The iAce 2X checks all the right boxes all at a commanding price.
When Transsion Holdings’ name is mentioned, it may not ring many bells; however, it is the parent company of three main brands that are rapidly disrupting the smartphone segment in India. Under the parent company, we have Infinix, itel and the popular Tecno Mobile.
Each brand is a cash cow for Transsion and the brand has launched each brand that targets a different audience. In the premium category we have Infinix and having reviewed more than a few handsets, we can vouch that it’s a brand that’s worth considering. itel is a brand that targets the budget conscious and they have phones ranging from the sub Rs 1K to Rs 7K. This brand is worth noticing for those upgrading from feature phones to their very first smartphone, and believe us when we tell you that itel is making waves faster than most vendors out there. And coming to Tecno; the brand is steadily growing by leaps and bounds as the phones under this brand are priced extremely aggressively yet having all the features that are available in handsets that cost about double its value.
In our labs, we have the recently launched Tecno Camon iAce 2X and it boasts some stellar features such as AI-powered cameras, a large 18:9 HD+ display and a gradient design all packaged in an affordable price tag of Rs 7,599.
The Tecno Camon iAce 2X is the top of the line model from the iAce 2 series and it has specs that prove its price difference over the iAce 2 that’s available for Rs 6,699. Visually, both handsets are identical and this all depends on which model you’re purchasing. While both come in Midnight Black and Champagne Gold, the Ace 2X comes with an all-new Nebula Black rear which is a gradient offering that has a colour shift from Black to Blue. In this price segment, it’s very rare to find a handset with a gradient colour scheme as most smartphones with this design trend tend to be priced in and above the Rs 10K mark. So for Tecno to include a gradient coloured back panel means they have not skimped on any design features, yet managing to keep the cost down to a minimum. The iAce 2 also comes in a third colour option which is Sky Blue but nothing quite to match its stylish sibling.
While the gradient design steals the show, the rear also shares some premium offerings such as a vertically stacked dual camera setup and a depressed fingerprint scanner. Apart from the branding, we find a speaker on the rear at the bottom. We aren’t too sure if this is a good design decision as we would have liked it if the speaker was placed at the bottom near the micro USB charging port.
The bottom also plays home to a 3.5mm audio jack and a microphone. Like most handsets in this segment and above, we find the power and volume buttons at the side. Being a handset that rests well in the palm, we had no problem reaching the buttons and the overall handling of the handset was comfortable.
If you’re setting up this handset for the first time you would be hunting for the SIM tray. The back panel needs to be opened to access the SIM and micro SD card slots. While this may be a better option, the lack of a SIM tray feels quite outdated in comparison. You get two SIM card slots and a discrete micro SD card. Other handsets in a similar price are limited to a hybrid SIM option making you choose between the second SIM or a micro SD card.
The display found here includes a 5.5-inch HD+ Full View Display that boasts an 18:9 aspect ratio. There’s no notch found here, so you get an effective 80% screen-to-body ratio that feels a bit outdated for a 2019 smartphone no matter the budget category its placed in. The display is vivid and the overall colour reproduction is rendered well and on par with most smartphones in this price bracket. There’s a 2.5D curved glass on the sides added which assists in the handling of the phone as it allows it to sit flush in the palm without being uncomfortable.
Transsion adds a factory-fitted screen protector to ensure you don’t scratch your new purchase — a nice touch on their part. This reduces the expense of procuring one yourself and thereby incurring additional expenses.
The Tecno Camon iAce 2X features a custom HiOS v4.1 based on Android 8.1 Oreo. With this skin on top of Android, we get a highly customizable UX that allows a lot of bang for your buck, especially at this price range. While there are no Android 9 gestures available here, we get a few handy gesture navigations that make this phone exciting to use. For instance, swipe up from the bottom left of the screen to enter the recent apps, sliding from the centre at the bottom for the app tray and swipe up from the right to go back.
Apart from this, there’s a WhatsApp mode which restricts other apps from accessing data and battery and prioritizes the messaging app over all others. This is especially useful in times of low battery as it can be a major requirement at times. FooView is another interesting addition here which when enabled pulls your most recent apps to the side in a quick launcher sort of mode. This helps you to access your top used apps quickly instead of scrambling for them in the launcher. The iAce 2X also has a game boost mode, screen record and lock screen notification options too.
Apart from this, there's face unlock in conjunction with the rear fingerprint scanner. The fingerprint scanner has an anti-oil feature which essentially means that even if your fingers are greasy, you’ll still be able to unlock it without any issues.
Lastly, regular bloatware, some of which can be uninstalled and others which cannot, are found here. These include games, social media and apps such as an FM Radio, Hi Theme, Freezer among others.
The hardware feature that separates the Tecno Camon iAce 2X from the iAce 2 is the amount of RAM supplied. The 2X features 3GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage expandable up to 128GB. For a handset priced at this range, this is not so common as most of the handsets in and around this segment come with 2GB of RAM. Lastly, the handset is powered by a quad-core Helio A22 (MediaTek 6761) SoC that’s clocked at 2.0GHz.
When it comes to day-to-day tasks, the Camon iAce 2X performs its duties efficiently; however, when pushed to the max it tends to struggle a bit. This isn’t a phone for the performance seeker but is for basic streaming of music and videos, social media and instant messaging. While you can’t play graphic intensive games such as Asphalt 9 and alike, expect to see flawless performances otherwise. We didn’t observe any overheating even while casual gaming for longer periods.
The Tecno Camon iAce 2X comes with a rear dual sensor setup that’s quite a rarity in this price bracket. And if there was one reason as to why we would recommend this handset, it would be the camera alone. The primary camera is rated at 13MP while the secondary is a VGA. The cameras are AI-enabled, but with no option to turn it off. This can be a huge advantage for those who want social media quality pictures from a handset that doesn’t burn a massive hole in your pocket as it’s more than up to the task.
In well-lit environments, the pictures captured here perform admirably well and while glancing on them through the handset’s display, they look rather great for a budget smartphone. Colours do tend to get washed out a bit, but nothing as bad to not recommend it. Also, colour reproduction is pretty great and it performs better than most smartphones in this price range. In fact, the image quality is comparable to handsets priced at around Rs 10,000. While zooming into some photos, we see a slight loss in detail, but overall, it's not as bad. Low-light photography isn’t the best with this handset; however, if needed it does perform as expected.
As for selfies, the front camera is an 8MP sensor that’s also AI-enabled. AS usual, it helps you capture photos in Beauty, Bokeh and a few more modes. While shooting selfies we observed that skin tones appeared natural and there was sufficient detail present.
The iAce 2X uses a 3050mAh battery that lasts about a work day. During our use, we streamed videos, music and played casual games and still, it managed to survive till the end of the entire day. However, it must be said that battery life is completely subjective and it depends on individual use.
The Tecno Camon iAce 2X is priced at Rs 7,599 and with it, you get a host of features that are rare in this price range. To highlight some of the USPs here, we would say that the camera and UI are something that the brand offers n a lower price as compared to some Rs 10,000 handsets out there. So, if you are a new smartphone user or upgrading from a feature phone and your budget falls within the Rs 8K mark, the Tecno Camon iAce 2X gets our recommendation.