2018 is now behind us. The year will be remembered for being the one where Tecno, Africa’s leading smartphone brand, abandoned the launch of its known Phantom flagship smartphone series in favour of the budget brands that have taken root in Kenya and everywhere across the continent where the Transsion Holdings company has a presence.
Whether or not what Tecno has opted to go with in place of the Phantoms is worth it is a discussion for another day but the truth of the matter is that for anyone looking for a smartphone to buy before we go farther into 2019, the Tecno brand can’t be sidestepped both because of its favourable pricing, a big factor for many an ordinary Kenyan, as well as the balance in providing features that users need and enjoy, however questionable the quality of such features may be.
Here are 4 smartphones that, in my considered opinion, can be considered for purchase for various reasons, as you will see below, and you won’t be throwing away your money if you end up with one of them.
1. Tecno Camon 11 Pro
By all means, by being the latest smartphone from the brand, this should be the best Tecno smartphone out there, right?
If the Camon 11 (read my review) is anything to go by then the Pro variant shares as many misgivings as its standard sibling.
The standard Camon 11’s camera is nowhere near being good and while the Pro barely gets a pass in the same department, it’s just as ladden with bizarre adware as the standard variant and, at its Kshs 24,000 price, it’s a tough sell when the likes of the Xiaomi Mi A2 (32GB model) and the excellent Huawei Y9 2019 exist.
Still, if you are a diehard Tecno fan and the logo on the back of your next smartphone purchase has to have anything to do with Manchester City’s sponsors then this has to be it. I am of the opinion that a future update to the Camon 11 devices can help redeem their image. I hope I am not wrong.
2. Tecno Camon X Pro
I would go on and on about how I enjoyed the Camon X Pro’s company early last year but I’ve already done so here severally so just go and read what I had to say about it recently as well as in my two reviews, of the cameras and of the device as a package.
The short of this is that the Camon X Pro is good value for money. Plus, it came out at a time before Tecno decided to go all rogue with the ads and forcing users to keep all the bloat that its devices arrive with out of the box even though all that has probably since changed with software updates. Sigh.
3. Tecno Spark 2
The Tecno Spark 2’s biggest weakness, Android Go, is also its biggest strength. I will explain.
In as much as Android Go, at least on paper, is supposed to be this saviour of the budget smartphone, it has so far not lived up to the hype that Google built around it when announcing it. To be honest, it’s disappointed those of us who eat, breathe and live Android. Still, though, it’s as functional as it should be and as a work in progress, we should be willing to give it time to mature into the product whose vision Sundar Pichai sold to us.
Where Android Go comes in strongly is that the Spark 2 is still an out-and-out entry-level smartphone even though it is a level higher than siblings like the F-series and others. This means that its hardware capabilities are pretty limited and it could use the optimizations that Android Go brings, however few
As far as Android Go smartphones go (see what I did there?) in the country, bar the Nokias from HMD Global and the newly launched Huawei Android Go smartphone, nothing beats the Spark 2. Even those that I have mentioned, only stand up to the Spark in other ways and not the impeccable battery life and the surprisingly good camera that I found on Tecno’s second generation Spark smartphone.
Well, there’s the bit where Google’s decision to allow device makers to do as they please with Go means you kind of have to make do with their
ugly Android skins and that there is little hope for them ever being updated to newer versions of Android, like the Go edition of Android Pie which is already available, but what’s that when you’re getting the device for almost a song?
4. Tecno Pouvoir 2
This is probably the very first time we are making a direct reference to the Tecno Pouvoir 2 here at Android Kenya. Sure, it has appeared in pieces I have penned here before but that has been more anecdotal than central.
That is by design. Tecno has not been so out and out about the Pouvoir 2, just as it never was with its predecessor, as it has been with the other devices on this list.
While for the amount that vendors online and offline are likely to ask you for it you can get other – arguably better – devices, none of those will have the mammoth 5,000mAh battery that the Pouvoir 2 packs. That and Tecno’s controversial software optimizations will have you going for days on end on a single charge. I don’t ever remember that being a problem. If anything, it’s what we always convince ourselves whichever new phone we buy will live up to only for it to end up disappointing not long after. Sigh.
Specifications: 6-inch HD+ display, 13MP and 8MP cameras on the back and front respectively, 16GB onboard storage, 2GB memory and a MediaTek processor (MT6737).
Which is your favouirte Tecno smartphone and why?