True to its nature and tradition, Tecno has been on the frontline in emerging markets to make some of the most basic smartphones in the market right now. Often it would have a much smaller screen, basic memory, an extremely basic camera system, and a relatively functional battery to complete the set. It is nothing fancy at all, but that helps it target markets that are otherwise not accessible. That rings true to its new F series, and in this case, the Tecno F1.
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Display and design
The Tecno F1 design is as cheap as it comes. A 5inch TFT WVGA LCD screen with very huge bezels and a chin, a small front-facing camera and that’s pretty much it. It is, of course, a plastic build and it houses a single-lens camera at the back. At this point, we don’t even expect it to have a fingerprint scanner so pattern and pin should work just as fine.
It has a bottom-firing speaker, a micro-USB connector, and a headphone jack. On the bottom chin, we get the older 3-part capacitive touch keys that are reminiscent of the days before screen gestures. The phone feels cheap but still sturdy.
Performance and storage
The Tecno F1 comes with the absolutely basic entry-level Mediatek MT6580 with a quadcore 1.3GHz Cortex A7 CPU and a Mali MP2 GPU. The storage is a paltry 512MB for RAM and 8GB for internal storage. It also has a dedicated microSD slot that can expand memory onboard by an extra 32GB.
Truth be told, the Tecno F1 runs on very basic performance and anything past basic graphics use is bound to push it past its intended limits. It is absolutely terrible even in basic games so not much should be expected from it. It is a basic phone for basic use, nothing more.
Clearly, the Tecno F1 isn’t designed to have a usable camera, but it gets one anyway. On the back, it has a small 5mp camera that, to be honest, is more for aesthetics than practical use. Everything is grainy and terribly exposed, so the photos are pretty much unusable. It might come in handy every so often but you wouldn’t want to post that content on your social media, trust me.
On the front is a 2mp sensor and needless to say, it might as well had none at all. The images are dark, shutter speed is slow and the quality nonexistent. You might get a little VGA quality video between the two cameras if you can hold the phone steady enough, but that’s pretty much it.
The Tecno F1 comes with an average 2000 mAh non-removable Li-Po battery that’s not bad at all. Considering the internals quite literally use as little power as possible, it is capable to last the whole day, or even two, considering there is absolutely not much you can do on this phone anyways. We get standard 10W charging with about a little over 1 hour to finish off charging.
Putting the performance parameters into consideration, these kinds of devices can’t run on regular Android. That’s why a stripped-down basic form of Android is in use here. We have the Android Go Edition, based on Android 8.1 Oreo. It works, at least, but with very basic graphics. It gets the job done gladly so that’s sufficient in my opinion. After all, you get what you pay for, and this is as cheap as it gets.
The Tecno F1 is not a bad device for its offering price. It could work as a temporary device as anything past basic communication should be considered straining it. For a large part though, expect it to fail more times than you can anticipate and have a very short life span. So enjoy it while it lasts.
See more Tecno phones in Kenya.