Both phones come in plastic frames and in colour gradient backs with the Spark 8P coming in Tahiti Gold(our unit), Turquoise Cyan, Atlantic Blue and Iris Purple.
The Spark 8P is a very compact and slim phone. The back has a ridged design featuring a shiny camera island that takes over almost half the top part.
The Infinix Hot 12 Play is slim too but heavy thanks to the 6000mAH battery. The back is reflective and comes in Origin Blue and Legend White.
Coming to the front is where things start to separate. Infinix Hot 12 Play went with a 90Hz refresh rate screen-capped at 720p while the TECNO Spark 8P picked a 1080p screen but minus the high refresh rate.
Both are decent screens. Unless you poked around, you wouldn’t know that the Hot 12 Play used a 720p screen.
The high refresh rate is a bonus for the Hot 12 Play and comes in handy on apps that necessitate a lot of scrolling and gaming too.
Controls on both phones are well located with the Hot 12 Play opting for a back fingerprint reader while the Spark 8P has a side-mounted one.
It’s worth noting that the Infinix Hot 12 Play picks a Type-C charging port over a micro-USB charging port found on the TECNO Spark 8P. The switch is welcome as it’s high time for budget smartphones to start featuring Type-C charging ports.
Overall, both phones are well built. And it’s a tie here for me with the Hot 12 Play screen taking the crown but the Spark 8P gets a point for me thanks to its lightness.
Both phones ship with Android 11. Infinix Hot 12 Play goes with XOS 10 and TECNO Spark 8P ships with HiOS 7.6 straight out of the box.
XOS 10 features on-trend system-wide icons, rebound effects, and enhanced privacy packaged into a fresh and secure software experience. Alongside these headline features, XOS 10 comes with MOL translation engine, Smart Panel, Power Marathon, XClone, Monster Game Kit, Dar-link 2.0 Game Booster Software, DTS Audio, and Privacy Tracker for a seamless experience on the Infinix Hot 12 series.
HiOS 7.6 comes with a new modern layout with a minimalist visual experience and new features like Peek Proof, App Twin, Video Assistant, Improved Smart scanner with document correction, Phone cloner, among others.
Bloatware is present in both but you can disable or uninstall some of them.
Both ship with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage with the option to expand via an external microSD card.
To enhance the performance of the Hot 12 Play, Infinix brought MemFusion tech from its midrange lineup which lets you expand RAM by converting part of the onboard storage into virtual RAM to make the phone run smoothly. On the Infinix Hot 12 Play, you have the option to expand by 1GB, 2GB or 3GB giving you a maximum of 7GB.
This gives the Hot 12 Play an upper advantage over its rival.
Under the hood, the paths diverge as Infinix picks a Helio G85 chipset while TECNO opts for the inferior Helio G35 processor. Infinix Hot 12 Play takes an easy win here when it comes to performance – either day to day tasks or heavy gaming. The relatively much powerful chipset and the high refresh rate make it a delight to use the phone.
You’ll have to be really patient with the Spark 8P which as I had said in my review that it was a slight downgrade from its predecessor, the Spark 7P that rocked a Helio G70 processor.
Gaming was really smooth with the Hot 12 Play which also features Mali G52 GPU. Most games played at 90fps including Ninja Arashi 2, Asphalt 9:Legends, Among Us, ASlto’s Adventure, Grim Valour, Atomas, Critical Ops, Dead target, Dead Trigger, Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition, Linn Path of Orchards, RTeal Racing, Temple Run 2, and Transmission.
PUBG Mobile is a weakness for both phones. On the Hot 12 Play, you could only get smooth gameplay when you kept graphics settings at balanced, medium frame rate and high SFX audio quality to get fair gameplay ranging between 60 and 90fps.
Overall, in terms of performance, you are better suited with the always reliable Hot 12 Play.
Both phones pack hefty batteries with the TECNO Spark 8P getting a 5000mAh battery while the Infinix Hot 12 Play has a 6000mAh battery. You are sure to get more juice throughout the day with either but the extra 1000mAh can get you an extra day or two depending on how you use your phone.
Slow charging is a huge pain in the behind after getting spoilt with 120W fast chargers that juice up your phone from empty to full in 20 minutes.
For the two, it’s a different story. They come with 10W charging bricks and you have to set two and three hours aside for the TECNO Spark 8P and Infinix Hot 12 Play respectively to power from empty to full.
I would love for both Infinix and TECNO to trickle down their fast chargers to their budget lineup even if it’s the 18W bricks. A lot of people would really appreciate that.
But if you were to pick between the two, the gigantic 6000mAh battery looks tempting enough for you to go with the Infinix Hot 12 Play.
Infinix Hot 12 Play comes with a dual main camera setup which includes a 13MP and a 2MP additional lens. For selfies, we have an 8MP front-facing camera.
You can shoot using different modes including AI Cam(default), Beauty, Portrait, AR Shot, Slow Motion, Video(1080p max), and Time-Lapse(1080p) on the selfie camera.
TECNO Spark 8P brings an 8MP selfie camera under the notch and a 50MP triple camera setup which includes a 2MP depth sensor and VGA camera.
Its predecessor has a 16MP triple camera setup.
There are various modes to check out including Video(maxed at 1080p), AI Cam, Slow Motion, Beauty, Portrait, UltraHD, TimeLapse, and Panorama.
It’s worth noting that both of them ship with no Night Mode included.
Even with this handicap for both of them – the Infinix Hot 12 Play and the TECNO Spark 8P took better-looking shots. Budget smartphones have gotten really good when it comes to photography.
Here are shots that were taken by the TECNO spark 8P.
Here are shots that were taken by the Infinix Hot 12 Play
Here are Selfies and Portraits from the TECNO Spark 8P
Here are Selfies and Portraits from the Infinix Hot 12 Play.
For regular shots, both trade blows and you can pick either.
For selfies, however, I preferred photos from the Infinix Hot 12 Play.
At this point, it will all be up to your preferences.
If you’re still here and haven’t picked an option then let me break it down for you. Both smartphones are adequately packed but the Infinix Hot 12 Play puts up a big fight.
In comparison, you are getting a 90hz screen, a relatively bigger 6000mAh battery, 7GB of RAM, Helio G85 processor and a decent camera setup.
Minor upgrades are seen with the TECNO Spark 8P such as the 1080p screen and the 50MP camera setup whilst taking most of its big guns away by including a less-powerful chip.
And as I said in my review of the TECNO Spark 8P, the upcoming Spark 9 series needs to self-correct and bring features that will outmatch rivals in this segment.
The Infinix Hot 12 Play is a well-rounded power package worth checking out if you’re in the market for an affordable smartphone.
PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
Infinix Hot 12 Play comes in two configurations:
- 4GB RAM and 128GB onboard storage – Ksh 18,499
- 4GB RAM and 64GB onboard storage – Ksh 16,499
- Regular Infinix Hot 12: 4GB RAM and 128GB onboard storage – Ksh 19,999
TECNO Spark 8P is available at TECNO’s official retail stores for Ksh 17,000 and on e-commerce sites like Jumia.