Tecno’s presence in the Philippines is a breath of fresh air. Despite being a minority in the competition, they have been very active in promoting their products.
One of their latest products, the Spark 7 Pro, offers something different for consumers, which I’ll talk about in this review. Its disruptive price also comes as a huge shocker for other brands, which can be very appealing to people who are looking for smartphones with a number of features.
Build and Display
The Spark 7 Pro sports a 6.6-inch display with a resolution of 720 x 1600. Its screen is adorned with a small front camera cutout on the upper left.
I am not a fan of how Tecno designed its display chins and upper bezel as they appear to be thicker than most smartphones of the same pricepoint. The resolution is quite limited too, which can be a little disappointing for those who want to watch videos beyond 720p. Despite this, colors show out, and texts look is sharp enough by our standards. I also didn’t have problems watching videos on Netflix and other streaming platforms available in the Philippines. If you’re a fan of high refresh rate displays, you’ll be happy to know that Spark 7 Pro can go as high as 90hz. It will, however, not translate to 90fps all the time due to the limit of its processor but it’s a feature that is good to have when browsing UI and browser.
All switches can be found on the right side of the device. I/Os are located at the bottom: 3.5mm headphone jack and a micro USB port. You can also find a microphone just beside the audio port. Yes, this one still has Micro USB port, so be sure to tame your expectations with this one. If you want a phone that now conforms with the latest standard, then its Micro USB port might come off as a minor upset.
Hardware and Performance
For starters, the new Spark 7 Pro is powered by a MediaTek Helio G80 SoC with a 2.0GHz Octa-Core engine. This smartphone is among the first ones offered in the Philippines to have this chipset.
MediaTek Helio G89 processor gives the Spark 7 Pro a competitive advantage in the budget smartphone market, putting it on level with other brands. With such a SoC, the smartphone gains three hero features: power, long battery life, and AI.
On average, it performs just as fast as Helio G85 and bit higher than what the G70 can do. Overall, performance is quick and fluid, and some games that I installed and played on this smartphone played out acceptably well at low to medium settings like Pokemon Unite and Call of Duty Mobile.
Furthermore, whatever Tecno has done with the Spark 7 Pro appears to be working on the retail release. Our review device, which is presently running the most recent software, appears to be well optimized in its current configuration. I’m aware that a little fiddling can push it to its limitations, but by my standards, it appears to be working quite well.
If you look closely at our chart above, you’ll notice that its Antutu synthetic benchmark result is surprisingly at par with Helio G85 and higher than Snapdragon 720G. It’s even remarkable how much better it is than other mid-range smartphone from different brands. At this price, it’s simple to forego your plans to purchase an international brand in favor of this reasonably cost smartphone from Tecno.
I am confident to say that the Spark 7 Pro’ camera package is among the best from Tecno to date. This smartphone, like other foreign brands, has a 48MP main rear camera and an 8MP front camera. The details additional of the two rear cameras were not disclosed by Tecno, but I think that these lenses are dedicated to AI and depth-sensing purposes. Tecno did say that the triple-camera setup is AI-powered so it’s easy to assume that one of the lenses is dedicated for AI purposes.
The front camera allowed us to snap portrait photographs. There are various settings to mix around to allow you to be creative with your photos.
The rear camera worked admirably. It is without a doubt the best Tecno budget smartphone for photography. Whether or not HDR is enabled on scenic pictures, the photos I took are somewhat album-worthy.
I am not particularly happy with the performance of the front-facing camera though. The default setting is a little washed out and there is no way for me to change its sensitivity to match my preference. There is also no manual or pro camera mode is you think that you can adjust certain camera settings on the fly, you will not find it on this smartphone.
While the current software that runs on top of Android 11.0 isn’t ideal, it’s tuned enough to allow all of its capabilities to function. I had no problems while using its native applications. All of the games I tried worked perfectly. The software’s extra features such as Folax voice assistant, Kids Mode, XClone, Multi-Window give additional convenience to users, but may easily be considered as bloatware or unnecessary.
Battery and Charging
Tecno is one of the budget smartphones to have 5000mAh battery. Battery life is around 14 hours by my experience with medium usage. However, I really didn’t like Tecno’s decision to include a 10W charger inside its box. It took so long to charge – around 2 to 2.5 hours, and it’s something that some users might not like.
Despite minor issues with its camera and battery charging time, Spark 7 Pro is a good combination of what Tecno learned from the previous Spark generations and offering what the market demands. Tecno can still lower the price further to make it more competitive in the market and help match the budget of other consumers.
The Tecno Spark 7 Pro is now available for PhP6,990 in the Philippines.