TECNO Mobile POVA 2 review: Budget gaming beast

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TECNO Mobile has added yet another item to its roster of wallet-friendly smartphones. This time, it’s the gaming-focused POVA 2, which introduces several upgrades over the original POVA including a faster chipset and a sizable battery.

Inside the box are the POVA 2 handset, 18W fast charger and cable, a pair of earbuds, SIM eject tool, and a clear silicone case. There’s also a card for the 12+1 months warranty that TECNO Mobile offers its users.

The phone is huge, slim, and a bit on the heavy side, which is understandable given its size and battery. The massive screen looks even bigger thanks to the thin bezels all around, save for the chin, which is a bit thick.  It’s comfortable to hold, but you’ll most definitely need two hands to use this—or utilize the one-hand mode. 

The rear panel is made out of plastic with a nice matte textured finish and a cool-looking racing stripe running across the whole length of the back. The material and texture seem like they’re not prone to smudges and hairline scratches, which is great.

The screen of the POVA 2 is bigger than its predecessor’s at 6.9 inches with 1080p resolution and a 180Hz touch-sampling rate. There’s no mention of glass protection, but I appreciate that a plastic screen protector is already installed out of the box. Aside from the huge real estate, the display is also sharp and vibrant, which makes it great for watching videos, viewing photos, playing games, or simply browsing your social media feeds. However, the brightness level struggles a little outdoors. 

There’s a single front-firing speaker (also the ear speaker) located above the punch-hole camera. It’s pretty loud with minimal distortion at maximum volume level. However, don’t expect it to have a full sound and bass. You may opt to use earphones or connect the phone to a Bluetooth speaker to fully appreciate the audio-visual experience.

The right edge of the phone houses the volume buttons and power button, which also doubles as the fingerprint sensor. Unlocking the phone is fast and easy with this side-mounted sensor.

The left edge, on the other hand, houses the dual-nano SIM card tray and dedicated microSD card slot. The POVA 2 already has a huge built-in 128GB storage, but it’s nice that you can still expand it to accommodate more apps and files.

At the bottom edge of the device are the microphone, 3.5mm headphone jack, and yup, a USB-C port—a huge plus for a budget phone. 

There’s a quad camera setup at the back composed of a 48-megapixel main shooter, a 2MP portrait cam, a 2MP macro shooter, an AI lens. There’s also a quad LED flash to aid you when shooting in dimly lit areas. Alas, there’s no ultrawide camera here and there’s no manual mode either. 

The good news is that photos taken in daylight are generally bright and detailed. Macro shots also come out nice, especially when shooting in good lighting conditions. Portrait mode, however, is a hit-or-miss. Background separation and edge detection don’t work well sometimes. 

Low-light shots are passable but as expected, they’re grainy. To remedy this, use the night mode for better exposure and truer colors. Oversharpening is an issue, but that’s quite understandable given the price of this device.

The phone runs HiOS (based on Android 11), which is smooth and fast and has a few bloatware. It also arrives with Game Space 2.0, which comes handy for those who want to keep the on-screen shortcuts accessible when playing games.

TECNO Mobile POVA 2 is powered by a 12nm MediaTek Helio G85 SoC coupled with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of expandable storage. This, along with the 180Hz touch sampling rate make for a nice gaming experience.

You won’t have any issues playing Mobile Legends: Bang Bang at high settings—no lag and frame drops here. When playing graphics-intensive games like Genshin Impact and Asphalt 9, however, it’s best to lower the settings and frame rates.

The chipset-RAM combo, as expected, also works great for multitasking and productivity use.  

The huge 7,000mAh battery is perfect for those who love to play a lot of games or who like binge-watching on their devices. It takes a little less than 3 hours to juice up the phone from 0% to full using the 18W fast charger. That’s quite long, but remember that we’re talking about a 7,000mAh cell here. A faster charger would have been nice, but for this price range, the included charger is acceptable.

Speed says

The TECNO Mobile POVA 2 is an attractive budget phone with a massive display, huge battery, capable main shooter, and reasonably fast processor. Whether you want to bag multiple wins in your MLBB battles or you simply want a big phone—in size and battery capacity—without shelling out a lot of cash, then this P7,990 phone might just be what you’re looking for. 

POVA 2 2nd presale soon

TECNO POVA2 second presale starts on June 25 and ends on July 6. Be sure to check TECNO Mobile’s Flagship store in Lazada, Shopee, TECNO Mobile Concept Store at SM North Edsa, and other partner retail stores.

For more information, visit TECNO Mobile Philippines and www.tecno-mobile.com/ph.

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