UPS AND DOWNS: THE TECNO MOBILE POVA REVIEW

The saying “strike while the iron is hot,” has never been more appropriate for upstart brand Tecno Mobile. 

Following the Spark and Pouvoir 4, both of which have been well-received by budget conscious techies, Tecno Mobile capitalizes on that momentum as it launches another feature-packed smartphone–the curiously named POVA.

WHO IS POVA?

Unlike the word “Pouvoir” which I easily googled and found out that it meant “power” in French, I couldn’t find the meaning of POVA (except for some wild acronyms).

I guess Tecno is creating its own definition for the word. 

POVA they say is a performance beast with its gaming processor, as durable as camel thanks to its large battery, and a rocket as it is equipped with fast charging.

Hmmmm. Those are bold promises for a smartphone priced below P7K.

So does POVA have what it takes to be a contender instead of just a viable option for bang-for-the-buck phone hunters? 

It’s time to give the POVA the UPS and DOWNs:

We took the POVA for a two-week test and it’s time to give the good bits an UP and the bad bits some DOWNs to try and answer the question you’re all asking—“Sulit POVA?”

But first…

WHATS’ IN THE BOX

Like the Pouvoir 4 that we reviewed recently, you immediately get your money’s worth with all the items included in the package of the POVA.

The box gets an UP for its more classy silver design, which is unlike the colorful box of the Pouvoir 4.

You have the POVA branding at the front with the technical specs placed on both sides. Inside the box, you have the POVA unit, plus the standard USB data/charging cable, an 18W wall charger, paper documents, and sim tray ejector tool PLUS get this a pair of earphones, jelly case and a FREE TEMPERED GLASS (not just your ordinary screen protector. 

So the unboxing and packaging of the POVA gets an UP!

BUILD QUALITY AND DESIGN

Now for the build quality. 

Not that the POVA looks bad, because it looks more expensive than it actually is. But there’s no hiding the fact that this is a budget phone as there’s no mistaking the plastic build of the back panel– its just too shiny obvious.

It comes in two colors, Magic Blue and Speed Purple, and this gets a DOWN only because its most unique looking variant—Dazzle Black won’t be available. 

We have the Magic Blue variant which has this sort of diagonal pattern that seems to have been sprayed with glitter to make it even more shiny. The downside is that its just too much of a fingerprint magnet. Its best to use the TPU case to give you an extra grip and to avoid leaving your oily prints on its back. 

Still, the device feels solid in the hand and the rounded corners make it manageable for one-handed operation- UP!

The sim card tray and dedicated Google Assistant button

Exploring the phone you have the sim tray and Google Assistant button on the left, while the power button and volume rocker sits on the right. On the bottom you have the micro usb port DOWN! The 3.5mm headphone jack, and microphone.

Volume and Power button on the sides
Micro USB charging port, headphone jack

On the back you have a neatly designed camera panel and the bump is barely noticeable and a fairly accurate fingerprint scanner- UP!.

On the front you have the loudspeaker that doubles as an earpiece and a DOT-IN aka punch hole selfie camera. This is an UP! as punch hole displays are becoming the norm instead of those drop notch or cutouts.

DISPLAY AND SOUND

The Tecno Pova has a big 6.8” bezel-less display with an aspect ratio of 20.5:9 and a screen-to-body ratio at around 90.4%. The big screen size gets an UP!

But unfortunately it also gets a DOWN for its 720p screen resolution with an average 263 pixels-per-inch. But again this is understandable given that sacrifices have to be made given the large screen real estate and its price. 

The big screen works well for your daily dose of social media, web browsing, and watching videos  just know that you are limited to a max of only 720p resolution when watching YouTube videos. This isn’t actually bad, and would only matter if you’ve already gotten used to HD displays. But again the large screen size makes up for this.  

As for the mono speaker its as its as loud as it can be, but you’d be better off using a pair of good earphones.

GAMING AND PERFORMANCE

The Tecno Pova is . equipped with a MediaTek Helio G80 chip paired with a Mali-G52 MC2 GPU, a 6GB RAM + 64GB expandable storage.

If the Mediatek Helio G80 sounds familiar it’s because it’s the same one used by the slightly pricier Realme 6i,  except you get more RAM on the POVA for less. The Helio G80 has also been marketed as the perfect SoC for a casual gamer’s phone, just like the POVA.

The MediaTek Hyper Engine ensures your smartphone always keeps up with you as it features an intelligent resource management engine that ensures sustained performance and longer gameplay. The G80 incorporates a pair of powerful Arm Cortex-A75 CPUs operating up to 2GHz, plus six Cortex-A55 processors in a single, octa-core cluster, which is interlinked and share a large L3 cache for improved performance. The Arm Mali-G52 processor on the other hand can boost up to 950MHz for improved peak performance and a highly responsive user-experience.

Intelligent, dynamic management of CPU, GPU and memory according to active measurements of power, thermal and gameplay factors.

All that tech talk means that playing mobile games using the POVA is usually a lag-free experience and that is getting an UP.  It can handle just about every game you throw at it with ease as long as you don’t mess up with the default settings. I’ve installed Call of Duty Mobile, Mortal Kombat, Asphalt 9, Gardenscapes as well as a bunch of other casual games and I had a smooth experience, and thanks to its large screen gaming becomes even more engaging.

