Mobile GadgetsSmartphonesTECNO POP 6 Pro review: Budget phone on Android Go

TECNO POP 6 Pro review: Budget phone on Android Go

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In mid-September 2022, TECNO Mobile introduced the new TECNO POP 6 Pro, which is positioned as the most advanced solution in the line of affordable POP 6 smartphones. Today we are going to find out what modern budget smartphones are capable of, what makes the new product remarkable and what it can offer to potential users.

TECNO POP 6 Pro

Technical specifications of TECNO POP 6 Pro

  • Display: 6.56″, IPS LCD matrix, resolution 1612×720 pixels, aspect ratio 20:9, pixel density 269 ppi, refresh rate 60 Hz, peak brightness 480 nits
  • Chipset: MediaTek MT6761 Helio A22, 12 nm, 4 Cortex-A53 cores with a clock speed of up to 2.0 GHz
  • Graphics accelerator: PowerVR GE8320
  • RAM: 2 GB, LPDDR4X
  • Permanent memory: 32 GB, eMMC 5.1
  • MicroSD card support: up to 1 TB
  • Wireless networks: 4G, Wi-Fi 4, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS
  • Main camera: dual, wide-angle module 8 megapixels, f/2.0, PDAF; AI module
  • Front camera: 5 megapixels, f/2.0, FF
  • Battery: 5000 mAh
  • Charging: 5 W
  • OS: Android 12 Go edition with HiOS 8.6 shell
  • Dimensions: 164.9 × 76.3 × 8.8 mm
  • Weight: 195 g

Positioning of the TECNO POP 6 Pro

The TECNO brand has several lines of smartphones and all of them are not very expensive, but the POP series devices are by far the most affordable. Each new generation of the series includes several smartphones at once, and the current one includes both the original POP 6 and the more advanced POP 6 Pro.

TECNO POP 6 Pro

The smartphone was released in only one 2/32 GB memory version.

Package contents

The TECNO POP 6 Pro comes in a small cardboard box with a standard set of accessories: a 5 W power adapter, a USB Type-A/microUSB cable, a protective cover, a card slot ejector key, and the usual set of accompanying documentation.

The protective cover is made of ordinary plastic with a matte back and glossy ends. It provides only basic protection for the smartphone with closed ends on the sides and open ends on the top and bottom. However, the corners of the smartphone are protected, and there is a low side above the screen and the camera unit at the back.

Design, materials, and build quality

Manufacturers often pay little attention to the design of inexpensive smartphones. Although TECNO POP 6 Pro is not far behind its closest competitors in this regard, it does not look the most banal. But you need to understand that the latest design trends that we are used to in high-end smartphones are practically not found in budget phones.

From the front, for example, the TECNO POP 6 Pro looks like a typical budget phone and can boast neither particularly thin bezels nor a front camera embedded in the screen. Here, the design is more classic and even outdated in some ways, with a teardrop-shaped notch at the top of the screen. Although there is nothing else in this segment, in fact.

The main emphasis, as usual, is on the design of the back panel and the visual design of the camera unit at the back. But TECNO went a little further and, among other things, this smartphone has distinctive flat, straight bezels and rounded corners. This combination is now back in fashion and is found quite often in various mid-range and flagship models.

The camera unit in this smartphone looks rather massive. A rectangular island with rounded corners is located in the upper left corner. Two modules of the same diameter are placed separately from each other on a substrate that shimmers in the light, and one of them has an additional spiral edging.

TECNO POP 6 Pro

The back of the smartphone has its own texture in the form of very thin diagonal lines, which are visually divided into several similarly diagonal wide stripes. And while the latter are really decorative, the thin sections are tactile. The lighted areas, which shimmer spectacularly in the light, add a special contrast to them.

The body of the smartphone is completely plastic, but the plastic is pleasant and practical. The back, as already mentioned, has a textured finish, and the edges are matte. It is very difficult to get the smartphone dirty, and the only exception is the glossy “pedestal” with cameras. The fit of all the elements is good, except for the volume buttons that wobble slightly.

TECNO POP 6 Pro

There are three different colors of the TECNO POP 6 Pro body to choose from: a not-so-saturated blue (Peaceful Blue), a classic, strict black (Polar Black) and a pastel purple (7° Purple). In all cases, there is an iridescent effect and a more saturated color of the camera body. However, the purple shade will not be available in all markets.

