Tecno Spark 4: Impressions

At just Kshs 12,000, the Tecno Spark 4 costs just Kshs 500 less than the flagship member of the last generation of Spark devices, the Tecno Spark 3 Pro, cost. And it costs about Kshs 1,000 more than what the “standard” variant of that generation, went for.

What does that mean for anyone in the market for a budget device?

While we will be able to tell much more about that in subsequent articles following more in-depth interactions with the device, we should be in a position to give an early opinion based on early interactions with the device.

Unboxing

Impressions

As can be seen from the unboxing video above, one thing is conspicuously missing from the Tecno Spark 4’s box. Can you guess what it is? No, it is not the charging/data transfer USB cable that remained hidden in one of the compartments. It is the user manual. I am curious. Why is that so?

As can also be seen in the video, Tecno includes a plastic case similar to the one buyers of the Tecno Camon 12 series are also getting.

One of the things that one notices about the Tecno Spark 4 is the change in the design.

Where a traditional cutout dominated, a “waterdrop/teardrop” notch (Tecno is calling it a “Dot Notch”) takes its place, reducing the cutout footprint while still accommodating the front-facing camera and relegating other features, like the LED flash, to the side.

That it is light and compact goes a long way in making sure the 6.5-inch display is not as intimidating as it looks on paper.

While it may not be noticeable, the bump in display size from 6.2-inches on the third generation to 6.5-inches on the fourth generation cannot go unmentioned.

Also gone, just like in the current and last generation of Infinix’s Hot smartphones, is the removable back cover. The Tecno Spark 4 does not have a removable back.

Neither does it have a speaker grille on the back of the device, as was the case on the Spark 3. The speaker now resides on the bottom of the device, just like it did on the Spark 3 Pro.

Staying on the back, the device’s camera sensors increase in number to 3. Does that mean better performance? We’ll find out soon.

Unlike the last generation’s standard variant, the Tecno Spark 4 also arrives with ready support for 4G LTE networks. Heck, it’s even VoLTE-ready. I’ve made VoLTE calls on the Safaricom network comfortably. I am reliably informed that the same is the case for those with Faiba4G SIMs.

By now, you must be noticing a familiar pattern: The Tecno Spark 4 is the fourth generation’s “Pro” device and the Spark 4 Air, which we will explore later, is every bit the standard variant of the last generation. That is to be expected. Especially when there’s just half a year separating two generations of a single device lineup.

That also means that the internal storage, at 32GB, matches that of the Spark 3 Pro while doubling what was available on the Spark 3.

One area where Tecno managed to improve on – not that it was bad in the previous generation or the one before that, anyway – is the battery. The battery’s capacity has increased to 4,000mAh, from the 3,500mAh sealed unit on the Spark 3 Pro.

READ:  Tecno Spark 4 specifications

Quick takeaways so far are that I still share the same opinion I had of a Spark device from two generations ago: it’s sluggish and could be better.

On the optics front, the back cameras do an okay job outdoors and fail terribly indoors, as expected. The same can be said of the products of the lone selfie sensor on the front.

And, in case the battery is your worry when you go about trying to put those claims to test, fret not. It is not the mammoth 5,000mAh unit that powers the Infinix Hot 8 but it gets the job done in a way that you will feel like it is. Of course, at this point you know better than to expect any form of accelerated charging, right? So you can expect to spare at least 2 hours for juicing up before stepping out. Itabidi umezoea.

The Infinix Hot 8, here, is important to bring up because if you are going to compare options available in the market for the Kshs 12,000 asking price of the Spark 4, or less, you can’t ignore it and, despite my misgivings, does everything to stay competitive.

Have something that you believe I need to have a look at? Hit me up: echenze [at] androidkenya.com