When looking for a smartphone for less than Ksh 12,000, you have so many choices and picking the right one can be frustrating. Even with the many choices available, you are not guaranteed to get the phone that ticks all your boxes as some manufacturers would rather take shortcuts than invest on products that the users would be proud to own. This is why I was excited to see what the Tecno Spark 2 has to offer.
The Tecno Spark 2 is the latest entry level phone from the company and is available for Ksh 11,299. This is not the cheapest phone from Tecno but it’s not the most expensive either. It is reasonable price and in this review I will be finding out if this phone is worth its price.
At its price, the Tecno Spark 2 is competing with the Infinix Hot 6 and the Xiaomi Redmi 5A. Both these are good phones and the Spark 2 better impress if it should be the phone for you.
Design and Build Quality
The one thing that impressed me with the Tecno Spark 2 is its design. The phone looks really good, better than most phones within its price range. The design is not out of this world but is different and you will have to give it up to Tecno for this. This is a similar design to what we have seen on devices such as the Tecno Camon CM and the Camon X from a few weeks back. Most people I showed the Spark 2 to could not believe this is a phone they can get for less than Ksh 12,000, most thought it costs more just from how it looks.
The build quality is also great and borrows a lot from the 2018 Camon devices. The back is made from plastic but does not feel cheap. It feels firm and I got the one in red that is absolutely beautiful. There are other colors to choose from but for me the red one stands out. At the back is where we have the fingerprint sensor that is very accurate and the 13MP camera that I will talk about later in this review.
With the Tecno Spark 2, you get slightly curved edges and with this the phone is comfortable to carry around. This may not be a big deal for most people but for a phone within this price range, this is a plus.
The overall design and build of the Spark 2 is simple but really good.
6.0 Inches, 1440 x 720 pixels
You will be spending most of your time looking at the display of this phone and it therefore has to be good. The display on the Tecno Spark 2 is a 6 inch one with a 720p resolution. I had no issues with this display even though it is not Full HD. It is very bright for using outdoors and under direct sunlight. Colours are great with great contrast and this is what you expect on a smartphone display in 2018.
The Tecno Spark 2 has an 18:9 aspect ratio and with this you get a bigger screen real estate for your media consumption. If you have always wanted such a display within this price range, then you have one. I particularly love this aspect ratio when it comes to media consumption, I just have more screen space which is always a good thing.
Performance and Software
Quad-core MediaTek CPU, 1GB RAM, 16GB storage, Android 8.1 Oreo (Android Go)
The Tecno Spark 2 is an Android Go smartphone and this means that it comes with a version of Android that is optimized for entry level phones. These are specifically phones with 1GB of RAM (or less) and the Spark 2 is one of them as it has 1GB of RAM. With this version of Android, you should expect better performance compared to smartphones that come with the normal version of Android.
Since this is an Android Go device, it comes with some Go Applications pre-installed. These Google’s own apps that include YouTube Go, Gmail Go just to name a few. These apps are specifically made for entry level devices and let you use these services and not miss a thing without any performance issues. If you have ever used an entry level smartphone, then you know that it can slow down a bit when you start using heavy applications and Google wants to address that.
Google has done a good job to make the Go applications but not every developer is on the same page. We do have some Lite applications from Facebook, Twitter and the likes but not all the major apps on the Play Store are optimized. This means that if you have specific apps that you use, you may have to deal with your phone slowing down from time to time.
Day to day performance of the Tecno Spark 2 is a breeze if you are not a demanding user. The phone handles basic tasks with ease but I noticed that it slows down from time to time. This is expected on a phone in this price range but it wasn’t that bad as I have seen on other smartphones. You will notice some of these things when multitasking (as expected) and if you open heavy apps. Again, this is expected as this is still an entry level phone.
For security, the Spark 2 has a fingerprint scanner at the back and also supports Face unlock. Face unlock was quick in different lighting conditions and the fingerprint scanner was also responsive but I noticed it was a bit slow compared to other phones I have used before.
Read Now: Tecno Spark 2 Specifications
13MP at the back, 8MP front
I would have to say that the cameras on the Tecno Spark 2 really surprised me. I was not expecting them to be as good as they are. The back camera is especially good and was way better than I had expected it to be. The camera app is fast to open and has the basic settings and modes that most people care about.
The front facing camera is also good and has portrait mode for those who want to blur the background and keep their faces in focus. Portrait mode is not available on the back camera by the way.
Overall, the cameras on the Tecno Spark 2 are good, they get the job done if you have good lighting.
3500mAh non removable
Tecno has always had the best batteries and the Spark 2 is not different. Getting the battery on the Spark 2 to last for two days or even more was not an issue, I could consistently get it to last this long even with my kind of usage that involves heavy web browsing, light gaming, phones calls, texting etc.
The issue I have with this battery is it does not support quick charging and it takes a long time to fully charge.
The Tecno Spark 2 surprised me during the review period. There are some bits that it did really well and way better than I had expected and a few others that could be improved.
Design – simple and modern
Cameras – Really good
Battery – This will last you a long time
No fast charging
Not the best performance, could have been better
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