The Camon 18 Premier is the successor to 2021’s TECNO Camon 18 Premier, a smartphone that ticked all the right boxes and had us loving up. Does the Camon 19 Pro live up to the expectations built up from its predecessor, or is it an incremental upgrade over it? This is the question we set out to answer when we started work on this TECNO Camon 19 Pro review.

Our first look at the specs of the Camon 19 Pro painted a certain picture. A 6.8-inch IPS LCD panel in front, Helio G96, 8 GB RAM, and 256 GB storage on the inside (there is a 128 GB variant, too). Keeping the power on is a 5000mAh battery with 33W fast charging. As far as specs are concerned, the Camon 19 Pro does not look like an upgrade to the Camon 18 Premier. It is more like a refresh of its predecessor.

TECNO Camon 19 Pro review - phone in hand

TECNO Camon 19 Pro review: Unboxing

TECNO Camon 19 Pro review: Design & Display

We are treated to a more minimalist design language this time. The Camon 19 pro has a more business-like look to it. Perhaps the specific colour of our review unit (Eco Black, which has a frosty, matte back panel) contributes to that feeling. But taking out the phone from the box, it is love at first sight.

The display here is a 6.8″ IPS LCD panel, with 1080 x 2460 pixels resolution and 120 Hz refresh rate. It is sharp and clear. We wish it was AMOLED, though. But for some reason (to keep costs down, perhaps), TECNO opted for an LCD panel. It is a delight to use, still. If you are not a fan of the high refresh rate, for any reason, there is an option in the phone settings to switch to regular 60Hz.

The rear panel, thankfully, is not slippery and a fingerprint magnet like its predecessor’s. This one has a certain texture to it that should help you keep your phone from making appointments with the floor. At the back are two circular camera islands housing three lenses. The first circle houses the main 64 megapixels camera, while the second houses the 50 MP telephoto and 2 MP depth lenses.

TECNO Camon 19 Pro review  rear cameras

This telephoto lens offers x2 zoom. There is no periscope capability. There is no gimbal feature either. The front and rear cameras of the Camon 19 Pro are quite decent for selfies, portraits and all kinds of photography. It captures good images in natural lighting, and takes good photos at night as well, squeezing out as much light as possible.

TECNO Camon 19 Pro review: Sample photos

TECNO Camon 19 Pro review  rear camera indoor photo of books
Camon 19 Pro review: rear camera
TECNO Camon 19 Pro review  - rear camera indoor photograph
Camon 19 Pro review: camera sample taken indoors with natural lighting
TECNO Camon 19 Pro review  selfie camera sample
Camon 19 Pro review: selfie
TECNO Camon 19 Pro review  portrait selfie
TECNO Camon 19 Pro review: portrait selfie
tecno Camon 19 pro camera test outdoors 2 building
Below is a shot of the same building taken in 2x zoom
tecno Camon 19 pro camera test outdoors 2 building 2x zoom
tecno Camon 19 pro camera test outdoors sky
See below for how the Sky Shop effect changes the view of the sky
tecno Camon 19 pro camera test outdoors sky shop mode
The Sky Shop feature changes the colour of the sky without tampering with anything else in the photo
tecno Camon 19 pro outdoors icm
tecno Camon 19 pro main camera outdoor portrait
Outdoors portrait shot with the rear camera

The Camon 19 Pro’s rear cameras are good. We find that the colour accuracy of objects in the background is sometimes off. Details and sharpness are good, though. And the x2 zoom does a very good job. The selfie camera in front of the phone delivers stellar selfies, and we can’t say that enough. Everyone wants to take selfies with it.

TECNO Camon 19 Pro review: Software

HiOS v8.6.0 isn’t any different from the v8.0.0 released last year. At least, we couldn’t find anything looking or feeling different. As said last year in our TECNO Camon 18 Premier review, HiOS v8 is the best version of HiOS yet. The icons are better, and it generally looks more matured. HiOS v8 still has all the traditional TECNO bloatware – scores of pre-installed apps. Some can be deleted; some cannot be.

All the pesky notifications that begin to jump at you once you connect the phone to the Internet can be disabled easily now. This is thanks to a notification menu that lets you easily toggle off notifications for apps. Within a few moments, we had notifications for all the usual suspects turned off, and I lived happily ever after.

TECNO Camon 19 Pro review: Performance

Performance-wise, we encountered no trouble at all using the Camon 19 Pro. Apps open, switch and run smoothly. The phone does not stutter. Though it warms up under heavy use, it never heats up unduly. The Helio G96 chipset is tried, tested and trusted, and 8 GB of RAM is a good match for it. The side-mounted fingerprint scanner works well, too. We have had no issues with it.

Our review unit has 256 GB of internal storage, which is more than adequate. If you need more storage, there is a dedicated microSD card slot to add a memory card. The loudspeaker is quite loud. And the audio quality is good – better than on the Camon 18 Premier.

TECNO Camon 19 Pro review: Battery Life

With a 5000mAh battery, we expected slightly better battery life, and we were not wrong. One thing that stands the Camon 19 Pro over its predecessor is the better battery life. The Camon 18 had solid battery life, so how do we describe the 19 Pro’s battery life? Fantastic? And the 33W quick charge makes sure you can top it up easily from zero to about 60% charge in 30 minutes.

TECNO Camon 19 Pro review: Closing Thoughts

The total package of the Camon 18 Premier – looks, feel, performance, photography and videography, battery life, and user experience – made it our TECNO smartphone of the year in 2021. Do we feel the same about the Camon 19 Pro? It matches the Camon 18 Premier in the most important things, takes better selfies, and has better battery life and better loudspeaker audio. Best of all, it is also friendlier to your pocket.

TECNO is asking for ₦165,000 for the 8/256 GB variant of the Camon 19 Pro, and that is a lower price than the Camon 18 Premier was launched at. The 8/128 GB variant will cost even less. While this is not the upgrade we would have loved it to be (there’s the Camon 19 Pro 5G for that, we believe), it is a very good package for the price.

TECNO says if you buy the Camon 19 Pro, you will get an instant gift, including one free screen guard, as well as a 100-day broken screen warranty. That last bit means that if your phone’s screen breaks within 100 days of purchase, it gets changed for free. Plus, you can also pick the Camon 19 Pro up with a 30% down payment via Easybuy. Visit any authorized TECNO store.

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By Mister Mobility

Nigeria's foremost tech blogger and smartphone reviewer. Call me Daddy.

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