The budget gaming smartphone segment becomes more competitive each year. Infinix is one of the brands often associated with affordable gaming smartphones.
But now, TECNO wants to join the party with the new Pova 5 series. In this written review we are specifically taking a look at the more affordable TECNO Pova 5.
The TECNO Pova 5 ticks all the right boxes for a budget gaming smartphone, at least on paper. It’s priced under PHP 10,000 with a large 120Hz display, DTS dual speakers, and many more.
But as you know, it’s one thing on paper. The real question is this – does it perform well?
At the same time, is it a phone you should consider buying if you want something affordable but is reliable for mobile gaming? Let’s find out in this review
Table of Contents
Design and Construction
Starting with the design, the TECNO Pova 5 definitely has gaming vibes in terms of styling. The back panel somewhat reminds us of the ROG Phone together mixed with some design cues from the Nothing phone. No doubt it looks great and has a premium feel, especially in this blue colorway.
I do wish there were some lighting elements since it would make the phone look a lot cooler, similar to what you would find on the Nothing Phone. However, it seems TECNO reserved the cool lighting effects for the more powerful Pova 5 Pro. As it is though, it will certainly get some looks thanks to its unique design.
Despite how it looks in the photos, the back panel is made out of hard plastic along with the frame which feels quite durable too. Other than that, you’ll see the dual rear camera system. Do note that the back panel is a fingerprint magnet. So if you’re using it without a case, do keep that in mind.
Surprisingly, the TECNO Pova 5 also comes with DTS dual speakers, which is something I did not expect from a phone of this price. Other features include a USB-C port and a 3.5mm audio jack.
Overall, it feels good to use on your hand is quite sturdy. Do note that it is rather thick so it might feel a bit bulky in your pants if you’re used to slimmer phones. In addition, it has a bit of weight as well.
Display and Multimedia
Flip the phone TECNO Pova 5 over, and you get a nice and bright display. There’s a large 6.78-inch IPS LCD screen with 1080 x 2460 resolution. The colors are great despite being an entry-level screen, and you get great contrast whether you’re watching videos or playing games.
But perhaps our favorite feature of the screen is the 120Hz refresh rate, which is rarely available for a phone at this price point.
It’s not often you get a 120Hz display for a phone in this price range, but it’s a welcome feature to have. Perfect if you plan to game with this phone often. Aside from improved gameplay, the high refresh rate screen also makes it more enjoyable when you’re going through the menu or just watching videos. It is still a phone after all, and you will likely be using it beyond gaming.
Not to mention, the TECNO Pova 5 also has a relatively bright backlight rated at 580 nits, making it easy to use in all kinds of environments. So even if you’re playing under the hot summer sun, you’ll be able to see what’s happening on the screen.
The sound quality from the loudspeakers aren’t that great. They lack bass, and the mids get drowned out easily, which is disappointing since this is DTS tuned. But they are loud when they need to be which is important.
Thankfully, you do get a 3.5mm audio jack for a better listening experience.
While the TECNO Pova 5 is mainly a gaming phone, you still get a nice camera system. There’s a dual-rear camera with a 50MP main sensor, which captures okay photos. For selfies, there’s an 8MP front shooter.
The photos are surprisingly great considering this is mainly marketed as a gaming phone. In perfect lighting conditions, they come out sharp overall. The colors aren’t as accurate, but I’m not expecting any more. This is still a budget phone after all. However, don’t expect too much when shooting at night or in low-light conditions.
Even night mode doesn’t help since the photos become too enhanced. Specifically, the photos look like they were taken with a filter and the details become smoothened out. If you’re not too choosy with photos, then these might be acceptable for you.
Surprisingly, this phone is capable of shooting up to 2K videos. However, there is no optical stabilization on board, so keep that in mind. Like the photos, the videos are okay during the day, but not great at night.
Overall, it’s not bad. When you’re not gaming, you can still capture footage and images for social media or just for memories assuming there is enough light.
To give you a better idea, check out some of the photos and videos we were able to take using the TECNO Pova 5 below.
