Android 7.0 Optimization
As mention before, the OS on this device is well optimized. Despite it 2GB RAM and the Mediatek MT6737H, I found the device to be fluid enough for day to day use. I can multi-task between apps comfortably. Smooth multi-tasking goes between 3 to 5 or 6 apps (depending the memory demands of apps in question).
The only issue I have with HiOS 3.2.0 and Android 7.0 on Camon CM is the fact that it occupies almost 7GB of storage, leaving users with below 9GB out of the 16GB internal storage.
Tecno Camon CM Review: Battery Performance
The Camon CM comes with 3000mAh battery which have great endurance rating from me based on my usage. In a 1 hour and 39 minutes video playback at full brightness and 100% volume, the battery depleted to 78% from 100%. Pushing the it further brought the device to it complaining point at 15% in another 4 hours, 23 minutes of heavy use. Activating the ultra-power saver can give you another 12 hours of use with just 15%.
Another interesting thing is the fact that this device has an incredible standby power management. Overnight, the device loses only between 3 to 6% battery power. So average users can get above 24-hours of continuous usage without worrying.
One thing I noticed during use is while the phone get a bit warmed up during demanding graphics and web browsing, the temperature is totally nothing to worry about. The only issue I had with the Camon CM in this section is the fact that Tecno bundled only a 5V-1.2A charger with the Camon CM, leading to low charging speed. But plug a 5V-2A charger, and you’ll get the device fully charged under 2 hours.