If you’re in the market for a budget-friendly yet quite decent smartphone, then this TECNO Spark 7P could make you smile. It packs VFM specs, a nice camera, battery-friendly SoC, and a large battery for impressive stand by time.
Having reviewed Tecno Spark 7 Pro recently, in our hands arrived a budget model with larger display clearly focusing on media consumption. The name of the handset is Tecno Spark 7P and it carries on with most of the positive (and some) negative aspects of its “Pro” sibling.
In case you missed the previous review and Tecno is an unknown brand for you, let us do a small introduction. Tecno, Itel and Infinix are three brands under Transsion Holdings, a Chinese OEM based in Shenzhen. Transsion and its 3 subsidiaries are the number one brands in Africa, managing to pass other globally known brands due to amazing VFM and special care of the native population needs (language, dark skin photography, large batteries, local support, etc). After this amazing success (1.2 billion people in Africa) the company turned to Asia with India and other large markets at its new focus. In parallel Tecno, mobiles will be sold in China and globally through our known retailers.
TECNO Spark 7P is a budget smartphone and keep in mind in all this review its amazingly low price – it begins with 139USD! There is a main 16MP AI triple camera, a 90 Hz display, a 5000 mAh battery, and an Helio G70. We used this phone for two weeks and below you can read our impressions using this device as the main smartphone for all purposes.
TECNO Spark 7P – Specifications
- Dimensions: 9 x 77.9 x 9.2 mm.
- Material: Glass front, plastic frame, plastic back.
- Display: IPS LCD, 90Hz, 6.8 inches, 109.8 cm2 (~82% screen-to-body ratio),720 x 1640 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~263 ppi density).
- CPU: Mediatek Helio G70 (12 nm), Octa-core (2×2.0 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×1.7 GHz Cortex-A55).
- GPU: Mali-G70 MC2.
- RAM+ROM: 64GB 4GB RAM,128GB 4GB RAM, eMMC 5.1, microSDXC slot.
- Battery: Li-Po 5000 mAh.
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, hotspot, HSPA 42.2/5.76 Mbps, LTE Cat4 150/50 Mbps
- GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – SIM 1 & SIM 2
- HSDPA 850 / 900 / 2100
- Biometrics: Fingerprint (rear-mounted).
- Main Camera: Triple Camera, Quad-LED flash
- 12 MP, PDAF
- Secondary unknown camera
- Third unknown camera
- Selfie Camera: 8 MP, Dual-LED flash.
- Video: [email protected]
- Selfie Video: [email protected]
- Βluetooth: 5.0.
- GPS: dual-band A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS.
- Ports: USB Type-C, 3.5mm jack.
- Sensors: FM radio, accelerometer, proximity.
- Colors: Alps Blue, Spruce Green, Magnet Black, Summer Mojito.
- Software: Android 11, HIOS 7.5.
TECNO Spark 7P – Unboxing
The handset arrives with an orange box with a nice finish using T hidden letters and large glossy SPARK 7P blue font. Around the box are stickers with information about the included device. The Spark 7P in our hands is the 4/128 GB version in Alps Blue color. Tecno informs us that the smartphone has 13 months of guarantee as a 12+1 offer. Generally speaking this is a nice retail box. Inside the box we can see the normal sum for most of the smartphones this price range:
- The Spark 7P smartphone
- A USB-C to USB-A data transfer/charging cable
- A simple 5V/2A wall charger
- A SIM tray ejection pin
- A set of headphones
- A silicone soft case
From the above I am really happy that earphones are included in the box – these times even the charger is considered a luxury. On the other hand, a first for me is the absence of user manuals, quick set up guides, and the guarantee leaflet. A fast guide exists in the Settings of the smartphone for those of you who would like some more info.
A plastic screen protection film is pre-installed on the phone. It can be easily scratched and I advise the addition of a tempered glass sooner than later after removing this film. The silicone soft case is very nice but… soft as it name presumes, so if you drop your smartphone more times than you desire add a harder protective case.
TECNO Spark 7P – Design
Tecno has created a very nice phone that is far more beautiful than the other smartphones in the budget category. The enormous 6.8 inch display has medium-sized bezels, having a bit bigger “chin”. There is a teardrop-shaped notch for the selfie camera on the top and central part of the display panel. The display itself is flat and huge. On top of the display, there’s a very wide hidden horizontal line for the earphone, perfectly designed to listen to your caller without having to «center» a smaller earpiece to your ear. There is no second speaker in the phone or notification light – basically there is nothing else in the front side of the device.