Performance and Benchmarks
Powering the TECNO Pova 5 is a Mediatek Helio G99 together with a Mali-G52 GPU, which is more than capable of playing the usual set of games like Mobile Legends, Call of Duty: Mobile, and Free Fire. Not to mention it also comes with something that TECNO calls Game Space 2.0.
It’s not the most powerful chipset available, but it’s still very capable. At the same time, you do have to set expectations; this is a budget gaming phone after all. Along with the chipset, the phone also comes with 8GB of RAM which comes with an additional 8GB RAM expansion for a total of 16GB.
Not to mention it has a large internal storage capacity of up to 256GB for all your games, videos, and apps. And if that’s still not enough, you can expand storage further via a microSD card slot.
Together with the 120Hz display, you can definitely enjoy playing games with this phone and not worry about breaking the bank. We mainly played Blue Archive and Mobile Legends on the TECNO Pova 5, and it ran the games without issues. There was no overheating or lag too when playing for extended periods of time.
You can check out the benchmark scores here to give you a better idea of how the phone performs.
|Device:||TECNO Pova 5|
|Chipset:||Mediatek Helio G99|
|3D Mark Wild Life||1,258 (7.5 Avg fps)|
|PCMark Work 3.0||11,007|
OS, Apps, and UI
The TECNO Pova runs on Android 13 skinned with HiOS 13. It’s relatively nice to use with various features you don’t normally find on other phones in the segment. One of my favorites is the always-on function and Video Assistant. There are also various customization options available to make the phone your own.
As expected though, it does come with a lot of bloatware pre-installed. Honestly, these are apps that I didn’t find myself using in the review or anytime in the future. It’s quite a hassle to remove them all when you first boot up the phone but afterward, it’s great to use.
Battery and Connectivity
To play games throughout the day, TECNO fitted a large 6,000mAh battery pack in Pova 5.
Given its large size, you should be able to continuously game for extended hours on end without ever having to worry about charging. TECNO says it can last up to 11 hours of gaming or 14 hours of video playback.
If you do need to charge the phone, you don’t have to worry about downtime. The phone comes with 45W Smart Charge. TECNO claims that you can charge the phone to 50 percent in just 21 minutes using the included cable and charger.
But if you want to further improve your battery life, there’s also Battery Lab 3.0 which can choose various power settings depending on your needs.
Using PCMark’s Battery Test, we were able to get 17 hours and 43 minutes, which is quite impressive for a phone of this caliber.
For everything that the TECNO Pova 5 offers, it is a very capable phone. And like I mentioned earlier, it’s very affordable too priced below PHP 10,000 only. Specifically, the TECNO Pova 5 starts at HP 7,999 for the base 8GB/128GB model, while the 8GB/256GB model starts at around PHP 8,499. For less than PHP 9,000, you can get a capable gaming phone without breaking the bank.
It won’t wow you with high performance, but if you just want to play ML or COD: Mobile you can’t really go wrong with the TECNO Pova 5. At the same time, you can also take photos and videos up to 2K, which is almost unheard of at a phone in this segment.
But what do you think of the TECNO Pova 5? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
What we liked:
- Very affordable
- Great design
- Smooth 120Hz display
What we didn’t like:
- Lots of bloatware
- Not so smudge resistant back panel
TECNO POVA 5 specs:
6.78-inch FHD+ IPS LCD @ 1080×2460 pixels
120Hz, 580 nits peak
MediaTek Helio G99 chipset
Octa-core (2×2.2 GHz Cortex-A76 & 6×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55)
Mali-G52 MC2 GPU
128GB/256GB storage, expandable via microSD
50MP f/1.8 (wide), PDAF + 0.08MP (depth) rear camera
8MP f/2.4 (wide) front camera
1440p@30fps, 1080p@30fps video recording (rear and front)
GSM / HSPA / LTE, dual nano-SIM
WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC
Fingerprint (side-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass sensors
USB Type-C 2.0 port, OTG
Android 13 OS with HiOS 13
6000 mAh Li-Po battery, non-removable, 45W wired charging
Dimensions: 168.6 x 76.6 x 9 mm
Mecha Black, Amber Gold, Hurricane Blue colors