There are quite a number of budget phones popping up every other day in the Kenyan market. Truth is, nowadays, you cannot lack to find a device that meets all your needs without sacrificing on much at the price you want and one of such devices is the TECNO Spark 3, not the Pro but the standard variant.
As the device sheds off the “Pro” tag from its name, it also sheds of some weight in the form of specifications, however, a lot stays similar to the more powerful Pro variant, including the design and a majority of the specifications but we’ll look at a comparison between the two later, for now, let’s focus on the Spark 3.
In the box
- The device
- Charger + USB Cable
- Manual and warranty card
- Plastic Back cover
- Screen protector
The Impressive Stuff
Design – The design of the phone is something that will stand out for most. The phone is well-built, with the back material almost feeling like glass, thus giving the phone a hefty premium feel. The frame is, however, unmistakably plastic and that leads us to another design choice that might divide the crowd into to – the back cover is removable.
A removable back cover sounds exciting if the battery was also removable but unfortunately, the battery is not and thus removing the back cover gives access to the MicroSD card and two SIM card slots.
Display – I had to mention the display independently. Being a 720p panel, it might not be exciting to most but TECNO has really put in the work to ensure the display looks vibrant and colourful, this pleasing to look at, especially with a good wallpaper in place.
The display also does get quite bright in direct sunlight but you still might have to squint a bit if the sun is too bright, but something that no one else talks about is how dim the display gets and this has always been a challenge for most, but I am glad to report that it does try to go as low as it can not to hurt the eyes while in a dark environment.
Software – It has become relatively easy to appreciate the user experience on budget phones these days. Manufacturers try their best to maintain a familiar look with the software all the while adding what they consider to be useful functionalities into it.
For instance, on the TECNO Spark 3, there’s a smart panel accessible by a simple swipe from the right side of the display, a feature that resembles what we see on the Galaxy Note series. The smart panel gives access to quick actions like screen recording, screenshot, clearing junk files, Google search among many others and also quick access to any app, with a limit of three quick actions and nine apps.
There’s more baked into HiOS, including battery management, themes and a few interesting apps such as Recharge King – which scans a scratch card for you so that you don’t have to input the digits manually, Visha – which looks like an Instagram clone and Ignite – a photo editor.
The Hardware – The TECNO Spark 3 comes with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, Android 9.0 Pie out of the box, a huge 3500mAh battery, Face unlock and a fingerprint scanner. There’s also a dual camera setup which gives the perception of having a good camera on the device but the output was just okay with AI enhancements to try and make things look better – here’s where we fall back to the price which simply gives a soft landing whenever you think of complaining about the device.
The camera has an AR Shot mode that you should totally try, for laughs. It includes 3D filters that are gimmicky but fun to play with, especially for kids or people with a prominent inner child like myself – just note that you require a big head if any of the 3D filters are to fit perfectly on you.
Things I wish Were Better
From my short usage with the TECNO Spark 3, there are a few things that I wish were done better, starting off with the camera. I know I just said that we can let it off easy thanks to the price but I was disappointed that the bokeh effect was not as pleasant as I would want with a majority of the time, the device failing to apply bokeh, despite having a secondary lens just for this job.
I was also disappointed to see that the Spark 3 only supports 3G connectivity in 2019 and I must say that the Gold colour is not as pretty as manufacturers want us to believe but that is subjective.
All in all, at Kes.10,899, there’s very little you can complain about the TECNO Spark 3 and even the compromises that have been made with the camera are acceptable, the 0nly thing that would make me not recommend this phone is the lack of 4G but then again, how important is that to you? If not, go ahead and pick one up.