TECNO POP 6 Pro
TECNO POP 6 Pro colors

Read also: TECNO POVA Neo 2 Review: 90 Hz and 7000 mAh

Layout of elements

At the top left of the center is the front flash, which additionally lights up when charging, but cannot notify you of notifications. In the center is the front camera and the earpiece speaker above it, and to the right are light and proximity sensors.

TECNO POP 6 Pro

On the right side of the smartphone there are visually separate volume buttons and a power button combined with a fingerprint scanner. On the left side is a triple slot for two nanoSIM cards and a microSD memory card.

There are no additional elements on top, everything is located at the bottom: slots with the main multimedia speaker, an outdated microUSB port, the main and only microphone of the smartphone, and a 3.5 mm audio jack.

On the back panel, in the upper left corner, there is a block with two cameras, a dual flash between them and vertical inscriptions with camera characteristics. At the bottom there is only a vertical embossed inscription TECNO POP.

Ergonomics

It is not easy to operate the smartphone, because it turned out to be quite large, and with a display diagonal of 6.56″, its dimensions are as follows: 164.9 × 76.3 × 8.8 mm with a weight of 195 g. That is, the TECNO POP 6 Pro is larger than almost all 6.6-inch smartphones, both in height and width. It’s clear that you can’t easily reach the elements at the top of the screen with one hand, and you often have to intercept the smartphone when using it.

It’s much easier to use it with two hands or turn on a special one-handed control mode, which makes it easier to use in certain situations. At the same time, the smartphone does not feel very thick in the hand, since the frame is flat, but not wide. There are no complaints about the location of the scanner button and there is no need to reach it at all. However, the volume up key is a little more difficult to reach.

TECNO POP 6 Pro display

The smartphone has a 6.56-inch display, although the manufacturer rounds the diagonal to 6.6″ in its materials. The display type is IPS LCD with HD+ resolution (1612×720 pixels), pixel density of 269 ppi and an aspect ratio of 20:9. The refresh rate is classic – 60 Hz, and the peak brightness is declared at 480 nits. That is, this is the most typical display of a budget smartphone.

TECNO POP 6 Pro

It doesn’t have any unique features, such as higher refresh rates or Full HD+ resolution. To be fair, there are essentially no new smartphones in this segment with a resolution higher than HD+. Models with 90 Hz screens do come across, of course, but they are more expensive, and these are just a couple of smartphones. Among them, by the way, is the SPARK 8C from TECNO.

Be that as it may, for a device of this class, the TECNO POP 6 Pro display is clearly not the worst in terms of color reproduction, for example. The colors are rich and contrasty, and the maximum brightness level is enough for daytime use outdoors. Of course, you should avoid direct sunlight on the screen, but otherwise the readability is normal for a budget phone.

The minimum brightness level is a little too high for comfortable use of the smartphone in the dark, but you can enable the function of additional brightness reduction right in the curtain with switches. Auto brightness control, on the other hand, works fine and is learning as it goes, so the accuracy will only increase over time.

TECNO POP 6 Pro

Viewing angles are normal: at linear deviations from the standard viewing angle, colors do not distort or fade in any way, and at diagonal deviations, on the contrary. Dark tones noticeably lose contrast and acquire a slight bluish tint. In reality, there is nothing critical about this – the usual behavior of an IPS screen, especially an affordable device.

TECNO POP 6 Pro

There’s nothing new to say about the HD resolution either. Again, the smartphone is inexpensive, and this pixel density (269 ppi) should be enough for potential owners. Of course, if you’re used to higher pixels, you’ll notice the lack of clarity of application icons, other small icons and signatures.

TECNO POP 6 Pro

In the screen settings, you can change the wallpaper, set the vision protection mode and system dark theme to schedule or permanently, turn on adaptive brightness, set the screen off time, change the font size/scaling, and enable accidental touch prevention and auto-rotation.

Read also: TECNO Pova 3 Review: Large and Lasting Mid-Level Phone

Performance of TECNO POP 6 Pro

Hardware in this segment changes even less frequently, and TECNO POP 6 Pro is powered by the well-known MediaTek Helio A22, which has been used by the manufacturer in its low-cost smartphones for several years. This is a 12-nm chipset with 4 Cortex-A53 cores with a maximum clock speed of up to 2.0 GHz and a PowerVR GE8320 graphics accelerator. The tests show the most basic results and nothing more.

The amount of RAM is also minimal by today’s standards – only 2 GB, but at least the type of memory is relevant – LPDDR4X. You shouldn’t really count on multitasking and parallel use of several programs without restarting them regularly. The function of virtual expansion of RAM at the expense of permanent memory is also absent here.

