Budget phones are getting exciting. Of course, Xiaomi has a lot to do with it – but at least rivals are upping their game now to offer a wide range of interesting options, and you know, the more the merrier. Transsion Holdings-backed Tecno has launched a new phone in India called the Camon i4 that tries to do just that and although I reserve my final verdict on the phone for a full review, basis of paper specs alone I can say this – I am pleasantly surprised with what’s in store here.
Tecno has launched the Camon i4 in India at a starting price of Rs 9,599 for the base variant with 2GB RAM and 32GB storage, going all the way to Rs 11,999 for the top-end variant with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. The Camon i4 will be also available in 3GB RAM and 32GB storage variant for Rs 10,599. All the variants support expandable storage of up to 256GB via a dedicated micro-SD card slot.
Let’s dive into the specs now. The Camon i4 comes with a 6.2-inch HD+ (720p+) display with a waterdrop/teardrop-style notch on the front – Tecno is calling it dot notch (same as what Xiaomi calls its take in the Redmi Note 7 Pro/Redmi Note 7). The Camon i4 is available in two processor variants – while the 2GB/32GB, 3GB/32GB versions are powered by a quad-core MediaTek Helio A22 processor, the 4GG/64GB version packs an octa-core MediaTek Helio P22 processor. The dual-SIM Camon i4 runs Android 9 Pie-based HiOS and uses a 3,500mAh battery.
Cameras are seemingly the main highlight of the Camon i4 - the Camon i4 is the most affordable phone in the market now with three rear cameras. Not only does the Camon i4 have three rear cameras, it has three versatile rear cameras – which is a first for any phone at under Rs 10,000. There’s a primary 13MP camera with f/1.8 aperture, an 8MP wide-angle camera with 120-degree field-of-view, and a 2MP camera for depth sensing aka portrait photography.
While I am yet to fully test their potential (and even though there’s no eye-popping 48MP camera here) the Camon i4 holds potential owing to the versatile cameras that it brings to the table – an ultra-wide camera was once a feature limited to much more expensive flagship phones.
The same goes for the all-round performance. The Camon i4 clearly isn’t the most powerful phone at its price but then Android 9 Pie on a phone that starts under Rs 10,000 is always a nice thing to have – there is some heavy skinning though and plenty of unwanted apps here which will take some time getting used to. Also, you can say that a 2GB RAM Android phone is always asking for trouble – but in my limited use I have found the phone to be fairly responsive although I am not sure how it holds up in the longer run. Regardless, it is advised to bump up your budget and opt for the 3GB RAM version (at least) if you find this phone interesting.
Design-wise, the Camon i4 is very derivative – it looks like the Redmi Note 7 from the front and like the Samsung Galaxy A30 from the back. The phone is built entirely out of plastic with a glossy finish which metes out this rainbow-like effect depending on how you look at it. There’s also a fingerprint scanner on the rear which is said to have an anti-oil coating which should help unlocking the phone with greasy fingers – I am still to try that out though.
The Camon i4’s 720p+ display could be its biggest drawback – it shows muted colours and brightness levels are just about average.
The Camon i4 is no budget flagship – like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro. But it has a capable (even exciting, if you fancy a triple cam setup) spec-sheet. Even though the Camon i4 may not beat the Redmi Note 7 in sheer value for money, it should provide a viable alternative for buyers who still like a sense of look and feel while making their purchase – the Camno i4 will be available across 35000+ retail touchpoints and 960+ service touchpoints PAN India, according to Tecno.