Notification LEDs have fallen by the wayside as Always On Displays took over their function. But now they are staging a comeback and they are bigger and more powerful than ever – in fact, they have become a core part of the design of phones like the Tecno Pova 5 Pro.
Two units just arrived at the office, one is Dark Illusion, the other is Silver Fantasy, both follow the Turbo Light Mecha Design. Tecno has used geometric designs for a while now, including the previous Pova 4 series, but now there is a new twist – a transparent back panel.
Let’s address the elephant in the room – the Nothing Phone. While that is certainly surrounded by a lot of hype, it’s not the first phone with a transparent back. There are previous examples like the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer from 2018, Red Magic 5G from 2020 and so on.
Another year down the line came the Red Magic 6s Pro, which combined a transparent back with RGB lighting on its cooling fan. The two Nothing Phones and now the Pova 5 Pro are just the latest iteration of the transparent back + LED lights design trend
Anyway, back to the phones at hand. They are only available in neutral colors, which help the LED lights pop. They can light up in 9 colors and can create a breathing effect.
Their uses fall under two categories: useful and cool. For the former, the phone supports the familiar flip-to-mute gesture – now that the phone lies face down, the lights take over notification duties and will blink on to alert you to incoming calls, text messages and even social networking events. Another useful feature is showing the battery state while charging – red for under 20%, orange for 20-60% and green for 60-100% (we’ll get back to charging in a moment).
As for cool uses, the lighting system also senses certain events in game – yes, in game. While playing PUBG, the phone will pulse its lights red for hit/kill, white for ADS mode (“aim down sights”) and will cycle through different colors while driving a vehicle.
The Tecno Pova 5 Pro is powered by a 5,000mAh battery, which should last up over 9 hours of gaming. In the box we also find a 68W fast charger, which can do 0-50% in 15 minutes and a full 100% charge in 45 minutes.
There is one important reason that Tecno included a charger (besides being giving you extra value for money). The company wants to make sure that buyers have a powerful, high-quality charger to enable Bypass Charge – this mode routes power around the battery and connects to the motherboard directly.
This avoids generating the unwanted heat that comes from charging the battery and that in turn helps stretch the battery’s longevity. It’s a feature commonly found on gaming phones. This mode works with power banks too, of course, but you’ll need a pretty beefy one.
As you can tell from the gaming-specific features, this is very much a gaming phone. It’s based on the Dimensity 6080 chipset, which is connected to an L-shaped vapor chamber (2,820mm²), which spreads the heat to a graphene sheet (10,159mm²). There is 8GB of RAM on board (and 8GB more available virtually) plus 256GB storage.
Gaming is done on the large 6.78” IPS LCD (1,080 x 2,460px, 20.5:9). It has a 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch sampling rate. Certain titles have been tested and optimized – Mobile Legends can maintain a stable 80fps, while Fee Fire can reach up to 90fps.
With visuals covered, audio is handled by a capable combination of stereo speakers and a 3.5mm headphone jack, complete with DTS, Hi-Res Audio and Hi-Res Audio Wireless support. A Z-axis linear motor improves immersion with better haptic feedback.
We’re off to put the Tecno Pova 5 Pro through its paces and we’ll report back on whether this device can hang with the gaming phones from other brands.