TECNO POP 6 Pro

The storage is also of minimal size – only 32 GB of eMMC 5.1 type, of which 24.03 GB is available to the user. The storage can be expanded with a microSD card up to 1 TB, and the slot here is triple, and you can simultaneously put two SIM cards and a microSD card. In general, these are the usual volumes for this segment, although there are devices with 3 GB of RAM.

TECNO POP 6 Pro

The smartphone does not stand out in terms of performance and works slowly. System animations twitch quite often. Applications also do not launch very quickly compared to more expensive devices. TECNO POP 6 Pro is especially difficult when installing application updates, and I would definitely not recommend doing something else on it at the same time.

It is advisable to use simplified versions of popular applications, such as instant messengers and social media clients. They usually have the prefix Lite in the name. The smartphone also does a pretty good job with games. Some simple, undemanding arcade projects are still okay, but if you can play something more serious, it will only be possible to play comfortably on low graphics settings.

TECNO POP 6 Pro

TECNO POP 6 Pro cameras

The main camera of the TECNO POP 6 Pro, as you can see earlier, is dual, but you can only shoot with one main wide-angle module. The characteristics of the main camera are as follows: 8 megapixels, f/2.0, AF. The auxiliary camera is the AI module, which is usual for the brand’s devices, and its characteristics are traditionally not even specified anywhere.

TECNO POP 6 Pro

The smartphone takes extremely poor photos in any conditions at all, and even during the day on the street the results are mediocre, not to mention indoor photos or evening shots. It often makes mistakes with the white balance, the detail is weak, and there is not enough sharpness. The color reproduction is more or less the same, but this does not affect the overall impression of the camera – these are the realities of the budget segment.

EXAMPLES OF PHOTOS IN FULL RESOLUTION

You can record video on the main camera at a maximum resolution of 1080P at 30 FPS, but acceptable results are obtained only in excellent lighting conditions. In other conditions, the videos are just “soapy”. There’s no electronic stabilization, and when the camera moves sharply, there’s a slight “jelly” effect, which is not surprising for a budget phone.

The front camera is a 5-megapixel module, f/2.0, FF. Photos are a bit “grainy” even in good light, and in low light all the small details are suppressed by noise reduction and the result is “soap”. Video can be shot in 1080P resolution at 30 FPS. There is no stabilization, but the image is not distorted during sudden movements, but the quality is generally low in any case.

The shooting modes in the standard camera application of this smartphone are much smaller compared to the devices of the CAMON, SPARK and POVA series. Only photos, videos, beauty, portrait, and panorama are available. In the settings, you can enable grid, touch shooting, watermark, set a timer, and use the fingerprint scanner as a shutter button.

Read also: TECNO Camon 19 Review: A Stylish Smartphone With a Powerful Camera

Unlocking methods

The fingerprint scanner in the smartphone is a standard capacitive one and is located on the right side right next to the power button at a comfortable height. It feels as fast as other devices from the manufacturer, even more expensive ones. It’s important to put your finger on the pad correctly, and to save the same print several times for better accuracy.

TECNO POP 6 Pro

The scanner can be used not only to unlock your smartphone and authenticate in applications, but also to receive calls, enable call recording, and turn off the alarm. Plus, you can choose the unlocking method: by pressing the button firmly or by simply placing your finger (lightly touching) the pad.

Facial recognition unlocking hasn’t disappeared either, but it’s already noticeable that the method works much slower than a regular scanner, even in perfect lighting conditions. And obviously, the less light there is, the slower the whole process. Although the method can work even in complete darkness, since there is an option to backlight the face with the screen.

TECNO POP 6 Pro

The settings of the second method are also standard for TECNO smartphones. In addition to the previously mentioned option, you can choose to unlock with an instant transition to the last active window, you can stay on the lock screen and swipe up the screen each time to unlock, or scan your face only after a preliminary swipe up the lock screen.

Autonomy of TECNO POP 6 Pro

The battery in the smartphone has a capacity of 5000 mAh, and in fact, this is not bad for a budget phone, although almost all smartphones in this price segment can boast of a similar capacity. However, the fact that its predecessor, the TECNO POP 5 Pro, has a larger battery of 6000 mAh looks a bit strange. It is unclear why the battery capacity of the “six” is smaller.

TECNO POP 6 Pro

Despite this obvious oversimplification of the battery size, the smartphone lasts a very long time on a single charge. It lasts on average for two full days of moderately active use with a total of 12-14 hours of active screen time. But if you use the smartphone mainly for calls and instant messengers, it will last even longer. In the PCMark Work 3.0 battery test at maximum screen brightness, the new product worked for 9 hours and 1 minute.

