Tecno is of the opinion that there is need for affordable tablets in the Kenyan market. To that end, the company has released two tablets in quick succession to target such users. The first tablet was the DroiPad 8 II. The second tablet is the PhonePad 7 II which is the subject of this review.
Specifications of the device can be found here.
Like the DroiPad 8 II, the Tecno PhonePad 7 II is an all-metal device with only glass on the front and a plastic strip at the top – for network radios – breaking the monotony. It has wide bezels that make holding it while using it easier but which in the end take some marks off the device’s design.
Like the larger DroiPad 8 II, the PhonePad 7 II has some dual stereo speakers at the bottom and the minihub housing the microSD card slot and the dual-SIM slots on the lower left. The volume rocker and the power button are on the upper left side. The positioning of the power button at the very top makes it easier for the index finger to access it when the device is held in portrait mode.
The device’s size makes it easier to handle. You can hold it in one hand and use it with the other. When you need to go, it can easily slip in your jeans pockets, even when you have the flip cover on (but why would you have it on anyway?).
The 7-inch LCD display which is the centre of the device by way of interaction and content consumption also happens to be one of its drawbacks. The display’s density is low thanks to the low-resolution panel in use and we noticed that it picks up scratches easily. This is more pronounced when reading text but less of an issue when consuming content like video.
Overall, the device’s performance is average. When used as expected, it delivers. It does stutter when stretched, something you will most probably understand since this is an entry-level tablet.
The Tecno PhonePad 7 II has a similar camera arrangement as the DroiPad 8 II, a 5-megapixel camera at the back and a 2-megapixel camera on the front. Even though both have LED flash for better lighting and all, they are not what you’d want to use to capture great moments. The back camera will come in handy in other use cases like say scanning documents while the selfie camera can be your go-to shooter for video calls at the very best.
Save for a few audio enhancements in the settings app, there is not much done to differentiate the PhonePad 7 II’s user interface from what you will find on other devices like the DroiPad 8 II. It is still not HiOS – probably because the device only has 1 GB RAM and the new interface can be quite demanding.
The ability to make calls and the additional LTE network capability made possible by the MediaTek MT8735M chip which the PhonePad 7 II packs are nice bonuses. While its still cumbersome to use a 7-inch device to place calls, it is quite handy to be able to connect to mobile networks on the go for social media, normal browsing and other uses.
The Tecno PhonePad 7 II keeps charge for several days. At the very least, over a day is guaranteed thanks to the beefy 4,100mAh battery unit that it packs. With very little going on – sensors and background activity – it is possible to squeeze even more from the PhonePad 7 II than we have been able to during our review period.
The Tecno PhonePad 7 II scores highly when it comes to the choice of material used (metal), the amount of onboard storage (16 GB), LTE network capability and long battery life. It does, however, score poorly when it comes to the display which is pixelated. The black bars on either side of the display and the big bezels don’t help matters either when it comes to assessing the device’s overall design even though the Champagne Gold colour of the review unit we had does look good on it. Then again you remember that this is a Kshs 14,500 device that is not meant to tick all the right boxes but to introduce users to tablets and probably whet their appetite on their way to getting something better someday, which we hope Tecno is already working on.