Gadgets

Tecno Camon 17P Review — a R5K Device Punching Above its Weight?

Does Tecno’s Camon 17P deliver the goods?


The South African smartphone market is getting even more diverse with the launch of some new brands and devices that were previously unavailable in the local cellular space, and one such brand is that of Tecno. The Chinese brand has a handful of impressive and, admittedly, very affordable devices which have given South Africans alternative options to the household names out there. Tecno has now introduced its flagship release, the Camon 17P, to the scene; but is this device something you should consider when you have around R5,000 floating around in your pocket?

The ‘P’ essentially stands for ‘Pro’, making this the upscaled edition of Tecno’s Camon 17, which in itself, is an impressive device in the category. So, what does the Pro model deliver?

Under the hood

The Camon 17P features a sizable 6.8-inch FHD dot-in display, which is clear, crisp, and has an impressive display of vibrancy in its colours. It may not be the slickest and most high-end screen on the smartphone market, but for the price category, this is an impressive display that gives you enough clarity and size for any application, whether it be work, gaming, or media-viewing.

The 17P is powered by MediaTek’s Helio G85 chipset, which is the same CPU that features in the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9, and is actually geared towards gaming performance. It’s paired with 6GBs of RAM, and 128GBs internal storage, so you get pretty robust hardware in the Camon 17P, which can keep up with just about any demand from any type of user.

One of the main differences is that the 17P features its fingerprint scanner on the side of the device, rather than on the back. It’s quick and responsive to unlock the screen or approve mobile payments, for example, and while it’s more of a preference than a benefit having it on the back, side, or front, it works well for the longer size of the device.

You’ll also get about 2 days out of the 5,000mAh battery, which features 18W Flash Charging, so you can juice up your 17P pretty quickly each evening.

Smart snapper

Camera-wise, the Camon 17P features a 64MP Quad Camera, comprised of the main 64MP snapper, a 2MP depth sensor, a 2MP Macro lens, and an AI lens. The camera is able to produce photos that feature good dynamic range, with accurate and slightly saturated colours coming through nicely. It does have a 10x digital zoom, which does lose quality quite noticeably upon each increment, so while the camera itself is great for social media shots or pics of your family and pets, it’s hard to recommend it for long-range photography.

Tecno Camon 17P camera test using portrait mode.
Tecno Camon 17P camera test using portrait mode.

There are a host of ‘pro’ features to tinker around with on the camera UI, including shooting in various aspect ratios, adjusting the quality, and utilising Tecno’s built-in beauty and portrait effects, and they all work fairly well to help you add a touch of ‘cinematic’ quality to most of your pictures.

It does also feature a Super Night Mode, which helps raise the brightness and contrast in some seriously dark situations, but it obviously does bring some noise and graininess through the imagery when the feature is utilised; but, taking photos in low-lit areas will always be a problem with smartphones with digital flashes, so it’s expected.

Verdict

The Tecno Camon 17P is a comprehensive device for most users shopping in its price range. It’s got a solid foundation in its hardware, a familiar Android UI, more than enough oomph to handle whatever media consumption you’ll be doing on it, and has a more-than-capable camera, that has limitations, but is easy to workaround. There are some good devices in the market at a similar price range, but the Camon 17P is a welcome addition to offer something larger, more powerful, and a little more user-friendly than some other options.

The Techno Camon 17P retails for R4,999.

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