I’ve been a loyal iPhone user for the majority of my life and if I’m honest, the only reason I haven’t tried out one of the many competitors out there is due to fear. That’s why I was really excited to try out the new Tecno Pova 5 Free Fire Special Edition, as not only was it my first hands-on experience with an Android gaming phone, but I’m always willing to try out budget options to save my hard-earned cash.
The Pova 5 is definitely on the cheaper end of the spectrum when it comes to gaming phones, but that doesn’t stop it from holding its own against competitors like the Asus ROG Phone 7 or the Google Pixel 7a. We’ve tested out all the important features of any gaming phone just for you to see if the Pova 5 could be the perfect fit for you.
|Tecno POVA 5 Free Fire Special Edition specs|
|Display||120 Hz 6.78-inch FHD+ (1080 x 2460)|
|Chipset||MediaTek Helio G99|
|Price||$150 (pricing varies by region)|
As someone who’s usually a dedicated iPhone user, the Pova 5’s design is certainly different from Apple’s signature smooth curves and edges, but in a good way. It’s way bigger than my current iPhone SE but it doesn’t feel bulky and the shell design is clean and futuristic. It’s based on classic anime mecha designs and that comes across without looking tacky. My handset’s Amber Gold color is sleek and subtle, as is the aptly-named Mecha Black, but if you want to stand out a little more, it also comes in a bold Hurricane Blue. The handset doesn’t show any signs of the Free Fire collaboration either, so if you’re just thinking of getting this special-edition Pova 5 for its other qualities, you don’t have to worry about gaudy branding.
The display is huge and unobstructed by ugly bezels. The only obstruction is the front camera which takes up such a small part of the screen that I often forget it’s there. Every app looks bright and clear and the auto-brightness feature is handy for when I’m playing Honkai Star Rail late into the night.
The Pova 5 uses the MediaTek Helio G99 chipset which MediaTek heralds as its tool to allow phone companies to “create slim and light gaming smartphones with crisp, high-resolution Full HD+ 120Hz displays, without needing extra DSC hardware.” It’s definitely doing something right as all of my experience with the handset so far has felt smooth and fast, while looking stunning and not requiring a bulky gaming phone to pull it off.
Of course, at Pocket Tactics we’re mostly concerned with the phone’s gaming performance. I’ve tried out a range of games on the Pova 5 and it hasn’t had any noticeable issues. Puzzle games like Candy Crush and Pokémon Cafe ReMix run perfectly and look stunning on the dot-in display. Playing the full 3D music videos in Love Live! School Idol Festival All Stars is no trouble at all, an option that I’ve had to turn off on my iPhone to even run the game without it crashing.
The Pova 5’s capabilities cap out a little when it comes to games like Honkai Star Rail. I can play the game comfortably on low graphics settings and while it’s not the prettiest, I can still grind calyxes from the comfort of my sofa. Bumping the settings up doesn’t cause the game to crash, but I noticed a significant rise in the phone’s temperature and battery use. Given the budget pricing though I have no complaints and all the games I’ve tried so far run exceptionally well.
I’ve had a lot of fun testing out all of the camera’s features and the main AI camera can recognize a whole range of different subjects. I’ve found that in general, the photos come out a lot brighter than the ones I’ve taken on my iPhone which, depending on the subject, can be a blessing or a curse. Again, for the price of the handset, I’m really happy with the cameras and the suite of built-in features including the beauty and sky filters.
This might just be because I’m used to the terrible battery life of iPhones, but the Pova 5’s battery is impressive. I can spend all day playing graphically-intensive games and still have juice left to spare. Plus, it only takes an hour to fully recharge. I haven’t had a chance to test out the reverse charging feature, but just knowing that my phone can also act as a power bank in a pinch makes me feel a lot safer taking my electronics out with me.
Not only does the Pova 5 have a long battery life and fast recharge time, but there are also plenty of settings available for customizing your battery experience. You can choose between long battery life, super battery-saving mode, app optimization, and smart power-saving scenarios depending on what you need at the time.
Of course, this isn’t just a re-release of the Pova 5, it’s a collaboration with Garena’s popular game Free Fire. Tecno has collaborated with Garena to design its phones with some of the most popular Free Fire characters in mind. The Pova 5 is based on Kelly and comes in a specially designed, themed box featuring the woman herself. You also get a clear phone case and a sheet of Kelly-themed stickers to customize your device. In the UK especially it can be hard to get phone cases for any device other than the latest iPhone or Samsung model, so having a case included gives me great peace of mind, and let me customize my handset without potentially ruining the phone’s already sleek design. You also get a business card with an exclusive redeem code on it just for you!
That’s not all – the Free Fire collab is baked into every aspect of the Special Edition Pova 5. Providing you live in one of the target locations, you get access to ringtones, app icons, and wallpapers all themed around Kelly and some of her companions. Show off your love for the game with these custom assets and impress your friends. As someone who has only dabbled in Garena Free Fire, I think the tie-ins are subtle enough that you don’t need to be familiar with the game, especially as you can always change your wallpaper to something else.
If you’re looking for a budget gaming handset then I think the Tecno Pova 5 Free Fire Special Edition is a great choice. The display is beautiful, the battery life is extremely impressive, and all the other features are just as good as many other phones on the market. Plus, if you’re a fan of Kelly, you’re not sacrificing a quality phone just for a brand tie-in.
If you’re looking for something slightly higher-end than the Tecno Pova 4 Free Fire Special Edition but still don’t want to break the bank, we recommend the Redmi Note 12 Pro 5G. Check out our Redmi Note 12 Pro 5G review for a more in-depth analysis.
That’s it for our Tecno Pova 5 Free Fire Special Edition review. If you’re still undecided, check out our guide to the best gaming phones on the market. Plus, we’ve got a great guide full of Free Fire redeem codes.
Tecno Pova 5 Free Fire Special Edition review
The Tecno Pova 5 Free Fire Special Edition is a fantastic budget gaming phone with extra benefits for fans of Garena Free Fire. The stunning display and long-lasting battery make it a great gaming companion, no matter your mobile game of choice.