The side frame is connected to the back panel and is one big curvy piece of plastic. There is a line to separate them as a design detail but there is only one panel here. On the left side, we can see the tray where 2 SIM cards and a microSD card fit. On the right side we can see two volume buttons and under them, the power/lock button. Their placement is excellent, I can reach them easily with my thumb.
TECNO Spark 7P features
The three buttons are well made without rattling. There are no visible bands, because the smartphone’s sides and back are plastic. The top has nothing while the bottom has a 3.5mm audio jack, a noise-canceling microphone, a micro USB port and a speaker grille. A flaw in my opinion is the inclusion of a micro USB port. I know that this is cheaper and people have a lot of chargers to lay around, but it is 2021 and companies must stop providing smartphones and wall chargers based on this protocol.
The back panel has an excellent design! The smartphone has a camera compartment on the top left while under it there is a huge Tecno SPARK logo. There are three different styles here. The logo is plain plastic, the rest of the panel is matte and the camera compartment is glossy. In the camera area we can see 3 CMOS sensors positioned vertically. On the right side of the central sensor we can see a quad-LED for impressive night shots.
TECNO Spark 7P in-depth
Under the lower camera sensor there is an AI logo. TECNO is focusing on the artistic / presentation of this device and succeeded in it. In the center and on top we can see the fingerprint sensor. The position is a miss. I understand that there was no space internally due to the camera but it is too high to reach for most people. I would prefer the sensor to be on the same height as the physical buttons on the right.
You will not find any protection for water or dust – you can understand this from the SIM tray, there is no rubber seal. So guys, be carefull with water and in heavy rain. The size of Spark 7P makes it amazing to watch a TV show or play games but it is too big to put in the back pocket of your jeans. Luckily the plastic panel is lighter than a glass one, and it is not as heavy as it looks from its size.
TECNO Spark 7P – Hardware
The display is a 6.8 inches IPS LCD panel with a refresh rate of 90Hz. The display has an 82% screen-to-body ratio and a resolution of 720 x 1640 pixels. The side ratio is 20:9 ratio and there is a 263 PPI density. The panel is not very bright, you will have to shade it in mid-summer sun. The colors and angles of view are good. Generally, this is a good budget panel for all usages.
The driving power behind this smartphone is the Mediatek Helio G70 SoC – an 8-core chipset that was announced on January 15, 2020, and is manufactured using a 12-nanometer process technology. This SoC comes with 2 Cortex-A75 cores at 2000 MHz and 6 Cortex-A55 cores at 1700 MHz. As you can understand, this comes as a cheap SoC that provides good processing power but you will not be able to play high render 3D games or multitask. We can also find Mali-G70 MC2 for graphics and eMMC 5.1 for storage. The smartphone comes with 4/64GB and 4/128GB versions. There are no software lagging or heating issues, but there is also nothing to brag about the performance.
TECNO Spark 7P – Mediocre sound
Spark 7P has a single loudspeaker but uses the lower microphone as a stereo set. This is nice to have of course. The music quality is ok but gets a bit distorted at high volume. Sound in calls and video calls is ok. Connectivity is also good. Full signal in call conditions. Bluetooth is ok too – I‘ve used the smartphone with my wireless headphones daily without interruptions. GPS is instantaneous so you’re gonna get what you paid for – be sure.
There are two ways to unlock 8P. Face-unlock is very fast. There is no IR light for unlocking during the night, so in total darkness, this method does not work. A minimal light source is needed for this functionality. The company says the Face Unlock enables closed eye protection and screen fill-in light. Please remember that this is not the safest method to unlock your phone so it is not the advised usage outside your usual premises.
The other way is the back panel fingerprint reader. Be careful here, you must do a good setup else the scanner is not working probably, as it did in my case. I deleted all data and passed my fingerprints again and the result was a very accurate and extremely fast process. The in-display sensor will meet your needs in all-day usage – most of us wear masks – and it is very secure. My opinion is to use it only and disable Face Unlock for the reasons I explained. Adding also on this, is the speed that the in-display sensor unlocks the phone – it is ultra-fast, the company advertises a speed of 0.12 seconds.
