TecnoCamon 12 Air and Infinix S5

Two brands from one parent, Tecno and Infinix are challenging  mobile phone biggies  with   top-notch specs  at affordable prices

October 31 2019: Not too long ago,  triple and quad cameras  on mobile phones,  AI-enhanced shooting modes,  gesture-based  controls,  face-based unlock  and  Google Lens  image  recognition were  exclusive to pricey premium handsets. Such is the march of technology  -- and  aggressive marketing -- that  today  brands are offering all these features for below Rs 10000.

Case in point:  two of the best and brightest in this class:   the Tecno Camon 12 Air  and  the Infinix S 5 both  proudly labeled  "Made in India" and launched this month by Transsion.  Both come with  approximately 6.5 inch  HD display, 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage expandable to 256 GB, run Android 9.0  and are fueled by the same  Helio P22 8-core processor. Both take dual  4G VoLTE SIMS and  offer  4000mAh batteries. And both are embedded with Google Lens. Direct  the phone's camera at an object and  Google Lens will  identify the object or read barcodes, QR codes, labels and text and show relevant search results -- all on the fly.

Peas in a pod?  Yes but there are  special features to each phone.

The Tecno Camon 12 Air has a triple rear camera -- a 16 MP primary; a 5 MP ultrawide  with 120 degree  field of view and a 2 MP depth sensor  -- plus  four-element flash.  Extreme  close-ups or   wide landscapes, this lens works  equally well. The  8 MP selfie camera has AI software to  improve your face 170 different ways. Eat your heart out Cleopatra! The face shot from this camera will launch 10,000 ships.

|The Infinix S5 has a quad  rear camera with  basic 16 MP  lens, a  5 MP wide angle  plus super macro and depth sensor. Its field covers 114 degrees.  The front camera  is rated  32 MP.  You can  perform many functions like answering calls,  taking screen shots etc by simple gestures. I  particularly liked the last feature: One often  needs a screen capture of  documents and most phones makes you press two buttons simultaneously: never works for me.

I have been using the  phones alternatively for a week and frankly  being asked to say which is better is like asking a mother which twin she loves more.  Don't ask, won't tell!  Giving up either will be a wrench.  And at Rs 9999 for the Camon 12 Air  and Rs 8999 for the Infinix S5,  price is not  a deal breaker.  You pick either and you won't go wrong.VISHNU ANAND