The Spark series is the company’s entry-level devices and we take a look at how the TECNO Spark 5 measures up on its own and against devices in the same market price and if the value is worth it for a phone retailing at Ksh 13,999.
The TECNO Spark 5 is a beautiful phone – that colour-gradient back is attention-grabbing. Everywhere I went and popped this device, I could hear murmurs – people were curious. Though plastic, that two-toned finish makes the phone have a premium look and that’s a good thing.
There’s a quad-camera setup at the back and a fingerprint sensor which I pound to be generally reliable but at times, it could fail me with a few random occasions where my fingerprint would be rejected.
At the bottom is the MicroUSB charging port, a sole mono speaker and a headphone jack.
The power button and volume keys on the right. You’ll notice an orange flare that spices up the design.
You get a dual SIM slot and a microSD slot too to expand your storage.
The TECNO Spark 5 features a dot notch display at 6.6″ with a resolution of 720p. It’s not bad when used indoors for scrolling through social media, browsing the web and streaming media. Outdoors especially under direct sunlight, you’ll be squinting a lot to see anything on the screen – you’ll have to get under a shade.
Generally, the design gets a thumbs up from me. The only downside I that the phone’s pretty hefty and as I said you don’t want to use that phone when you’re drowsy because when it falls on you as phone’s do when we’re lazily scrolling through social media or watching YouTube videos before sleeping.
Software, performance and battery
Under the hood, you get Android 10 and HiOS 6.1, 2GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage running on Mediatek’s Helio A22 processor and PowerVR GE8300 GPU.
HiOS is still heavy and it’s bothersome from the bloatware apps and the ads.
I’m kinda disappointed that TECNO decided to bring the same configuration as its other Spark series – the Spark 3 and the Spark 4 from last year. I’ve had the chance to use all three devices, and there’s no improvement in performance.
Multitasking is a struggle, especially heavy apps. You can do a little gaming on apps that don’t heavily rely on RAM.
Games like Asphalt have lag between gameplay and dropped frame rates. Switching between multiple apps is a struggle. Most of them close randomly.
The overall performance was a letdown and it interfered a lot with my productivity.
Battery life was great. On a single charge, the phone would stretch close to two days on light use and give me a full day on light use.
One downside of having a large battery is how long it takes to charge and since the TECNO Spark 5 lacks fast charging.
You’ll have to give a little over three hours to fully charge. As I said in my first impression review, TECNO needs to step the charging too as it did the battery capacities.
The TECNO Spark 5 sports an 8MP selfie camera and a quad setup that features a 13 MP main camera, a 2MP macro sensor, a 2MP depth sensor and a fourth AI lens together with a quad-LED flash.
In my experience taking different shots with both the front and rear camera, expect mixed results the performance is inconsistent.
Some regular shots came out better than I expected if you’re patient enough, others not so much especially if you fiddled with the modes.
Bokeh and portrait shots suffer from inconsistent blurs. Some colours come out unsaturated and different shades.
General processing, exposure and scene selection could go crazy sometimes.
You have to compromise lot for the cameras such as don’t expect good dynamic range, lowlight performance or detail.
Here are some shots | As always click on the photos to expand
Selfies with their portrait versions
Regular photos and bokeh shots
More regular shots – swipe for more
More bokeh shots
Should You Buy It?
So far, the TECNO Spark 5 brings some improvements and more could’ve been done to make the phone worth buying. If you already own the TECNO Spark 3 Pro or the TECNO Spark 4, you’ll have to skip this one.
Hopefully, the TECNO Spark 6 brings more to the table because if the same internals keep getting on newer Spark devices, people won’t consider buying phones in this series.
What you should buy instead if you’re in the market for a new device
While TECNO slacked here in terms of features, other smartphone companies didn’t. You can go for the Huawei Y6s that packs more value for the same money. You can also get the TECNO Camon 12 Air sells at the same price – I absolutely loved that phone.
Pricing and Availability
The TECNO Spark 5 is already available on the company’s retails stores countrywide and online for Ksh 13,999.