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We never got a chance to dive deeper into the last generation of Tecno’s camera-centred Camon series of smartphones which launched last year. Save for a few minor interactions with the two devices, the Camon C5 and the Camon C8, it has taken us over a year to start getting over our curiosity. We hope this year’s flag bearer of that noble Tecno family, the Camon C9, will answer all our questions and fulfill our curiosity.

First impressions

To live up to its name and build on where its predecessors left, the most noticeable feature of the Tecno Camon C9 is not the big 5.5-inch display or the removable sandstone-looking but rubbery-feeling plastic back cover or the metal frame around the device.

It’s the imposing pair of camera sensors on both the front and the back. This is not hidden by the packaging (see above lead image) which is themed around a camera shutter.

If you’re a device nerd like we’re here at Techweez then the “big eye” look of the front-facing sensor will remind you of a device we first saw about 2 years ago: HTC’s aptly-named Desire Eye. Like the Eye, the Camon C9 has identical sensors on both the front and the back. Infinix is also on the verge of releasing a device with a similar look soon.

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A quick sweep of the device will reveal something that is a necessity in camera-centred smartphones but a rarity in any of the devices that Tecno has been releasing in its history of nearly a decade: a dedicated camera key. Well, to be fair, the previous generation of Camon smartphones had it. It lies on the lower left side of the device and you can easily miss it since it successfully manages to camouflage itself in the thin metal frame of a similar colour.

At 10.35mm, the Tecno Camon C9 is noticeably thick, thick enough for the device to not have a camera bump as is always the case with most Slimpossible-modeled devices.

The software remains pretty much unchanged from what we encountered on the Tecno Boom J8. HiOS is still in version 1 with minor improvements to smoothen things a bit and remove some of the confusing references we found in the Boom J8 like the hilarious ‘Move your income over the sensor to answer the call’.

Can you spot the difference?

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In the box

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Inside the box, buyers of the Camon C9, which goes on sale in Kenya today, will get the usual stuff: a USB cable and an accompanying wall adaptor, a pair of basic earphones, some documentation (user manuals and warranty card) and a smart flip cover. One more thing: there is also a SIM ejector PIN included in the packaging. Not because the Camon C9 has a SIM tray but for pushing your microSIM out if need be.

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Specifications

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  • Size: 153 x 76.4 x 10.35mm
  • Display: 5.5-inch full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) IPS LCD panel
  • Memory: 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage (expandable via microSD up to 128GB)
  • Camera: 13MP main with LED flash; 13MP sensor on the front with flash as well
  • Processor: Octa-core MediaTek MT 6753 backed by a Mali-T720 GPU
  • Operating System: Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Tecno’s HiOS UI on top
  • Battery: 3,000 mAh (non-removable)
  • Network: 3G, 4G LTE
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, microUSB 2.0
  • Other: FM radio, dual-SIM

Pricing

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The Camon C9 goes for Kshs 18,000, a bit higher than its predecessor’s pricing but the same price bracket of another HiOS-powered Tecno smartphone, the Boom J8 and yet another budget device, the Infinix Zero 3. Does the Camon C9 come anywhere close to the two? Stick around for our in-depth review of the Tecno Camon C9 soon.

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