Tecno has a long-standing tradition to produce some of the cheapest gadgets available in the market, especially in emerging markets. One such series is the Tecno Spark, which unlike the Camon, is more about aesthetics and offering average performance for as little as possible. It is the ultimate budget phone, in a company that all they do is make budget phones. The price proposition is therefore very low. But does it deliver value? Let’s find out.
Display and design of the Tecno Spark 4 Air
The Tecno Spark 4 Air is made to look beautiful, hopefully, to cover its other shortcomings. It has a smaller 6.1inch IPS LCD screen with a waterdrop notch design to house the front-facing camera. The bezels are kind of thick and the bottom chin is definitely a little conspicuous. It is a plastic build, both frame, and black which hosts the dual-camera module and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. We get to keep the headphone jack but I guess this price point does not allow us to enjoy any kind of USB-C goodies.
Performance and storage
The Tecno Spark 4 Air is by and large a budget device so performance isn’t really where it aces. It has an entry-level Mediatek Helio A22 chipset MT6761 in addition to a quadcore 2.0 GHz Cortex A53 CPU and a PowerVR GE8300 GPU. It gets 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal memory, in addition to an expandable microSD storage slot. These kinds of specs are kind of decent, offering at least a basic kind of computing power without necessarily being bad at it. It won’t manage graphics-intensive use but I guess day to day use isn’t all that back-breaking for it.
The Tecno Spark 4 Air comes with a very basic camera system. The dual camera set up is headlined by a 13mp wide-angle camera and a small VGA 0.3mp depth sensor. To be honest, this not much, but still not totally unusable. The camera pretty much operates during optimal lighting conditions. Once the conditions deteriorate, so does the camera. Video isn’t expected to be impressive but usable still. The front-facing camera is a decent 5mp lens, whose use is easily confined to taking the random selfie, but not much else.
The Tecno Spark 4 Air isn’t a power-intensive device, so the 3000 mAh non-removable Li-Po battery it comes with should be sufficient to last all day, although not with much left. Being an entry device, we don’t get USB-C or fast charging so have to contend with standard 10W MicroUSB charging which tops up the device in about 2 hours. This kind of capacity would need topping up every day, especially overnight to give it time to sufficiently fill up.
The Tecno Spark 4 Air comes with HIOS 5.5 which is based on Android 9 Pie. It is far from ideal to be honest, with lots of bloatware, preinstalled apps, and an ad service that seems to pop up anywhere, irrespective of the app in use. To call it annoying would be an understatement. Some of this bloatware can be deleted or toggled off, but most of it is just embedded to the regular UI so it can’t be wished away. It has some useful experiences every so often, but the irritation outweighs any positive use. Other than that, the UI is fluid and intuitive, though it feels a little heavy.
Tecno devices, by culture, have always catered to a certain kind of demographic, with many being constant clients. For the new user, it might take some getting used to or finding a fix to those UI problems you find it difficult to ignore. By an large, you get what you pay for so the value has to be a personal observation at the end of the day.
Tecno Pop 3 Specifications
|2G||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - SIM 1 & SIM 2|
|3G||HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700(AWS) / 1900 / 2100|
|Dimensions||156.5mm x 75mm x 9.3mm|
|SIM||Dual SIM (Nano-SIM)|
|Size||6.1 inches (79.3% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Type||IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, with 16M colors|
|Resolution||720 x 1560 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio, (292PPI)|
|Protection||Scratch Resistant Glass|
|Operating System||Android 9.0 (Pie)|
|Chipset||Mediatek MT6761 Helio A22 (12nm)|
|Processor||Quad-core CPU (4x2.0 GHz Cortex-A53)
|Micro SD Slot||Yes, up to 128GB - dedicated slot|
|Back||Dual: 13MP, PDAF + 2MP, depth sensor|
|Features||LED flash, panorama, HDR, [email protected]|
|Alert types||Vibration, ringtones|
|WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot|
|Bluetooth||4.2, A2DP, LE|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS|