Tecno Mobile Uganda earlier this month unveiled the Tecno Spark 2 in the spark series as the successor of the last year Tecno Spark and Tecno Spark Plus launched in August. Unveiling the Spark 2 followed the company’s previous launch success of the Tecno Camon CM, Tecno Camon X and X Pro earlier this year, showing no signs of slowing down as they continue to stamp their feet as the number one smartphone brand in the African mobile market.

While Tecno handset holders we all excited about the unveiling of the flagship, smartphone critics were looking at some of the key features the smartphone packed, and the major highlights emphasized by the company.

Thus, looking at the key features, and the major highlights were that it was powered on Android 8.1 Oreo Go Edition with HiOS 3.3 – although we are not sure why Tecno would added their HiOS on top of it, improved battery life, upgraded camera performance, FaceID, Full Display, and the screen aspect ratio.

Notably, it is worth mentioning that the spark series are one of the most selling smartphones in the Tecno Mobiles. After their launch in August last year, targeting mostly university students, and any other person aged between 18 to 25 years, saw some tremendous sales for the company.

PC Tech Magazine received a black in color variant for review after the launch. Meanwhile our first impressions were the screen ratio, the battery life, and the improved camera performance – a good work done by Tecno.

Stephen HA, Managing Director and General Manager of Tecno Mobile, told the press the Tecno Spark 2 is another great smartphone designed for productivity and style. And yes Indeed it is. We had the flagship for close to two weeks, here’s our thoughts about it.

Design and Build
The Tecno Spark has a similar design and build of the Tecno Camon CM – thin, light, and sturdy – built to fit in our palms. Measuring in 7.5mm in thickness, the flagship comes with a full display 6-Inch screen at a screen aspect ratio of 18:9 compared to its predecessors’ 16:9. Meanwhile the top has a 2.5D gorilla glass protecting that can protect your phone from shattering for instance when dropped. As seen on the phone, the 3.5mm earphone jack, the USB port, and a single speaker appear at the bottom, while the volume, power buttons appear on the right, and the sim card, and microSD card slot appear at the left.

At the back appears the 13MP camera, a supportive 3-LED flash light, a fingerprint sensor, Tecno and the Spark series branding below. While the front is the 8MP selfie camera with a dual mix LED flash 2.0. The rear camera has been improved in performance and features; autofocus, continuous shooting, digital zoom, exposure compensation, face detection to mention a few compared the previous Spark models.

Display
The Spark 2 is a 6-Inch HD+ IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen type with a resolution of 1440 x 720 pixels supporting up to 16M colors. The Spark 2 might not feature the full HD resolution but it does give clear content, visible enough to our eyes even during very light or dark situations. Though some content might appear saturated, the display was fine. The saturation can be seen a lot while taking pictures.

Performance and Battery
The Spark 2 comes in two variant options – one with 1GB RAM, 16GB ROM and 2GB RAM, 16GB ROM both supporting an expandable storage with a microSD card of up to 128GB. Most reviews and critics claim the 2GB/16GB variant in the Pro version of the Spark 2.

While the previous Spark handsets came with a 1.3GHz and 1.5GHz Octa-core MediaTek, processors for the Spark and Spark plus respectively, Tecno tired to increase the performance on its successor giving it a Quad-core 1.3 GHz processor and a MediaTek MT6580 chipset, Android 8.1 Oreo Go Edition with HiOS 3.3. At the beginning the performance was fine, but as we continued to install heavy application to test its performance, in rating of 1-10, we say 4/10 of it kept crushing, automatically closing the application. We’re not sure whether this could be of the company’s HiOS which is heavy skin for Android GO edition OS. However, in general the performance was quite fine.

Google’s Android 8.1 (Go edition) ensures an overall satisfactory general performance of the phone. The pre-installed Go apps such as; Google Go, YouTube Go, Google Maps Go, Gmail Go are smaller app size and also consume less space, as well as consumer less data

The Tecno Spark 2 is supported/backed on a 3,500mAh non-removable battery. Battery life was one of our first impression on this flagship compared to the predecessors that had 3,000mAh, and 3,400mAh respectively. It can last for at least 11 hours on talk time and 20 hours on standby time on a single charge. While we tested our theory of an ‘Average User and Excessive User,’ for an average user it could take the whole day on a single charge while the excessive user would have to at least charge the phone for about say like an 1 hour.

Cameras
The front and rear cameras come with 8MP and 13MP sensors respectively. While rumors suggested that the flagship was to feature a dual camera setting, well! it didn’t. Both cameras are supported by LED flash lights for low light photography. The front is supported with a dual mix flash 2.0 which brings a proactive brightness increase of up to 10 – 20% while the rear camera has a 3-LED flash support that increases brightness by more than 70%. The performance was extraordinary compared to its predecessor. The front facing camera was given an aperture of f2.0 which allows in more light to give blur backgrounds best for portrait shots. The rear camera does not come with the portrait feature.

The shots taken with both cameras were quit good – even though most of them appeared more saturated, which can be worked on during post-production if the photography wanted the best. One thing we noticed, details on subjects appeared best with the flash on.

Availability, Price, and Color
Tecno Spark 2 is available in Bordeaux red, midnight black, champagne gold. and city blue color options and has been priced at UGX435,000 which can be found in all Tecno branded store countrywide.

What we liked:

  1. More battery life.
  2. FaceID feature.
  3. Performance was good.
  4. Full display, and screen aspect ratio.

What we never liked:

  1. The earphone jack placement.
  2. Doesn’t support 4G connections.

Final verdict
Tecno Spark 2 is a good mid-ranger, that is worth buying. It best suits first time smartphone holders, as well average users.