Tecno’s new “small” phone is small in price only (Kshs 14,000) – relative to the pricing of other Tecno smartphones we have interacted with and reviewed recently – everything else about it is large. And that is a good thing.
It is not so large to be imposing or to get in your way but is just large enough for you to feel its presence when you hold it (it has some weight, too, as we noted in our first impressions) and to justify the assertions made on its spec sheet.
The increase in the size of the display is almost thematic as it mirrors the bump in just about everything on the device: the number of cameras at the back, the battery capacity, etc.
Again, all those are good things.
A display that, even though a mere HD+ panel, still manages to look good both indoors and outdoors? That sounds good to me. It looks the part, as well, in case you have your doubts.
Then there’s the captain obvious side of things. About the same chipset, the same amount of crucial internal components like the memory and onboard storage…
Therein lies the issue. If you are upgrading from the many other entry-level devices that Tecno has offered locally, then the Spark 3 becomes a device of interest that can be recommended alongside any other that you may have been considering. If, however, you already sacrificed and got the model from late last year, what’s the point?
Your Spark 4 is probably just as fine. Bar the breath of fresh air brought about by Android 10, everything should be just fine.
The Tecno Spark 5 is just good a phone that won’t turn heads – even with its rather good-looking back design – because of one specific hero feature. No, this device is not about. However, you can quickly come to learn to live with it, as I did after an interesting ordeal, as your primary device, if you purpose to.
Its performance, even though it should be dated, on paper, is satisfactory. That is for all the app launches as well as the battery efficiency. Not quite what you expect to hear of a device using yesterday’s processor and as minimal memory and storage provisions as possible without going the Android Go way, right? That is Tecno’s genius right there.
While at it, they managed to, as per what they say and what I personally saw and experienced, improve the device’s optics. The 5 cameras on the device (4 at the back and the selfie shooter housed in a punch hole on the front) may be a stretch but they are not an exercise in futility. At its price point, I am resigned to accept just about anything I get but the Spark 5 did try to meet me halfway on my way there. The results are what you’d call satisfactory – in sufficient lighting conditions.
One thing that stood out for me? The Tecno Spark 5 is one of the few smartphones that have Android’s Ambient Mode enabled. Read here to see what that is and why it may, probably, excite you too.
Sure, there might not be any fast-charging mechanism but the freshness of HiOS in its remake for Android 10 – with the same features that I was gushing over when I sampled them on the Camon 15 – the very vivid HD display that creates an illusion of something else more expensive, the design (turn it over and look at that back again), a performance that I have no gripes with and a battery that easily goes on and on for 48 hours are things that had me enjoy my usage of the device. Something that I think that anyone who picks this up in view of all that I, and others, have shared about it, probably will.