Just in case you forget it’s a  gaming phone, the POVA features Gamespace that ensures smooth gaming operation by intelligently allocating resources and functions, including freezing unnecessary apps, restricting background network, and supporting game performance –UP. 

And if you are looking for new games, the POVA has LOTS of suggestions—starting with a shortcut for Instant Games (games you don’t have to download), another app folder for even more SUGGESTED games, its own PALM Store PLUS another app called AHA GAMES (its gaming market store); and all of these translates to lots of bloatware and all that is getting a DOWN.

As for productivity and general use– emails, making phone calls, text messaging, social media, browsing, watching videos, etc, the POVA also performs quite well. It has no problems multi-tasking and switching between apps is quick without freezing or delay—UP.

The weakest and probably the most bothersome is its HiOS skin. Double DOWN. The entire interface just looks and feels so dated and again it has tons of app and bloatware. If you’ve used other smartphones before, you’ll immediately see the difference. There are some surprising new features like a side menu, but again opening those preinstalled apps just also bring up a lot of unwanted ads.

CAMERAS:

The Tecno POVA has a quad-rear camera setup that consists of a 13MP main lens, a 2MP depth sensor, a 2MP macro camera, and a dedicated AI lens. The four sensors are housed in a rectangular module much like a lot of the most recent releases. The camera design gets an UP.

All the camera modes are immediately accessible and you just have to swipe to choose from Slow motion, Short video, video, AICAM (default photo) Beauty, Bokeh, AR shot, panorama and documents. As for the front camera you get video, short video AICam, beaut,y portrait, AR Shot, and Wide Selfie where you have to move the camera just like getting a panorama shot. 

Of all the modes it’s the ARShot that I found most fun as it allows you to use AR Filters and the “masks,” which I think feature some of the Manchester City players and AR Emojis of the animated animal heads are cute and fun to use—UP.

As for quality, photos taken outdoors and in well-lit environments, are well-detailed with color accurate images and are good enough for your social media posts—UP.

As for quality, photos taken outdoors and in well-lit environments, are well-detailed with color accurate images and are good enough for your social media posts—UP.

Check out these photos we took using the Tecno POVA:

The quality, however, deteriorates in less than ideal lighting, which is expected from phones of this price range. 

As for selfies, the front camera also does a good job, and the dual front flash helps a lot in getting better photos in dark situations. 

BATTERY: 

I admit, I laughed a bit “POVA is a camel, which could work for a very very long time.” But true enough the comparison was actually quite accurate.

Just like a camel which could survive in the dessert with very little water. The POVA’s 6000mAh battery can last you for quite a while. According to Tecno, the POVA could play music continuously for 8 days, 64 hours call time, 20 hours for gaming and a standby time of 30 days.  Well I didn’t actually call someone for 64 hours or played 20 hours straight, but let’s just say, that you’ll be the one who’ll need some recharging first before the POVA. The battery will easily last a day of moderate use before you begin to look for a charger or powerbank. UP!

One last thing worth mentioning is that the POVA uses a quick charge functionality called 18W Dual IC Flash Charge—UP . The brand says Dual IC fast charge is 20% faster than regular 18W fast chargers. Still it would take you about an hour and a half to fully charge that big battery. 

So I guess that somehow negates the fact it still uses a micro USB port.

TO SUMMARIZE HERE ARE THE UPS AND DOWNS OF THE POVA:

UPS:

  • Large 6.8” screen
  • “Camel” of a battery
  • Gaming-ready Helio G80 processor
  • Okay cameras
  • Affordable price

DOWNS

  • Plastic Build 
  • Low-res screen
  • UI needs improvement / too much Bloatware

FINAL WORD

With that, I’ll say the POVA definitely has more UPs than DOWNs. If you’re a casual gamer looking for a phone for gaming the Mediatek Helio G80 will not disappoint, pair that with a big screen and a camel of a battery and fast charging the Tecno POVA should be among your top choices.

It may not have that standout killer feature but its a good all-around device that could keep up with your smartphone needs whether it’s for work, for school or for play—making it a good option and worth its P6999 price tag.

TECNO POVA SPECS

  • Display: 6.8-inch 2.5D LCD (IPS) screen w/ HD+ 1640 x 720 resolution at 264 ppi
  • CPU: 2.0GHz 12nm MediaTek Helio G80 octa-core processor
  • GPU: Mali-G52 2EEMC2
  • RAM: 6GB
  • ROM: 64GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 512GB (dedicated)
  • Back Camera: 13MP f/1.8 + 2MP macro + 2MP depth + 2MP AI + Quad Flash
  • Selfie Camera: 8MP f/2.0 + Dual Flash 
  • Battery: 6,000mAh w/ 18W Dual IC Flash Charge
  • OS: Android 10 w/ HiOS 7.0
  • Connectivity: WiFi, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, FM Radio, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, dual SIM
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic, pressure
  • Others: Fingerprint sensor, face unlock, IR Blaster, Splash-proof nano-coating, dual-mic, USB-C, Colors: Magic Blue, Speed Purple, Dazzle Black
  • Dimensions: 171.23 x 77.57 x 9.4 mm
  • Weight: 185 g

The TECNO POVA is priced at ₱6,999 and you can get it at the TECNO official store at Shoppe.

Check out the TECNO Mobile PH Official Store in Shopee Mall to see the latest offerings. For updates and other information, visit www.tecno-mobile.com/ph.

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