The Tecno Spark 3 Pro is a really interesting device from Tecno with an attractive design, compelling specs at for the budget market. Here’s our full review. The Tecno Spark 3 is the successor to last years Tecno Spark 2 and with it brings interesting upgrades. I’ve had as my daily driver for a couple of weeks and here are my final thoughts. Should you spend your hard-earned money on it or skip it for another device.
What it packs in brief:
- 13MP + 2MP main cameras
- 8MP selfie camera
- Android 9 Pie
- 3G, 4G LTE Support for the Pro version
- 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage, 2/3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage for the Pro
- 3500 mAh battery
Tecno Spark 3 Pro Design and Display
The Tecno Spark 3 Pro takes design cues from the Tecno Camon 11 and you know what the English say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I couldn’t agree more. The stunning unibody design gives a more comfortable grip and when you put the device under lighting from a certain angle, you get to see green sparkles if you have the black variant of the Tecno Spark 3 Pro. All this adds to the visual appeal of the device but be ready to see fingerprint smudges on that shiny back which you’ll have to constantly clean with a soft cloth or just encase it.
On the front, you get super slim side bezels and a smaller chin. On the top, you get the iPhone cut-out notch which houses the front camera sensor, a proximity sensor and an earpiece. On the rear, you get a dual-camera setup, a fingerprint scanner and a vertically printed Tecno brand logo on the bottom where you also get all the ports and grills are including a mono speaker, a micro USB port, a single microphone and a 3.5mm audio jack. The power button and volume rocker keys are located on the same right side. The left gets the dual nano-slim and expandable storage slot.
The Tecno Spark 3 Pro offers a 6.2-inch HD panel which has a resolution of 1500 by 720-pixels which gives a satisfactory overall performance for enjoying multimedia content from watching videos or scrolling through social media or general web browsing with decent outdoor visibility. While I would have loved a full HD screen, the overall display performance is acceptable.
Tecno Spark 3 Pro Performance
The Tecno Spark 3 Pro is powered by a Quad-core MediaTek MT6761 processor that handles everyday tasks with minimal lag. When juggling between apps, there’s no refreshing unlike other phones in the same price or more in the budget category. The occasional light gaming will work fine as long as you stick to medium settings thanks to Game Boost feature while on the other hand RAM-intense apps and games take a toll on performance with the phone heating up but not to the point of being unbearable.
There is excellent memory management on the Tecno Spark 3 Pro as it could hold up to 9 apps in memory without any reloading when you resumed using them.
Generally, the performance makes for a pretty good contender on account of its price.
Tecno Spark 3 Pro Software
The Tecno Spark 3 Pro takes a bold move and abandons Android Go from its predecessor to ship with Android Pie with the latest but toned down version of the Tecno’s custom UI on top – HiOS: they dropped their SMS and gallery app, opting for Google’s app ie Android Messages and Google Photos respectively – a good move which the rest of the smartphone manufacturers should emulate.
You get customisable Android P-style navigation system. I’ve set mine such that the home button acts as a movable pill which can be dragged to either side to scroll through the recent apps screen. If I swipe up and hold the pill, it opens recent apps in a horizontal instead of a carousel format. If you’re adventurous, switch to the iOS-style swipe up navigation gestures to experience the whole screen real estate.
The Tecno Spark 3 Pro has a quick start feature that lets you customise off-screen gestures which allow you to perform quick actions when the screen is off such as drawing an S to play Spotify or O to launch YouTube.
HiOS is still annoying with its ads that take over everything and the only solution is to slap a custom launcher such as Nova or Lawnchair launcher and an icon app of your choice(I’m using Whicons and wallpaper from Resplash) and disabling/uninstalling all preinstalled apps and denying them permission to have a peace of mind.
Tecno Spark 3 Pro Camera
You get a no-frills experience on the stock camera app with modes such as video, AI Cam, bokeh and beauty with toggles for flash, settings, HDR placed on the top layout. Most phones in the budget category have gotten really good taking reasonably decent shots in broad daylight. The Tecno Spark 3 Pro mostly delivers visually appealing shots ready to share to your preferred social media platform from WhatsApp Status to Insta-stories. You get adequate details but lack dynamic range even with auto HDR. There’s saturation and oversharpening to make the photos look pleasant.
When the scenario changes, you get passable low light performance. Some details get lost and you start to see noise on photos.
The bokeh mode is pretty decent for a phone at this price point – you’ll have to give it time but the end results are sometimes on point and you’re stuck with the default settings as there are no options to play around with.
Selfies come out with sufficient details in bright lit scenarios but in start to struggle in low light.
The camera performance generally does all things sufficiently but it isn’t the best. It’s not a deal breaker when you put its target audience and the price it’s asking for. If you’re upgrading from an even lower entry device, the Tecno Spark 3 Pro’s cameras will do just fine and that’s what this phone is focussing on.
Tecno Spark 3 Pro Battery
The battery department is where the Tecno Spark 3 Pro really excels. It packs a 3500mAh battery that left me impressed. I’m a heavy user on some days where I juggle multiple social media apps, taking photos and a lot of web browsing. A full charge in the morning left me with like 15% by the time I was hitting the sack by around 10PM.
One thing you should note is that your mileage will vary depending on how you use your phone. Its small battery can go from zero to hundred per cent in like one and a half hours – roughly the time I get ready in the morning(I’m mostly selecting songs for my shower playlist).
Also, Tecno and other OEMs should slap USB-C on their budget phones – this feature shouldn’t just be left for high end and midrange phones.
Faiba 4G and call reception
If you’re a data conscious person and use Faiba 4G network, then this phone is for you as it supports this network. Call reception is good both outdoors and indoors with crisp call quality.
The Tecno Spark 3 Pro has its shining features and other points it needs to work on. The strengths include a beautiful design, a great battery life, good multitasking capabilities and a decent camera experience. The UI needs a little more polishing and I feel like adding an extra gig of RAM would make it an outselling device among its peers.
The Tecno Spark 3 Pro makes for a compelling budget device if you’re coming from an entry-level phone but you are not ready to splurge on a mid-ranger. If you’re really tight on budget, the Tecno Spark 3 Pro has a lot to offer – it punches above its weight.