TECNO Pova 5 Pro review: Should you buy it?

The Tecno Pova 5 Pro 5G is a fusion of futuristic design with respectable performance for a wallet-friendly price. While it does have its notable downsides such as excessive bloatware, some aggressive beauty filters, and a dim display, this is a stylish yet functional budget Android phone that won’t break the bank.

TECNO Pova 5 Pro review: At a glance

  • What is it? The TECNO Pova 5 Pro is TECNO’s latest budget-friendly Android smartphone, designed with a unique aesthetic appeal featuring a string of RGB lights on the backside. It boasts a 6.78-inch display with a 1,080p resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. It’s powered by the mid-range MediaTek Dimensity 6080 chipset, ensuring decent performance for basic tasks and casual gaming sessions.
  • What is the price? The TECNO Pova 5 Pro starts at Rs. 14,999.00 in India (~$180).
  • Where can you buy it? The TECNO Pova 5 Pro became available in Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America markets on August 22.
  • How did we test it? I tested the TECNO Pova 5 Pro for two weeks. TECNO supplied the Pova 5 Pro for review.
  • Is it worth it? With its eye-catching design, respectable performance, and robust battery life, the TECNO Pova 5 Pro is a budget phone that offers decent value for its price, especially for gaming enthusiasts and those looking for a stylish yet functional smartphone.

Should you buy the TECNO Pova 5 Pro?

Tecno Pova 5 Pro RGB backlights in dark

Adam Birney / Android Authority

The TECNO Pova 5 Pro’s design is undoubtedly one of its standout features. The previous Pova 4 series featured similar geometric patterns, but now the Pova 5 Pro takes it up a notch with a combination of transparent panels and LED strips on the back. It amounts to a futuristic feel that is certainly inspired by the Nothing Phone but is still eye-catching and stylish. Unlike the Nothing Phone 1, however, you can customize the backlights between nine different colors and pulsation patterns within the settings. That means you can have a number of notification LED effects that respond to incoming calls and texts, signal when the device is charging, or indicate battery life as a helpful visual cue.

You can even set the light effects to flash in sync with the music you’re listening to, which adds a fun factor you can show off to your friends. However, you may want to listen to music using the included wired earbuds, or a better pair of wireless buds, given that the stereo speakers can start to sound harsh at high volumes. Sadly, the light effects are limited to the top half of the phone. I wish that TECNO had adorned the entire backside with LED strips to give it a more pronounced effect. Additionally, the plastic backside of the phone is extremely prone to fingerprints. These were quite noticeable on the Dark Illusion model of the Pova 5 Pro I tested, which is a dark, metallic navy blue.

The 6.78-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate provides a pretty smooth user experience, especially for playing mobile games. On the topic of the display, I found the brightness levels could be improved. The Pova 5 Pro peaks at 580 nits, which can be challenging in direct sunlight.

Under the hood, the MediaTek Dimensity 6080 SoC ensures most tasks are handled with ease. It offers slightly higher CPU and GPU performance than the MediaTek Dimensity 700 found in the Samsung Galaxy A14 5G. I tried a few of the games from the pre-installed game app, AHA Games, such as Racing Limits and Among Us, without any noticeable issues to the eye. The TECNO Pova 5 Pro also managed to run more demanding games like Genshin Impact adequately without getting overly hot, though not at the performance levels of flagship devices.

Boasting super fast charging with customizable LED flair, the TECNO Pova 5 Pro impresses, but its minimal screen brightness and bloatware leave room for improvement.

Besides AHA Games, there is a lot of bloatware installed upon startup. There were nearly a dozen apps and services I will never use and had to remove manually, such as WOW FM, WPF Office, Visha Player, T-SPOT, Welife, Hi translate, and Carlcare, to name a few. Some of these may be specific to the Latin American model of the phone I reviewed, and others may pertain to different regions.

I found HiOS to be very similar to MIUI found on Xiaomi phones with an iOS-like drop-down menu, but not as heavily skinned overall. The Pova 5 Pro is also set to receive two years of OS updates over its lifetime, only taking it to Android 15. It’s better than nothing, but even though the team at TECNO says it will resolve any code vulnerabilities or errors detected during those same two years, we’d prefer at least a longer security update policy.

The TECNO Pova 5 Pro sets itself apart in the budget category with its fast charging speeds. Not only does it boast a hefty 5,000mAh battery, which I averaged about eight hours of screen time with on a single charge, but I never really worried about hitting zero thanks to the 68W charging capabilities. TECNO claims you can charge the phone to 50% battery in 15 minutes with the included wall charger, and the Pova 5 Pro lived up to those claims in our testing, give or take a couple of minutes. These speeds are especially useful for quick top-ups on the go, though you’ll need to keep the bespoke charger handy.

TECNO also claims it only takes 45 minutes for a full charge, which is accurate, but I could feel the phone getting warm while slurping up all that juice so quickly, so I am cautious of the long-term effects that might have on battery health. However, there is a bypass charging feature similar to Samsung’s, which can skip the battery and supply power directly to the phone. This can reduce heat while using the phone when plugged in, especially while gaming.

