The Tecno Spark series is perhaps as low as we usually go here at Android Kenya when it comes to checking out Tecno’s expansive smartphone lineup. That is to say, unless otherwise stated, a Tecno Spark is most certainly the most affordable Tecno smartphone you’ll run into in the reviews section on this site.
Does that mean lots of compromises and, generally, a bad experience? Far from it! In fact, if you can go back in time and browse through all our past reviews of Tecno Spark devices, since the second generation one, I think, you will notice something in common: while we usually have our reservations regarding these devices due to the obvious cutting of corners that happens in order to realize them, we have noticed them grow bit by bit and build feature after feature over the years.
The Tecno Spark 7P is far from being the end all be all of such efforts over the years but it presents to us the clearest sign of how far the series has come, how ambitious Tecno’s plans to keep its budget-conscious user base are and just how far it can go.
For a start, the Tecno Spark 7P is the first ever Spark series device to pack a high refresh rate display panel. The 6.8-inch HD+ display on the device is not only large enough to suite the multimedia content consumption needs of the young people Tecno is targeting with the device, it is also good enough for them to stretch the device’s use cases a little bit into the kind of territory devices at this price range would normally shy off from like gaming.
For anyone coming from the Spark 5 series, this, alone, is a real upgrade that is worth the attention and the money that Tecno is asking for (starting at about Kshs 14,000).
The device’s design is easy to overlook since, especially on the front, it is trademark Tecno. The back is also very slippery and you could use the included plastic case, however unpleasant that may be.
The cameras are okay in very good lighting conditions and fair just about fine in the dark with Super Night mode on. Turn it off and the results are not impressive. You get soft crushed shots.
Where it does rise up to the occasion, should you keep everything on auto like I did during my review, is the selfie department. Its dual flash isn’t as blinding as other flashes I have used and experienced elsewhere and, its placement on either side of the earpiece is such that it balances nicely to illuminate properly and result in some fairly good shots. Its portrait mode is mostly a hit and miss affair.
That one can pan and take a wide-angle selfie is something I wasn’t expecting given that we have seen more pricey devices that lack this feature to the point that we have been desensitised about looking for it on devices of this calibre. Given that this is a Gen Z-centred product, these are the kinds of features that will probably resonate well for them.
On the software front, just like the front design, it is trademark Tecno, no mistake. You get a good mix of the stuff that will take you to the edge, like the blimey ads and useful features like the smart panel (remember that you are using a 6.8-inch device with a rather slender profile). which provides quick shortcuts to various apps and system functions like taking screenshots and clearing the memory every once in a while.
As noted elsewhere, one of the most impressive features of the Tecno Spark 7P is its long endurance. Per my usage, I was able to squeeze two days from the device before needing to top up. The obvious disappointments in this sector include the lack of a USB Type-C port and the lack of fast charging of any kind.
So, should you get the Tecno Spark 7P? While, obviously, that is down to you, if you are looking for a Kshs 15,000 device (or below), it does make a good case for itself. It has more storage than past Spark series devices (our review sample had 128GB onboard storage even though a 64GB variant is also available in the market), its performance is good (that Helio G70 does the device a lot of justice) and, you can live with its 16-megapixel camera. Since the device is slippery as hell in addition to its big size and slender frame, you only need to slap a case on it and you are on your way.
Sticking by Tecno’s half-year refresh cycle for its non-flagship devices, it should be interesting to see what the brand brings to the market at the end of the year as there is quite a lot to keep and even more to upgrade in the next Spark series device(s).