TECNO Spark 7P – Software
The smartphone comes with Android 11 which is an amazing offer for this price segment. This is the first time that I used HIOS 7.5. It comes with all the functions and abilities other ROMs have these days. There is some bloatware and advertisement as we see in other similarly priced smartphones. There were no major bugs or limitations and I believe with a little polishing HIOS can stand next to other skins but it needs a lot of work to reach MIUI or OxygenOS levels.
The customization is rich with many features, a theme shop and a dark mode. We can find a memory boost app, Phone Master – a general taking care app, a private app shop called Palm Store, a browser, Instant Apps – a very nice shortcut app to various games and apps that you can use without installing, a Community app for Tecno, various tools, and various other applications like music stores, data share apps, etc. Especially in Notifications, we are constantly bombarded by information and advertisement… The good thing is that we can find Google Services and you can instantly start removing any application you don’t use/need. In 20-30 minutes the software is more light and user friendly
I have the feeling that the people behind HIOS will do a good job onwards since this very rich skin covers all needs a user wants and does it with good speed and minimal energy consumption. HIOS 7.5 also updated with OTA and that is an excellent sign. I hope Tecno will continue updating this phone.
TECNO Spark 7P Camera
Tecno Spark 7P comes with an AI 16 megapixel triple rear camera. I tried to find more information about the two smaller lenses and after a time I discovered that the one is a 2 megapixel depth sensor and a “AI” lens. The camera setup is paired with a quad LED flash. I have no idea what the latter sensor can do but the company advertises the system as AI capable. Indeed inside the camera app – a nice app, rich in details – we can find a lot of gimmicks that are around the Beauty and AR shot functions. A lot of work is done on the selfie camera. On the front, we can find an 8-megapixel selfie camera with an aperture of f/2.0 and a dual adjustable flashlight.
The phone has eye-tracking autofocus – a first for me and weird to look at, as it reminds me of a sci-fi film. The user can also take pictures only by smiling 😉 The camera app has Super Night, Portrait, Google Lens, Beauty, Video, AI cam and Short Video features. The latter is for usage on social media and has a lot of extras for visual effects. The company has added fun in the usage of the camera and I spent a lot of time playing with it.
Taking into consideration the camera installation I was surprised at how good day pictures are. The 16 MP sensor works ok. I can’t tell whether the depth / AI lenses help. This phone could be sold with a single camera in other times, but seeing how multicameras push sales all companies provide extra lenses. Night photos are good in case of light and get better with Night mode. I don’t think anyone will complain about the camera.
Video is another story. While it provides similar quality with the photography day or night there is ZERO stabilization. The result is good only when the phone is stable somewhere. If you move it a bit it becomes a mess. Sound is not recorded well, I would prefer less lenses and EIS / sound improvements.
TECNO Spark 7P Battery
The huge Li-Po 5000 battery and the software added by TECNO is an excellent combination that provides two days of light usage or one day of medium usage (no gaming). SOT is about 8-9 hours which is a top performance.
I cannot say the same for the charging speed. The old type micro-USB 5V/2A wall charger is at 10W and that means a long, long charging procedure. You will need about 3 hours for a full charge and there is no flash charge in case of need.
TECNO Spark 7P – Conclusion
Tecno Spark 7P is a budget device with a lot of advantages and a few shortcomings, most similar to its Tecno Spark 7 Pro sibling. The display is excellent with an impressive 90 Hz frame rate but its brightness is mediocre. The SoC is energy-efficient, stable, and cool but 3D gaming or multitasking is not an option I have to admit. The camera has nice performance but the lack of electronic image stabilization and sound of the video recording hurts the total performance in the area. Software is rich but needs polishing to remove most of the bloatware.
There is a large battery but the charging procedure is extremely slow. The design is very good and modern. The addition of case/earphones in the box is a plus. The price is amazing. The mobile took an OTA update and at the time of this review, looks excellent in my hands. I am suggesting this handset as a good budget device for people that want a mass display for TV shows/movies, social media and gaming at a very low price, but not for people who want to record videos or use it professionally.
- 90 Hz huge Display
- 5000 mAh Battery
- OTA update on Android 11
- Slow charge with micro USB
- No stabilization in video
- Mediocre sound recording