The 50MP primary rear camera and the 16MP selfie shooter capture decent images when given ample light, but low-lighting conditions can suffer in quality and look a bit grainy. The rear camera bins down to 12.5MP by default, but you can shoot in the full 50MP if you wish, though there hardly is any noticeable difference unless you pixel peep. The rear camera can zoom digitally up to 10x, but you will lose detail and gain image noise for anything beyond 2x.

In the default camera app, the AI CAM feature is enabled by default, which will automatically adjust images to look their best, at least in theory. I found in most outdoor settings, it can improve the edge detection and dynamic range, but did make some colors look a bit too saturated. For the most part, I opted for a straightforward point-and-shoot experience without AI.

Tecno Pova 5 Pro Box contents

Adam Birney / Android Authority

The front-facing selfie camera is pretty good, with natural colors and sharpness reliable enough for most situations. I found the beauty filters to soften and smooth my skin too much, but the portrait effect does a great job of blurring the background while keeping me in full detail. You can view a gallery of sample images here.

For those keen on video recording, the device’s rear camera maxes out at 1440p at 30fps, which is commendable for its price range. Most budget devices top out at 1080p, which only the front-facing camera does on the Pova 5 Pro. Videos can come out a bit shaky and not always the sharpest, but that’s to be expected.

Overall, the TECNO Pova 5 Pro 5G offers a blend of style, performance, and value without breaking the bank. Its unique design, decent cameras, impressive battery life, and fast charging make it a decent choice in its price range, if you can get past the software quirks. For those who enjoy light mobile gaming and a unique design with notification LEDs in a mid-tier device, the Pova 5 Pro 5G emerges as a noteworthy choice.

Tecno Pova 5 Pro 5GTecno Pova 5 Pro 5G

Tecno Pova 5 Pro 5G

A budget phone with cyberpunk style.

The Tecno Pova 5 Pro 5G stands out with its dynamic LED features and impressive spec sheet.

What are the best TECNO Pova 5 Pro alternatives?

Tecno Pova 5 Pro beside the Redmi Note 12 Pro and the TCL 40 XE 5G

Adam Birney / Android Authority

If you live in North America, the U.K., or the rest of Europe, you unfortunately won’t be able to buy the TECNO Pova 5 Pro locally. However, if you are looking for something similar, these options are worth considering:

  • Samsung Galaxy A14 5G ($199.99 at Samsung): Samsung’s popular budget phone might not have nearly as fast charging speeds, but it does boast an equivalent battery life, with a more versatile triple camera setup and longer update commitment.
  • TCL 40 XE 5G ($169 at Verizon): The TCL 40 XE 5G doesn’t have as much storage or RAM, but it is lighter in weight and in bloatware, with the same chipset as the Galaxy A14 5G, not to mention cheaper.
  • Motorola Moto G 5G (2023) ($199 at Amazon): This entry-level phone from Motorola has the same refresh rate and comparable battery life, and a stock Android experience.
  • Redmi Note 12 Pro or Pro Plus ($285 at Amazon): The Redmi Note 12 Pro features a similar UI and has nearly as fast 67W wired charging speeds. It also has a brighter OLED display as well as an ultrawide camera, and 4K video recording capabilities for around $20 more. The 12 Pro Plus is about $100 more but doubles the charging speeds and has a 200MP camera.

TECNO Pova 5 Pro specs

Tecno Pova 5 Pro

Display

– 6.78-inch FHD+
– 120Hz refresh rate
– 240Hz touch sampling rate
– 2,460 x 1,080 resolution

Processor

Mediatek Dimensity 6080

RAM

8GB

Storage

128GB or 256GB

Power

5,000mAh
68W wired charging

Cameras

Rear:
– 50MP wide, ƒ/1.6
– 0.08MP

Front:
– 16MP, ƒ/2.0

Audio

Stereo speakers
3.5mm jack
24-bit/192kHz audio

SIM

Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)

Biometrics

Side-mounted fingerprint sensor

Software

HiOS based on Android 13

Dimensions and weight

168.5 x 76.5 x 9mm
220g

Colors

Dark Illusion, Silver Fantasy, Free Fire Edition

In the box

– Phone
– Charger
– USB cable
– Wired earbuds
– Plastic phone case

TECNO Pova 5 Pro review: FAQ

Both Pova and Spark cater to different user needs. Pova is a more gaming-centric phone with a focus on performance, while Spark is more budget-friendly and general-purpose. Your choice depends on your specific needs.

Yes, the TECNO Pova 5 Pro 5G runs on Android, specifically HiOS based on Android 13.

While TECNO phones are primarily designed for markets in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, they can work in the US if they support the necessary GSM bands. However, it’s essential to check compatibility with specific carriers.

The TECNO Pova 5 Pro offers a robust set of features, including a MediaTek Dimensity 6080 SoC, a 120Hz display and a 5,000mAh battery, making it a solid budget phone.

With moderate use, the TECNO Pova 5 Pro’s 5,000mAh battery can easily last a full day on a single charge.

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