And while budget smartphones often turn out to be at least as good as more expensive models in terms of battery life, they lag far behind in terms of charging speed. The TECNO POP 6 Pro comes with a power adapter with a capacity of only 5 W, and it charges the smartphone for a very long time by modern standards. Charging from 10% to 100%, for example, takes 4 hours and 10 minutes:

  • 00:00 — 10%
  • 00:30 — 19%
  • 01:00 — 30%
  • 01:30 — 42%
  • 02:00 — 55%
  • 02:30 — 66%
  • 03:00 — 78%
  • 03:30 — 88%
  • 04:00 — 98%
  • 04:10 — 100%

Sound and communications

The earpiece speaker is not able to offer anything special: the volume is average, and the frequency range is narrow. The lower multimedia mono speaker doesn’t sound very expressive either: the volume margin is slightly above average, but without volume and special detail, of course.

TECNO POP 6 Pro

The sound in wired and wireless headphones, on the other hand, is quite normal, and there are no complaints about either the sound quality or the volume margin. What can be a little disappointing is the lack of any sound settings. There are neither the usual separate profiles nor a built-in equalizer.

With wireless networks and modules in TECNO POP 6 Pro, everything is also modest, to put it in a nutshell. It supports 4G networks, of course, but the Wi-Fi 4 module does not support the 5 GHz band, Bluetooth 4.2 is outdated, and there is nothing else besides GPS. The NFC module is also missing, unfortunately.

Read also: Tecno CPE TR210 and Tecno TR118 Portable Routers Review

Firmware and software

It’s based on Android 12 Go edition, a lightweight version of Android, which is covered by the manufacturer’s proprietary HiOS 8.6 shell. The version of the operating system is up to date, which is a good thing, but in reality, you’re unlikely to feel any difference between the Go edition and the standard version of Android 12. The point is not so much in the shell itself as in the built-in programs.

TECNO POP 6 Pro

Usually, smartphones with Android Go edition have a full package of lightweight Google apps with the Go prefix, which replace regular versions and work more quickly on smartphones with weak hardware. There are three such applications: Google, Assistant, and Gallery, although there should be at least the Gmail Go email client and Google Maps Go.

TECNO POP 6 Pro

Instead, regular versions are installed and cannot be completely uninstalled. At most, you can disable them and download lighter alternatives from the Play Store. There are also a lot of built-in programs from TECNO, but they are not the most useful and can only be disabled. In my opinion, there should be as few third-party applications as possible in a smartphone of this level.

TECNO POP 6 Pro

The HiOS 8.6 shell here is also significantly reduced compared to the similar ones in the CAMON, SPARK, and POVA series. Many functions are simply gone, and only a minimal set of gestures, two types of system navigation to choose from (buttons or gestures), and almost the same means of customizing the appearance with themes and desktop settings remain.

Conclusions

TECNO POP 6 Pro is a simple budget smartphone that does not differ much from competitors in the same price segment. It has a practical body, a relatively large good display, a fast fingerprint scanner on the side, as well as excellent battery life and the latest version of Android.

TECNO POP 6 Pro

But I would like to see something more, because in general, the smartphone offers almost the same as its predecessor, and in some places it will be even simpler than the Five. It would be nice to add at least some more modern things, like an NFC module or a USB-C port.

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Approved

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Design
8
Materials
8
build
9
Ergonomics
8
Display
8
Performance
6
Cameras
5
Sound
7
Autonomy
10
Software
8
TECNO POP 6 Pro is a simple budget smartphone that does not differ much from competitors in the same price segment. It has a practical body, a relatively large, good display, a fast fingerprint scanner on the side, as well as excellent battery life and the latest version of Android. But I would like to see something more, because in general, the smartphone offers almost the same as its predecessor, and in some places it will be even simpler than the "five". It would be nice to add at least some more modern things, like an NFC module or a USB-C port.
Dmitry Koval
Dmitry Koval
I write detailed reviews of various gadgets, used Google Pixel smartphones and interested in mobile games.

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TECNO POP 6 Pro is a simple budget smartphone that does not differ much from competitors in the same price segment. It has a practical body, a relatively large, good display, a fast fingerprint scanner on the side, as well as excellent battery life and the latest version of Android. But I would like to see something more, because in general, the smartphone offers almost the same as its predecessor, and in some places it will be even simpler than the "five". It would be nice to add at least some more modern things, like an NFC module or a USB-C port.TECNO POP 6 Pro review: Budget phone on Android Go