The TECNO Spark 4 was recently launched in the Kenyan market following the TECNO Spark 3 series. We’ve been playing around with the device to see if it’s worth buying if you’re on the market for a new phone as we near the festive season. The TECNO Spark 4 brought a few upgrades to its older sibling but specs aside, does it make for a worthy contender in real life – that’s what we are about to find out.
I’ve been using for a couple of weeks since launch and here are my final thoughts:
What it packs in brief:
- 13MP primary camera, a 2MP camera and a VGA camera for the rear cameras
- 8MP selfie camera
- Android 9 Pie
- 4G LTE Support
- 2GB RAM and 32GB internal storage
- 4000 mAh battery
TECNO Spark 4 Design and Display
The TECNO Spark 4 rocks a colour-gradient back that comes in various colours such as Vacation Blue(our unit), Royal Purple, Misty Grey or Energetic Orange. The design doesn’t stand out that much like the Tecno Spark 3’s back that had green sparkles for the black variant.
The back is a fingerprint magnet and TECNO offers a back cover to protect against scratches. the phone is relatively slimmer for easier grip and one-hande usage so you won’t strain that much when using the phone. There’s a triple rear camera setup, a fingerprint scanner while at the bottom left is the vertically printed Tecno brand logo.
Going to the front, a waterdrop notch for the selfie camera sits just below the earpiece in the slim top bezel that also houses other sensors such as the one that powers the face unlock(it’s pretty quick) and the LED flash for selfies.
At the bottom, you get a headphone jack, a micro-USB port, a microphone and a mono speaker grill.
The volume rocker and power button are placed well close to where your thumb naturally rests for easier use. On the left, you get slots for dual nano-Sim cards and expandable storage.
The display got a bump up from 6.2″ to 6.5″ but bigger isn’t better if the resolution stays the same – a 1080p screen instead of 720p one would’ve been welcome. Anyway, the bigger display offers enough screen real estate to binge-watch YouTube Videos, scroll through Twitter and Instagram or generally browsing the web. Hopefully, TECNO increases the resolution of its displays for its next version in next years TECNO Spark series – fingers crossed.
TECNO Spark 4 Performance
TECNO Spark 4 runs on a Quad-core MediaTek MT6761 just like its predecessor, the TECNO Spark 3. You also get the same 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. And just like the TECNO Spark 3, the TECNO Spark 4 handles day to day task with no issues. However, when switching between apps, the phone aggressively handles memory management so you have to restart some apps. You will also experience when graphics-heavy games or doing simple tasks such as opening the keyboard to enter text for tweets, posts or just answering messages.
Also, ads continue to wreck the user experience on HiOS. Ads will appear on the lock screen and in your homescreen. I’d recommend you get a custom launcher and uninstall/disable bloatware to at least stop getting ads. I had to use Nova Launcher and Backdrops wallpaper app(select a wallpaper for both the homescreen and lock screen) to stop seeing lock screen ads.
If you are a heavy multi-tasker, the TECNO Spark 4 will have you pulling hairs out of frustrations and you’re better suited looking for another phone which I’ll talk about below.
Tecno Spark 4 Camera
The TECNO Spark 4 comes with 4 cameras, a triple rear setup and a selfie camera. Modes you can play with include video, AI Cam, bokeh, beauty and portraits or selfies. The photos taken are decent, not perfect even on daylight scenes. When I compared them to what the TECNO Spark 3, you’ll notice the quality isn’t as expected especially on a new phone that’s set to replace its older sibling.
With the TECNO Spark 3, you could get details – the TECNO Spark 4 photos look grainy. Some photos came out well enough for sharing on WhatsApp stories and other social media apps.
Here are some samples[Click to expand]:
It’s a hit and a miss
When put against competing phones at a similar price category, its camera performance is blown out of the water – so if you’re looking for a camera phone, you’ll have to skip this one.
TECNO Spark 4 Battery
TECNO upgraded the battery capacity of the TECNO Spark 4 from 3500mAh to 4000mAh. For heavy users, it can pull a day and leave you with some charge at the end of the day to scroll through Instagram or watch a couple of Insta Stories before calling it a night and plugging it in to juice up. For light users, the TECNO Spark 4 can go to the next afternoon in terms of battery life.
Charging also takes a while – it goes from 0 to 100% in one and a half hours. There’s no fast charging.
The TECNO Spark 4 supports Faiba 4G and Safaricom’s 4G VoLTE. If you’re a data conscious person and still want to get a clear call reception with crisp call quality, then the TECNO Spark 4 is for you.
The TECNO Spark 4 checks the basic stuff a budget phone can do on its own but in this competitive budget smartphones market, you have to stand out and the TECNO Spark 4 fails.
The TECNO Camon 12 Air, the cheapest phone in the TECNO Camon 12 series outright kills the TECNO Spark 4 and here’s why. It’s 1000 bob more and you get a relatively better camera, more RAM, faster processor and a Dot-in display with a punch-hole camera.
Pricing and Availability
The TECNO Spark 4 is available online and in TECNO retail stores and you can buy it for Ksh 11,999.