The focus for this review will be the vanilla Camon 18. Our reviews of the Camon 18 Premier will be up very soon – stay tuned for that.
The TECNO Camon 18 is the vanilla version but after using it for a while – there’s a lot of value packed in here that will appeal to a lot of people.
Not much has changed from the Camon 17 series with the Camon 18 except for minor improvements, especially with the Vanilla version.
The display is the star of the TECNO Camon 18 series – both the Camon 18 and Camon 18 Premier have 1080p screens and high refresh rates. The Camon 18 has a 90hz LCD screen while the Premier has a 120Hz AMOLED screen.
The size is nice at 6.8 inches especially if you spend all day on your phone to serve all your multimedia needs – be it playing games, browsing the web, scrolling Instagram or simply bingewatching Netflix’s You or HBO’s Succession. You also get stereo sound thanks to the bottom facing speaker and the earpiece at the top bezel.
The more obvious change is how bright the screen is at 550 nits and it is more vibrant too. It’s not AMOLED but the blacks are dark which makes watching shows even more enjoyable.
The audio is good as I have pointed above. The 90Hz refresh rate makes everything silky smooth – browsing the web, scrolling social media and playing high refresh rate games. The display experience on the Camon 18 is so good.
Other design aspects are impressive as well. The Camon 18 features a quick side-mounted fingerprint reader embedded in the power button that falls right below the volume rocker buttons. At the bottom, we have the headphone jack, microphone and speaker grille plus a Type-C port that supports 18W fast charging.
The camera bump is bigger this time with a relatively bigger camera lens housing. We have a 48MP triple camera setup that also has a 2MP depth and 2MP macro sensor.
The back rocks a colour gradient design. Though beautiful – the back gets fingerprint smudges so the included case will come in handy.
You have three colour options to pick from including Dusk Grey(our unit), Iris Purple and Ceramic White.
Looks aside, how does the TECNO Camon 18 perform?
Before we assess its performance – here’s what you get:
TECNO Camon 18 ships with Helio G88 processor, Mali G52 GPU paired with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. Powering the Camon 18 is Android 11 and HiOS 8.
HiOS 8 brings in nifty features and has been redesigned. We have new bigger quick settings toggles and a revamped notification shade – both can’t simply be accessed by one swipe down. You have to swipe down from the right side of the display to get the quick settings while swiping from the left side brings the notification shade.
You’ll also see little design changes with the motion, shapes, colours of HiOS elements.
Cosmic Blue integration with HiOS 8 brings richly designed icons, lively wallpapers and vivid interactions.
Other privacy perks to complement Android 11’s privacy features include TECNO’s in-house Za-Hooc Security Solution 2.0 that offers improved Peek Proof, Anti-theft Alert, Pop-up blocker, App Twins with Fingerprint, and Privacy Auth among others.
There’s a new privacy dashboard to give you granular control over app permission to manage what apps can access information on your device.
HiOS 8 also has a new AI gallery that boasts of features like Visha Player, Pic Film and Video Editor.
HiOS 8 pre-installed apps still send unwarranted notifications so I recommend installing or disabling apps like Scooper News.
Also, the Camon 18 is in line to be updated to Android 12 and HiOS 8.5 when that update rolls out to the series. TECNO has already scheduled for the Camon 17 Pro and the Phantom X to be the first TECNO devices to get the new update.
The spec configuration is incredible here when it comes to how the phone handled my needs. It didn’t stutter during my time with the phone and I’m on my phone almost three-quarters of my waking life each day(I’m not bragging)
The TECNO Camon 18 is an excellent multitasking companion. Camon 18 delivers steadfast performance in pretty much a variety of use cases.
Gaming is a breeze but you’ll have to stick with medium graphics settings for high intense games like PUBG and Call of Duty Mobile for an enjoyable and sustained experience. You can play these games at high graphics but frames drop occasionally – not frequent enough to be annoying but I don’t want to expect that while I’m in the middle of a session.
Other games like Asphalt 9, Dead Trigger, Critical Ops, Final Fantasy, Ninja Arashi, Odyssey, NFS No Limits play really well and I was left way impressed especially since I’m trying to play more mobile games to distract myself from binge-watching the endless videos on TikTok.
Basic tasks are handled pretty well too. Switching between apps without reloading was enjoyable – like you want that dependability when you’re a heavy multitasker. Moving from replying to an email, getting back to compiling a thread on a Twitter storm, swiping back to catching up on Insta Stories or taking a quick video or photo.
The TECNO Camon 18 is an excellent multitasking companion.
All these tasks without second-guessing its performance. You definitely want that on a phone.
Overall performance was amazing and so is the battery life performance of the TECNO Camon 18.
TECNO Camon 18 rocks a 5000mAh battery with an 18W fast Type-C charging.
That gigantic battery offers a lot of stamina – most of my screen-on time ranged between 8 and 9 hours depending on my day to day tasks.
I’m pretty sure you can pull a day and a half with light use.
Charging is pretty quick too as 44 minutes of juicing up takes you from 1% to 46 minutes. 1 hour and 48 minutes will take you from empty to 96%.
Cameras is where the Camon line excels the most and the Camon 18 doesn’t disappoint.
As pointed earlier, TECNO Camon 18 has three cameras at the back – a 48MP main, 2MP depth and a 2MP macro lens.
For selfies, we have a 16MP front-facing camera housed in the centre punch-hole cutout.
You have the various photo and video modes to play with such as Super Night Mode, video bokeh mode, wideselfie, portrait, short video among others.. You can shoot video at 2K resolution – also works for Timelapse. Strangely, video bokeh mode is capped at 720p just as video beauty mode so you will have to stick with the main video shooting mode.
The interesting mode is the film mode that features customizable video templates ranging from party, performance, vintage, beats, travel, sport, street, family and more to pick plus you get inbuilt variety of transitions, camera movements and music choices.
They’re perfect for shooting quick videos to post on platforms like YouTube. I would suggest they added more vertical modes suited for posting on Insta Stories, TikTok or Reels.
Still photography is where I was more dazzled by how the shots turned out.
The cameras are way more capable than before. You are going to get really amazing shots – sharp details, vibrant colours and decent dynamic range.
Here are some samples with more commentary.
Selfies and Portraits
Lowlight and Night Mode Shots
The TECNO Camon 18 is a really great package and nails the fundamentals – nice design, high quality and high refresh rate display, reliable performance, upgraded internals, dependable cameras, and impressive battery life.
It’s good that TECNO is quickly catching up to what price-conscious consumers want and has brought major improvements to the Camon 18 including spec refreshes and design tweaks. Added together, they make the Camon 18 more appealing and I thoroughly enjoyed using this phone.
Pricing and Availability
TECNO Camon 18 starts selling from Ksh 27,699 and is available in official TECNO branded retail stores countrywide and online in partner e-commerce sites like Jumia.
Here’s a full list of TECNO’s official retail stores in the country.