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Cheap smartphones are getting good – these words ring true for the TECNO Camon 11. We’ve had the phone for a couple of weeks now and got to fiddle around with it. Here’s our full review which will answer the question of whether the Tecno Camon 11 is worth getting as a phone, let alone a camera phone.

We’ve already written about our first impressions and specs but here’s a brief breakdown:

  • 6.2” 720p HD display in a 19:9 aspect ratio
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • MediaTek Helio A22 processor
  • 3GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage
  • Dual 13MP and 5MP camera on the back
  • 16MP selfie camera
  • 3750mAh battery

Design

Tecno Camon 11 BackThe TECNO Camon 11 is so light and has a really good looking design that gives it a premium iPhone X-esque look. Our review unit came in beautiful Bordeaux red and I loved it. With most phones embracing the notch, TECNO didn’t want to be left behind and put one on its 6.2” display. I love how the screen has curves around the corners. Although it comes with a resolution of 720p, nothing to complain about at this price range – TECNO could’ve at least tried to get it to 1080p to future-proof it as we head into 2019. Apart from the notch, everything is standard – all the controls are on the right, both the volume rocker and the power button. On the left, is the dual-SIM tray and a microSD slot for if you want to expand the phone ’s internal storage.

The back is glossy and hence slippery – it’s a tall device with a 19:9 aspect ratio and you’ll find it hard to reach the top controls when using the phone. It’s imperative to get a case if you want to protect your device during one hand operations or else it will slip and get damaged. TECNO offered a solution for this with a faux Kevlar case and you can switch to the one hand mode in the settings found in the notification panel.

All in all, this is the best-designed phone at this price tier.

Display

Tecno Camon 11 Front (2)The display works perfectly fine even at its 720p resolution. It is reasonably bright and has enough pixels that will give you a good experience while consuming multimedia content – from binging YouTube videos to scrolling through social media platforms. The phone also has a neat feature called eyecare for those of us who like late night browsing or chatting and don’t want to ruin your eyes. Its big brother, the Camon 11 Pro also packs a similar screen so it’s not like you are going to miss a lot.

Cameras

Tecno Camon 11 Camera (4)

The TECNO Camon 11 has three cameras – two 13MP and 5MP cameras on the back and one 16MP selfie camera on the front. The cameras come with standard modes including Wide selfie, Portrait, Panorama and Beauty. HDR is also included.

TECNO has really kept up to speed with the Camon series and the Camon 11 does exactly that – take quality social media ready pictures. I loved the selfies I took with the camera on this phone – I didn’t even have to edit them as I do when I share to Instagram Stories or WhatsApp Status.

For the portrait mode on both front and back cameras, it’s a tricky game. The TECNO Camon 11 will take pretty impressive portraits but sometimes fail. You’ll have to be patient enough to take the perfect portrait shot especially if you’re taking selfies. The dual setup on the back does a better job on portraits with the aid of the 2MP depth sensor – it also struggles with objects with no straight edges but the shots taken are pretty decent.

Another thing I noticed, the AI mode does nothing and I’m made to think it’s more of a marketing gimmick than a feature since there’s barely any difference with the normal shot. When you press the AI button, no scene detection happens as you would expect. My guess is that the feature will launch fully baked with the Camon 11 Pro and then the TECNO Camon 11 will get it via a software update – I may be wrong on this.

Software and Performance

Tecno Camon 11 Twitter

The TECNO Camon 11 packs 3GB RAM and an internal storage of 32GB. I had no issues as they worked perfectly fine with my multitasking habits. The phone runs on Android 8.1 Oreo with HiOS 4.1 on top of it. You also have the option to uninstall all the extra TECNO apps that come pre-installed, but strangely they always reinstalled themselves after a while – why would they do this?

HiOS is not exactly a bed of roses, for instance, HiOS does not make it easy to change to a third-party launcher, as this option is hidden deep in the settings. You’ll have to dig around to change TECNO’s default apps for the change to be permanent (Settings > Apps and notifications > Default Apps > Home app). Also while you’re here, disable notifications from TECNO’s apps or disable them completely since uninstalling them doesn’t work.

After personalizing the phone, I had no issues and so far my experience has been pretty good. One more thing, TECNO decided to use the front-facing flash as a notification LED. This move really conflicted me because we at least get a notification LED of some sort but using the flash means it only shows one colour – white and it’s too bright, especially at night.

Battery

The battery life impressed me the most. It gave me all-day performance after unplugging it in the morning. Even with location and Bluetooth on for listening to music, it still had enough battery life that I could use for late night internet browsing before calling it a day and plugging it to charge. Unfortunately. it doesn’t have fast charging but I’m okay with that.

Faiba 4G connectivity

With increasing data costs and JTL offering the cheapest data bundles – this integration is going to come in handy for data price-conscious users. During the review period, I got to use JTL’s faiba network and it worked out pretty well for me especially since it was around end month and I had to be conscious about money spent on data. Since it has VoLTE support, Faiba 4G users can make calls, send SMS and browse the internet. This reduced the number of devices in my everyday carry since there was no need to carry JTL’s Faiba mi-fi device.

In conclusion

This phone makes a really good cameraphone at its price point. Apart from the minor issues which can be updated via software – it’s a deal you don’t want to miss this holiday season. You get a pretty good camera, battery life, Faiba 4G and decent software experience.

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